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Windows 7: Dual Boot XP and 7 from two HDD.

23 Jun 2011   #1
DeniqueCoelum

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP 1
 
 
Dual Boot XP and 7 from two HDD.

I'm planning a bit of an upgrade of my Windows 7 running machine (see spec).

What I hope to do is install a second internal hard disk drive and run Windows XP Home Edition from that, while running Windows 7 on the original HDD, dual boot.

What I would like to know is:

Is it possible to run a dual-boot system from two separate HDD?

What's the best size and brand of HDD to choose?

Any other considerations / possible hazards of dual-boot?

Many thanks!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Jun 2011   #2
unifex

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

Short answers: Yes, up to you and your budget, no problems at all.

Slightly longer story: if I dual-boot, I always do it with separate physical hard drives. And I keep all my data on yet another hard drive. It is often recommended to remove the hard drive with another OS while installing the new one, but personally I've never done that and I've never had any problems. My motivation to keep things separated like this is simply that if a hard drive fails, then all partitions are gone, while other hard drives are not affected at all.

As to best hard drives - there are lots of brands, people prefer different ones, as of recent I have Samsung (see my specs), but at the same time nowadays it seems that it's best to put the OS on a SSD, if you can afford it (they are getting cheaper and cheaper though).

As to possible hazards - I don't know any. Of course something may go wrong and you can find lots of questions on this forum about various issues, but issues come up in single-OS systems as well, I don't think that a dual-boot system is more prone to problems.

Good luck!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #3
Dwarf

Windows 8.1 Pro RTM x64
 
 

The simplest solution is to follow the following steps (that is, if you feel comfortable about digging around the innards of your computer):
  1. Open your computer case.
  2. Disconnect one of the HDD drives.
  3. Install either XP or W7 on the remaining drive (it doesn't matter which OS).
  4. When you have finished installing the OS, disconnect that HDD and reconnect the other one.
  5. Repeat Step 3 with the other OS.
  6. Reconnect both HDDs, with the proviso that the drive containg the OS that you want to boot up by default is on the first controller channel.
You should now be able to boot up into either OS by using the one-time boot option in your BIOS, or allow the OS on the HDD connected to the first controller channel to boot up automatically.

Note   Note
When disconnecting or reconnecting your HDDs (or indeed any internal hardware) you should ensure that your system is powered down and unplugged.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Jun 2011   #4
Arc

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 10 Pro Insider Preview 64-bit
 
 

Any size of the available disks are more than enough for the windows XP installation . What you are to do is ...

Unplug the Windows 7 hard disk, and plug in the second (XP) hard disk. Install XP in it as usual. Plug back the Windows 7 Hard disk . Now set up the booting ...

You may do it in two different ways .

First one, without adding the windows XP entry in the Windows 7 MBR . Usually the Boot Menu Key for Fujitsu is F12 . Press and hold it during startup until the boot menu appears , and then select which drive is to boot up .

Second one, Download EasyBCD 2.1 and install it in windows 7 . Add a boot entry of windows XP using it , following steps from 8 to 12 of the tutorial Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #5
unifex

Windows 7 Ultimate (x64)
 
 

While we're at it, could you guys comment on why do you insist on unplugging other hard drives while installing new OS and what's wrong with using Windows boot loader as opposed to the BIOS menu? My experience with this is probably limited, since I am only dealing with my own machines, but I've never had any problems by simply installing another OS on another hard drive and then using Windows MBR to choose the OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #6
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

When you recieved your Fujitsu, do you recieve the Windows 7 & Win XP downgrade DVD's.
Two Hd's is the best way.

hazards
System Restore Points - Stop XP Dual Boot Delete - Vista Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #7
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

When you no longer need the two OS's, just unplug one HD, no need for all the hard work going back to one OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2011   #8
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by unifex View Post
While we're at it, could you guys comment on why do you insist on unplugging other hard drives while installing new OS and what's wrong with using Windows boot loader as opposed to the BIOS menu? My experience with this is probably limited, since I am only dealing with my own machines, but I've never had any problems by simply installing another OS on another hard drive and then using Windows MBR to choose the OS.
The prime benefit of having OS's on two separate HD's is their independence including the ability for either HD to come and go as you please.

If you leave both connected during install Win7 will configure a Dual Boot which interlocks the HD's requiring major surgery to remove one, hence defeating the benefit of full independence and instead making them interdependent.

That said, it is up to User preference and we are always here to help extricate one OS from the other if needed, and do so almost daily.

Interesting Win7 tidbit
: After release was the busiest time for removing Dual Boots as dozens of users decided to abandon XP or Vista almost immediately after installing Win7. We could hardly keep up with the traffic and it's a big reason we use automated methods here to this day. It is easier for the average user to mark Win7 Active and run 3 Startup Repairs than to use Command Lines and bcedit.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2011   #9
DeniqueCoelum

Windows 7 Professional x64 SP 1
 
 

Thanks for all the information, guys! I'll probably come back to you with a load of questions when I actually get round to doing this. In the meantime though, I'll just be saving up the cash.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Aug 2014   #10
Ratbert1009ca

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit.
 
 

I am trying to install XP on a separate HD, on a computer that has Win7 pre-installed. I disconnected all HD's except the blank Sata HD that I want to install the WinXP on. Problem is that it stops just after it says "Setup is starting windows" then I get a blue screen of death...(see attached pic) I have done a chkdsk /f as the error screen recommended but its still gives me the same problem/error screen.

Why does this happen, and how do I over come it?


Attached Thumbnails
Dual Boot XP and 7 from two HDD.-img_3142.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Dual Boot XP and 7 from two HDD.




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