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Windows 7: wondering if you could give me some advice about dual booting?

24 Oct 2010   #11

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Wouldn't XP placing its boot files on the system active boot partition create some weird stuff? Like having both Windows 7 and XP files on the same Windows folder or something like that? Anyway here's a screenshot (I hope I attach it correctly) of disk management. It's in spanish though, but it goes like this:
-39 MB OEM Partition
-14.65 GB Recovery Partition (System, Active, Primary Partition)
-451.07 GB OS Partition (Boot, Paging, Dumping, Primary Partition)

Attached Thumbnails
wondering if you could give me some advice about dual booting?-disk-management.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2010   #12


Recovery has plenty of space to update the SYstem MBR for XP which is three small boot files.

If you install XP to a Primary partition, it will steal the System MBR from Recovery into XP partition, then you have the choice to either run EasyBCD from XP to update the System boot files on XP, or start Win7 again by running Startup Repair to reinstall the System MBR to the first partition which is marked Active. You could mark Recov partition Active to rewrite the 7 MBR there, or even take it into the Win7 partition itself and leave the Recov partition inactive until you need to mark it so to run Recovery.

Again, make a WIn7 backup image stored externally and your REcovery disks so you can revert back by at least two separate methods if needed.

If you make your Recovery disks they will reinstall the Recovery Partition if need be. That's why they are made, in case of HD failure so you can restore your new HD exactly like the old one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2010   #13

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

OK I'm a little confused, there can only be one active partition, right? So the MBR is in the Recovery partition? Meaning my computer boots to the Recovery Partition even though the OS is installed in a different partition? I didn't know that.

My computer came with a factory windows image saved in the Recovery Partition, although it's splitted in 4 different files I don't know why, is there any way to be sure these 4 files have everything or should I make a new single file?

I also have the installation DVD that came with my laptop, if I boot to it I get the option to install Windows 7 or to go to the Recovery Environment, the difference is that the Environment within my computer has an extra Dell DataSafe option, whereas the DVD environment doesn't, that's why I think that fixing the MBR from the DVD may not allow me to get back to the one I already have in my laptop. I don't know if I'm making sense hehe...

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all the help you've given me but I'm trying to make sure that installing XP won't prevent me from using Dell DataSafe from the Recovery Environment, maybe doing this will even void my warranty so I need to be sure of what I'm doing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Oct 2010   #14


I would call or chat Dell Tech Support to ask them these very good questions, or let's hope a Dell expert who knows might see this.

All I can advise is what I have already. Many tech enthusiasts wipe the entire HD to reinstall and rely on Recovery Disks and/or Win7 backup image of the full HD for recovery. But Dell has a very competent Recovery partition scheme so I can understand why you would want to keep it intact, especially since the boot-critical files are housed within it and even reimaging could not guarantee some loss of Recovery function.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Oct 2010   #15

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Well, I chatted with Dell Tech Support and the guy told me that if I install Windows XP I'll void my warranty, even if it's in dual boot, so we didn't even get to determine if that would mess with Dell DataSafe (I don't think the guy could've helped me anyway). I guess I'm going to have to wait before trying the whole dual boot thing, for now I guess I'll have to use an old laptop with XP.

Thanks for all the help anyway =P.

P.S: I don't know if I should make a new thread or something but what program do you recommend for installing a virtual machine? I tried VMWare once and, even though I can't prove it, I think it messed something really bad because some days after installing it, my laptop just got really slow and after an attempt to reboot, Windows wouldn't get past the "Loading Windows" screen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 wondering if you could give me some advice about dual booting?

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