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Installing Windows multiple times on one disk

DOS, Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10 can be installed multiple times without any problems onto different primary partitions on the first hard disk. In principle you have the choice between two setup strategies:
  • Don't hide already existing partitions
  • Hide the already existing partitions before installing a new one
The first strategy is the method used by Microsoft. In this case there is a central partition which is used for booting the other partitions. It is obvious that all partitions are implicitly connected by this central partition. When this central partition is deleted or changed all other primary partitions are affected, i.e. they might become unbootable. Furthermore the central partition must always reside on the first hard disk.

The second strategy is the method recommended by the author of Boot-US. This type of installation requires a little more effort and planning, but it has the advantage that all installed partitions are truly independent of each other. This independence results simply from the fact that all already existing partitions are hidden when the next partition is installed. Therefore this new installation appears exactly like the first installation. Due to the independence any partition can later be modified or deleted without affecting the other partitions.

Remark: Please make sure that you know the installation limits of all involved operating systems.

Installation example:
Windows 7 is to be installed twice in two separate primary partitions on the first hard disk. Both partitions should be booted by the boot manager of Boot-US. This can be achieved as follows:

  • Install Windows 7 on a primary partition.
  • For safety reasons install the boot manager Boot-US to diskette or CD with activated "automatic true hiding of partitions". With this diskette or CD this first Windows partition can be booted even when it is true hidden.
  • True hide the Windows partition by means of Boot-US. The menu command Partitions / Details... opens a dialog where single partitions can be true hid.
  • Create a second primary partition and set it active. This can be achieved by the configuration program Boot-US (GUI) or any other partition manager.
  • Install the second copy of Windows in this second primary partition. The first Windows should not be running when the second installation is started. The first Windows has been true hidden before and therefore it cannot disturb the second installation.
  • Start the configuration program Boot-US (on the second Windows) and install the boot manager with activated "automatic true hiding of partitions". Both Windows partitions can be included in the boot manager.
  • Restart the PC and select the desired partition.
  • The selected partition will be made visible by the boot manager and the other one will be true hid.
By the same procedure other combinations of DOS, Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10 can be installed multiple times on the first disk.

If Windows 2000 or higher is involved you must true hide all partitions, see Windows tip 5. If only DOS or Windows 95/98/ME or NT is involved then simple hiding of partitions is sufficient.