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Multi-boot System Win 7 64-bit & Vista 32-bit On One Hard Drive


Multi-boot system windows 7 (64-bit) & vista (32-bit) on one hard drive - do i need two hard drives?I have an existing windows vista ultimate (32-bit) system installed on a 500gb sata hard drive, partitioned into 2 partitions (c: and d:). I would like to make the system multi-boot so that i can back-track to vista if i have a problem with win7.

One issue here is that i plan on multi-booting vista 32-bit and win7 64-bit on the same hard drive without touching the d: partition of the hard drive. I don't know if this is possible, but i'm interested to see if it is.

I've done some research and have found that win7 has many compatibility modes, so maybe i don't need to worry about keeping an installation of vista on my system? I just don't want to be "caught with my pants down" if something were to go wrong with win7, like if one of my programs was incompatible or something along those lines.

If i can't multi-boot vista 32-bit and win7 64-bit from the same hard drive, can i do it with 2 hard drives having one os on each hard drive? Or, am i being much too paranoid about this and should i trust microsoft on this one that win7 will not have any large compatibility issues with my most used programs?

For reference, here are some of my most used programs: firefox 3. 5, steam, adobe photoshop (versions 7. 0 and cs3), ie tester (for web development), winamp, trillian (an im and irc program), itunes, skype, mozilla thunderbird (for e-mail), and fraps (in-game video recording software).

I know that this is a lot all at once, but does anyone see any foreseen compatibility issues with any of these programs and win7 64-bit ? I'm also worried about the compatibility of some of my drivers with win7 64-bit, but i've heard that there have been leaps and bounds made with driver compatibility on win7 64-bit (as compared to the mess it was with xp 64-bit). Is this true?


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After installing and formatting the new hd i performed a custom installation of windows 7 using my downloaded installer and selected the new drive as the drive to install windows. After the installation completed i checked the disk management and the old drive (c:) is designated as the system drive and the new drive (z:) is the boot drive. As it currently stands if i unplug the old drive (c:) the attempt to turn the system on it tries to boot from the cd (which i don't have) and windows 7 won't start.

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