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Windows 7: Dual Boot Windows 7 64-bit & XP Pro 32-bit

20 Jul 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
Dual Boot Windows 7 64-bit & XP Pro 32-bit

I have read a lot of comments on this forum and others that a dual boot as described above is possible. I have some questions though:

1) Can I just add my old Windows XP Pro 32-bit SATA hard drive to my new computer (due to arrive in a few days) that has Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit installed and set up a dual boot? It would be nice to keep all my programs and files as they are. Or do I have to do a clean install? XP Pro was pre-installed on my 2nd to last system and I have a Product Key.

2) Once a dual boot is setup would there be a way to allocate different memory to each O/S? My new computer will have 8GB RAM and I want to take full advantage of it for the 64-bit O/S, but I understand that 4GB of RAM is the maximum for 32-bit systems and that it is sometimes a problem going that high (so I was thinking like 3 GB for the 32-bit O/S).

3) If I have both 7 64-bit and XP Pro 32-bit installed, will the old hardware like my scanner or a fax/modem card work like it did on my old computer for the new XP boot because they are not listed as compatible under Windows 7?

The reason I want to have a dual boot with XP Pro is I'm worried some of my most used programs will no longer work on the 64-bit system. And I heard the virtual XP is not that great, besides the fact that I would have to upgrade for $89 to get that capability.

Thanks for any help you can provide.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate 32-Bit

Well, as far as I know, you would have to keep changing the boot order of your drives, because If you didn't, one hard drive would boot up first, without giving you the option, usually a dual boot is on one drive, two partitions.
I could be wrong, and there might be a workaround, but I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't be able to select your OS at startup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP


To change XP to different hardware, you have to run a Repair Install from the booted CD: Repair Windows XP - How to Perform a Repair Installation of Windows XP - Part 1 of 2

Do this while the Win7 HD is temporarily unplugged. After XP starts up, power down to plug Win7 HD back in, then tap the key given to enter BIOS setup and set Win7 HD as first HD to boot (after DVD drive).

Now start the computer and see that Win7 boots up correctly. Restart and tap the key given on first boot screen for one-time Boot Menu to test that XP will boot via BIOS.

You do not have to change the BIOS boot order in BIOS setup to boot XP but instead use the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key which every computer has - again, look on the first boot screen or in your Manual at the Support Downloads webpage for your computer model.

This BIOS-managed Dual Boot is cleaner and allows the HD's to come and go as you please, whereas a Windows-managed Dual Boot interlocks the HD's and makes them harder to remove.

If you decide after testing that you want the Windows-managed Dual Boot, then install EasyBCD 2.0 to Win7 and Add XP, accepting offered boot files, allow to autocomplete, Save, Restart.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Jul 2010   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit

Thanks, gregrocker - very helpful.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual Boot Windows 7 64-bit & XP Pro 32-bit

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