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.

  • It's operating system, not operative system. ;) – Sasha Chedygov Dec 11 '10 at 6:53
  • hehe sorry didn't notice that, thanks – Tristian 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

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

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.

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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