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Posted

Hey guys,

I want to dual boot two Windows 8's on the same PC, but on different hard drives.

Basically my setup would be this:
Drive 1: 128GB SSD is my current Windows 8 install.
Drive 2+3: 2x 1TB Windows 'raid' mirror.
Drive 3: Data
Drive 4: 500GB I have lying around for the dual boot/second install.

The reason for this is, I primarily use my machine for music production, for the odd times something does go wrong, like a recent Windows update that trashed my machine, reinstalling 500GB of music software I own is a huge chore. Also, I want to keep my gaming/work/virtualbox/misc/fiddling separate from my music, so I can keep my primary install clean/untweaked.

I own Windows 8 (haven't updated to 8.1 yet) but I'm not sure if the license will allow me to do this, in theory I imagine it would be OK, I was thinking of restoring my CloneZilla backup made just after installing onto the 500GB I want to put in.

I want to also keep the installs completely isolated, ie: bootloader/mbr would be on it's own drive, I don't like the way Windows natively handles multiple installs of Windows. I'll change the boot drive int he BIOS when I hit F12.

I'm asking here because phoning Microsoft for anything non-standard usually means I get transferred about 10 times and then cut off.

It's the standard Win8 license, not the System Builder license.

Sumamry: 2 installs of Win8 one on each HDD, same PC. One license.

Could anyone shed some light on this? I guess there's little harm in trying, worst thing that could happen is I'd have to re-activate once or twice, that would probably answer my question.

Thanks!

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Posted

According Microsoft to you are licenced to install only one copy on one PC... Or drive but the thing with Microsoft's activation is one of the things it will check when activating is your HDDS serial NO:s... as you will be installing it on two separate drives the serials won't be the same. So you will only be able to activate Windows on one drive, unless you have two licences. You could install on one drive duel boot... but only one copy of Windows will activate... the other will probably fail.

 

I hope this helps

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Posted

Thanks, Star-Pirate. Yeah that's what I was dreading, didn't know about the serial number checks, I figured that it would see the same hardware on both installs, since it's the same PC, just a different "C:" drive upon each reboot. Perhaps I can phone Microsoft to get confirmation or something, it's kind of crap because it's a perfectly legitimate (although rare/odd) case, I just want to keep my two hobbies separate and don't have the cash for another high end rig right now, which I need for the kinds of audio tools I use.

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Posted

I know Microsoft's activation is really annoying... It checks the SN: Numbers of Your Mainboard, CPU, Graphics card, and HDDS... that's how it makes a unique number of your machine to activate.

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Posted

Why?

 

Windows 8 has several more-sophisticated system restore options now, and you can always run virtualization layers atop of it.  (Hint: Try sandboxie.)

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Posted

According Microsoft to you are licenced to install only one copy on one PC... Or drive but the thing with Microsoft's activation is one of the things it will check when activating is your HDDS serial NO:s... as you will be installing it on two separate drives the serials won't be the same. So you will only be able to activate Windows on one drive, unless you have two licences. You could install on one drive duel boot... but only one copy of Windows will activate... the other will probably fail.

 

I hope this helps

 

Not true. I bought Windows 8 with it launched (discounted). Installed the first time, hated it, did a VM (both time activated), then I replaced my old laptop and got a new one, which had Win 7 on it, I needed Win 8 so I installed (again) the one I purchased, on a new PC, with a new SSD, it activated.

 

MS activation does not check serial numbers, if it does, it does a worse job at it... Same goes for Windows 7 (made a VM on a laptop, used the serial number from the sticker on my old laptop, worked)

 

@funkyspacecadet Why don't you use a VM rather than dual boot?

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Posted

But wait, if it's checking the hardware, doesn't it only require a new activation if a drastic amount of hardware has changed? Surely ONE hard drive change would not nuke the activation? I've changed HDDs on Win7 machines (clonezilla, swap drive, restore from clonezilla) and had no issues in the past. AFAIK it's a big deal if you change several items, especially the motherboard. I guess there's an easy way to find out, do what I intend to do, if it nags me for activation then stop and just use my spare Win7 license.

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Posted

But wait, if it's checking the hardware, doesn't it only require a new activation if a drastic amount of hardware has changed? Surely ONE hard drive change would not nuke the activation? I've changed HDDs on Win7 machines (clonezilla, swap drive, restore from clonezilla) and had no issues in the past. AFAIK it's a big deal if you change several items, especially the motherboard. I guess there's an easy way to find out, do what I intend to do, if it nags me for activation then stop and just use my spare Win7 license.

 

As I said, you can install Windows again, not a problem... even if you do run into can not activate online (like I do with my Office 2010) you can always call and get it activated, they barely ask any questions, at-least here they dont.

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Posted

 

@funkyspacecadet Why don't you use a VM rather than dual boot?


Because I can't VM my audio setup, my audio interface is a firewire device, I don't think there's any way of having direct access to FW hardware over a VM. Even if there was, there's still the issue of performance, I use ASIO as well. I work at 48khz, 24bit, and at 6ms latency, latency is the main thing here.

It would be idea, of course, but it wouldn't work, or, would kill the latency. Plus there's other hardware I sue which would not work well under a VM. Also the inverse of this, doing the gaming thing under a VM would obviously not be great, either.

I think I'll try the dual-boot thing and see.

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Posted

Windows used to allow 3 hardware changes before reactivation by phone but now its more...

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Posted

Thanks, Blueclub :) Yeah I've phoned in for a new key once before, no grief given at all. When I bought Win8 and phoned Microsoft I asked about how many reinstalls, the answer was a little vague but they did say you can simply phone in for a new key.

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Posted

I know Microsoft's activation is really annoying... It checks the SN: Numbers of Your Mainboard, CPU, Graphics card, and HDDS... that's how it makes a unique number of your machine to activate.

 

Never had an issue cloning HDs in the same machine.

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Posted

Never had an issue cloning HDs in the same machine.

Maybe not but try doing it more than 4 times on 4 different hdds

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Posted

Maybe not but try doing it more than 4 times on 4 different hdds

 

Why? He's asking about installing on 2.

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Posted

Aha, thanks. Q: How many times can I install Windows on my computer before I have to activate Windows again? A: You can reinstall Windows on the same computer as many times as you want because activation pairs the Windows product key with information about your computer hardware. If you make a significant hardware change, you might have to activate Windows again. Oh well, one way to find out!

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Posted

I always just loaded up my windows, activated then cloned to second hard drive. Then booted to whichever hard drive I wanted in bios.

 

 

Cody

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