I want to isolate my windows 7 operating system and I have looked into virtualization. This should work with Linux, however, I do want to still have a way to run windows 7 securely, but without significant performance loss, thus eliminating virtualization for that.

I know that you can dual boot because I currently do so with my XP/Linux system. Is there a way that I can duplicate my windows 7 system so I can select one at bootup? This way I can ensure that each OS is isolated and not worry about performance loss.

However, I am having a lot of trouble finding a solid method for OS duplication?! Is this even possible or must I buy two versions of win7 and somehow install them separately? Any information regarding this would be helpful, thanks!

Essentially I want,

  1. Two instances of win7 (not necessarily simultaneously running)
  2. Each are isolated from one another so that a security breach in one doesn't affect the other.
  3. There is no performance loss in either from doing so
  • It's not clear what you want. Do you want to move your Windows 7 virtual machine as dedicated operating system (directly bootable)? Or do you want to use it as virtual machine and as bootable operating system? – Olli Mar 16 '11 at 15:11
  • I am not very versed in this area, but essentially I want to run two instances of win7 (not necessarily simultaneously) so that 1. both are isolated from each other (e.g. if one has a security breach it will not affect the other) 2. There is no performance loss – Mr_CryptoPrime Mar 16 '11 at 15:16
  • So, ya...probably something more on how I can make "Windows 7 virtual machine as dedicated operating system (directly bootable)" as you suggested? Thanks. – Mr_CryptoPrime Mar 16 '11 at 15:24

If you want to run two separate instances of Windows 7, you are entering in gray are in EULA, unless you buy two licenses.

If you want two isolated instances of Windows 7, you need two separate installations. For example with VMWare you can boot Windows from physical partition as a virtual machine. However, this is not what you want, as isolation was important.

For cloning Windows 7, see for example this question.

If virtualization is ruled out, you need two (or three, if you have Linux too) partitions, and two separate installations. Of course, easiest way is to install Windows two times. If you don't want to do that, you can clone your current installation and configure boot manager (either GRUB or Windows built-in one) to provide menu entry for both during boot.

There is theoretical chance for contamination, if both disks are available. However, if you are not mounting another Windows's disk, contaminated bootloader is your only risk. You can reduce this risk by using GRUB for booting your Windows installations.

  • I think this might end up being more complicated than expected, but now I think I have explored all my options and can make a decision. Thanks! – Mr_CryptoPrime Mar 16 '11 at 16:32

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