My honest opinion on this is exactly this...If you really want to be able to experience true Dual Booting then you must be willing to break away from the Microsoft boot manager. It is not user friendly and is designed not for the use of dual booting but for keeping control over your computer through limiting a person's ability to dual boot.
There are many third party boot managers. I happen to use TeraByteUnlimited program ...BootIt NG
It costs about $40.00 US but is well worth the money as it has other applications that really make it easier to maintain your computer. This program allows the installation of as many operating systems as you wish to install and all the partitions as needed for recovery and storage and allows them the capability to Label
drives and partitions for easier identification...(which I highly recommend). BootIt NG
keeps all the boot files separated from the other and protects them from corruption. What this means is that if an operating system goes bad for any reason(.....except HDD failure) you will always still be able to boot to another one regardless of what it may be.
The program is a bit technical to first install but after that is very user friendly. One will be able to set preferences to what OS should boot first but allowed scalable time (in seconds) to boot to other operating systems. It has built in backup / restoration through Imaging (best way to back up) plus maintenance program to allow repairs to other operating systems as well as a partitioning program that can be easily used to adjust any installed partition.
This program allows for the removal and installation of individual HDD without fear of messing with the MBR's
(master boot records ) of any other installed operating system....No need to create slaved drives for repair or recovery of lost data as each drive remains accessable to other opperating systems (as long as they are compatable file systems)
When booted the system automatically starts the drive as "C" and the other drives and partitions become labled according to arrangement.... I name my drives (lable) by the operating system that is installed for easier identification...or for the storage associated with each operating system that is installed.
As I did major beta testing, this allowed me to install the different versions of the beta systems on different partitions(drives). I also editted video files and this allowed me to install stripped down versions of an operating system to reduce file corruption from background applications.
For installation all you do is pick the drive to install to and you will use the installation discs as though you have only a single drive....remembering that each operating system must have all drivers installed and all updates.
...I do not like large drives and keep my operating systems on separate drives and partitioned for that drive...ie...160 gig drive is labled XP Home and divided into 3 partitions: XP home (C drive), home programs, home storage. This way if a drive goes out ..I can remove that drive and repair it or replace it and then use another operating system to transfer files from one to the other. It is ok to use a single drive for multiple operating systems.
Windows only allows 4 logical partitions so you are limited to what you can do...If you use BootIt NG to partition your drives prior to the installation of the operating system then you are only limited by the hardware configurations of your computer.....if you have the controller support then you can install 200 diferent systems if need be! TeraByte Unlimited :: Boot Manager :: Partition Manager :: Drive Image :: Disk Copy :: Drive Wipe :: Hard Drive Utilities
GAG is a free version that acts just like BootIt NG except that you are limited to only 9 operating systems....I tested this and it works very well and has been for the past 9 months now with no issues at all. This program has a much easier UI than what BootIt NG does. GAG, the Graphical Boot Manager
A third party boot manager is the only way to go in my opinion for dual booting. No boot discs orr registry editing to mess around with...Just install the program to the first drive in your system (less than 8MB) and then install each operating system as a stand alone system.