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Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

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Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby james090 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:28 am

Coming back to Windows after being predominantly a Mac User.

I'd like a good Windows Machine around for my older PC plug ins, plus a few other freebies as a Synth / VST host for the Windows side of Music Making / DAW's etc.

I used to use a Windows XP machine, and liked its simplicity, so have a lot of XP 'era' plug ins.
However, I still think it would be better to buy a good modern Laptop or PC so I have the option of W10. So I could dip into Windows as it moves forward and keep up to date, instead of just getting an old XP laptop thats half dead.

This may seem daft, but I genuinely don't know if you can boot, for example a latest Dell XPS 15 in Windows 10, but have the option to start it up in Windows XP (with internet turned off)? when I need to reboot for some simple sound editing and XP VST's?

I know Mac's can do this with Bootcamp, Parallels, but wondered if a PC could?

Thoughts?
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:29 pm

I wouldn't bother with dual boot. All the Windows XP era software that I have works fine in Windows 10. The only things that don't work are hardware devices that only had XP drivers. Like you, I toyed with the idea of dual boot when I first got myself a Windows 10 machine but I didn't because I haven't found any software that needed it.

I did create myself a Windows 3.1 virtual machine though - just for interest.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby resistorman » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:54 pm

As James said, it’s unnecessary. Also, doubtful if you could get it to work since the Dell wouldn’t support XP drivers. Might be able to use a virtual machine if you really wanted to.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby james090 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 7:39 pm

Thanks for the replies.

Its good to know that all my old 2000 programs will work fine in W10, like early Acid Pro, and SoundForge, Audiomulch 1,0

But is W10 as easy and light to strip back as XP was for audio?
I have a light version of XP which is the bare minimum of like 30mb?

Is there such a verison of W10?
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Mon Feb 22, 2021 8:43 pm

It's not at all necessary or useful to strip Win10 back, it performs well out of the box for audio. Just do the usual setting to prioritise "Background Tasks" and you're golden.

I would, however, definitely get Win10 Pro - you have a lot more control over automatic updates (among other similar benefits) on that SKU.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby James Perrett » Mon Feb 22, 2021 11:31 pm

The days of stripping back an OS for audio are long gone. There is simply no need with all the power available in modern computers. In the days of XP you needed every MHz you could muster to cope with high track counts whereas nowadays I can record 32 channels with the computer barely ticking over.

I'd second the recommendation to go for Windows 10 pro. If you are looking at the Dell XPS range it may also be worth looking at the Precision range too.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Tue Feb 23, 2021 12:58 am

In truth it was always of marginal value. As an exercise in learning how the various subsystems are put together it's interesting and of course you'll save some SSD space but it's not worth the time-sink.

Far better to get an AI with good drivers (*cough* RME *cough*) than waste time paring the OS to the bone.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby merlyn » Tue Feb 23, 2021 6:51 pm

n o i s e f l e ur wrote:In truth it was always of marginal value.

I think you've forgotten what a single-core 32-bit machine was like :D
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Tue Feb 23, 2021 7:34 pm

Not at all (scarred for life!) - I do remember very clearly that it made no difference to the performance of the OS.

The presence of thousands of DLLs / EXEs on the HDD *that never got loaded* were irrelevant.

There was merit to disabling some of the Services if the hardware was marginal, but actually stripping these out of the image was a waste of time is what I'm getting at.

None of this is applicable to Win 10 - Services have mostly all been hived off into their own separate svchost instances now, and are much better behaved than under XP (or Win2K).
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby merlyn » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:10 am

The Windows 10 machines I see all have something wrong with them because I'm the guy people phone when their computer goes on the blink. I try to get out of it by saying "I haven't used Windows for years," but it doesn't work.

Most of it is the users, not entirely the OS, but the OS doesn't help. On one machine I took a load of bloat off including the incomparable Groove Music. But fine, yeah, space isn't a problem these days so just leave it sitting there. :)
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Wed Feb 24, 2021 12:50 am

Well . . . quite so.

It's impossible to defend an OS from its admin.

I won't make the claim that Win 10 is perfect, nothing so complex with such back-compat requirements could ever be - but the problems that crop up are usually the result of operator-error.

If anyone out there fancies stripping it back, don't let me discourage you. You can always contact merlyn to fix it when it refuses to boot many many 10s of times during the process! ;) I'd advise the use of a good imaging application, get familiar with Sysprep and other SI tools and be prepared to be ultimately disappointed with the results of all your hard work.

You'll learn a bunch though, there is that.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby merlyn » Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:28 pm

Yes, that's a good summary.

I have found it's interrupts that affect audio performance. Windows 10 doesn't let you touch the interrupts, so it's a moot point.

n o i s e f l e ur wrote:Just do the usual setting to prioritise "Background Tasks" and you're golden.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. I set up a friend's Surface Pro for audio and found this useful :

https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... Windows-10

The two areas that may need tweaked are the power scheme and DPC latency.

james090 wrote:I know Mac's can do this with Bootcamp, Parallels, but wondered if a PC could?

They are two different ways of having more than one OS on your machine. Bootcamp is a bootloader, so you would be running another OS natively. Parallels is an emulator, so it runs another OS inside a virtual machine. Both are possible with a PC.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby n o i s e f l e ur » Wed Feb 24, 2021 9:51 pm

merlyn wrote:Yes, that's a good summary.

I have found it's interrupts that affect audio performance. Windows 10 doesn't let you touch the interrupts, so it's a moot point.

n o i s e f l e ur wrote:Just do the usual setting to prioritise "Background Tasks" and you're golden.

I'm not sure what you mean by that. I set up a friend's Surface Pro for audio and found this useful :

https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-gb/ ... Windows-10

The two areas that may need tweaked are the power scheme and DPC latency.

james090 wrote:I know Mac's can do this with Bootcamp, Parallels, but wondered if a PC could?

They are two different ways of having more than one OS on your machine. Bootcamp is a bootloader, so you would be running another OS natively. Parallels is an emulator, so it runs another OS inside a virtual machine. Both are possible with a PC.


The "Background Tasks" setting is referred to right there in your Focusrite link.

You couldn't access IRQs on 8.1, 7, XP or Win2K either as they all sat on top of the ACPI HAL. You could . . . with a following wind and virgin sacrifice, cajole the HAL to shuffle IRQLs around a bit. It was never entirely clear to me that that made much difference either - ultimately the real solution was hardware with good drivers.

Good point on the power settings though, I omitted those (and sometimes do so in real life too until I notice oddness with the mouse and remember to go in and configure USB and PCIe power-handling stuff).

I'd be inclined to go with Win10 Pro and address any issues that crop up as and when - not get sucked into a premature-optimisation hole.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby Yearofthegoat » Fri Mar 05, 2021 2:05 am

I found two things made a big difference for latency:

Firstly, MSI (interrupt mode). In Windows 10, all the MSI settings were correct (negative number in Device Manager) by default, whereas in Windows 8.1 I had to go and tweak the registry, but only had to do it once. This is on the same hardware.

Secondly, disabling ACPI power management in the BIOS of my laptop. Big latency drop, but had to re-enable it afterwards for normal day to day use on battery power.
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Re: Dual Boot Window's OS on PC?

Postby Rich Hanson » Fri Mar 05, 2021 10:09 am

n o i s e f l e ur wrote:It's not at all necessary or useful to strip Win10 back, it performs well out of the box for audio. Just do the usual setting to prioritise "Background Tasks" and you're golden.

I didn't realise that option was still there in Win10! That now seems to have sorted an occasional click and glitch issue in my audio.

And I call myself an IT professional :D
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