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True Dual-Boot System - Is It Possible to Switch Between Windows XP & Windows Vista Without Restarting

#1 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 06:18 PM

Alright all you Dual-Booters out there. I have a question that I am sure most of you have pondered at least once:

How can I toggle between Windows XP & Windows Vista without having to restart my computer?

Now, I am not talking about using a virtual machine like Virtual PC or VMware. I mean keeping my Dual-Boot functions and losing the necessity to restart each time I want to use the other Operating System. Granted, it only takes my computer between 60-75 seconds to restart fully into each Operating System but the fact is I still have to restart each time I want to switch. From the research I have done so far, it is either not possible or very, very hard to accomplish. One application serves this function well; however, it is not used for Windows Vista.

If anyone has any ideas, please let them out. If anyone can offer what kind of programming it would take to create an application capable of doing this, please share. :D
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#2 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:07 PM

mphenterprises said:

Alright all you Dual-Booters out there. I have a question that I am sure most of you have pondered at least once:

How can I toggle between Windows XP & Windows Vista without having to restart my computer?

Now, I am not talking about using a virtual machine like Virtual PC or VMware. I mean keeping my Dual-Boot functions and losing the necessity to restart each time I want to use the other Operating System. Granted, it only takes my computer between 60-75 seconds to restart fully into each Operating System but the fact is I still have to restart each time I want to switch. From the research I have done so far, it is either not possible or very, very hard to accomplish. One application serves this function well; however, it is not used for Windows Vista.

If anyone has any ideas, please let them out. If anyone can offer what kind of programming it would take to create an application capable of doing this, please share. :D

To my knowledge, the only way to run two OSs at the same time is to either use multiple computers (if you want it on the same screen at the same time, then you would also have to run some sort of remote desktop software over a network) or use some sort of virtual computer like VMware, Parallels or Virtual PC. The only other way that I am aware of is kind a "bastardization" of the first option...there used to be PC cards that you could get for Macs that basically put a Windoze processor on an add-in card and then you could "boot" a Windoze PC with in the Mac OS as a seperate window. With the advent of virtual machines, there is no longer a need for such hardware and I have not see such things in a long, long time.



I am not sure what you are after in terms of an application that something like VMWare would not solve other than if you wanted the virtual machine to use an actual hard drive partition instead of a virtual disk. FWIW, both Parallels and VMWare Fusion can do this with a Boot Camp partition on a Mac. In other words, instead of using a virtual drive that is a file on your Mac OS drive to boot into Windoze, you can have either use your Boot Camp partition. But, I am not aware of any similar function for anything other than Boot Camp on a Mac.
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#3 User is offline   piyushsingh 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:23 PM

I also use VMWare to support an XP pro on it as some of my programs arent working properly with vista.I think it does make the os independent and there is as such no need of doing a dual boot of xp with vista if you have a virtualization software. One will do only if resources are less and i m sure thats not the issue in your case with your quadie.
Probably what you are thinking of wont really remain a dual-boot, you can only load a single kernel in a memory. Also i agree with smax , in relation to using separate card to support another os, but then also a single kernel is loaded in one place.
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#4 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:34 PM

It is more that I am not sure what [~44270] is after that virtualization software does not do. I guess I am not understanding what he really wants.
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#5 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 10:04 PM

Hi SMax. Okay, picture this: I have a Dual Boot System (Windows XP & Windows Vista). Currently, I am using Vista. I would like the ability to either use a key combination or use an application to essentially toggle into Windows XP without the need to restart the computer. I do not want a Virtual Machine setup because that would not give me the full benefits of both Operating Systems. Piyushsingh mentioned something that makes sense, "...you can only load a single kernel in a memory." If that is the case, then I will just deal with the restarts.

I remember seeing an application (can't seem to find it now) that does exactly what I need; however, it only works with Windows XP and lower Operating Systems. The closest function I have read that will reduce restart time is this article stating that if you hold the Shift key down while clicking the Restart option, the BIOS will remain open and only the Operating System would restart. I have not tried it yet. I am about to switch into Windows XP so I will see if it works.







EDIT:

The Shift function had no affect on the restart process. I held down the Shift key while selecting Restart and the computer simply restarted as it always does. Since the article was only referring to a single Operating System setup, this function may not be valid for a Multi-Operating System setup.
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#6 User is offline   piyushsingh 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 10:43 PM

That shift+restart trick works on win95,win98. It wont work with xp and vista even in a single boot configuration.
check this link, according to which it works on win95 only.
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#7 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 11:50 PM

mphenterprises said:

Hi SMax. Okay, picture this: I have a Dual Boot System (Windows XP & Windows Vista). Currently, I am using Vista. I would like the ability to either use a key combination or use an application to essentially toggle into Windows XP without the need to restart the computer. I do not want a Virtual Machine setup because that would not give me the full benefits of both Operating Systems. Piyushsingh mentioned something that makes sense, "...you can only load a single kernel in a memory." If that is the case, then I will just deal with the restarts.

I remember seeing an application (can't seem to find it now) that does exactly what I need; however, it only works with Windows XP and lower Operating Systems. The closest function I have read that will reduce restart time is this article stating that if you hold the Shift key down while clicking the Restart option, the BIOS will remain open and only the Operating System would restart. I have not tried it yet. I am about to switch into Windows XP so I will see if it works.








EDIT:

The Shift function had no affect on the restart process. I held down the Shift key while selecting Restart and the computer simply restarted as it always does. Since the article was only referring to a single Operating System setup, this function may not be valid for a Multi-Operating System setup.


Think of it like this....



Consider an OS like a kid and the computer hardware the kid's toys. If there is only one kid, then that kid can easily decide which toys the kid will use. If you introduce a second kid into the equation, you now need to have some "mechanism" to decide which toys which kid can play with. If you put one kid in the room with the toys and lock the other kid in a second room without the toys, then this is like the dual boot option. If you have a "dominate kid" (i.e. say a big brother) that basically gets to decide which toys that kid will play with and which toys the "subordinate kid" will play with, then that is like running a primary OS with a secondary OS running in a virtual machine. If you have two kids with no mechanism to decide who gets to play with which toy, then the kids fight over the toys.



The point is that you have to have SOMETHING that decides which OS gets access to what computer resources. This is the primary purpose of an OS...it allocates/grabs computer resources and decides which programs, etc get what resources. So, you have to have either only one OS or you have to have a dominate OS that decides this. The dual boot option is basically having one OS running at a time. Thus, that one OS decides which programs get the resources. In the case of a virtual machine, you will have a primary OS that ultimately "doles" out the resources and it is the virtual machine software that puts in requests for resources for the secondary OS to use. Think of the virtual machine as the ambassador/intermediary to the primary OS from the secondary OS.



The only other way would be for some very rudamentary OS to be running that then allows multiple OSs to run on top of it. This would be much like the virtual machine option, but the rudamentary OS would ONLY be about doling out resources. I am not aware of any such system for a desktop environment.



The point is that a virtual machine is about as close as you are going to get...at least to my knowledge.
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#8 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 05:51 AM

:D Excellent summation, counselor. (I have always wanted to say that as well.) I figured it would be next to impossible to accomplish what I want but I figured I would ask. Oh well, thankfully my computer restarts very quickly so it is not a total loss.

Thanks Piyush and SMax. :D
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#9 User is offline   Yert 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:06 AM

The only viable and good option is Virtualization. Like Parallels, but I doubt they have Coherence mode the Mac version has. If they do then it would be the best option... run Vista and have XP as the virtualized.

If this is not acceptable, there is always the option of getting a duel imput monitor, network two PC's and never have to switch.
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#10 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:33 PM

Yert said:

The only viable and good option is Virtualization. Like Parallels, but I doubt they have Coherence mode the Mac version has. If they do then it would be the best option... run Vista and have XP as the virtualized.

If this is not acceptable, there is always the option of getting a duel imput monitor, network two PC's and never have to switch.


Dual input monitor or a KVM switch with a single monitor with two computers is a good alternative...but you still have to "switch" which computer is being used with the monitor. Granted, it is MUCH quicker than rebooting, but then it also takes up much more room and power to use two computer...not to mention the cost of two computers...although in my case (and I assume [~44270]'), I am already running multiple computers.



A network with a remote desktop software running on the second computer is also another good alternative. You are dealing with a lot of that same "downsides" as the dual input/KVM switch option (i.e. having to run two computers, which take up more space, power and money), but now don't have to "switch" from one to the other...you can have the remote desktop running in a window. The downside would be having to run stuff through the network, which could have speed implications...but if the home network is not that large and there is not other serious network traffic, then that should be minimal. I suspect playing a game on the second computer through remote desktop software would not be that pleasant...just like it is not yet to pleasant to play games in virtual computer environments.



And FWIW, while Coherence is kind of cool, it does not completely "knock me over". And I don't know if the Windoze version of Parallels has it or not, but I do use it on my MacBook Pro.
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#11 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 03:41 PM

Hi Yert and thank you for your suggestion. As SMax stated, I do have multiple computers; three as a matter of fact. However, it really is not that serious. If there is no way for me to bypass a restart to use both of my Operating Systems independently on one computer, I will just deal with it as is. As I mentioned, an average restart takes minimal time anyway.
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#12 User is offline   rgreen4 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 04:58 PM

There is a third option - but is only available to those of us who have more computers than we need, or even can use, otherwise known as "computer poor". Simply put, you have two computers and one monitor, keyboard and mouse. All connected to the two computers via a KVM (Keyboard, Video, Mouse) switch. There are many out there, but the one I use has been discontinued a long, long time (Linksys).

It uses a control key combination (mine uses a double tap of the right hand control key) to switch. To use Smax's excellent analogy, you have two kids in two rooms, each with their own toys, and you look in one window and then go to the other window to look in the other room. Of course this does require double software. I have used this since I first got an XP computer and kept my old Win98 machine up. I had my e-mail (dial-up at the time) on the Win98 machine and all my personal stuff was moved to the XP machine. Ultimate Security - no internet connection on the XP machine.

I still use this setup and currently have my HP Media Center (w/Vista) on one leg and my new multi-boot test bed PC on the other leg. I actually have a third machine set up with a dedicated monitor, keyboard and mouse set up for whatever.
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#13 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 06:39 PM

Hi RGreen. Yes, that is definitely an option; however, this computer room is pretty much packed as it is. Shoot, I might as well call it an entertainment room. This room is used more than the Living Room. Even though connecting a second tower to this system would be relatively easy, space would play a factor.

It looks as though I have to concede on this issue. :-(
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#14 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 07:02 PM

mphenterprises said:

Hi RGreen. Yes, that is definitely an option; however, this computer room is pretty much packed as it is. Shoot, I might as well call it an entertainment room. This room is used more than the Living Room. Even though connecting a second tower to this system would be relatively easy, space would play a factor.

It looks as though I have to concede on this issue. :-(

I am still not clear on what you deem to be missing in going the path of virtualization with VMWare or such. It is basically doing exactly what you seem to want. It is running two (or more) OSs at the same time and you can actively switch between the two. The only thing that it cannot do is to actually have only ONE OS running at a time using ALL computer hardware and instantiously switch to the other OS so that it is the only one running using all the computer hardware. Frankly, the only reason such a thing would be desirable would be for something like a game as virtualization does not yet handle graphic intensive stuff real well yet (the virtual computer programs don't yet have the ability to directly address the more advanced graphics hardware yet). But, for the vast majority of stuff, virtualization should work just fine. I use Parallels to run Windoze on my Mac so that I can run my structural engineering applications (with stupid a$$ USB copy protection dongles and all) and also run Internet Explorer (access to my work email cannot be done through Safari on the Mac) all the time with no problems. Sure, it is a little slower than a dedicated Windoze computer or if I do the same things in Boot Camp...but it saves me from having to reboot the computer.
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#15 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 07:44 PM

:D I like your determination and persistence. Well, VMware is essentially exactly what I need; however, it is not what I want. I know you remember when I used Ubuntu within VMware. I found VMware to be a very useful tool and quite frankly, if I decide to use it again I will use it when Windows 7 makes an appearance.

I became very intrigued at the possibility that I could essentially use a keystroke and switch Operating Systems as easily as I switch between applications using Alt + Tab. Since that is pretty much not an option, I will let that idea go for now. If there is ever an application that boosts this feature, I will certainly try it.
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#16 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 09:31 PM

mphenterprises said:


I became very intrigued at the possibility that I could essentially use a keystroke and switch Operating Systems as easily as I switch between applications using Alt + Tab. Since that is pretty much not an option, I will let that idea go for now. If there is ever an application that boosts this feature, I will certainly try it.



This is what I don't understand. Virtualiztion (VMWare or Parallels) does pretty much what you say you want. I will admit that I have not used a Windoze version of a virtual programs, but I am able to easily switch between Windoze programs and my Mac programs with ease in Parallels on the Mac. Coherence makes it really easy, but even before Coherence, it was rather easy, even if it took two steps (step 1 switch from the virtual program window to Mac OS and then step 2 go to appropriate Mac program).
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#17 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 04:41 AM

LOL Okay Okay, yes, I know I am stubborn so let me just make sure I am following you. As I did with Ubuntu, I can installed either Windows Vista or Windows XP within VMware and I will be able to switch between the two Operating Systems and get full use of each Operating System, is that correct?

From the beginning, I figured that VMware was an option. I just don't want to lose the true Dual Boot functionality that I have. Setting up one Operating System under a virtual workstation is not truly a Dual Boot system. I appreciate your persistence with this, seriously.
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#18 User is offline   smax013 

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:05 PM

mphenterprises said:

LOL Okay Okay, yes, I know I am stubborn so let me just make sure I am following you. As I did with Ubuntu, I can installed either Windows Vista or Windows XP within VMware and I will be able to switch between the two Operating Systems and get full use of each Operating System, is that correct?

From the beginning, I figured that VMware was an option. I just don't want to lose the true Dual Boot functionality that I have. Setting up one Operating System under a virtual workstation is not truly a Dual Boot system. I appreciate your persistence with this, seriously.

Short answer, yes.



Longer answer, I am assuming the Windoze version of VMWare's virtual machine program can run versions of Windoze, but have never really look closely at the Windoze version. I can say with certainty that you can use VMWare Fusion (VMWare's Mac version) and Parallels for the Mac can run Windoze just fine...thus, I am assuming that their Windoze versions of their virtualization programs will as well. And it will have ZERO effect on your dual boot configuration (other than dealing with the licensing issues...technically, you are only supposed to have a Windoze license installed once...but some argue that if you install a Windoze license on a partition for a dual boot AND then use that same license to install within a virtual machine on the SAME computer that you are not violating the intent of the license...after all, it is only installed on ONE computer and you cannot actually use both Windoze installations at the same time assuming that you are not using the Windoze license within a virtual machine that runs on Windoze from the same license...i.e. run Windoze XP within Windoze XP, to which there is not much point...regardless of whether or not your technically still within the license, you would still have to deal with the activation issue if you are using any of the modern Windoze OSs). As a case in point, I am running Parallels with Windoze XP Pro on my Mac within the Mac OS and also have it setup to dual boot directly into Windoze XP Pro using Boot Camp to a Windoze partition. Now, it is slightly different as both Parallels and VMWare Fusion on the Mac can actually use a dual boot Windoze partition for use with your virtual machine (i.e. you don't need to have a seperate virtual drive that is an image file on the main OS). I am not sure if any of the Windoze versions can do the same thing or not.



Now, this does not mean that all is perfect in the virtualization world. Virtual machines might not be able to use all hardware. It took a while for Parallels to gain full USB 2.0 support. I am not sure yet if they support Firewire or not...haven't checked recently. They are still working on the ability to get full access/use of advanced graphics hardware. Thus, many games will not run well or at all in a virtual machine yet. If Vista with Aero is slow on a computer regularly, then it will likely be slower/worse in a virtual machine. And then there is the issue of the Windoze licesne for Vista. Micro$oft only permits Vista Ultimate (or Business) to be run in virtual machines per the EULA. They say it is due to security concerns, but many believe it is a money grab (i.e. UItimate costs more than Home Premium for features that many don't need). Micro$oft argues that people that buy Ultimate or Business are going to be more computer/security savvy and thus better able to deal with any security issues that virtual machine creates. Considering that ANYONE can buy Ultimate, that arguement is complete BS to me. Regardless, you likely would not want to Vista in a virtual machine due to the graphics issues. You would be better off run a virtual machine in Vista and running a flavor of XP in the virtual machine.



The end point is that you should be able to easily run Windoze XP in VMWare with Vista as the primary OS. While there are shortcomings still to this path, it is very doable and works well for the vast majority of things. Typical programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, IE, Outlook, etc all work just fine in virtual machine environments (I use them all the time in Windoze XP running in Parallel on my MacBook Pro). Thus, you will likely be able to do what you want to do just fine by and large. The biggest thing you would have trouble doing in a virtual machine environment is play graphically intensive games.
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#19 User is offline   mphenterprises 

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 12:34 PM

smax013 said:


>

Quote

Typical programs like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, IE, Outlook, etc all work just fine in virtual machine environments...





Yet again, you have made valid points. :D

I pulled the quoted statement because I think you struck something with that. I emphasized Outlook because I use Outlook 2007 all day, everyday. Since I started with Windows XP, I never even thought twice about Outlook. Now that I have introduced Windows Vista into my computer, and installed Office 2007 within Vista, I find myself in a bit of a conundrum.

Example:

My computer is on using Windows XP. Outlook 2007 is running and has forwarded all of my emails from my various email accounts. As of yet, I have not deleted the original emails from the various email accounts. I restart my computer using Windows Vista. If I open Outlook 2007 within Windows Vista, all the emails that were already forwarded will be forwarded again.

In your suggestion, if I use Windows Vista as my primary Operating System, and use VMware to access Windows XP Professional, I could use the virtual machine to access Outlook 2007 within Windows XP and I would not have to worry about using Outlook 2007 under Windows Vista and, I would still have full use of Windows XP as a Dual Boot Operating System if need be, correct?
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#20 User is offline   piyushsingh 

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 01:01 PM

hmm, that seems perfect to me. you will have to make sure that you use outlook on only xp and then your mails will be stored on the virtual disk image.
Infact i have such a configuration with vista as the host and xp as a guest , using vmware workstation . I use it for some applications that were really troubling me on vista. Some old dos applications will make some of those, 16 bit dos applications wont run on 64-bit vista. Even the old turboc compiler gives problems in some cases and there are many others. Although i found some dos emulators , which did the job well but i prefer to switch on to xp for those applications.The best part is that you can assign a specific amount of resources that you want the guest os to use.

using vista as a guest wont really serve any purpose.
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