Want to run second Windows install on external drive. Will I run into activation problems?

Enhanced Interrogator

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So there are a few games I play that run better on older GPU drivers. I'd like to use an eSATA drive with another instance of Win10 that I plug in whenever I feel like playing these games.

But will Microsoft have a problem with me running two separate installs of windows on the same machine? If so, what's the best solution for me?
 
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The piracy aspects of using copyrighted software like Windows comes from using the same license on different/multiple machines at the same time (a key aspect of this) that have different hardware/activation hashes because even two machines built with similar hardware won't have the same hashes, so technically what you'd be doing is the same license on the same hardware with just two slightly different configurations of the drivers and operating system. I can't imagine there being any issue at all and Microsoft doesn't give a fuck anyway.

When you go to install the second "clone" of Windows 10 on the same hardware/machine, don't attempt to put in any Product Key at all, just click Next at that point and click OK on the notification when it warns you about putting in the key - after the installation is complete and you get that install online it'll activate without issues since it's technically the same hardware exactly so the activation hash stored on Microsoft's servers will be identical.

You're never running both installs at the same time anyway so, again, not an issue.
 
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Nope, storage media devices are not considered part of the "core" of the hardware configuration (CPU, chipset, BIOS/UEFI identifiers, etc) - the basic gist is the components of a personal computer that do not change and aren't just replaced at random times (like hard drives and other storage media are swapped out/replaced/upgraded) are what's used to create the activation hash.
 

DeathFromBelow

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But will Microsoft have a problem with me running two separate installs of windows on the same machine? If so, what's the best solution for me?

Just FYI, Windows 10 doesn't actually require activation like previous versions of Windows. It's the one good aspect of having ads in the OS. You just can't change the desktop wallpaper or taskbar personalization options.
 

BulletDust

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Just FYI, Windows 10 doesn't actually require activation like previous versions of Windows. It's the one good aspect of having ads in the OS. You just can't change the desktop wallpaper or taskbar personalization options.

It still requires activation, until the OS goes online it will be classed as 'unactivated'. It just doesn't require the user to input that annoying key every time they install the OS. The ads in the OS are just an additional cash grab.
 

Enhanced Interrogator

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Another question about my situation: Say I'm using a small SSD for my secondary windows install via external SATA. When I want to use it, I'll hot plug it to eSATA port, then restart my PC. In BIOS, I'll have it already set to prefer that SATA port.

But what about when I want to swtich back to my main install? Hot un-plugging this secondary drive might be a bad idea, right? Since the OS will be running off it? Might corrupt some files (won't be a huge loss but I don't want to have to run repairs all the time)? I guess I could leave both plugged in all the time and just change my boot drive in BIOS every time, but that's more time consuming. I'd like to just be able to hot plug/unplug then restart.
 

mnewxcv

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Another question about my situation: Say I'm using a small SSD for my secondary windows install via external SATA. When I want to use it, I'll hot plug it to eSATA port, then restart my PC. In BIOS, I'll have it already set to prefer that SATA port.

But what about when I want to swtich back to my main install? Hot un-plugging this secondary drive might be a bad idea, right? Since the OS will be running off it? Might corrupt some files (won't be a huge loss but I don't want to have to run repairs all the time)? I guess I could leave both plugged in all the time and just change my boot drive in BIOS every time, but that's more time consuming. I'd like to just be able to hot plug/unplug then restart.

I would just shut down whenever you plug or unplug the external drive.
 
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There is zero reason to remove such an SSD (or hard drive) in a hot plug situation just to switch to the other installation on another drive and the standard principle holds: always ALWAYS shut down properly before doing such a thing or else you're going to regret it sooner or later. ;)

If it's purely a raw data storage drive it could potentially be unplugged "hot" but as it's an OS system drive, it's a bad bad very bad incredibly bad idea without fail.
 

BulletDust

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I used to hot plug drives for backup purposes and never had an issue, don't know if I'd do it with a bootable OS drive though. Having saying that mnewxcv's right, there's no need to perform a hot swap, just shut down, swap drives and reboot.
 

Enhanced Interrogator

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I used to hot plug drives for backup purposes and never had an issue, don't know if I'd do it with a bootable OS drive though. Having saying that mnewxcv's right, there's no need to perform a hot swap, just shut down, swap drives and reboot.

haha, yeah, I should have thought of this. I forgot to mention though, I'm using a CRT monitor, and I'm trying to minimize sleep/on cycles to extend its lifespan. So being able to restart instead of shut down would be nice. And CRT's need warm up time, so hopefully it doesn't "cool down" too much while I swap drives. But yeah, I think I'll budge for this situation and just shut down for 30 seconds while I plug in the external drive

That said, since it's going to be a secondary OS drive with nothing important on it, I may do the hot unplug thing just to see what happens. I'll report back on if/how soon my OS gets corrupted.
 

BulletDust

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The biggest problem is going to be hoping the external drive (assuming USB) is recognized by the Windows 10 installer considering the fact that USB devices (yes, even external HDD's) require drivers in order to be recognized.

Not meaning to inflict bad luck, but don't be surprised if the Windows installer doesn't recognize the external HDD (assuming USB).
 

Enhanced Interrogator

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Not meaning to inflict bad luck, but don't be surprised if the Windows installer doesn't recognize the external HDD (assuming USB).

My plan is to just use eSATA, which runs directly to a sata port on my motherboard. So yeah, to the PC it looks like an internal drive.
 

Enhanced Interrogator

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actually I dunno what I was thinking. The easiest thing to do would be to just use my mobo's boot menu on restart. A couple key presses and I'm on the way to the secondary OS. That way I don't have to unhook the drive
 
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You don't want to install Windows 10 a second time on the second drive with the primary main drive still attached. Detach the original current drive BEFORE you do the installation on the second one (attached to the eSATA port as already mentioned) and once you have both installs working reattach the primary drive. The reason for this is that you want to keep each installation completely discrete from each other - if you leave the original primary drive attached to the machine what's going to happen is that during the installation the bootloader on that drive will be modified to add the second drive's partition info and that's not really a good thing - it would bring Windows 10's bootloader menu into play and it's best to avoid that if possible.

By detaching the primary drive BEFORE doing the install on the secondary drive you won't have this issue, each drive will remain completely discrete and using the boot menu as mentioned above in post #19 would be the best way to handle the booting process - not using Windows 10's bootloader menu options. With this method again both installs are discrete and won't interfere with each other at any point in time.
 

Enhanced Interrogator

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Yeah Tiberian that's what I was thinking. I wasn't sure what would happen, but to be safe I was going to avoid all interference by just unplugging my primary during installation. And then I'm going to try to figure out a way to hide the two drives from each other once installed.

By the way if anybody has a 30 or 60GB SSD they'd like to sell let me know.
 
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