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Windows 7: XP x86 and 7 x64 dual boot issue

22 Jun 2009   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium
XP x86 and 7 x64 dual boot issue


Been reading many posts here to see if they could help me with a problem but couldn't find a definitive answer.

I have XP Sp3 32-bit on my main HDD, been using it fine for quite some time, and I wanted to try 7, so I bought a new HDD and installed Windows 7 RC 64-bit on it. I then setup the dual boot and everything was working fine - I could chose which to load up, both were working fine, and I could see the Windows 7 files while working on XP and vice-versa. I then got more confortable using Windows 7 (as most people here, no doubt, cause it is bril ) and started using more and more often, to the point of copying loads of files from my XP disk (My Docs, Videos, Music, Favourites etc) onto the Windows 7 disk so I could have them handy.

Then after a few days I noticed my XP installation started crashing every now and again. It's got progressively worse to the point my XP installation is not loading up at the moment - XP loads all the way up to displaying my desktop wallpaper picture and then freezes. Nothing happens for quite some time and I end up having to swich it off.

When I try to boot into XP again it goes into CHKDSK, it does it's thing for a good length of time and then when it loads XP it freezes on the desktop wallpaper again. Safe mode works fine and everything seems in order, but when I try the real thing it freezes again.

I'm very security conscious, but to eliminate this option I've ran a few AV and Malware programs and nothing found on both disks, so I'm confident this is not the problem. The XP disk itself also seems fine - cause if I load Windows 7 I can see all the files currently on the XP disk, no problem opening/copying them and nothing has been lost.

Anyone know of any known issues of mixing XP (32) and 7 (64) OS? Something to do with how they handle file structures, indexes etc for example? Could my XP be getting system files mixed up with the Windows 7 installation? Or Windows 7 writting files that corrupt the XP file system? Should I have kept XP disk hidden from Windows 7 in the first place?

Don't know what else to try but I need to run XP (due to 3D software) and didn't want to get rid of Windows 7...

Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2009   #2

XP, Seven, 2008R2

I do not like the fact that defrag is scheduled by default. I think it might cause problems and perhaps it's possible that it was the thing that bit you.

For what it's worth, I've disabled the scheduled defrag before it had a chance to run and my XP x86 and Windows 7 x64 have been living together fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2009   #3


There shouldn't be a problem running those 2 together. How have you got your partitions setup? Have you tried running chkdsk from Windows 7 on the WinXP partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

22 Jun 2009   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium

@sup3rsprt - wasnt aware of this so will have a look and make sure it is not on the schedule (just in case).

@Frostbite - not sure how to attach image with the partition info (newbies eh) but will give it a try. After the problems started I did try to run CHKDSK from within Windows 7 once - it said it had to unmount the XP partition (seen on Windows 7 as D which I agreed to, then it did it's thing but the problems persisted, didn't make any difference. Will try it again and see if I can get hold of a log file detailing what was done.

Attached Thumbnails
XP x86 and 7 x64 dual boot issue-partitions.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2009   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower

By the looks of the partitioning there you installed 7 on the second partition instead of the first on the new drive as well as leaving unallocated empty drive space at the back end on both. There's inconsistencies resulting in seeing the disk check tool being run on each startup.

What did you use to partition the drives with? The C and E partitions on the second drive would have been better setup as one larger single primary for 7 there. The H partition can be expanded into the large gap seen at the back end of that drive.

The 8mb at the tail end of the XP primary is minor while you wouldn't likely be seeing a dynamic volume since most desktops use the basic type. And no your XP system files are not getting mixed in with the ones for the 7 installation. You'll want to review the excellent tutorial written for setting up a dual boot of XP along with 7. Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

I had both the 32bit and 64bit 7 beta builds setup in a dual boot with XP and Vista(both 32bit) with each 7(32/64) on the second primary of each drive one for XP, one for Vista until the RCs were out. XP is now a forgotten memory while Vista is run on the new Virtual PC beta.

Presently here there are two 64bit installations on separate drives set up in a 3way boot with the 32bit RC along with two other large capacity storage drives. The second 64bit installation(former XP drive) was also a stand alone dual boot setup with the 32bit RC(former Vista drive).

Attached Thumbnails
XP x86 and 7 x64 dual boot issue-current-partitions.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2009   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Hi ,

If XP loads fine in Safe Mode - there's something wrong with one of the programs / drivers that load at normal XP startup.

Try the clean boot procedure to see if you can identify the culprit.

How to configure Windows XP to start in a "clean boot" state

How to perform advanced clean-boot troubleshooting in Windows XP
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2009   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower

A few good tips for using the msconfig utility.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2009   #8

XP, Seven, 2008R2

people still use msconfig with Autoruns around? eek!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2009   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower

There are other methods to consider like setting services to manual rather then automatic to help out in solving start up problems. With the XP disk in the drive another old tool is the system file checker you run by typing "sfc /scannow" in at the Run command line.

One of the main problems I see right off however is a need to check the fragmentation level on the XP drive as well as the likely need to recall any recent updates like video or sound drivers that went on XP. Taking notes if any errors show up as well as a look in the XP event viewer can often help pinpointing a problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2009   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium

Night Hawk and SIW2 - thanks for your replies, got some useful info there. I'll go through them again when I get home tonight and post some more info to let you know what happened.

As for the partitions E, C, H on the 2nd HDD:
I created _BKP right after installing the new drive and before installing 7, so I could store some large DVD files as the XP partition was filling up. Didn't think this would cause any problems at the time...
As for _BKP2 I created this once I started having these problems with XP. The _BKP wasn't big enought to salvage all my personal files currently on the XP drive. It's only a temporary measure though - and as soon as I have everything working stable again I may just remove _BKP2 and expand the _Win7 to take the rest of the disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 XP x86 and 7 x64 dual boot issue

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