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Installing dual-boot Windows-XP with Windows7 installed

by yasinghMD / November 14, 2010 2:53 AM PST

Installing Windows-XP on a computer without the Windows7 installation disks is, tricky. The drive letters are reassigned arbitrarily, whenever a new partition is created or other storage devices are attached. This makes the Windows7 un-bootable after a new set up. Restoring the image of Windows7 from an external drive reassigns the drive letters also.
Of course, you can repair it and ?recover? the windows7 but that is unsightly.

Each time I forget the hurdles I had faced with the last new computer.
Here are some notes for the future.

So far on each new computer we find a tiny hidden boot ?C? and a huge visible C with the OS and a small D containing recovery files. (The C is in fact ?D? because the ?real? C is the hidden 100MB boot partition.) This set up will use the hidden boot partition as a visible C partition for the Windows XP. Here are the steps that I can remember:

Important: Name each partition (below) to avoid confusion during their manipulation.
First: Make recovery disks and store an image of the hard drive on an external disk.
Shrink volume C - name it ?Win7?
Delete volume D (Recovery)
Reassign drive letters to the DVD drives as ?O? and ?P?
Reassign drive letters to the Card readers as U, V, W, X etc
Create a new volume of the free space - name it ?Backup?
Assign Drive letter ?E? to the ?Backup? partition
De-fragment 'C' (Win7) (there is no D at present)
Make an image of C - save it on E (Backup)
Note the size of these partitions before the next step
Use Windows-XP installation disk for the next step
Delete the earlier partitions except the last one (Backup)
Create a new 20GB partition for XP (C)
Create a new 60GB partition for Win7 (D)
Install XP on the 20GB (C)
Boot in XP and assign proper hardware drive letters again
Name Partition C as ?XP? and partition D as ?Win7?
Install Windows7 on D (using a trial version or any other installation disk)
Boot in each OS and be sure that the partition letters and the names match
Windows-XP will see ?Wn7? as D and windows7 will see ?XP? as D
Restore the Image of Windows7 from E (Backup) to D (Win7)
Be sure that the drive letter is not changed during the restore operation
(If it did - Win7 will need boot repair)
Boot in XP and delete the ?Backup? (E) partition
Boot in Windows7 and create new partition(s) of the free space
Save a new image of each partition

Here is a useful link for the HP laptops:

Finally: When replacing the hard drive, restoring the saved image of ?C? XP (boot partition for the Windows7) did not work and it needed Windows7 boot repair.
You will need to install a new set of XP as above.
Cloning the hard drive (Seagate Wizard) worked fine instead.

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Quotes were replaced with an ?
by yasinghMD / November 14, 2010 3:03 AM PST

Read all the ? as '

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"without the Windows7 installation disks is, tricky."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 14, 2010 3:37 AM PST

After recovering dozens of systems that folk tried this without backup, I'm going to write that this is just a bad idea.

It's time to move on.

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"folk tried this without backup"
by yasinghMD / November 14, 2010 11:26 AM PST

I agree.
Those who do not know how to backup should
definitely move on........without their computer!
They have no business meddling with the OS or dual-boot.
BTW...this was to help those who still need Windows-XP
as I do in my office, also as future reference for myself.

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Hello, just a drop by and advise on Duel Boot
by dereid49 / November 16, 2010 11:49 AM PST

On a Win 7 machine you should add a "Virtual" Winxp operating system.
That will give you the same results you are looking for. Plus give you more protection
to running all types of software on Winxp with out any problem of viruses messing with the OS Winxp. VMware comes to mind and their is Microsoft's Virtual platform to install Winxp.
Just a drop by reply.
Good luck...

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Virtual partition instead of dual-boot
by yasinghMD / November 19, 2010 6:23 AM PST

Virtual partition is an excellent choice except for some limitations.
Overall, purchasing a new computer is cheaper than upgrading the OS. However, most new computer bargains come with the version of windows that does not support virtual partition.
You cannot create or restore an image of a virtual drive and I would not use a computer before saving an image of the set up. Here is why:
If an employee messes it up I can restore the image in 10-20 minutes. Additionally, restoring a non-fragmented image of C drive takes only a fraction of the time it takes to de-fragment a used partition that is now also full of garbage. So, I routinely save and restore the image of OS partition.
The steps I gave above appear complicated to read but in fact they are quite simple when one follows the exact sequence. Life is simple after that.

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All these steps are just so that Win7 stays installed on 'D'
by yasinghMD / November 16, 2010 1:01 AM PST

Just another reminder to myself (I post it here just in case others find it useful):
Next time, try copying the image of D (original windows7) saved on an external drive via USB - after installing XP on C and a temporary Win7 on D - (delete all other partitions and be sure that D is being restored as D - not as another drive letter.)

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Installing windowsxp on a windows7 system
by tazmo8448 / January 27, 2011 3:15 AM PST

I am curious to see if we are talking about the same thing I was told in order to run older versions of software on the new windows7 that the best way is to partition windowsxp on the disk and run it seperate...I have been all over the place and nothing seems to make sense about what I'm trying to do...I have backed up my files onto dvd-r disks and have a new HP notebook with plenty of memory(HP DV7-4177nr Pavilion)can you simplify what it is I'm trying to do..saw a video and it seemed straight forward but only brushed over the subject, no real details.....thanks

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Sorry but
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 27, 2011 5:16 AM PST

I've seen this discussed with some dozen solutions. None are that great and the good solutions are expensive since we need the full retail Windows 7 to accomplish this.

Try this. Tell exactly which step you need help on.

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Installing xp on 7
by tazmo8448 / January 27, 2011 8:52 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry but

I really need a walk thru (stem to stern) but i think the way to go is up date to windows7 pro and let em download...just didn't wanna spend another two hundred bucks....

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Sadly I've found far too many.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 28, 2011 1:07 AM PST
In reply to: Installing xp on 7

And finding an exact walk through is tough since one will use full retail discs of XP and 7 and the next is a HACK JOB where we try to not disturb some pre-installed Windows 7.

Let me be blunt here. Installing XP after a pre-installed Windows 7 is a hack. Full of compromises and peril. Don't let anyone tell you it will be easy.

For very little money compared to full retail Windows 7 to get the install done, the ANYTIME UPGRADE to Windows 7 Pro gives you XP MODE that can solve quite a few old problems.

Maybe we should discuss exactly why one wants to run XP?

And let's repeat that for ZERO DOLLARS and almost ZERO RISK you can try Virtual Box today.

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The Hack
by tazmo8448 / January 28, 2011 3:11 AM PST

That anytime up grade does seem like the way to go and the reason I was going to do this was older software and in particular Combat Flight Simulators that I bought some yrs ago and still have but are not compatible with 7 and in talking to a gamer that is what he did with his.....

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Maybe a new post?
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 28, 2011 4:09 AM PST
In reply to: The Hack
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