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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a box that I still run Windows XP on which contains music, pictures and videos. It's not connected to the Internet, so the EOL of XP is a non-issue. I have no intention of ever moving the data on it to an newer OS because there's absolutely no need to since everything is working just fine the way it is.

However, I also have a brand new copy of Windows 8 Pro (not 8.1) that I want to freshly install on a separate HDD and then immediately upgrade it to Windows 10 Pro before the free update period ends on July 29, 2016.

Here are my questions:

What is the easiest way to do the XP/Windows 10 dual boot on two separate HDD's? Should I unhook the SATA cable on the XP drive, install Windows 8 on the other new SATA drive, upgrade it to 10 and then reattach the SATA cable for the XP drive after I have the new Windows 10 drive fully up and running? Will this then give me the option to manually select between XP and Windows 10 when the machine boots?

Can I upgrade directly from Windows 8 to Windows 10 without the need to install the Windows 8.1 update? I have read conflicting info even on the Microsoft websites, so I'm wondering if anyone here as any experience going directly from Windows 8 to Windows 10. If I can simply avoid installing the 8.1 update to save time since I know I'll never revert to Windows 8, then all the better.

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance for any you may be able to provide me.
 

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While i have never done a dual boot with 10 yet..
(actually, been YEARS since i did a dual boot)

You will want to leave BOTH drives connected. It needs to know the one is there, the MBR there for the exisiting drive.
If you did it without the old drive in there.. it would just do it as a fresh install.

When doing the install, you would want to choose the custom install option, and choose the other drive.
It should add the dual boot option when on startup.

As for the 8 to 10 directly.. that is a good question.
It all depends WHEN the upgrade 'update' is added to the machine.. as long as it gets added before the 8.1 update.


You say though, that the XP is/will be never connected to the internet.
You'll be unpluging the network cable inbetween the different boots?
 

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The NIC could simply be disabled in WinXP. I would also block any internet access with a software firewall.

Win10 handles dual boot well. Keep the second drive connected. I've done it with Win8 and Win7 but not with WinXP. If it doesn't work, a third party boot manager could be used or the other disk could be chosen with F11/F12 at boot time.

The Win8.0 to Win10 upgrade is an interesting issue. MS does not officially support it. I've read a report that Win8.1 and Win7 keys should be accepted by a fresh Win10 install. It didn't work with a Win8.0 key. I've tried to upgrade directly from Win8.0 to Win10 and had no luck with that either. That left the option of upgrading Win8.0 to Win8.1 through the app store. The only break I got is that it appears it may not be necessary to apply a lot of Win8.0 updates before the Win8.1 upgrade appears in the app store, as was once the case.
 

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No. MS is fairly clear on this, the upgrade offer is for Windows 7 and 8.1 users only. However, Windows 8 users have a free upgrade to Windows 8.1 through the App Store, and once they've upgraded to 8.1, they're eligible to further upgrade to Windows 10.
 

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That just outlines the stupidity of MS Win10 upgrade stipulations. Win8.0 is a free upgrade to Win8.1 so why not let people upgrade directly from Win8.0 to Win10. All the current policy does is waste peoples' time. Not accepting Win8.0 keys in Win10 makes it even worse. I wanted to do a clean Win10 install on a new, blank drive. MS tried to force me to to do a Win7 install, followed by a Win8.0 upgrade, followed by a Win8.0 update, followed by a Win8.1 upgrade, followed by a Win10 upgrade. What utter stupidity. To make it even worse, reserving Win10 in Win8.1 does an upgrade automatically with no option of doing a clean install. That kills the upgrade on small SSDs because the old Win8.1 Windows folder, and all it's bloat, can cause the disk to fill up. I then had to find another way to do a clean install of Win10. This is all so that MS can enforce some archaic licensing terms to prevent "piracy." The bottom line is that it does not stop piracy. That's a fact. All it does is make paying customers angry at MS.

Even worse is that any hardware change can cancel the Win10 license. I had to replace the motherboard on my PC (less than a year old and under warranty.) That resulted in the need to validate Win10 again. The automatic validation failed. Then I had to go through the manual phone validation which failed. Then I had to call MS where the CSR gave me a new key, which failed. Then I had to talk to a tech who, after a half hour of trying to validate Win10, told me I had to reinstall Win10 again from scratch. That would entail the tedious process outlined above starting at Win7. That's when I lost it. :(
 

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A clean install suggests that you had already install Win 10 on that PC. In this case the PC would already be registed in their record so you should have been able to do the clean install with a Win10 media (no need for the upgrade route).

It is anticipated that an Activation Troubleshooter tool will be released with the Anniversary Update. Using this tool should allow automated regegistration after a hardware change without having to resort to telephone support. They are reacting to your type of issues.
 

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you should have been able to do the clean install with a Win10 media
Nope. The previous key had been invalidated due to the motherboard upgrade. It would not work. The upgrade had to be done again. In any event, I didn't want to do a clean install at that time. I wanted to keep the previous Win10 installation.
 

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Then you were probably running an OEM version of Windows, whose license is tied to the hardware it came with. The OP sounds like he has a retail copy of Windows 8 Pro; if that's the case, he wouldn't need to worry about motherboard upgrades invalidating his license.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you everyone for the excellent info.

Now to answer a few questions that have been raised as well as ask a few more myself.

As for keeping the XP drive from accessing the Internet between boots gdkitty, I was originally going to unplug the network cable, but now I'll take ExDilbert's advice and disable XP's NIC instead. Thanks for the suggestion!

You are correct tux, this is indeed a retail copy of Windows 8 Pro.

The purpose of my "Can I avoid the 8.1 update?" was to hopefully avoid the frustration that ExDilbert unfortunately experienced (sans the Windows 7 component).

Upon successfully installing Windows 8 to the new second HDD, can I simply apply the 8.1 update directly from the DVD I have made from the 8.1 ISO file instead of waiting for it and 327 other updates (or whatever the number happens to be) to appear in Windows Update? After this, can I then manually run the Windows 10 Upgrade App or is there an easier way to accomplish the upgrade or will I be forced to install all the post 8.1 install updates that will inevitably show up before proceeding?

I have to agree with your comments ExDilbert as all the current upgrade policy does do is waste peoples' time. Microsoft should make at as simple and less complicated as possible to go from Win 7, 8 or 8.1 to Windows 10 if you're so inclined.
 

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Then you were probably running an OEM version of Windows
Nope. It was a retail version of Win7 upgraded to retail 8.0 upgraded to 8.1. MS has changed the Win10 upgrade to act like an OEM version. MS states that it supports Win10 on the hardware on which it is originally installed for the life of the hardware. That's exactly what happened. Company insiders have stated that Win10 upgrades will retain their retail status, but said so only on social media and not on official MS documentation. Maybe this will change but, for now, Win10 upgrades appear to have traditional OEM Windows licenses.
 

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Upon successfully installing Windows 8 to the new second HDD, can I simply apply the 8.1 update directly from the DVD I have made from the 8.1 ISO file instead of waiting for it and 327 other updates (or whatever the number happens to be) to appear in Windows Update? After this, can I then manually run the Windows 10 Upgrade App or is there an easier way to accomplish the upgrade or will I be forced to install all the post 8.1 install updates that will inevitably show up before proceeding?
My experience is that the Win8.0 to Win8.1 upgrade must be done from the Windows Store. That may entail installing some Win8.0 updates, but not all of them. Using a Win8.1 image results in the need for a Win8.1 key. The Win8.0 key will not work.

It should not be necessary to update Win8.1 before installing Win10. I used the MediaCreationToolx64 to create a USB flash drive install but a DVD should also work. (Use the 32 bit tool if the processor does not support x64.) Using the flash drive provided options of upgrade (the default) or clean install (advanced.) The advanced option provides the ability to partition and format the disk and choose where Win10 is installed.

The easiest way to perform the Win10 upgrade is to open IE in Win8.1 and the MSN page should provide a pop-up that offers the Win10 upgrade. The Disk Cleanup tool can then be used to delete old Windows installations and recover many GB of disk space.
 

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The purpose of my "Can I avoid the 8.1 update?" was to hopefully avoid the frustration that ExDilbert unfortunately experienced (sans the Windows 7 component).
You shouldn't have to worry about reinstalling everything from square one unless you make major changes to your hardware like ExDilbert did.

This raises a few points:
1. You will be dedicating your Windows licence to this old PC once you upgrade to Windows 10.
2. Are you sure your hardware will run Windows 10 well?
3. You should make any hardware upgrades prior to installing Windows 10 to avoid the above problems.
 

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I upgraded some motherboards and CPUs before upgrading to Win10. They were 4-5 years old and the onboard video was not well supported. It wasn't that expensive since they were AMD systems and the hardware upgrades cost between $150 and $250. Unfortunately, one of the new motherboards went bad after a few months. I'll recover some of the expense by selling or reusing the replaced parts. The $250 upgrade was actually a slight downgrade in performance so the replaced parts will recover about that much when installed in another PC and sold as a system. One motivation for that upgrade is energy savings. If the upgrades delay the need to purchase a new copy of Win10 for an extra 5 years, they will be cost effective.
 

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Company insiders have stated that Win10 upgrades will retain their retail status, but said so only on social media and not on official MS documentation. Maybe this will change but, for now, Win10 upgrades appear to have traditional OEM Windows licenses.
Incorrect. Official MS documentation is the license agreement, section 4.b:

Stand-alone software. If you acquired the software as stand-alone software (and also if you upgraded from software you acquired as stand-alone software), you may transfer the software to another device that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software to a device owned by someone else if (i) you are the first licensed user of the software and (ii) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Every time you transfer the software to a new device, you must remove the software from the prior device. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between devices.
A system with a new motherboard is considered by Microsoft to be a "new device".

My experience is that the Win8.0 to Win8.1 upgrade must be done from the Windows Store. That may entail installing some Win8.0 updates, but not all of them. Using a Win8.1 image results in the need for a Win8.1 key. The Win8.0 key will not work.
This is my experience as well. MS treats Windows 8.1 very much like a "service pack" for Windows 8, and accordingly they only provide support for the latest service pack. As far as they're concerned, Windows 8 is EOL just like Windows XP, and you need to update to Windows 8.1 to remain supported, even if it's just to upgrade to Windows 10. See the Windows 8 Pro Product Lifecycle page, which lists the End of Support date for Windows 8 as January 2016.
 

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FLACer I found your original post very amusing, but even more amusing is the fact that knowledgeable geeks spent so much time disusing this dual boot issue using old hardware.
My suggestion is: enjoy your Windows XP computer for as long as you want and forget installing additional new hard drive to dual boot with Windows 10.
Forget Windows 10 upgrade if you don't have the hardware to put it on. Keep your Windows 8 CD for when you are ready to use it. Windows 8 is just fine. The money you would spend on the new hard drive put aside towards a new laptop. Get the cheapest new laptop possible in the $225 range. It will come with Windows 10 pre-installed and it will run circles around your Windows XP machine. If you want to get some more juice from your Windows XP machine, install Lubuntu 14.04 on it. Chrome will not work on it as it requires 64 bit, but Firefox will and new Opera is also excellent.
Just my two cents.
 

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MS treats Windows 8.1 very much like a "service pack" for Windows 8
In some ways yes, in other no. I can use a Win7 key with a Win7SP1 image with no issues. The same goes for all previous versions of Windows. I cannot use a Win8.0 key with a Win8.1 image. MS has also suggested that they may withdraw the Win8.0 to Win8.1 offer at some future date. That has never been done with a service pack.
 

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Microsoft's own words, about how they treat 8.1 as a service pack:
8. Why are you requiring Windows 8 customers move to Windows 8.1 two years after the General Availability?

Historically, we’ve had a similar support approach related to Windows service packs; when a Windows service pack is released, Microsoft provides customers 24 months of support for the prior service pack or original RTM version. Unlike service packs that are typically just a collection of fixes, Windows 8.1 has new features and enhancements. We designed Windows 8.1 to give customers an ability to deploy this update in a manner that is similar to how customers deploy service packs, therefore we are applying the existing service pack support policy to Windows 8.1.
That copy of Windows 8 Pro, has a limited useful life anyway, if it's not upgraded to Windows 10 Pro by July 29:

1. Windows 8 Pro is already EOL. To obtain any level of support, including eligibility for the Windows 10 upgrade, it must be upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro. If not, you're not only missing out on security updates, you probably won't get driver updates either, and your selection of new third-party software will likely be limited. For example, AMD stopped providing driver updates in 2014.

2. Assuming you've upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro, it's only supported on older hardware. If you install it only newer hardware (intel Skylake (6000-series) chipset or newer), your system will be EOL in July 2018. This is something to consider if you plan to hold on to the CD and install it on a new system later on.

3. If you don't install and upgrade to Windows 10 by July 29, you will be ineligible for the free upgrade.

To summarize, Windows 8 is EOL now, 8.1 on an older chipset EOL in 2023, on a newer (Skylake) EOLs in July 2018, and Windows 10 EOLs in 2025. The free Windows 10 upgrade offer expires on July 29.
 

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Unlike service packs that are typically just a collection of fixes, Windows 8.1 has new features and enhancements. We designed Windows 8.1 to give customers an ability to deploy this update in a manner that is similar to how customers deploy service packs, ...
That's just MS BS. Past service packs have introduced new features. I've always been able to download and apply a service pack and, with WinXP and Win7, slipstream it into the RTM version for a clean install. Not so with 8.1. Forcing Win8.0 to use Windows Store to get Win8.1 and not recognizing Win8.0 keys for Win8.1 fresh installs is a critical departure from service packs. MS can try to spin it any way they want, Win8.1 is not and never will be a service pack for Win8.0.

Similarly, the Win10 upgrade is not the same as previous upgrades for Windows. MS does not provide a new key for the Win10 free upgrade but recycles the key used for Win7 and Win8.1. Not recognizing the intermediate Win8.0 for upgrade purposes is yet one more departure. Another difference with Win10 is that there appears to be no retail version. Despite what MS says, Win10 acts like an OEM version and only appears to be available for new purchases as an OEM version. I will be hanging onto my retail copies of Windows but I have no expectation that migrating them to new hardware will be anywhere near as easy as they were with Win7. Due to the convoluted, asinine policies surrounding Win10 licensing and upgrades, I've already had one support nightmare and I expect more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
FLACer I found your original post very amusing, but even more amusing is the fact that knowledgeable geeks spent so much time disusing this dual boot issue using old hardware.
I'm not sure why you found my original post to be very amusing, nor why you found it even more amusing that knowledgeable geeks have spent so much time discussing it. If anything, I'm extremely appreciative that they have spent so much time doing so and sharing the information they have. Hopefully I'll be able to further add to your amusement with my following comments and additional information.

Windows 8.1 Pro has been successfully installed on the secondary HDD; however, this is what happened:

Just for fun, I decided to try and install the 64 bit version of the Windows 8.1 .iso that I downloaded from the Microsoft website (which doesn't require a product key to download) and subsequently burnt to a DVD. When it came time to enter the Product Key, I entered the Windows 8 Pro key and it accepted it and allowed me to proceed with the installation. I have no idea why this worked but it did. Based on what has been discussed here, I was sure it was going to reject it and stop everything dead in it's tracks. In light of the hard push to upgrade every eligible device on the planet to Windows 10 campaign, did Microsoft actually relax their ridiculous first install Windows 8 then upgrade to Windows 8.1 policy in order to make the upgrade to Windows 10 easier? Now I'm wondering what would've happened if I had tried to install the 64 bit version of Windows 10 Pro (made from the .iso I also downloaded from the Microsoft website) using the Windows 8 Pro product key?

Anyway, the dual boot works flawlessly and I'm quite happy with the results. I haven't done the upgrade to Windows 10 Pro yet because I'm still messing around with the Windows 8.1 settings before I officially activate it, but I will be sure to report back with the results when I have done so.

One other unrelated question has arisen from all this that I would like to put forth. If it is too off topic for this thread, I apologize and would be more than happy to start a new thread if necessary.

Has anyone done the upgrade to Windows 10 from Windows 7 and then immediately rolled it back to Windows 7? If so, what was your experience and did the rollback really put the system back to the prior Windows 7 state without any new surprises? While I was against doing this at first, I'm now thinking that I will do it on my laptop before July 29, 2016 as it will give me a digital entitlement to Windows 10 long after the extended support for Windows 7 ends on January 14, 2020.

FWIW, Windows XP is without a doubt my favorite Microsoft OS with Windows 7 in second place. So far, I'm also really liking Windows 10 that I've been using since May on another laptop. I have never had any love nor use for Vista and even less than that for 8/8.1. Also, the second HDD was given to me and I only paid $14.99 for the Windows 8 Pro software from Microsoft and that was due to an offer they were running over three years ago. The only reason I even installed now was to get the free Windows 10 upgrade before it expires. The old XP system has more than enough guts to run Windows 10 and, as was pointed out by tux:

Official MS documentation is the license agreement, section 4.b: Stand-alone software. If you acquired the software as stand-alone software (and also if you upgraded from software you acquired as stand-alone software), you may transfer the software to another device that belongs to you. You may also transfer the software to a device owned by someone else if (i) you are the first licensed user of the software and (ii) the new user agrees to the terms of this agreement. You may use the backup copy we allow you to make or the media that the software came on to transfer the software. Every time you transfer the software to a new device, you must remove the software from the prior device. You may not transfer the software to share licenses between devices.
and then further added to:

2. Assuming you've upgraded to Windows 8.1 Pro, it's only supported on older hardware. If you install it only newer hardware (intel Skylake (6000-series) chipset or newer), your system will be EOL in July 2018. This is something to consider if you plan to hold on to the CD and install it on a new system later on.

3. If you don't install and upgrade to Windows 10 by July 29, you will be ineligible for the free upgrade.

To summarize, Windows 8 is EOL now, 8.1 on an older chipset EOL in 2023, on a newer (Skylake) EOLs in July 2018, and Windows 10 EOLs in 2025. The free Windows 10 upgrade offer expires on July 29.
Seems like win-win-win to me in my situation and that I'll hopefully be able to get lots of mileage out of this particular dual boot install. Not bad for $14.99 I guess plus the knowledge I've gained from this thread which, to me, is invaluable.
 

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I have no idea why this worked but it did.
It might have recognized the existing Win8.1 installation and treated the new install as an upgrade or re-installation. Not sure if MS keeps a database of hardware profiles and Win8.1 upgrade keys, as they do with Win10, but that's another possibility.
 
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