Challenge #3 - Windows dual-booting is more complicated
By default , there can be only one Windows Boot Manager in EFI NVRAM. In such case, dual-booting will only be possible if the boot files for all Windows versions installed in EFI mode are stored on a single EFI bootable system partition called an ESP or listed in a single BCD store. So if something went wrong with the main bootable hard disk where all the boot data is stored, then all dependent Windows versions will become unbootable.
In order to switch EFI booting from one Windows disk to another, you will need to update all of the records in Windows Boot Manager.
What is the solution?
Paragon Software offers the simplest solution in their well-known Paragon Hard Disk Manager. This includes a BootCorrector wizard under 64-bit WinPE 4.0 environment to switch EFI Windows boot entry from one independent GPT bootable drive with Windows to another one. To simplify the process, this option is also included in all wizards on Paragon 64-bit WinPE 4.0 recovery media. All of these utilities will correct the records in Windows Boot Manager, making your Windows bootable again.
In order to handle modern GPT drives on EFI systems, you will need a new bootable environment based on the latest Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 8. This is a collection of tools which you can use to create a WinPE-based bootable recovery media. You can construct this media manually, but it is faster and more efficient to use the kind of purpose-built tools included in solutions such as Paragon Software's.
Working with Windows Storage Spaces
Storage Spaces are an evolution of Windows dynamic disks technology. They provide virtualization for data storage hardware and resemble RAID technology on software level. Essentially, Windows Storage Spaces can be used to combine several hard disk drives or another storage media into one or several virtual entities or pools that will be shown and act in Windows 8 and Server 2012 as convenient Windows disks. In a nutshell, Storage Spaces allow:
- Organization of physical disks into storage pools, which can be easily expanded by simply adding disks. These disks can be connected either through USB, SATA (Serial ATA), or SAS (Serial Attached SCSI). A storage pool can be composed of heterogeneous physical disks – different-sized physical disks accessible via different storage interconnects.
- Usage of virtual disks (also known as “spaces”) which, for all intents and purposes, behave just like physical disks. However, spaces also have powerful new capabilities associated with them such as thin provisioning, as well as resiliency to failures of underlying physical media.
This virtual disk can be used just like a regular physical disk – you can partition it, format it, and start copying data to it.
You can use PowerShell commands or GUI utility from Control Panel in Windows to work with the structure of Storage Spaces.
About the author
Konstantin Komarov is co-founder and CEO of Paragon Software Group. A technology innovator and entrepreneur with nearly two decades of experience in the data security industry, Komarov has operated the company’s Storage Management Division since its inception in 1994, and has taken part in the development of some of the most highly utilized software offerings for the enterprise and consumer technology segments of the cross-platform data interchange computing market. Konstantin Komarov holds a Master of Science degree from Moscow State University of Physics and Engineering.