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Windows 7: Dual Boot with WinXP over Win7, without messing up

14 Jan 2011   #11

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid View Post
Hello science2002, welcome to Seven Forums!

Using separate Hard Disk Drives to dual boot is the preferred method to dual boot between separate Operating Systems, this way the OSs aren't dependent on each other for the boot files needed to start Windows, making it very easy to remove one or the other OS/HDD without boot issues.

Disconnect the Windows 7 HDD data cable from the motherboard and leave it disconnected for the installation process, set the 'new' HDD as first boot device after the DVD/CD drive, when XP is booting good on the second HDD, power down and reconnect the other HDD data cable to the mobo and restart the PC to set the preferred OS/HDD as first boot device in the BIOS, then you can use the BIOS one-time boot menu for your specific PC to select the other OS/HDD to boot when needed.

I think you would use the blue Thinkvantage button to access the Levono one-time boot menu and be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.
As you have a notebook, you can not use the one-time boot menu.
What you can do is remove the HD's As when needed.

If you have not made your recovery disks,
You can Order Lenovo Recovery Disks from here:
Lenovo Support - How can I get a Product Recovery CD or DVD?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2011   #12

WinXP 32bit and 32bit Win7 Business

Thanks again for your advice, for the welcome, and the links.

In my Desktop PC I have in fact three different disks and several (WinXp) OSes, which are used alternatively for different purposes: testing, work, etc. and troubleshooting issues: if one OS shows problems I start from another.

But as you know, the majority of notebooks have one HDD bay, mine included. Yes, swapping HDD could be a solution, but it is far from friendly!

Write and manage the boot.ini files in my DesktopPC have been (relatively) easy, even with multi WinXP - Win2000 OSes, placed in different partitions in the same HDD. I see at my expense that with (Vista and) Win7 things are much more troublesome: a very bad point for this new OS in my very humble opinion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2011   #13


I have copied XP from one HD to another using free Partition Wizard bootable CD, then added it to Dual Boot from Win7 using EasyBCD 2.0. This would accomplish your goal of not losing the first partition's System flag as likely would happen during XP install to the same HD.

If either of your HD's is Seagate or Western Digital I would use their excellent free Acronis app to backup externally an image of XP installed to the other HD. Choose not to copy the MBR or mark it Active during reimaging operation to space you create by shrinking Win7 in Disk Mgmt. If you can't use Acronis, then I'd use free Macrium Reflect or Paragon Backup 10 so you have these options. Be sure to make the boot disk for whichever you use.

If your not sure whether the System Active flags have been removed from XP before starting it after imaging then boot into Win7 DVD or Repair CD to use Diskpart to mark XP Inactive while making sure System is still marked Active: Partition - Mark as Active. You can also use free Partition Wizard bootable CD (the best Win7 tool) to have a graphics picture while doing this.

Once you start Win7 install EasyBCD 2.0 to add XP on the Add OS tab, accept offered boot files, autocompletes, Save, Restart to Dual Boot Menu. If not post back a screenshot of your full Disk Mgmt drive map using Snipping Tool in Start Menu.

Before attempting any of this, back up externally an image of your entire HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Jan 2011   #14

WinXP 32bit and 32bit Win7 Business

@ gregrocker,
Thank you! that sounds (for now in theory) great! Few doubts in your instructions:
- "....Be sure to make the boot disk for whichever you use"
What do you mean (I know generally the programs, but I never used them regularly)?

- "....If your not sure whether the System Active flags have been removed".
Is one of the applications you mention, better than the others in making sure that this is done?

Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2011   #15


I would use free Partition Wizard bootable CD to get a graphic image of your partitions with the listings on each, to confirm which is System and/or Active. The other method uses a lot of line commands and is harder to interpret.

Whichever imaging app you use will allow you to make a boot CD in case it doesn't want to reimage from the program in Windows. So burn the boot CD to make sure you have a backup method to reimage.

We have a lot of imaging experts around here so ask all of the questions you need and we will help your through it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #16

WinXP 32bit and 32bit Win7 Business

Thanks. Just to update: I tried to make some experiments on my own, given the fact that in this moment I do not have a 2nd 2.5 HDD, while I do have only a *Pata* 3.5 80GB spare one, plus a USB HDD encloser.
I have obtained from a collegue a copy of Windows 7 Pro Recovery DVD (1/2 and 2/2) for my model.
So the experiment (HDD internal removed) up to now:
- Win7 recovery DVD installs without complains in the external USB (Pata) HDD. However near the end of the process, it asks another DVD (Supplement ...something... Disc 1 that I do not have: I guess that should be more than 2 DVDs for Rescue&Recovery, since I have 3 Original CDs just for WinTabletPC). The three partitions in the USB HDD have been created, folders/files are there, but obviously (the installation did not finish completly) the USB HDD is not bootable

-WinXP Rescue&recovery installation stucks at some point with a typical BSOD, probably because I have an External USB, and/or a Pata HD, while the standard recovery should have the Sata drivers, and probably nothing else.

I gave, meanwhile, a look to Paragon Partition Manager 11, which manages a lot of things. It seems able even to make a Boot manager window, to select different OSes. With WinXP it works: not clear what it changes, since boot.ini is intact. It should have written something in the boot sector itself.

Probably it is just me, but let me say that it is nice to play with HDDs when you have (touching wood) no apparent risk to lose something.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #17

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Installing to a External HD will always fail, use a internal HD for your testing.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2011   #18

WinXP 32bit and 32bit Win7 Business

Yep, but unfortunately I do not have an internal one now. On this matter: will esata connection be considered internal or external, i.e. will the installation fail with it or not? Thx
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2011   #19
sachin jain

Windows 7 Ultimate X86

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2011   #20

Windows 7 64 bit

This is a tough situation.

If you had installation media for both OS's it would be a piece of cake.

I know you can install XP to another partition, but you will have to repair the boot sector of Windows 7 inorder to boot both successfully. Have you considered a virtual machine? Not quite XP mode, it works pretty well for programs that don't run under windows 7?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual Boot with WinXP over Win7, without messing up

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