Boot Device can be any media that will start an Operating System for a computer...
I had a question in the old Q and A forum on how to use a SSD as the
boot device in a desktop with out reinstalling the OS on the
Solid State Drive.
Well for XP it is easy, you make an image of the XP partition with your favorite imaging program (I like Ghost better than Acronis True Image but have used both with success).
Then you put your new SSD in the computer, make the partitions with your Drive Manager, set the partition you are going to use for the XP OS as
active, then reboot.
Using your trusty imaging program (you do have a
bootable cd or USB device, right?) put the image you made on the partition you want to boot from, reboot.
"And away you go, not so fast there Sparky! What happens when you have identical partitions on a computer? Which one is the one that actually starts?"
Well I forgot to tell you to go into the BIOS and set the Solid State Drive
as the boot device but you should know that (don't you?).
Other than that there isn't anything that would tell the computer that there
are two bootable operating systems in the computer. Once you set the SSD as
active and changed the boot sequence from the hard drive to the SSD the only way
the hard drive would boot is if it was in the boot sequence in the BIOS and the
Solid State Drive had failed.
What, you say you have Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 10?
Well now that gets a little more involved because Windows 7 / 10 when installed creates a separate boot partition (sometimes) that you have to take in to account when you are making your partitions and image(s).
However I have seen instances where Windows 7 didn't make a 100 MB boot partition which is a little weird but then it is Windows...
You can determine if there is a boot partition by using the Windows 7 Drive Management applet in the System Manager. Look at the hard drive partitions, do you see a small partition (around 100 MB) then the larger OS partition and maybe another partition for your data? Yes, then be sure to make an image of the smaller partition or your computer will not boot!
Once you have your images then install the SSD in your computer, make sure the BIOS sees and initializes the
Solid State Drive, then let the computer start. It is easier and faster to create the partitions on the SSD from Windows 7 Drive Manager than with the imaging program. Create your two partitions, set the smaller boot partition to 'Active' restart the computer booting from your trusty
boot device. (Remember to use "Primary" not "Extended" when creating your partitions!)
Troubleshoot, repair, maintain, upgrade & secure...
Put you two images on your Solid State Drive then restart, on restart go in to the BIOS and change the boot device to the SSD, then let the computer complete the restart.
If everything went according to plan your computer should boot from the Solid
State Drive, it should also take less time to get to the log on screen than with the mechanical hard drive. Mine takes less than 18 seconds to boot, how ever that is with a clean installation and no programs loading in the background.
XP boots faster than Windows 7 by two seconds. I would surmise that the reason for this is the XP (clean install) only uses 98 MB of memory where as Windows 7 is over 450 MB when both are optimized but no back ground programs like anti-virus are loaded.
Other than the speed of the boot process the main reason for using a SSD would be the very low failure rate, it is getting to 2 Million hours between failures! Now that is cool!
Don't forget that you can use both drives for booting, that is
Multi Boot, that way if you have a problem with one OS partition you can boot the other OS partition and fix the the broken one, no looking for a boot cd or device, a lot faster and you have all your tools in one place...