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What is the point of Multibooting?

An introduction to what multibooting is and why it can be worth the effort.

multiPC cloneboot
If we have the ability to boot into more than one operating system on a single computer we can:-


Multiple Personality
A dual or multiboot computer is a single machine that can gives us a choice of operating systems that we can boot into and use. This can be as simple as having perhaps just XP and Windows-7 so that we can work with both until we learn and fully transition over to the newer OS. Or so we can continue using older software or hardware that our new operating system does not support. At the other end of the spectrum we could have several operating systems ranging from different versions of Windows and Linux and many of the other operating systems that are available. Usually if an operating system will support a computer’s hardware and can be installed and run on that machine, then it can be configured to work in a multiboot environment.

Bootable Media
It is possible to run an operating system entirely from a bootable CD/DVD or from a USB device such as a flash stick or memory card. This can be extremely useful for recovery and repair purposes, but it is also an excellent way to get a first taste of running another operating system and it can satisfy curiosity and impatience until enough has been learned to safely move onto the next level. You can find details and download links that could have you up and running in under an hour.
info iconGetting Started Quick and Safe and Easy
boot media
road signThere are actually several routes that can be taken to achieve a multiboot system, but the main focus of this website is on the method that uses separate partitions or drives for each operating system so that they can be run internally and independently from any other OS on the machine. This method allows an operating system to run at its optimum and we believe gives other reliability and recovery advantages that more than justifies the outlay of time and effort to achieve. Some of the other options available have different advantages for different circumstances and we can make use of these to give us the best of both worlds. For example, an operating system on a bootable disk or flash device can give us a working platform for configuring or repairing a computer. Or we can run an operating system in a Virtual environment inside another OS so that we can use two or more operating systems at the same time.
For Diagnoses and Repair
If for no other reason it is worth having a dual or multiboot system to help in diagnosing hardware and software problems and to recover from malware infections. If you suffer an obvious malware takeover or even if you have the slightest suspicion that something is not quite right then you can shutdown an infected OS and use another one to check that the rest of the computer is clean, then you can get on with some work until time and mood is right for you to repair or replace the compromised operating system.

If you are having a system problem that could be either hardware or software related or even a problem with your ISP or server, then booting into another OS on the same computer can help you rule out certain faults. If for example you have the same problem in two separate operating systems then it is a good indicator of either a local hardware problem or a remote issue with your connection. If you only experience a problem in one OS then you should suspect a software or settings issue in just that operating system.

Multibooting With Clones for Backup, Restore and Recovery
The operating systems you choose to multiboot do not all have to be different and could indeed just be separate installs of the same OS, or more sensibly they can be copies of one original install. Making an identical bootable copy of an operating system is called cloning and having a multiboot machine with up to several clones of your main working system is by far the most useful aspect of multibooting. It can give you a near disaster proof machine where you can recover from Windows XP and 7 logosany software problem in your operating system in just the time it takes to reboot into a new and unused copy of your perfectly configured and up-to-date system. There are several other advantages to multibooting with clones and we have a page that tries to explain them all and why we believe that cloning is easier, quicker and more reliable and flexible than any other form of system maintenance.info iconMultibooting with clones for backup and recovery.

Multiple Choice
There are of course many different operating systems that will run on a standard PC but for the moment and until this site has the time to grow to cover them we are going to concentrate on what we believe the majority of our audience will be looking for. Our material is primarily aimed at the able Windows user and the everyday computer enthusiast who may not have a background in the technical. Most of these people we believe will be looking to only run different versions of Windows and perhaps some Linux, so that is where we shall begin.


Getting Started
You won't find many simple walk-thru guides on our website because we are mainly about giving you the knowledge to build a stable, reliable and correctly optimized multiboot system that you know how to reconfigure and even repair if need be. For that you have to understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, so unless you are already well versed in partitioning and boot sequences then the following articles and guides would be our suggested places to start.
Warning logoOur Advice and Warnings and Things to Know.
You really must read this page. As well as advice on how best to proceed it lists the many things that could be waiting to trip you up. If you get to the end of the Various Variables list and are still undaunted, then welcome to the multibooters club.
boot sequence graphicAn Illustrated Guide to the Boot Sequence.
Getting a clear picture in your head of how the boot process works can be invaluable in understanding what you are doing and why. Our boot sequence guides strip it down to basics and use simple graphics to show the flow and direction of the boot process.
diskmgmt.msc logoUsing The Windows Disk Management Tool.
We will use the Windows included Disk Management utility on a regular basis to view disk layout and assign and change drive letters, but it can do so much more and if used correctly and we avoid a couple of small issues then we could use it for most of our partitioning needs.
partitions graphicA Beginners Introduction to Partitions.
We don't need to understand anything technical about partitions or their file systems to be a multibooter, but it certainly helps to know the types of partitions we can use and the restrictions and conventions that will dictate how we can and should place our partitions on a drive.


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spacermultibooters.com: Mar 2012 - - Last reviewed or updated: May 2013

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