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I've come across this rare issue, I have a friend that uses some software that is particularly slow in Windows 7, the best compatibility is in Windows XP, I told him to make a partition and have both OSes in the computer, at which he replied: "Could I have a different OS for each user?", it seemed like a good question to me, so is that possible?, suppose that I login and it boots me to Vista, then I loggout and Linus Torvalds comes and logins and boots him into Ubuntu, he gets bored and logs out, afterwards my friend comes and logs in, booting into XP, summarizing:

The operating system that will be loaded will depend on the user that logs in.

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It's operating system, not operative system. ;) –  Sasha Chedygov Dec 11 '10 at 6:53
    
hehe sorry didn't notice that, thanks –  Triztian Dec 11 '10 at 7:03
    
What exactly would they be logging into? Users log into an OS; if the OS hasn’t booted yet, there’s nothing to log into. I’ve seen boot-loaders, but never one with users and logins (which would be pointless anyway, unless they wanted to go to the great lengths to do “right”). Virtual-machines have been suggested, but I’m not sure how that would help. I have yet to see pre-OS (ie, BIOS-/EFI-/hardware-based) hypervisors, and running one inside an OS would impart its own performance hit. So no, there’s currently no way to do specifically what you asked, but with software, anything’s possible. –  Synetech May 30 '11 at 2:27

3 Answers 3

Not really - but its a simple enough matter to use the bootloader to choose which OS to use, and expect the user to know - you can maybe edit grub to have the username shown if your users need to be babysat that far

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Your easy options for doing this are twofold. The simplest is virtual machines (VMs). Just set up a VM for each user with their preferred OS on hardware that supports such things without much overhead. Then you can even switch users without affecting others.

The next best thing I can think of is a grub menu to effectively be the 'login' screen. You can even protect grub entries using a password, so you could have a list of valid users in the grub menu, and after selecting a valid user, a password prompt for that user.

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Virtualization is the solution to your problem. The simpler way is to use something like VMWare to make VMs. The other option is to use Xen. It can be a little complicated but should solve your problem.

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