Advice on options to Dual Boot Windows 10 and Windows 11 on Separate SSDs


Fozzie Bear

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Windows 10 Home 22H2 (Build 19045.4291)
I am seeking advice on the best method to dual boot windows 10 (22h2) and windows 11 (23H2) each on separate SSD's
Despite a considerable amount of help from colleagues on this forum to get win 11 installed on unsupported hardware I eventually caved in and did a clean install of Win 11 on another ssd on the basis this will be my default OS with access to Win10 when I want to use software which I no longer have the installation media.

At the moment I can choose which OS to boot using the bios F12 boot menu option but would prefer an easier method. Initially I could not see the windows 10 partitions in windows 11 even in disk manager so I mistakenly installed EasyBCD on Windows 10 but in doing so screwed up the boot loader on the win10 drive.
I have recovered the situation using Macrium Reflect boot ISO and can now again boot into Windows 10.

Is there an alternative to EasyBCD as it throws up a warning about reduced functionality with GPT disks. It seems a bit more complicated with two disks than with the OS on separate partitions on the same disk with presumably only one efi partition? Am I safe installing EasyBCD on Win 11 drive and creating an entry for Win 10 assuming I make the Win 11 SSD the priority boot media. Or is there a better or easier way.
Also once EasyBCD has found to correct partition and created the boot entry can you safely hide the partitions of the other drive by removing the drive letters?
I have included a snip of the drives from Minitool. Disk1 is Win 10 on 256Gb SSD and Disk2 is Win 11 on a 512Gb SSD. The other two disks are my data volumes
Many thanks
Disk Partitions.JPG
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Home 22H2 (Build 19045.4291)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (8 CPUs)
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    Memory
    16.0 Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600
    Sound Card
    Intel Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    BenQ G2420HD
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Primary: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB Secondary 1: Seagate ST31000524AS (NTFS) Secondary 2: Seagate ST1000DM005 HD103SJ(exFat)
    PSU
    OCZ 550w
    Case
    LianLi
    Cooling
    ThermoLab Trinity
    Keyboard
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless keyboard
    Mouse
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless Mouse
    Internet Speed
    100mb FTTP
My personal preferred method for dual-booting two Windows OSes is to install the secondary OS as a Natively Bootable VHD.

Brief Overview

A natively Bootable VHD is a Virtual Hard Disk file that the PC can boot directly. In brief, the procedure involves creating a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) and deploying Windows to it, then marking that VHD bootable.

Advantages

Booting from a VHD has multiple advantages:

1) Super simple to setup.

2) Unlike a VM, the installation of Windows in a VHD has direct access to your hardware, so you would install all the same drivers as for your physical machine. This is a great way to test that an OS will work on your specific hardware with all the drivers that you have available. If the OS works in the VHD, then it should also work flawlessly on your hardware outside of a VHD.

3) Ridiculously easy to cleanup when done. Because you are deploying Windows to a single VHD file, it is crazy easy to cleanup when done testing. Simply remove that OS from the BCD and delete the VHD. It is literally that simple.

4) If you are installing this instance of Windows using the same edition (Pro, Home, etc.) that you already have activated on your machine, then the instance in the VHD can also be activated without the need for any additional license key. This will allow you to fully utilize all Windows features since you will have a fully activated copy of Windows.

If this sounds like something that you are interested in, please let me know. I will send to you links to tutorials on how to accomplish this, along with some additional notes.
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Home Built
    CPU
    Intel i7-11700K
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime Z590-A
    Memory
    128GB Crucial Ballistix 3200MHz DRAM
    Graphics Card(s)
    No GPU - CPU graphics only (for now)
    Sound Card
    Realtek (on motherboard)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    HP Envy 32
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    1 x 1TB NVMe Gen 4 x 4 SSD
    1 x 2TB NVMe Gen 3 x 4 SSD
    2 x 512GB 2.5" SSDs
    2 x 8TB HD
    PSU
    Corsair HX850i
    Case
    Corsair iCue 5000X RGB
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-D15 chromax.black cooler + 10 case fans
    Keyboard
    CODE backlit mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master 3
    Internet Speed
    1Gb Up / 1 Gb Down
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    Additional options installed:
    WiFi 6E PCIe adapter
    ASUS ThunderboltEX 4 PCIe adapter
  • Operating System
    Win11 Pro 23H2
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo ThinkBook 13x Gen 2
    CPU
    Intel i7-1255U
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe Graphics
    Sound Card
    Realtek® ALC3306-CG codec
    Monitor(s) Displays
    13.3-inch IPS Display
    Screen Resolution
    WQXGA (2560 x 1600)
    Hard Drives
    2 TB 4 x 4 NVMe SSD
    PSU
    USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 Power / Charging
    Mouse
    Buttonless Glass Precision Touchpad
    Keyboard
    Backlit, spill resistant keyboard
    Internet Speed
    1Gb Up / 1Gb Down
    Browser
    Edge
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    WiFi 6e / Bluetooth 5.1 / Facial Recognition / Fingerprint Sensor / ToF (Time of Flight) Human Presence Sensor
My personal preferred method for dual-booting two Windows OSes is to install the secondary OS as a Natively Bootable VHD.

Brief Overview

A natively Bootable VHD is a Virtual Hard Disk file that the PC can boot directly. In brief, the procedure involves creating a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) and deploying Windows to it, then marking that VHD bootable.

Advantages

Booting from a VHD has multiple advantages:

1) Super simple to setup.

2) Unlike a VM, the installation of Windows in a VHD has direct access to your hardware, so you would install all the same drivers as for your physical machine. This is a great way to test that an OS will work on your specific hardware with all the drivers that you have available. If the OS works in the VHD, then it should also work flawlessly on your hardware outside of a VHD.

3) Ridiculously easy to cleanup when done. Because you are deploying Windows to a single VHD file, it is crazy easy to cleanup when done testing. Simply remove that OS from the BCD and delete the VHD. It is literally that simple.

4) If you are installing this instance of Windows using the same edition (Pro, Home, etc.) that you already have activated on your machine, then the instance in the VHD can also be activated without the need for any additional license key. This will allow you to fully utilize all Windows features since you will have a fully activated copy of Windows.

If this sounds like something that you are interested in, please let me know. I will send to you links to tutorials on how to accomplish this, along with some additional notes.
Many thanks @hsehestedt. If I were starting from scratch then I would certainly consider your suggestion. However the OS I want to retain is Windows 10 which is going out of support and the OS has installations of certain software that is no longer available due to the company going out of business. I have the software but as the activation servers are gone it will not activate. I therefore need to keep the existing Win10 image.
I tried to upgrade it to Win11 with help from others on this forum, but it keeps failing. I therefore did a clean install of Win11 on a new SSD which will now be my default OS going forward. Hence the dual boot and asking for a easier way to achieve this. There are other boot managers such as EasyUEFI and rEFInd - Boot Manager but perhaps there is a straightforward option using windows tools.
Many thanks for suggestion.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Home 22H2 (Build 19045.4291)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (8 CPUs)
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    Memory
    16.0 Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600
    Sound Card
    Intel Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    BenQ G2420HD
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Primary: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB Secondary 1: Seagate ST31000524AS (NTFS) Secondary 2: Seagate ST1000DM005 HD103SJ(exFat)
    PSU
    OCZ 550w
    Case
    LianLi
    Cooling
    ThermoLab Trinity
    Keyboard
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless keyboard
    Mouse
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless Mouse
    Internet Speed
    100mb FTTP
Many thanks @hsehestedt. If I were starting from scratch then I would certainly consider your suggestion. However the OS I want to retain is Windows 10 which is going out of support and the OS has installations of certain software that is no longer available due to the company going out of business. I have the software but as the activation servers are gone it will not activate. I therefore need to keep the existing Win10 image.
I tried to upgrade it to Win11 with help from others on this forum, but it keeps failing. I therefore did a clean install of Win11 on a new SSD which will now be my default OS going forward. Hence the dual boot and asking for a easier way to achieve this. There are other boot managers such as EasyUEFI and rEFInd - Boot Manager but perhaps there is a straightforward option using windows tools.
Many thanks for suggestion.
Even then it is simple - you could clone the W10 installation to a vhd. Easybcd is the easiest to add/remove bcd entries.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro + others in VHDs
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS Vivobook 14
    CPU
    I7
    Motherboard
    Yep, Laptop has one.
    Memory
    16 GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel Iris XE
    Sound Card
    Realtek built in
    Monitor(s) Displays
    N/A
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    1 TB Optane NVME SSD, 1 TB NVME SSD
    PSU
    Yep, got one
    Case
    Yep, got one
    Cooling
    Stella Artois
    Keyboard
    Built in
    Mouse
    Bluetooth , wired
    Internet Speed
    72 Mb/s :-(
    Browser
    Edge mostly
    Antivirus
    Defender
    Other Info
    TPM 2.0
Thanks @cereberus Should I set up Win11 SSD as the first boot device in the bios and then install EasyBCD on Win 11 and add Win10 there?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Home 22H2 (Build 19045.4291)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (8 CPUs)
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    Memory
    16.0 Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600
    Sound Card
    Intel Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    BenQ G2420HD
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Primary: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB Secondary 1: Seagate ST31000524AS (NTFS) Secondary 2: Seagate ST1000DM005 HD103SJ(exFat)
    PSU
    OCZ 550w
    Case
    LianLi
    Cooling
    ThermoLab Trinity
    Keyboard
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless keyboard
    Mouse
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless Mouse
    Internet Speed
    100mb FTTP
For me the way it is is perfect. Totally independent
You can add Win 10 to the win 11 boot manager (or vice versa). When you boot you will see the two options (win 10 and Win 11) and a count down to load Win 11 (or Win 10).
The downside is that at every boot you will have to choose witch OS to boot or wait for the count down.
I can give you the commands to add the second OS to the boot loader.
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 11 Pro - Lubuntu
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    custom build
    CPU
    i5 6600K - 800MHz to 4400MHz
    Motherboard
    GA-Z170-HD3P
    Memory
    4+4G GSkill DDR4 3000
    Graphics Card(s)
    IG - Intel 530
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 226BW
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    (1) -1 SM951 – 128GB M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD drive for Win 11
    (2) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for Data
    (3) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for backup
    (4) -1 BX500 SSD - 128G for Windows 7 and Lubuntu
    PSU
    Thermaltake 450W TR2 gold
    Keyboard
    Old and good Chicony mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech mX performance - 9 buttons (had to disable some)
    Internet Speed
    500 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
  • Operating System
    Windows 7 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus Q550LF
    CPU
    i7-4500U 800- 3000MHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Q550LF
    Memory
    (4+4)G DDR3 1600
    Graphics card(s)
    IG intel 4400 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    LG Display LP156WF4-SPH1
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    BX500 120G SSD for Windows and programs
    & 1T HDD for data
    Internet Speed
    350 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
For me the way it is is perfect. Totally independent
You can add Win 10 to the win 11 boot manager (or vice versa). When you boot you will see the two options (win 10 an Win 11) and a count down to load Win 11 (or Win 10).
The downside is that at every boot you will have to choose witch OS to boot or wait for the count down.
I can give you the commands to add the second OS to the boot loader.
Hi @Megahertz I am assuming you are not using EasyBCD to add the other OS to the boot manager. If you could show me what to do that would be great. Many thanks
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Home 22H2 (Build 19045.4291)
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    CPU
    Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4770K CPU @ 3.50GHz (8 CPUs)
    Motherboard
    Gigabyte B85M-D3H
    Memory
    16.0 Gb
    Graphics Card(s)
    Integrated Intel(R) HD Graphics 4600
    Sound Card
    Intel Digital Audio (S/PDIF) (High Definition Audio Device)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    BenQ G2420HD
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Primary: Samsung SSD 840 EVO 250GB Secondary 1: Seagate ST31000524AS (NTFS) Secondary 2: Seagate ST1000DM005 HD103SJ(exFat)
    PSU
    OCZ 550w
    Case
    LianLi
    Cooling
    ThermoLab Trinity
    Keyboard
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless keyboard
    Mouse
    Dell (Logitech) Wireless Mouse
    Internet Speed
    100mb FTTP
What windows you want to be the default, win 10 or Win 11?

If Win 10, boot from it, open a CMD window as administrator and type:
bcdboot E:\Windows /d /addlast

If Win 11, boot from it, open a CMD window as administrator and type:
bcdboot X:\Windows /d /addlast (replace X with win 10 partition letter - It won't be C:)

Set the default Windows boot drive to be the first boot option on BIOS
 
Last edited:

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 7 HP 64 - Windows 11 Pro - Lubuntu
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    custom build
    CPU
    i5 6600K - 800MHz to 4400MHz
    Motherboard
    GA-Z170-HD3P
    Memory
    4+4G GSkill DDR4 3000
    Graphics Card(s)
    IG - Intel 530
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung 226BW
    Screen Resolution
    1680x1050
    Hard Drives
    (1) -1 SM951 – 128GB M.2 AHCI PCIe SSD drive for Win 11
    (2) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for Data
    (3) -1 WD SATA 3 - 1T for backup
    (4) -1 BX500 SSD - 128G for Windows 7 and Lubuntu
    PSU
    Thermaltake 450W TR2 gold
    Keyboard
    Old and good Chicony mechanical keyboard
    Mouse
    Logitech mX performance - 9 buttons (had to disable some)
    Internet Speed
    500 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
  • Operating System
    Windows 7 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus Q550LF
    CPU
    i7-4500U 800- 3000MHz
    Motherboard
    Asus Q550LF
    Memory
    (4+4)G DDR3 1600
    Graphics card(s)
    IG intel 4400 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 745M
    Sound Card
    Realtek
    Monitor(s) Displays
    LG Display LP156WF4-SPH1
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    BX500 120G SSD for Windows and programs
    & 1T HDD for data
    Internet Speed
    350 Mb/s
    Browser
    Firefox 64
Disk1 is Win 10 on 256Gb SSD and Disk2 is Win 11 on a 512Gb SSD.

You should label each as such to easily identify them.

1714585230368.png

I dual boot Windows 11/10 from separate drives. I used EasyBCD to set it up.

1714585314157.png
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win 11 Pro 23H2 22631.3737
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self Built
    CPU
    Intel® Core™ i7-14700F
    Motherboard
    ASUS TUF GAMING Z690-PLUS WIFI
    Memory
    G.SKILL Ripjaws S5 Series 64GB (2 x 32GB) DDR5
    Graphics Card(s)
    RTX 4070 Super OC 12 GB
    Sound Card
    Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ASUS TUF Gaming 27" 2K HDR Gaming
    Screen Resolution
    2560 x 1440
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 990 Pro 1TB NVMe (Win 11)
    SK hynix P41 500GB NVMe (Win 10)
    SK hynix P41 2TB NVMe (x3)
    Crucial P3 Plus 4TB
    PSU
    Corsair RM850x Shift
    Case
    Antec Dark Phantom DP502 FLUX
    Cooling
    Noctua NH-U12A chromax.black + 7 Phantek T-30's
    Keyboard
    Logitech MK 320
    Mouse
    Razer Basilisk V3
    Internet Speed
    350Mbs
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Winows Security
    Other Info
    Windows 10 22H2 19045.4291
    On System One
  • Operating System
    Win 11 Pro 23H2 22631.3593
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Self Built
    CPU
    Intel Core i7-11700F
    Motherboard
    Asus TUF Gaming Z590 Plus WiFi
    Memory
    64 GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    EVGA GeForce RTX 3050 XC Black Gaming
    Sound Card
    SoundBlaster X-Fi Titanium
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Samsung F27T350
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    Samsung 980 Pro 1TB
    Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB
    Samsung 870 EVO 500GB SSD
    PSU
    Corsair HX750
    Case
    Cougar MX330-G Window
    Cooling
    Hyper 212 EVO
    Internet Speed
    350Mbps
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    Windows Security
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