You can have two types of operating systems on two hard drives and it is called a dual boot system. A dual-boot setup is meant to enable developers and testers to run software on multiple operating systems. Therefore, you do not need a separate set of hardware.
Certainly, you can run two different operating systems on one computer using separate hard drives. The only thing to remember is that you’ll need to press a specific key during your computer’s startup, which is usually F5, and your computer’s BIOS (a kind of software that controls your computer’s hardware) must support the second hard drive as an option to boot from. This way, you can choose between the two operating systems when you start your computer.
For you to use two or more operating systems on your computer, all that is for you to set up a dual boot system. This will be enough for hard drives to have space for a second partition. But, if you use each hard drive for each operating system, this will do its job perfectly.
Options for Having ‘Operating Systems on 2 Hard Drives’
There is no set rule or limit to the number of operating systems you can install. You could put a second hard drive into your computer as per your choice. Like, you can both use Linux and Windows on your two hard drives. Linux is for the development work and you can switch back or boot into Windows to play games again.
Installing Windows 8.1 alongside Windows 7. By doing this you easily choose between the two at boot time, knowing you will always be able to go back to Windows 7. However, yours is a Mac, so you can have Windows installed alongside Mac OS X. Whenever you need to run Windows-only then you can boot into it.
How Dual Booting Works
Your computer’s main operating system is installed on its internal hard drive. When you decide to boot your laptop or computer, the BIOS loads the bootloader from the hard drive. Then your hard drive’s boot loader boots the installed operating system.
Suppose, you only have a single hard drive, but no worry you can have multiple operating systems on that single hard drive. It is possible by partitioning the drive into several different partitions. By this, you can have one partition for one operating system and another partition for another operating system, like splitting the drive between them.
How to Switch Between Two Operating Systems
You can switch between two operating systems in two ways –
1. By Selecting a Default Operating System from Control Panel
2. By Booting from Two Hard Drives.
3. Using Boot loader (Linux only).
Let’s learn both methods in detail below.
Method 1: Selecting a Default Operating System from Control Panel
Follow the steps below to switch between two operating systems:
Step 1: In Windows, look for the control panel.
Step 2: Click on the Startup disk control panel.
Step 3: Then, select the startup disk with the operating system you want to use by default.
Step 4: If you want to start up that operating system now, then all you have to do is to click Restart, and done.
Step 5: Now you can use your other operating system smoothly.
Method 2: Booting from Two Hard Drives
There is a simple way that you can able to boot from two drives.
Step 1: First, insert your both hard drives and find which hard drive the system boots into it. The operating system that gets booted will be the one that will manage the boot loader for the system.
Step 2: Then open EasyBCD and choose ‘Add a new entry.
Step 3: Choose your operating system, set the partition letter, and Save changes.
Method 3: Using Boat Loader
While installing a Linux distribution, it typically installs the Grub boot loader. Grub only loads instead of the Windows boot loader at boot time if Windows was already installed on your computer. Which allows you to choose the operating system that you want to boot in that drive.
Advantages Of Dual-Booting
Each and every operating system has its own uses and advantages. Having too many operating systems installed allows you to quickly switch between them and have the best tool for your job. It also makes an experiment with different operating systems.
Bonus Tip: Alternatives to Use Multiple Operating Systems on Hard Drive
You could have used virtual machine software instead of setting up a dual boot system, but this system lets you actually use both operating systems on your hardware at full speed. You do not have to bear with the overhead of a virtual machine, which is especially bad with 3D graphics. The only negative part is that you can only use one operating system at a time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Dual Boot Slow Down Your Laptop?
Soon this will slow down the laptop or computer. While a Linux OS may use the hardware more on a regular basis. Overall, as the secondary OS, it will soon become your disadvantage.
Can You Have 2 OS on One Hard Drive?
Yes, you can have more than 2 OS on one hard drive. You can even install Windows, macOS, and Linux or multiple versions of each of them on one hard drive. However, the hard drive needs to have enough storage capacity to keep data from multiple operating systems.
Is It Safe to Dual Boot?
Yes, it is completely safe to dual boot on one computer. You can go for dual boot Windows and Linux OS. However, you can use a virtual machine instead of going for dual boot on your computer. But in case the virtual machine doesn’t work due to its resource-intensive nature, then you can go for the Dual Boot.
Your main goal is to be able to boot from either of the two operating systems or either of the 2 drives without any mechanical switches. Remember this, different operating systems have different uses and advantages. Having two operating systems installed allows you to quickly switch between and have the best tool.