Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

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 Win7 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 Win7 to install XP in order to run the very few programs that Win7 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
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

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

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
BSOD - Dual boot W7 - external hdd
Hey, First of all, i'm not a native speaker nor writer, so please try to get over my writing skills. I've installed a ssd in my laptop a month ago and as the space on it is quite limited i didn't invest time to install/clone Windows as my main OS is under Linux. The initial idea was to...
Installation & Setup
dual booting using external harddisk
Hi i am trying to boot windows server installed in external harddisk from my windows 7 pc but when iam trying to do so it my pc is flashing blue screen and my pc reboots with win 7 i wanted to know how to solve this problem thanks
Installation & Setup
dual boot with external hard drive
Hi, i just bought a laptop with win7 home premium 64 bit and I want to dual boot it with win7 32 bit..Can you teach me how to dual boot with external hard drive? Second, any external hard drives will do?
Installation & Setup
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)
Installation & Setup
Dual Boot W7 with XP on external HDD
I have Windows 7 Home on my new Dell PC. I still have a 200gb disk out of my old PC which is as taken out of the PC; ie still with Windows XP etc. Can I use both disks in a dual boot configuration? (rather than installing XP onto my new DEll or even onto the 200gb disk but using the existing XP...
Installation & Setup

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:59.
Twitter Facebook Google+