#1 Posted by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3346 posts) -

This was also posted on Reddit:

Hey all,

I'm currently downloading Windows 10 to run on a separate SSD, but I'm hoping for some advice on how to manage a PC that also has a HDD with Windows 7. A little backstory, I'm an audio engineer running Pro Tools 12.5 and had horrendous experiences with Windows 10, and Windows 10 auto-update features caused a myriad of issues with Pro Tools to the extent that I reverted to 7 for the sake of my sanity.

Thing is, I'm also a PC gamer and don't have the budget to purchase two separate PCs. I recently invested in an RTX card and discovered there's certain features that aren't supported on anything but Windows 10, a la ray-tracing and DX12. So, my goal is to try and run both OS's on two separate drives. I've never done this before, so I naturally have a few questions:

Numero uno: Is this a terrible idea? Will both HDD's be available on both builds of Windows and cause all kinds of problems?

Two: Is there any way to streamline this experience in BIOS? Is there a way to set up my BIOS so that I'm asked which operating system to boot at startup: Click on 7 when I want to do audio work and 10 when I want to game? Or will I have to enter the BIOS settings and manually boot each time?

Three: I'm guessing all drivers and such will have to be downloaded and installed on both builds of Windows, i.e.: if there's a driver update for my video card, I'll have to install that on both Windows 7 and Windows 10?

Cuatro: Seriously, is this, like, a really, really bad idea that's going to cause more problems than it solves?

Thanks for hearing me out.

#2 Edited by 04dcarraher (23147 posts) -

I use to dual boot 7 and 10 and eventually just totally went to 10. You may want to look into later versions of Pro Tools that work with Win 10. Also Win 10 updates are better and have more options then earlier in its life. But if your adamant in sticking with Win 7 and 10 dual boot. As long as you have win 7 installed and and you use custom install option of 10 on the other ssd. win 10 automatically allow you to choose between the two OS's when you boot up the computer.

#3 Posted by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3346 posts) -

@04dcarraher: I've considered updating Pro Tools, but Avid software is damned expensive. At this point, I've more or less inhabited an "if it ain't broke" mantra when it comes to that. My final straw with 10 was when they forced an update through and Pro Tools would freeze on startup and wouldn't even let me tinker with it to see if I could adjust some settings to make it work.

That's good to know about 10 giving me boot options at startup. Playing with my BIOS boot options daily is one of my biggest causes of anxiety in this experiment.

Thanks for the advice. Big help. Much appreciated.

#4 Posted by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3346 posts) -

Also, another question. I have Windows 7 installed on a small 256GB SSD with all my software installed on a separate that's not attached to the operating system. Can that HDD be used on both OS's without causing any problems?

Would I be able to move all my Steam files over to the new SSD without any issue, or will I have to reinstall all my games on the new HDD?

#5 Edited by 04dcarraher (23147 posts) -

@IMAHAPYHIPPO said:

Also, another question. I have Windows 7 installed on a small 256GB SSD with all my software installed on a separate that's not attached to the operating system. Can that HDD be used on both OS's without causing any problems?

Would I be able to move all my Steam files over to the new SSD without any issue, or will I have to reinstall all my games on the new HDD?

While both OS's can see and use whats on that separate drive, actually being able to run the software on both OS's will be abit tricky since the software would need to be installed with the pathways and registries needed to run and find the data with each OS. Your best bet would be to create two separate install folders on that separate drive for each OS on that drive and install each program or game you want to run with each OS.

Also if you do run into an issue with installing Win 10 and you lose win 7 boot option you can download easybcd and create your own boot menu to restore windows 7 install and be able to dual boot.

#6 Posted by IMAHAPYHIPPO (3346 posts) -

@04dcarraher: So, simply moving my entire Steam folder over to my Windows 10 HDD would be a waste? I'd have reinstall everything?

Seriously, though, thank you again. I'm typing this on my Windows 10 HDD. You've been a big help.

#7 Posted by 04dcarraher (23147 posts) -

@IMAHAPYHIPPO said:

@04dcarraher: So, simply moving my entire Steam folder over to my Windows 10 HDD would be a waste? I'd have reinstall everything?

Seriously, though, thank you again. I'm typing this on my Windows 10 HDD. You've been a big help.

With steam you reinstall each game where you moved the steam folder too and it should see whats there and just download the few files its missing

#8 Edited by pyro1245 (4716 posts) -

My gut feeling tells me it's more trouble than it's worth.

My experience has told me that Windows 10 does not play well with other installs of Windows (or any other OS for that matter).

My advice would be - If you really want to have 7 and 10 available to you:

  • Have Windows 10 and Windows 7 on two separate SSDs, power down and just swap the drives so either install has no idea about the other. Don't ever boot the computer with both drives installed.
  • Have the HDD just as a data drive, no applications - use it for data (including Steam, etc game data if you wish) and other portable stuff. You can have as many data drives as you want and leave them in there no problem.
  • Install each OS with the other boot drive removed. If you install Windows while there is another drive with Windows on it, you will have problems.

#9 Edited by Yams1980 (3312 posts) -

before installing and moving files around. Do at least 2 separate backups of all your files.

I run dual boot like what you are thinking of.

I have a simple setup, i have two 480gb intel ssds in raid 1 (mirror) for the win7/10 OS's.

I installed windows 7 first on C:\ [i made partition size about 250gb]

then after that i installed windows 10 onto D:\ [this partition is about 200gb]

Default OS is windows 7 since i don't use windows 10, its just installed on the rare occasion i need it for a game.

Your asked about driver updates. Anything you do on windows 7 is completely isolated to that. Same when you are booted into windows 10. You have to do separate updates in that also. One minor problem is if you use system restore in windows 10, and then boot into windows 7... windows 7 will erase all restore points on windows 10. There is a way to fix this by hidding the windows 10 partition in windows 7 so it won't erase restore points using a simple registry edit while in windows 7.

https://www.vistax64.com/threads/system-restore-points-stop-xp-dual-boot-delete.127417/

You can see below, my D:\ is completely protected and inaccessible while in windows 7, and this prevents Windows 10 restore points from being deleted each time i boot into windows 7.