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Windows 7: new build, w7/xp dual boot or just rely on xp mode?

23 Sep 2010   #1

w7 64
new build, w7/xp dual boot or just rely on xp mode?

hello all, i like xp. maybe because i know it im about to build a new system (see my profile for specs) this is a gaming rig though i have been called a power user by local pc shops and will be doing lots of things on the pc. is there any benefit to setting up a dual boot rig with 7 and xp as far as performance goes? or does this "xp mode" suffice when it comes to software and games working correctly. i never went to vista so i haven't suffered from the "OMG, my mouse pad isnt even compatible with Vista!" plague. also, i do plan on creating a smaller partition for OS and it's installed apps and games. another partition with a created recovery clone that i would like to be able to "initiate" during bootup just in case i have really fouled things up to the point i cant boot into the OS. basically, just like a Dell, and restore the hard drive to the same state as the cloned image. my wifes laptop has 7 on it and im practicing on it before the build. i have created the partition and created an image per the instructions here but i dont see an option to restore the c drive from it during boot. thanks for any and all help!

oh! i have also i read about non movable files over at the how to on shrinking a partition. should i try and delegate where these files are written too for performance reasons or just be happy they are confined to the smaller partition created for the OS.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello regnad, welcome to Seven Forums!

Yes it is possible, first have a look at the info below but if you have only one Hard Disk Drive (HDD) then have a look at the tutorials at the links below to get some ideas.

Dual Boot : Create Partitions Using PWBD

Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP
information   Information

The easiest way to do away with boot issues between 2 separate Windows installs is to use the BIOS one time boot menu to select which OS to boot at system startup.

If you have 2 separate Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and have one or the other installed to one HDD and you want to install the other; disconnect the HDD with the first OS installed on it and leave the HDD you want to install the second OS to connected.

Install the OS to the connected HDD and when complete and the system is booting good, power down and reconnect the second HDD with the first OS on it.

This way the OSs will boot independently of each other and there will be no boot conflicts between the 2 separate OSs to have to sort later.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1

In terms of performance, XP Mode will not suffice as it was not designed with gaming in mind. If you want to go virtual in that regard, VMware Player or VMware Workstation would be far more suitable as they have 3D Acceleration integrated that is designed with DirectX 9 gaming in mind. However, if you want the best performance, a dual-boot would be best becuase it would be native performance whereas with a virtual machine, you have the extra overhead of running another operating system on top of your already existing and running operating system.

It depends on what types of games you are trying to run whether a dual-boot setup or a setup with VMware would work better. Also, are the games you're trying to run not compatible with Windows 7 that you need to run them under XP?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #4

w7 64

Well, I havnt check into that! I guess the games I'm looking to play is cod4, half life 2, fear,battlefield 2 and newer. that era of games.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #5

w7 64

How about my audio. Should I use the modern audio on mobo or the dated audigy 2zs?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1

Checkout the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor to see what hardware is needed to run Win 7.
Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor - Download - Microsoft Windows
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #7
mickey megabyte

ultimate 64 sp1

there may be a performance difference between xp and 7, but it's not going to be very much at all.

it looks like you've got a powerful system, and you'll have a much better 'user experience' just going for windows 7 full-time - xp just seems so old once you've used 7 for a while - forget about xp mode, that's generally only useful for real old apps, and is rubbish for games. 7 still has an xp-compatibility mode (not the same as xp mode) that helps with the rare problem vintage software

as far as your sound goes, i think it's better to use the dedicated soundcard for higher fidelity (and eax effects in games) (unless your onboard solution is particularly good or if you have trouble finding audigy drivers - which i strongly doubt.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #8

w7 64

Mickey, it sounds like this xp compatability mode may be the buffer im looking for. my only concern was the games i mentioned before wouldnt play in 7. i have never seen these games with settings up so they will be like a new game to me on this new machine. i dont see myself striving to get dated games from this point forward now that i will finally have a beafy machine. im coming off an AMD 64 754 socket!! ill probably slap my self when i see the contrast. how about creating this "recovery" option during boot that i could use to restore the c drive to the image i create once all my drivers are in? barefoots response doesnt really help. i can create a smaller partition during the installation of 7 right? ive always used entire drive for OS in the past. are the xfi sound cards noticably better than the audigy 2zs cards?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #9
mickey megabyte

ultimate 64 sp1

all the games you list should run perfectly fine in 7 with no fiddling around with compatibility modes.

i'm not sure about the recovery mode you mention - maybe you can achieve what you want with imaging software?

if you do want to dual-boot, it's easier to install xp first. you'll find a great tutorial here.

as to the creative soundcards, i don't know about audigy, as i went straight from sblive to x-fi. i would stick to your audigy for now unless you experience problems.

anyway, it's nearly 2am in england, and i'm off now. hopefully others will be around to answer any other questions if you have any...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Sep 2010   #10

w7 64

Thx mickey. I guess I may still want to have a dualboot system. Can I have a 7/7 dual boot? One sqweaky clean for gaming and the other for downloading and everyday riff raff?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 new build, w7/xp dual boot or just rely on xp mode?

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