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Windows 7: Dual Boot W7 with XP on external HDD

10 Apr 2010   #1
Just William

Windows 7 Home
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)

If so, how?

Just William

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2010   #2

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

Hi William
I'm not qualified to answer this one but my immediate reaction is that it wont work. The old dard drive will have all the setting and drivers for your old machine so i would think that woulsdbe a major obstacle in booting up Windows XP. Nice thought thpough
Hopefully some more knowledgeable member will come along shortly.
I shall be very interested to hear further on this .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2010   #3
not so gray matter

W7 Ult. x64 | OS X

You'll need to do a fresh install if I'm correct. However, you can use two different drivers to boot two different operating sytems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Apr 2010   #4
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello Just William, welcome to Seven Forums!

I'm not sure if this'll work but have a look at the link below; be sure to post back with what you find out.

How to install and use the Recovery Console in Windows XP
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2010   #5
Microsoft MVP


Changing XP to different hardware requires a Repair install from boot.

Unplug the Win7 HD, plug in XP internally (not externally) but DO NOT START IT. Instead boot from XP CD used for original install (or same version) and follow these steps: Repair Windows XP - How to Perform a Repair Installation of Windows XP - Part 1 of 2

If after discovering the XP installation, the booted CD does not present an "R" for repair option then it cannot be repaired to run on that hardware and needs clean install.

If it completes the Repair to acclimate XP to the new hardware, then you have the choice to plug back in Win7 and boot from the BIOS your preferred HD first, or interrupt preferred HD booting by tapping the key given on first BIOS screen for Boot Menu to trigger the other HD.

Having a BIOS-managed Dual Boot makes the HD's independent so they can come and go as you please. If you wish to instead create a Windows-managed Dual Boot menu, you can do so from Win7 using EasyBCD 2.0 beta by adding XP, however this makes the HD's interdependent and harder to remove.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Apr 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home x64

First thing to do is set the external drive as the first boot device in BIOS, then restart the box and see how the OS behaves (might work just fine). Worst case, you'll have to do a dirty install or a fresh install.

Because of licensing issues, XP might not want to work properly

Note: how old is the 200gb drive? When was the last time the OS was installed? Personally, in situations like these, I like to go the clean install route.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual Boot W7 with XP on external HDD

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