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In a broad strategy change, Microsoft released its much-awaited beta version of its next operating system, Windows 7, the second week of January. The software giant eliminated the usual restrictions surrounding its OS betas by making it available to anyone who wants to call him or herself a beta tester. Perhaps the idea was to jump-start a stampede of interest away from the widely criticized Windows Vista OS, which has failed to convince some potential users to upgrade from its predecessor, Windows XP.
Your article raised a question I have had a number of times reading reviewers testing new OSs or software: Why not simply use an additional hard drive that you select as the 'boot disk' at startup?
I have used this for several years and avoided what I am sure would have been a number of very annoying experiences.
Hard drives are cheap...
Installing a clean version of the desired OS takes a bit of time, but then image the disk (I like Acronis for this.) and you can then 'reset' the drive with a minimum of time and trouble at the end of the test.
I have several 'clean OS' installs (XP Pro, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, etc.) that I keep on my network drive.
I assume that there must be something 'wrong' with this scheme since so many folks are worrying about dual booting, virtual machines, wiping their drive to recover, etc.