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Windows 7: Dual boot Win 7 and XP (External HDD)

30 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 64-Bit
Dual boot Win 7 and XP (External HDD)

Hi all,

I have been trying for 4 days to do the following and have finally decided to ask for help.

System setup:

Windows 7 64-bit (Pre installed on laptop)
Alienware M15X
BIOS: ver A05 1.00
Processor: i7 CPU - M620 @ 2.67GHz (4 CPU)
G-Card: Nvidia GTX 260M

Okay I have numerous issues in trying to setup XP with pre-installed Win 7 64 bit. When trying to install XP I get a blue screen of death(BSOD) after it loads all the files in, i.e. it doesn't get to the part where I can select the partition I want to install it on. After reading numerous guides it became apparent that you need to load the relevant SATA drives alongside the installation, so I made a disk which has the Intel(R) 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI Controller (Mobile ICH8M-E/M) included. Apparently that is the relevant SATA driver for my setup, if anyone can advise me if this is true that will be much appreciated, but when I try to install with this new disk it still gets a BSOD after loading the files.

So after that method failed I decided to install XP on the HDD using my desktop computer, I then downloaded all the software updates for XP before trying to connect it to my laptop once again. Upon connecting it the XP system is detected, when I try to boot it the windows loading screen appears, but after it has finished on the loading screen I get a BSOD. I then tried using the new disk with the Intel(R) 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI Controller (Mobile ICH8M-E/M) drivers but the same happens.

After more research people suggest turning the BIOS settings from SATA to IDE, and although this would have to be done every time I wanted to switch between the operating systems I thought that is better then not having it. Unfortunately my BIOS does not have the IDE option, so this is option is also ruled out.

I then gave up on the external HDD option and decided to partition my laptops HD, although this isn't what I wanted I thought it may be worth a try. Once again BSOD on trying to load the XP disk.

So now I am here!

Unfortunately as the laptop came with pre-installed win 7 I don't have the option of installing XP first. I guess the help I need is the following:

1) Any other ideas on how to try install it?
2) Can anyone confirm that Intel(R) 82801HEM/HBM SATA AHCI Controller (Mobile ICH8M-E/M) is the correct driver for the m15x system.
3) Although Win 7 is 64-bit, XP doesn't need to be does it?
4) After streamlining the SATA drivers into the installation, they should automatically be loaded alongside the setup, you don't need to press the external driver button when booting up the XP disk?

Thanks for any help in advanced.
Kind Regards,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2011   #2


You cannot install an OS to an external HD. The bottleneck is the USB controller. The same HD will work if you plug it in via IDE or SATA cable.

Have you considered virtualizing XP using XP Mode (in Ultimate or Pro versions) or freeware like Virtual Player, VMWare, or Virtual Box? It is a heck of a lot easier than wrestling with an Xpired OS.

When installing XP HD on new hardware, you must run an XP Repair Install to adapt it to the new drivers: XP Repair Install - Part 1 of 2

You can also try your slipstreamed installer on an internal HD or partition. Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP - Windows 7 Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 64-Bit


I have a SATA cable but heard they don't tend to be able to detect the HDs. I will try a reboot with it now to see if I can get it working.

I used virtual box but wasn't overly happy with the results, it had issues running certain things still.

I will try your other suggestions and report back.

Thanks for all the advice and help, it is much appreciated!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Apr 2011   #4

Windows 7 64-Bit

Okay I tried all the options.

The SATA cable didn't seem to make any sort of difference.

The Repair has the same issue as the install whereby the BSOD happens before I can get to the partition selection.

I've also tried that Dual Boot guide before but it doesn't seem to work for me. I think either the SATA driver I am slipstreaming is wrong, although searching on the net people say they have use that one for my model laptop.

I've also tried two different XP disks now and both achieve the same result.

Would people suggest updating my BIOS? Because from what i've read this could cause further issues for my laptop?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2011   #5

Windows 7 64-Bit

Okay, I was trying to download the BIOS and it's very well documented for floppy disk support.

It has the following info on CD support - Download the BIOS zip, unzip it, and burn the ISO to CD. I'm either being stupid, or there is no ISO within the file. I think it wants me to create an ISO from all the files, but as it doesn't state this I am not willing to waste a CD-R on it yet, so I may buy some CD-RW later.

Anyone have any other ideas as I really want to try get this sorted, and it seems really annoying that none of my setup disks will run on this computer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2011   #7

Windows 7 64-Bit

Yeah sure, I put brief specs up but here are the more in depth:

If you need anything else just give me a shout

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2011   #8

Windows 7 64-Bit

I presume that all windows installs are system specific, hence why installing it on a separate computer didn't help it run on my laptop even though I streamlined the SATA drivers in?

So the real problem I need to overcome is why the XP installation crashes upon loading? From what I can tell this shouldn't be happening, and I think it would be a lot easier if my BIOS has an option for IDE.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2011   #9


The problem is that those who could help you with your issue will give it a quick look and then hit the link in the bottom left of post to see your specs, then if no specs are listed there they will move on rather than sift through all ofyour posts to try to find your specs.

I would chat or call your tech support for help with flashing BIOS especially if only floppy is offered for that. They may have a way to do it via Windows (safest) or CD or stick (safer).

Others with more experience in flashing from floppy might offer more help. We could also double check your SATA drivers for you if you had spec correctly posted using theog's posted tools, instead of GPU readout.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2011   #10

Windows 7 64-Bit


Yeah sorry I didn't really think about putting my specs on my profile as they aren't normally easily accessible. I have now put them up there, trying to figure out what my motherboard is though.

Besides the BIOS being out of date (which shouldn't affect a new windows installation), can anyone think of why none of the CDs boot? I am trying an XP disk with SP1, and an XP disk with SP3. Both have the same affect, and neither seem to have relevant drivers for this damn laptop!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual boot Win 7 and XP (External HDD)

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