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1276 Discussions

Dual boot Windows 10 and Windows 11

noquiexis
Beginner
1,386 Views

My Dell XPS 8920 came equipped with the INTEL MEMPEK1W016GA 16GB Optane memory module. I want to dual boot Windows 10 and Windows 11 on two different internal hard drives. That way, I can keep my original Windows 10 on the primary internal hard drive and put Windows 11 on the second internal hard drive.

My question is: what files are loaded unto the Intel Optane memory module? I *assume* that both Windows 10 and Windows 11 have a similar set of boot files that prepare the system to operate before the Windows Graphic User Interface ("Desktop") is displayed. The Windows Page File displays the Desktop as it was in the last configuration before system shutdown. I Imagine that these boot files and the Windows Page File are written to the Optane memory module just before system shutdown, then reloaded into RAM on system startup.

Does the Intel Optane Memory Management software ever write to the HDD? If Optane Memory is ENABLED on one hard drive, would booting into the other hard drive cause any problems? Other than the system running slower, it would seem that the Optane software would not even look at the second hard drive. Is this true, or am I all wet about this?

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n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,329 Views
In theory, you should be ok, provided you have the Optane/RST software and drivers installed on both Windows versions. The dual-boot scenario that caused issues involved the second O/S being Linux, which isn't supported. Your case is all Windows and the drive and Optane memory are not being separated. Now, I do have to caution, Intel has stated that this scenario is not POR and is not validated. While I don't see any reason why this would be a problem, I have been proven wrong before.
...S

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n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,365 Views

Regardless of whether we are talking about a discrete Optane module and a SSD/HDD or we are talking about an Optane SSD, operation is the same: once the relationship is established between the Optane cache and the SSD/HDD, it/they will appear to Windows to be a single integrated device with a 1:1 relationship.
While running the version of Windows resident on the separate SSD/HDD, the Optane memory will be used *only* for the SSD/HDD to which it is associated.
As for what is stored in the Optane memory, it is the files (and, within this context, directories/folders) that are being read/written from/to the associated SSD/HDD. The more often a file is read, the longer it will persist in the Optane memory. When writing files, the Optane memory is also used as a write-through cache to speed these write operations.
In order to ensure clean operation, the Optane (Intel RST) drivers and software should be installed on BOTH versions of Windows.
Hope this helps,
...S

noquiexis
Beginner
1,357 Views

,

 

     Thank you! I have had this system since July 2017, and I am still learning things about it.

     I started with cloning the Windows 10 boot drive onto the second HDD, disabled the Optane Memory, and then booted into Windows 10 on the cloned drive (EasyBCD). Once I confirmed that I had a good Windows 10 boot, I powered down and physically unplugged the original boot drive before doing the Windows 11 upgrade. I did this to insure the safety of the original Windows 10 boot drive.

     This way, I will have a permanent copy of Windows 10 and Windows 11 without the ten day choice restriction. Also, all of my installed software (including the Intel Optane Memory Management tool) and all of my preferences, bookmarks, and cookies are intact on both versions of Windows.

     Upon reviewing the Intel Optane documentation, I see that the software requires at least 5MB of unallocated space at the end of the HDD, so it must be writing something to the HDD. I can disable the Optane Memory when switching drives (EasyBCD and iReboot). The documentation states that "Dual OS boot systems (multiple storage drives, each containing an OS) are unsupported configurations", so the disable Optane Memory / boot drive selection / reenable Optane Memory scheme seems to be the way to go. I could run Windows 11 without Optane Memory acceleration, but the enable / reboot will be faster in the long run.

     The only fly in the ointment is that Optane Memory will have to re-learn my boot and software usage every time I do that. There is also the possibility that these changes could wear out the Optane Memory module before its natural end-of-life.

     If I could safely boot into either HDD, with Optane Memory enabled, the only change I would see is that the non-accelerated HDD would run slower. Your reply above indicates that that may be true.

     Currently I use Windows 10 for everyday operation. I only boot into Windows 11 once every few days to learn the system.

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,353 Views

Regarding your 'fly in the ointment', any time you 'disable' the Optane memory, it will flush all modifications (unwritten files and directories) to the associated drive.  Since you are reusing the same drive, with the same partition table, that 5MB chunk at the end of the drive will still be reserved and thus reused (though re-written by the association reestablishment). It is true that the 'goodness' that the Optane memory was providing previously will be lost and need to be rebuilt over time, but this will happen fairly quickly.

Unfortunately, I find that Windows 11 is essentially Windows 10 with a few important (to me) taskbar/start menu/shell capabilities hacked out for no good reason. Since my operational paradigm is dependent upon these capabilities, I won't be moving my main machines to Windows 10 any time soon. I have Windows 11 on my NUC test machines and continue to work with it, but I am NOT happy with MS' incredibly annoying habit of removing support for previous paradigms to force people to what they (wrongly, AFAIAC) believe is a new and better paradigm. They could have left all of these capabilities, but maliciously chose to rip them out. In this case, this is them parroting Apple's GUI, which pisses me off even more (aside: I will *never* *ever* use any Apple product again; the scum burned their bridges with me completely). It's too bad that Linux is such a dumpster fire or I would drop Windows completely too. Actually, if MS attempts to force me to always login to a MS account, I *will* be doing something drastic.

Off my soapbox now,

...S

noquiexis
Beginner
1,334 Views

,

Fly in the ointment:

     Pardon my request for confirmation. Could I safely boot into the non-accelerated drive without disabling Intel Optane Memory? The Intel documentation states that *physically* removing the memory module, or the accelerated HDD, without disabling Optane memory, would render the other useless. I do realize that doing a warm reboot is not the same as that, but I just want to be sure.

 

Soapbox:

     I agree 100% that, in the words of Dr. McCoy (Star Trek: The Motion Picture "I know engineers, they LOVE to change things." - often without any logical reason. Some see the Microsoft ploy as forcing people to upgrade their existing hardware, or "get left in the dust" after Windows 10 EOL (2025). They did much the same during the rollout (a.k.a. "roll over") of Windows 10. Are they trying to rush the technological revolution? They are obviously using customers as beta testers.

     My Dell Inspiron 530 (c. 2009) shipped with Windows Vista (64 bit). I upgraded to Windows 7 (64 bit) on another partition, on the same HDD. After re-installing Vista on another HDD, and upgrading that HDD to Windows 7*, I allowed the Windows 10 upgrade on that second HDD. I so disliked Windows 10 that I almost never booted into that HDD. (I did use parts of it for data storage.)

     The Dell XPS 8920 (c. 2017) had to have Windows 10 (64 bit) to run the Intel Optane Memory. I had to grit my teeth and learn the new GUI. (I never called Windows an "Operating System".**)

     I am still using Windows Vista winmail.exe because Windows 10 Mail has been so stripped down, and because I am too cheap to buy Microsoft Outlook to get that same (winmail.exe) functionality. Why Microsoft abandoned Internet Explorer is a complete mystery to me. True, Google Chrome (and now Microsoft Edge) is far and away better than IE, but only because MS stopped working on it.

 

*  At the time, I did not know about cloning hard drives.

** "To err is human, To really foul things up, you need a computer." MS is falling all over themselves to hide the OS from users. While this may decrease the need for technical support, it cuts people off at the knees. One should never be expected to operate a motor vehicle if they don't know enough to change a tire or clean the windshield. Operating a computer is no different.

{sigh} - end of soapbox.

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,330 Views
In theory, you should be ok, provided you have the Optane/RST software and drivers installed on both Windows versions. The dual-boot scenario that caused issues involved the second O/S being Linux, which isn't supported. Your case is all Windows and the drive and Optane memory are not being separated. Now, I do have to caution, Intel has stated that this scenario is not POR and is not validated. While I don't see any reason why this would be a problem, I have been proven wrong before.
...S
noquiexis
Beginner
1,313 Views

,

     My continued thanks for your help, and for your patience. I did boot into the Windows 11 hard drive, and back into Windows 10 with the Intel Optane Memory enabled. My system does not allow HDD selection from the BIOS menu, but the https://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/ and iReboot make it 'a piece of cake'.

     Without acceleration on the Windows 11 hard drive, it runs quite slow. My PC "does not meet the CPU requirements for Windows 11", but I found a workaround for that. It may be a contributing factor in the slow response time. I do not expect to get much use out of Windows 11, so doing the Optane Memory disable / reboot / enable fox trot will not be an issue for a while.

     Everything that is on the Windows 10 HDD made it to the Windows 11 HDD during the clone operation, so I don't need to access the Windows 10 HDD much, if at all, when I boot into Windows 11. Anything that I want to share between the two drives (downloaded Windows 10 and Windows 11 help files, drivers, other software) are on an external USB HDD.

     I am going to mark this question as "Solved". You have been very helpful!

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,292 Views

You're welcome. I really can't do anything regarding the HDD performance issue. It's up to you whether you consider it important enough to replace the HDD with a SSD.

...S

noquiexis
Beginner
1,274 Views

n_scott_pearson,

     If and when I get more use out of Windows 11 (which I don't see happening anytime soon), I will be doing the Optane Memory disable / reboot / enable fox trot to accelerate that HDD. This bit about Windows 10 losing MS support in 2025 is, in my opinion, a way for Microsoft to scare people into upgrading their hardware, but for the life of me, I don't know why.

     MS may be taking a cue from the two dozen or so pharmaceutical companies that sell "cures" for stuff I never heard of. "Buy our prescription medicine or suffer for the rest of your life." Snake oil.

     Microsoft gave Windows 10 away for free (at first). They are giving away Windows 11 now. This does not seem a wise business model, unless they are taking the "Barbie Doll" approach. The doll costs no more than your average doll, but "that girl has everything", and "everything" comes with a price.

 

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,252 Views

A major reason for Microsoft's stance is that it vastly eliminates the number of processors that Microsoft has to be compatible and test with. Anyone with a non-supported processor that installs Windows 11 is on their own; if they see an issue and report it to Microsoft, Microsoft can just ignore it completely (and may not even track it). This will save them a *lot* of money.

...S

P.S. Windows 10 and Windows 11 can *still* be installed essentially for free. You can use any Windows 7, 8 or 8.1 license key that you have laying around to do a from-scratch install.

noquiexis
Beginner
1,224 Views

     One of the things that I like about Dell, and I think it is a Windows 10 requirement, is that the license key is encoded on the motherboard. I don't have to go search for it. I did keep all of the original software boxes (where the license keys should be), but dragging them out from where they are stored is still an annoyance.

n_scott_pearson
Super User Retired Employee
1,208 Views

When purchasing an OEM-built system, the Windows license key will be stored in the BIOS. This is not the case for systems built from a set of components; BIOS security typically prevents this from happening.

...S

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