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I'm figuring out how to make something like Apple Bootcamp, but just for Windows.

Given 2 hard drives with independent Window copies (XP or 7) installed for the same machine. Can I somehow consequently boot from them one after another without touching BIOS? For example, I may change boot.ini in sort of a batch file or an application and then reboot or use some 3rd party hard drive switch solution. Does someone have similar experience?

Update: I see I have not been clear about OSes. I do NOT need to have one drive with XP and another with Win7. I DO need a solution to sequentially launch--one after another--two XP or two Win7, installed on 2 drives side by side, connected to the same machine. Besides, it should be command line solution to be used from batch files.

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Install XP first on the first drive, and then install Windows 7 on the second. The boot manager for 7 should allow you to go back to the XP installation, and technically speaking, you could program which one it defaults to. Never tried it though. –  user3463 Apr 25 '12 at 22:38
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@RandolphWest Never tried it on 2 separate drives either, but if it does not work out you can install EasyBCD and get it dual booting again. I will try 2 drives this evening and report back. –  Moab Apr 26 '12 at 0:17
    
I didn't know about EasyBCD. Thanks for the tip! –  user3463 Apr 26 '12 at 0:43
    
EasyBCD will work with XP and 7 on two different drives, and regardless of the order they're installed in: neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Windows+XP –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Apr 26 '12 at 0:47
    
Installed W7 on a second hard drive on my XP pc, it put the nice bootloader on, only problem is if you disconnect the XP drive it will not boot from the W7 drive anymore, W7 install puts the boot code on the XP disk, easybcd should be able to fix this though. –  Moab Apr 26 '12 at 16:18

2 Answers 2

iReboot (free) is a program that will add a icon to the taskbar next to the clock, and you can select which OS to boot into from there.

If you haven't yet installed both of them, you may need to use EasyBCD (also free) to set up the dual-boot between XP and 7.

(Disclosure: I'm the author)

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I have used this, nice software and saves boot time! Thanks! –  Moab Apr 26 '12 at 0:14
    
You're most welcome! –  Mahmoud Al-Qudsi Apr 26 '12 at 0:16

From a thefreedictionary.com article I found about BCD (Boot Configuration Data):

The sequence of booting Microsoft's Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008 and Windows 7 operating systems is different from any previous version of Windows that uses the NT kernel.

If you install Win 7 into a separate partition on a machine that already has Win XP installed, Win 7 has a boot manager that will allow you to boot into either OS. Unfortunately, adding Win XP to a system with 7 on it already does not work without additional help, like a third-party boot manager (XP's boot manager doesn't know how 7's boot loader works). Acronis includes one with their Disk Director partitioning software called OS Selector.

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