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Is it Possible to Dual Boot Windows Home Server?

written by: •edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 2/16/2011

Though Windows Home Server (WHS) is capable of supporting several PCs, some people may want to have to dual boot Windows Home Server for any reason. This article examines any possible problems in case of dual boot of WHS and offers some helpful tips.

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    Dual Boot Windows Home Server – Possible Problems and Fixes

    Since 2007, people have been using Windows Home Server (WHS) for connecting multiple computers to organize, share, and automatically back up photos, videos, music, and other important documents. Though there is no need for any other operating system with Windows Home Server, sometimes people may want to use Windows XP, Vista, Linux, or any other operating system on the PC that contains tWHS. Though it is practical, you may encounter some problems while using dual boot on Server.

    The major problem is related to system related changes. For example, if you make any changes using the other operating system, chances are that they will be reversed as soon as you boot into the Windows Home Server. This is because the Windows Home Server keeps a record of entire settings and either displays an error when it finds something changed or automatically brings it back to its previous settings.

    As of now, there is no known tweak that can solve this problem except that you make the same changes through the Windows Home Server. However, it is not necessary that you will be able to use the WHS to make the same changes.

    There are no other known conflicts except that sometimes the other operating system may fail to load. This is attributed to a corrupt boot.ini file and is not really a problem with dual boot Windows Home Server. The problem can be solved by booting into the WHS and manually editing the boot.ini file.

    Though the linked page shows editing boot.ini under Server 2003, the procedure is the same for Windows Home Server, too. In case you do not find the boot.ini file, you can create one based on the instructions given in the above link. If you do not want to risk it, call in an expert technician who can fix the boot.ini on the dual boot Windows Home Server PC.

    NOTE: The boot.ini file should be opened only in Notepad. Attempting to open the file in WordPad may add some extra characters to the file, rendering it useless.

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    Dual Boot Windows Home Server – Tips to Avoid Problems

    1. It is often confusing as to which operating system should be installed first while creating a dual boot. The rule of thumb is to install the older version first and then install the newer one. This means that you install or keep the existing operating system on the intended server and install WHS to another disk or partition. This will allow the Windows Home Server to notice that another OS exists on the server and includes the information in its system settings.

    2. Make sure that all of the disks and partitions on the network are using the New Technology File System (NTFS) and not FAT or FAT32. This will not only increase storage spac, but will also ensure smooth operation of your network.

    3. Install the connector software only on Windows Home Server instead it installing it on both operating systems (a common mistake made by people implementing dual boot Windows Home Server). Installing connector on both operating systems will create conflicts causing frequent computer crashes.

    3.1 If the other operating system is Windows Vista, you may get an error message while installing the connector software. Microsoft has a page to fix this issue.

    3.2 You may also face problems while installing the connector with operating systems other than Vista. This is because of Internet Explorer Settings. Turn off the proxy settings in Internet Explorer to get rid of this problem.

    4. Finally, use the backup utility of Windows Home Server to backup the network. You may also use third party tools for backup. The point here is that even if you backup your network using the other operating system, the WHS will not recognize and will complain about not backing up your data. (Windows Home Server has the capability of backing up data for the other operating system as well.)

    As most people have not tried dual boot with Windows Home Server, it has been assumed by many that dual boot with Windows Home Server is not possible. However, it is more of myth than fact. Dual booting Windows Boot Home Server is both practical and usable with few problems, as with any dual boot PC.

Multi Boot Windows 7 and other Types of Multi Boot - Problems with Multi Boot

This series aims to cover types of multi boot, including Windows 7 multi boot, dual boot Windows XP 32 bit and XP 64 bit. It also covers Dual boot Home Server. Often, multi boots also create problems. This series will cover how to fix multi boot problems under different scenarios.
  1. How to Multi Boot Windows 7
  2. How to Set up Dual Boot for XP 32 Bit and XP 64 Bit
  3. Is it Possible to Dual Boot Windows Home Server?
  4. Windows XP Wont Boot After Windows 7 Install: Troubleshooting Windows Dual Boot Problem
  5. Where is Windows XP? I Cannot Find My Windows XP Operating System after Setting up Dual Boot Windows 7