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

22 Oct 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
wondering if you could give me some advice about dual booting?

Hello everyone, I was wondering if you could give me some advice. I currently have my dell laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium x64 and I would like to dual boot it with Windows XP x32. Right now I have 3 partitions in my HDD, a 39 MB OEM Partition (I don't know what's it for), a Recovery Partition (System, Active, Primary Partition) and my OS partition (Boot, Paging, Dumping, Primary Partition). My questions are:

Will doing the whole dual boot procedure prevent me from using Hibernation? I read somewhere else (I don't remember where) that dual booting could mess the hibernation process.

My laptop came with a recovery partition and it has an option to enter a Recovery Menu when pressing F8 during boot without using my Windows Installation DVD. I don't know if this is an option every Windows 7 has or if it's something dell added. I also read that if you mess with the MBR you could prevent the computer from finding this "Recovery Menu" option. I don't really understand much about the MBR and I don't know if EasyBCD rewrites everything or just adds a new entry without changing the current entries.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Oct 2010   #2


To be sure, make your Recovery disks off that Recovery Partition. Dual Booting with XP on a partition you shrink from the C Win7 drive should not affect the Recov Partition, however with the disks you have a backup.

Partition or Volume - Shrink

Use the XP installer to create and format the partition in the shrink space. If XP doesn't see the HD, you'll need to insert the SATA controller driver at the F6 prompt during drivers-loading phase at beginning. But if you don't have a floppy drive to do this, you'll need to slipstream the driver in this way: SATA Drivers - Slipstream into Windows XP CD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Oct 2010   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Hi Greg, tanks for your quick response. Right now I'm not worried about the Recovery Partition itself, I think I can backup the .WIM files just in case, but what I am really concerned with is whether I'll be able to boot to the Recovery Menu if I change the MBR.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Oct 2010   #4


I haven't heard of Dell Recovery refusing to run after dual boot updates the MBR. This may be because XP claims the System MBR into itself upon install, then it is updated on the XP partition using EasyBCD 2.0 to add Win7.

You can always return the System MBR to Recovery if you need to run it by marking XP inactive, Recovery partition active (which might be enough) then running Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots to recover the System MBR into Recovery. Partition - Mark as Active

The solution to your problem would be to install XP to separate HD while Win7 HD is unplugged. After install plug Win7 back in, set it as first HD to boot in BIOS setup, then when you need to boot XP tap the Dell F12 key for one-time BIOS Boot Menu to select XP HD to boot. This keeps the HD's independent.

As I said, make the Recovery Disk set to have a backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Oct 2010   #5
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello Os0o, welcome to Seven Forums!

@Greg, correct me if I'm wrong.

Since he already has 3 primaries the forth will be an Extended/Logical and if he doesn't use Partition Wizard (Option Four, in this tutorial below) to convert it to a primary before the XP install is started the "OEM Recovery Partition" will remain as "System, Active" correct?

Partition Wizard : Use the Bootable CD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Oct 2010   #6


It's worth a try, but I don't think XP has the brains to update the System MBR existing on Recovery partition.

XP after SP2 has the ability to install to Logical if its boot files are placed on a Primary partition, but I have only known XP to hijack the SYstem MBR upon install. I think it fails in attempt to install it to Logical, but am not sure of this when there is already an existing Primary that's System Active.

OsOo: after shrinking your partition to make room for XP install, try creating New one and formatting in Disk Mgmt to see if it gives you Logical partition. If not, use free Partition Wizard to create/format a Logical partition there. Then try XP install to it without further formatting - the XP installer will not format a Logical partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2010   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Well, I don't know the difference between a logical partition and and a "normal" one, but the OEM partition isn't marked as primary, it just says OEM, does that mean that if I make a new partition it won't be logical?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Oct 2010   #8


Make the new partition in Disk Mgmt and see. It will either be blue Primary or Green Extended Logical.

If Green Logical, try XP install to it to see if it works.

If Blue Primary is created, Delete it and use Partition Wizard to create and format New Logical partition there to try install.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2010   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

If you don't mind me asking, why would I want a logical partition instead of a primary one?

On a different subject, I think that some of my concepts were wrong, what I'm worried about is that if I install XP and then use EasyBCD to add Windows 7, will I be able to boot to the Windows Recovery Environment? If I'm correct these tools are only included with Windows 7/Vista, so installing XP could prevent me from using them? Dell Recovery Tools are located within the Recovery Environment (I guess Dell added an extra option there), that's why I want to still be able to use it after installing XP.

I don't know if installing XP, then using the Windows 7 installation DVD to fix the MBR and/or whatever needs to be fixed, and then adding XP with EasyBCD from Windows 7 could help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Oct 2010   #10


You need a primary partition to install an OS, unless the boot files are placed upon a primary partition - then the OS can be installed to Logical.

Since you already have 3 Primary partitions, Disk Mgmt will likely want to create a Logical partition. This might be a good choice in this case since if XP will install to the Logical partition, research which BarefootKid has been doing shows that XP might place its boot files on the System Active boot partition. Then you only need to add Win7 from XP using the steps in the tutorial: Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

In other words, trying to install XP to a Logical partition will either not work (in which case you can create a Primary Partition using Partion Wizard), or it will place the boot files where you want them on the Recovery partition.

To install XP to a Primary partition will create a new System MBR there and remove the System Active designation from Recovery. However it can be recreated by marking Recov active again using PW, then booting the Win7 DVD to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times with reboots.

This will start Win7 so you can add XP using EasyBCD 2.0 to update the System Active MBR on Recov partition - which may be accomplished by simply installing XP to a Logical anyway.

You can back up externally a System Image of your full HD using built-in Win7 backup imaging to start over if necessary. You should also make your Recovery Disks now.

If you will post back a screenshot of your Disk Management drive map and listings, we can advise you better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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

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