Like most of you, I’ve been using Win XP ever since it was introduced, and after all of this time, using it’s second nature. Also like most folks, since before Microsoft announced they’re dropping support for the faithful but aging operating system, I’ve been kicking around for other options.
‘Been watching Linux for several years now, and it’s gotten pretty impressive, much easier to use than it was when I first looked at it. Lately I’ve been running Linux Lite in the office alongside the main Windows machine, and Lite’s an easy system for Windows users to learn. And, it’s still open source – and free!
In the meantime, I bit my lip and bought a copy of Windows 7 to continue running some software that Linux hasn’t caught up with yet, like QuickBooks and a handful of others. After ruminating on how to make the move, I came up with the following, and it’s going well so far.
For some reason, I’ve never liked dual-booting a system, with two (or more) operating systems on the same hard drive. That works, but I just prefer to have separate drives to keep things simple. So I mounted up one of the spare HD’s I always seem to have around here, and loaded Windows 7 onto it.
Seeing no jumpers on the SATA’s, I learned during this process how newer SATA drives handle boot order, that is, how a system determines which drive to boot from. Older IDE drives had a jumper you moved to select a “master” and “slave” drive to determine that.
The SATA ports on a newer computer’s motherboard (mine has 4 ports, yours may have more) are numbered, starting with 0, and those numbers determine boot order. Plug the drive you’d like to boot from into port 0, and that will become the default boot drive. You can change the order when the computer starts, of course, by entering the boot menu on startup, but the plug determines the default. Clean and simple.
Anyway, with the old XP drive connected to port 1 in my machine and the new Win 7 drive plugged into port 0, the machine boots into Win 7 but I have easy access to all my previous XP files, to copy over as I get time.
I know there are probably a dozen other ways to do it, but this method’s been nearly painless for me, so I wanted to share it with you.
God bless you,