Skip to main content

Is it possible to use two backup (Windows 7 and Windows 10) of the same PC and build a Dual boot PC?

Thread needs solution
Forum Member
Posts: 3
Comments: 32

Hello everybody

I need your help on the following (it looks simple, but…)

 

My computer was originally running Windows 7 and with an Acronis True Image 2014 I made a backup of the C drive (file is called InnoLite_mSATA_D150Q_Disque_complet_full_b2_s1_v1.tib).

 

I then upgraded this computer to Windows 10 and with Acronis True Image 2016 I made a second backup of the C drive (file InnoLite mSATA D150Q_full_b1_s1_v1.tib).

 

Today, I would like to run alternatively both operating systems on this computer using a dual boot, but I don’t know:

 

1) If this is feasible (did I make the correct type of backup)

2) How to do it…

 

Could you please help me?

 

Thank you.

 

Guy

0 Users found this helpful
Forum Hero
Posts: 34
Comments: 6999

Your right, sounds simple but!

My advice, don't do it.  The current dual boot guy here is Steve Smith, I'm sure he will jump in here.

Some things to consider:

If you want both OS's on the same disk both will need to be the same type of install or you will face problems (UEFI boot or Legacy boot).

If you want to put each OS on a different drive same as above but has the advantage of being 2 separate installs instead of essentially 1.

You would need to use a third party boot manager to make this work with any resonable success.  EasyBCD is the best in my opinion.

Forum Member
Posts: 3
Comments: 32

Hello Enchantech,

Thank you for your fast reply!

Unfortunately on this PC, I have a single disk which is a SSD and I cannot install a second one. So it looks dead ;-)

This computer is using a BIOS, and I was able to run on it successfully both OS (but not at the same time, as this is the purpose of my quest...) In fact some of my software are not running well under Windows 10, so I would need to keep a real Windows 7 environment (not an emulated one), in addition to the Windows 10. 

 

Maybe Steve Smith will come in this thread with a some different view.

Tks again.

 

Guy

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15720

Hello Guy,

My initial thoughts were the same as Enchantech - don't do it.  Put simply, you cannot just take a backup image of the two OS (7 & 10) and restore these on to a single SSD without some extra work and planning, plus without the aid of some extra tools to make these both bootable.

The normal recommendation for any dual-boot scenario is always to install the older OS first, so if you were to want to go ahead and try to do this, you should do as follows:

1.  Restore your Windows 7 backup image to your SSD and ensure that this is working correctly.

2.  Assuming that the SSD is large enough to host both Windows 7 and Windows 10 systems, then the next step is to create a new partition on the SSD which will host the Windows 10 system.  
To create the new partition, you can either use Windows Disk Management and take the option to Shrink the current volume hosting Windows 7, or you can use a third-party partitioning tool, such as Acronis Disk Director, Easeus Partition Manager, AOMEI Partition Assistant etc.

3. Restore your Windows 10 backup image to the new partition on the SSD - you should be able to do this from within ATIH 2016 running on Windows 7 as the restored Windows 10 system will not be bootable when restored at this point. 
Note: When restoring the Windows 10 backup image, only restore the Windows 10 OS partition, i.e. the Windows 10 C:\ drive partition - do not restore / overwrite the System Reserved or other partitions already present for Windows 7.

4.  Download and install a copy of the EasyBCD utility and use this to Add in the Windows 10 system to your Windows 7 Boot Configuration Data store (BCD).  See the EasyBCD Dual-Boot Guide - you should be able to see entries in the BCD menu for both Windows 7 and Windows 10.

5. Test that you can boot from both installed OS's.

 

Forum Member
Posts: 3
Comments: 32

Hello Steve,

 

A big thank you for coming in this post.

 

Well the more I read both of your comments, the more I realize how heavy is the "but..." Howerver, it sound feasible, which is a good news!

At least I can have a try, as anyway I have backup of the two images (Windows 7 and Windows 10), so if something goes wrong I could still turn back to one of the two.

I went to theses two pictures on another computer and tries to make a mount, on at a time, to see the structure of the partitions.

 

This what I have :

If I mount the Windows 10 backup picture, I see 3 partitions :

 

NTFS (reserved to system) - Pri, Act - 100Mo - 36,51Mo free space - NTFS

NTFS (no label) (C: ) - Pri - 118,7Go - 64,18Go free space - NTFS

Recovery partition - Pri - 450Mo - 93,86Mo free space - NTFS

Here is a screen capture : http://www.cjoint.com/c/FEnnRLfFXD1  (click the red button)

 

If I mount the Windows 7 backup picture, I see 2 partitions :

NTFS (reserved to system) - Pri, Act - 100Mo - 75,35Mo free space - NTFS

NTFS (no label) (C: ) - Pri - 119,1Go - 56,92Go free space - NTFS

 

Here is a screen capture : http://www.cjoint.com/c/FEnnO5Mxx01 (click the red button)

 

So, now to start on good basis,

1) Could you please confirme that this is the right data to use 

2) At your step 3. Steve, you said that I should only restore the Windows 10 C:\ drive partition, I then assume that out of the 3 partitions, it is not the first one (reserved to system) nor the thrid (recovery partition) that I should restore, but only the second one (No label) ( C: ), correct?

3) If I remember well, at some moment on time during the recovery process comes the question "Do you want to restore the MBR signature", should I answer "no" to this question?

4) On the Windows 7, I have an ATIH 2014 installed, should I upgrate it to ATIH 2016 (which I usually keep for my Windows 10 PCs)? In fact, in term of licence, is a dual-boot machine considered as a single machine? 

 

Thank you to both of you for your help and have a great week-end (when it comes)!

 

Guy.

Legend
Posts: 46
Comments: 15720

Hello Guy, my first concern looking at your images of your Windows 10 and Windows 7 drive layouts is whether you will actually have sufficient free space to allow to have the two systems working together?

Your Windows 7 OS is approximately 62GB in size, and your Windows 10 OS is approximately 55GB in size which will only just fit on to your 120GB drive with very little free space left for expanding any of the system required files, such as the pagefile.sys, hiberfil.sys or swapfile.sys.

I would recommend purchasing a larger drive to work with here, either a 250GB or larger and trying this out on that new drive and leaving the current drive as it is.  That would give you a known good fallback position should anything go wrong or not work and make the exercise less stressful too.

For your questions: 

1.  The data looks good, though is a little strange that you only have the Recovery partition on Windows 10, not on Windows 7?  Having said that, I do not have a Recovery partition on my Windows 10 laptop which dual boots with Windows Vista.

2.  Only the Windows 10 C:\ partition should be restored on to the new partition created after you have Windows 7 fully restored and working.  You do not want to overwrite the Windows 7 BCD store data by restoring the Windows 10 System Reserved partition. I am not sure what purpose the Windows 10 Recovery partition serves on your system - I suspect that it may hold information related to being able to roll-back to Windows 7?

3.  You should only need to restore the MBR when restoring Windows 7 and not need to overwrite the MBR with any changes made by Windows 10 as these may 'break' your Windows 7 boot at this point in setting the system up.

4.  I would recommend upgrading your ATIH 2014 to 2016 on the Windows 7 system (when restored) - Acronis licensing is per system and works off the hardware signature of the system, so this is still one license regardless of dual booting into two different Windows versions.  ATIH 2014 is not supported to be used with Windows 10 whereas ATIH 2016 is fine to be used with Windows 7 and 10.

Forum Member
Posts: 3
Comments: 32

Hello Steve,

Thank you for this additional detailled reply.

I agree that the free space is very short, in my mind I was thinking of a data partition shared between the two OS (as many big files can be common), but maybe this is not feasible in this configuration...)

I will go through your steps and let you know if I face any additional problem. In case I am stuck, I could still continue investigating in the main problem I faced with Windows 10 which is a driver problem (well described on the WindowsTenForums : Intel® USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller driver) : The user Spapakons describes on his post dated March 17 2016 exactly what I found on my computer after migrating to Windows 10. The problem is a very versatile USB 3.0 speed while transferring very large files (5GB and more) between the internal SSD to an external USB 3.0 SSD. The only fact of changing in the device manager, disk property, Policy tab from "Quick Removal" to "Best performance" solves temporarily the problem... not a very reliable solution.

As no real solution was available so far, I decided to downgrade to Windows 7, then to try a dual-boot as Windows 10 was providing me many additional improvments to face my needs... Now you know the full story ;-) 

Thanks a lot (again) for your valuable help!

Guy