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Windows 7: Dual OS on External HD

26 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Dual OS on External HD

Good Day Everyone!

I am planning to Install Windows 7 Ultimate to the built-in Hard drive of my laptop and install WinXP on my External Hard drive. It this possible?
Please give me an instruction on how to do this. I Badly need this setup as I can not afford to buy a new laptop.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

26 Apr 2012   #2
Microsoft MVP


You can't install an OS to an external HD. Why not create a partition on the laptop to install XP onto?
Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

However XP is so old now it is hard to install on more modern hardware, and if it doesn't see the partitions or Blue Screens it may require adding SATA drivers which are not in the XP CD: SATA Drivers - Slipstream into Windows XP CD.

This is actually more trouble than it's worth so I would strongly recommend trying one of the virtualization freewares from within Windows 7 to install XP in order to run the very few programs that Windows 7 won't run. Try free VMWare, Virtual Player, Virtual Box or if you have Ultimate or Pro versions free XP Mode.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Apr 2012   #3

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

Welcome to the SevenForums! rdcanlas

The first question I have here for you would be the make and model laptop. The information on that will provided the necessary system requirements as far as the OS. If this is on an older model that saw XP preinstalled you would then need to find at least Vista updates in order to see a working install of 7 go on. The two versions are close in driver compatibiliy there.

For seeing a working dual boot on a laptop the guide gregrocker pointed is your best resource. That will take you through two different types of installs one where XP goes on first followed by 7 or the second for seeing XP installed after 7. For the later the 7 mbr information will need to see a startup repair following the XP install due to the newer boot loader with the newer version of Windows.

Most newer boards automatically allow the XP installer to detect and install on sata drives unlike the old Socket A, 939 for AMD and old Celeron, Pentuim boards. The newer onboard sata controllers allow for this. The make and model laptop however will indicate which versions are supported.

Another thing to consider is how large is the drive the laptop came with? If this is old until only seeing an 80-120gb drive you may want to consider going with a larger, faster drive since prices have fallen sharply in recent years. A good 500gb drive for a laptop can be found for under $50 if needed which would allow plenty of space to work with for running two versions of Windows and all programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Dual OS on External HD

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