Dual boot Windows 7 and Windows Vista

As part of the march onward towards Windows 7, I turned my Windows 7 RC box into a dual boot system with Vista as the other operating system. Normally you’d install Vista first and then 7, but I already had 7 on the box and didn’t want to reinstall it. So I installed Vista on a separate HDD and then ran EasyBCD in 7 to create another boot entry. Interestingly enough, though Vista is on D drive from 7’s POV, when Vista comes up its boot drive is C as far as it’s concerned. Overall converting this to a dual boot system was far less difficult than trying to make my other Vista box into dual boot Vista/XP which as we know was rather traumatic and time consuming. The plan overall is that where I currently have two physical machines at my desk, in future I will only have one.

One of the reasons for setting up Vista on this newer box was to try to get a more optimal setup for Premiere Elements – which I have persevered with this week to get my video edited – and which surprisingly enough I have managed to cope with all that time despite many, many crashes. When it came to burning the DVD though, no way it could burn one with a menu on. Another very glaring issue was that it simply could not cope with a different disk path from the original location it and the files were saved in. After struggling with the silly “Media offline” message I gave up and moved the files into a drive that I had mapped to the same drive letter as the original. Then it worked properly again. My overall impression has unfortunately not changed that much, especially after finding that others had similar experiences. Adobe claims this software won some sort of award. I just don’t understand how they can have any real credibility with such a flawed product, why don’t they make a bit more effort to get it to work properly. Anyway, enough of that.

Once the release version of 7 reaches us, I’ll be putting that onto this machine and rearranging its disks a bit. It currently has four disks totalling 1 TB, but three disks of around 750 GB should be enough, including the two boot disks of 160 GB each. I’ve also spent a bit of time putting together a backup desktop on a Hyper-V virtual machine. The idea is that when the PC is booted into Vista, I can log onto this Hyper-V desktop (running 32 bit Vista) and access all my email in Outlook seamlessly. I can also work on stuff that won’t run properly on 7, for example our SMS has ODBC drivers that are only 32 bit and won’t install on 7 x64. The backup desktop will be useful in a variety of situations and again it emphasises the versatility of virtualisation.