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Windows 7: Maybe the dumb question of the day...

19 Feb 2010   #1

Windows XP
Maybe the dumb question of the day...

Thanks for the help you have given me so far, even without posting!

I have a home built system which has passed the windows 7 64 bit requirements scan thingie. Right now I run xp 32 bit on my c drive, have 3 other sata (G/H internal, R in a hot swap tray + S in an external dock) drives and a ide drive hot swap tray - no raid. I do video work, so harddrives pile up around here. I also have a multi card reader, a wacom tablet and an external burner. Is there any of this hardware I should unplug before install? Most of what I read is that with a clean install on a fresh drive things go much smoother.

I have built 2 computers, replaced many a drive & reinstalled xp a couple of times, so I am not a dummy...just real lucky. I have not had many problems in doing all I have. I am just too nervous about losing my XP installation right off to try a dual boot. I bought a new 1tb drive and I am wondering if I could just take out my C: drive & install the new drive in it's place and install 7 & all my programs - as if the C died & I replaced it?

Ok, if I can do that, can I swap the two drives physically later (while the machine is off of course) & go back to XP if I find the real need to do so(and then back to 7)? Like to deactivate some Adobe software, or do a quick job before I get my programs fully installed on the windows 7 drive. My intention is to get 7 running with all my software & then reformat the old C drive & use it for storage, not to be swapping them on a regular basis.

Sorry to be long winded

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2010   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP


If you unplug your XP drive during Win7 install, when you plug it back in you can boot from BIOS one-time boot menu key.

This is a much cleaner way to dual boot, as the HD's remain independent and can come and go as you please. A windows-managed Dual Boot which would be setup if XP remains plugged, makes the drives interdependent and harder to extricate.

Set the Win7 HD first HD to boot in BIOS setup. Then when you wanna boot XP, tap the BIOS shortcut key given on first screen (normally f10 or f12) to interrupt 7 boot and boot XP instead. Works great.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Feb 2010   #4

Windows XP

Thanks for the swift reply, this is just what I need, so glad to have found this forum.
If it weren't for forums like this one I would still be struggling with the most basic computer problems.

theog - I have found many of my questions (have already & will) end at those threads and tutorials thanks!

gregrocker - Now this sounds like what I am looking for. I have an ASUS P5N32-E SLI motherboard & it seems the boot menu key is F8. If I am correct, this boots to the selection only that time, on next restart it would go back to the boot selected in the bios, right? What does what you are suggesting do to the pesky drive letters? I wish to install 7 on my new drive as a C drive & move my old c drive to another sata location. I read here that on the more complex dual boot with xp, that the booted drive will automatically become the c drive, does that work here too? OR am I being too fussy about moving the drives & does it matter what sata connection they are using? I found that whole discussion on Drive letters on this forum quite confusing!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Feb 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Given that you have multiple HDDs, I would do a clean install as follows:

1. Diconnect all disks except the one on which you want to install Win7
2. Disconnect all external devices except the keyboard, mouse and screen
3. Install win7 on the remaining disk
4. Put everything back together - win/ should recognize the devices automatically and install the drivers. If you have a really unusual device, you may have to find and install the driver yourself.
5. Go into the BIOS setup and set your preferred OS disk as first.
6. from then on you can switch between the different operating systems by changing the boot sequence of the BIOS (usually ESC or F10), but could be anything.

PS: the active OS is always C.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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