I'd love to be able to hibernate one Windows instance, boot into another, then switch back to the first instance and have it resume my hibernated state.

Is there some sort of hack or software product that would enable that, maybe by renaming the hibernation files based on the the instance I'm booting to?

I understand the technical issues with why it's not supported - I could make changes to the filesystem while I'm running instance two that would cause my hibernated state in instance one, but I'm a big boy and don't need to be protected from myself.

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I think you can do this if you install both Windows versions on different physical volumes and then use the boot device selection of your BIOS to choose the one or the other. On my computer this can be entered by hitting F11 at system boot.

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  • +1. I've done this too. The trick is to use the motherboard ('s disk controller) to select which OS you want to start. Once you let a boot manager start, it's usually too late. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 25 '09 at 18:45

I've done this with Windows and Ubuntu. However you will need to fully shutdown the computer before installing the 2nd OS (If it is not already installed) But after than I could hibernate both OS's and switch between them.

Now I'm not sure if this will work on Windows, but assuming they are set on 2 different partitions, I don't see why it wouldn't work the same way as it did for me.

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I can't provide a detailed and simple answer, because I never multibooted more than one windows, but you have to options:

  1. This is "back asswards" kind of solution. First install both windows instances you want, then slice off a 5-10GB partition and install some flavour o linux. GRUB or LiLo or whatever will overwrite the windows bootloader and this will allow you to do what you want (It works for windows and ubuntu - I can hibernate one and then boot into the other; works both ways). Now, if you're not interested in linux, edit grub's config to remove linux and leave only windows, then proceed to remove the linux partition and extend the others over the free space.
  2. If you're not afraid to do your research: It's possible to install GRUB to replace windows bootloader without installing any linux distros. As I have never needed it, I don't know how to do it, but the information is out there.
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  • agreed; i'm using win7, ubuntu and win xp; and hiberantion is active on all three systems. Only issue is when I hibernate let's say xp partition, I can't access it from other systems, since it might corrupt hibernate file. – bbaja42 Dec 26 '09 at 13:38
  • NO! Don't do it - once you remove that linux partition GRUB will be gone! It won't be able to access a boot menu config because it won't exist! Leave the Linux in place or reinstall your Windows bootloader. – WindowsEscapist Jan 4 '13 at 16:25

Funny thing is you can actually do this when using one instance of Windows and one of Mac Os on a mac: hibernating your windows will basically shut off your computer, then you can boot it up again under Mac Os, and if you turn it off again and boot windows, you will restore your initial windows session as though it had never been switched off.

So in the end, I guess it does have something to do with the bootloader. It would be interesting to know if you can reproduce the same behavior with some Linux and Grub or Lilo, and with multiple Windows...

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I recently came across this site when researching multiboot issues.

There seemed to be some decent info, but my need to dual-boot went away so I didn't research it fully. It could be a good starting point for your situation.

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  • 1
    This answer would have been helpful if it contained an indication whether it points toward yes its possible or no its impossible. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Dec 25 '09 at 18:43
  • Updated it a bit, better? – ThatGraemeGuy Dec 26 '09 at 12:31

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