Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have two Windows installations on a single machine: Windows 7 and Server 2008 and have to regularly switch between them. However it takes a lot of time to start all applications needed to start working on each one.

So I thought, maybe it was possible to (for example) hibernate W7, but then somehow start Server 2008 and when finished working there return to the last state of W7 waking it from hibernated state.

Unfortunately I was unable to find solution to this using search.

share|improve this question

migrated from Sep 22 '10 at 11:25

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

Unless the two operating systems are sharing a partition, you should be able to hibernate one, then start up the other using your boot manager. You do have a boot manager installed, right? Can you edit your question and explain in more detail? – CarlF Sep 22 '10 at 16:24

It is probably not a good idea to do this if any of the partitions in use by the hibernated system are also used by the other system: when the hibernated system wakes up its disk is going to have magically changed, and may well be seen as having errors.

The Windows bootloader automatically restarts the hibernated system, if there is one, so the two Windows systems cannot share a bootloader. You will need a third bootloader to choose between the two Winodows bootloaders.

The method: In turn, make the partition of each Windows installation active, and do a repair of the bootsystem so that each system can boot itself.

Install a Linux system, using Linux's grub bootloader to select between the installed operating systems. The installation procedure will add entries for both of the Windows systems alongside the Linux system.

share|improve this answer

You could load one OS into a virtual machine (there are many: VMWare, VirtualBox, VirtualPC, etc.). These generally let you save the current state of a running VM and restart it (or you could hibernate it).

I'm not sure if any of the Windows VMs let you boot an existing partition though, so this is just a partial answer for you.

share|improve this answer

This isn't possible. Hibernation, sleep, etc. are basically the same as shutting down but to a different degree of "down".

They're low-level commands that use a system baked into the machine BIOS, called ACPI. There are ACPI "states". I don't remember specifically but gnerally: state 1 = off, 2 = CPU power, 3 = CPU+RAM power, 4 = full power. The friendly names "sleep", "off", etc. map to these. These states are implemented at the BIOS level, in between OS and hardware, and are associated with the machine itself, not the OS. Therefore, for example, if you put an OS into sleep mode, it's actually shutting hardware off.

This would only work if the ACPI layer were being emulated (as in virtual machines). You could install VMware and run the two concurrently, or use a desktop VM system like VirtualBox (both are available for free).

share|improve this answer
This is untrue. Hibernation actually turns the PC fully off. I routinely boot between 2 operating systems on my laptop, although only one of them is Windows. – CarlF Sep 22 '10 at 16:23

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.