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Windows 7: Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

28 Oct 2011   #1560

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Tzar, and welcome to Seven Forums.

While in Windows 7, the tutorial below should be able to help you set the default OS to run at startup to be XP.

Default Operating System - Change Default Boot OS

Hope this helps,

My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #1561

XP and Win7

Thank you
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Oct 2011   #1562

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

You're most welcome Tzar. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #1563

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit


I've read through the posts (well, quickly that is!) and wondered if someone can confirm my understanding and to answer some questions.

I got 2 hard drives which I want to install XP and Win 7. I want to dual boot into them but most importantly, I want them to be completely independent of each other and in effect one can't see the other as an OS.

From what I read, the cleanest method to keep each OS completely separate and independent of each other is to install each OS on a separate hard drive. However, each install must be done with only one hard drive connected at a time. So, XP is installed with the Win 7 drive disconnected. This is followed by the Win 7 install with the XP drive disconnected. When both OS have been installed on their separate hard drives, connect both up and power on the PC. I then need to use the one time Boot menu to select which drive to boot into. If this is not done, the default drive as selected in the Bios is booted into. There is no need to use Easy BCD.

Do I still need to worry about the registry update as mentioned in the guide - the one where XP deletes the restore points on Win 7?

I also read about slipstream Sata drives and .Net Framwork being mentioned. Does this also need to be done? My XP drive is IDE and my Win 7 is Sata.

Using the method above, will each OS see the other as purely a normal partition and therefore not interfere with the other at all?

Is there anything else that needs to be done to keep each OS completely independent and separate from each other or is this all that is needed to be done?

Within each hard drive, I'll also be creating partitions. These partitions will contain data files like Word, Excel, text files, jpegs, mpegs etc. Can XP open Win 7 data files (and vice versa) without affecting the file that's been opened? For example, if I open a jpeg or a video file placed by XP and then boot into Win 7 and open the same files, could I corrupt the XP files (and vice versa)? I'm just wondering if each OS might update hidden attributes in a different way or indeed if I edit files, the edit is saved in a different way.

Thanks in advance!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Nov 2011   #1564
Microsoft MVP


Hi Staffy -

No you dont' need to worry about any interference when you boot independently, which procedure and benefits you seem to understand just fine.

It's entirely possible XP will see the IDE drive especially if it has SP3. If not slipstream the drivers into XP ISO if you don't have a floppy drive to insert them at F6 prompt.

As long as the programs you use to edit mutual files are compatible with the OS then you should have no problems editing files in either OS. You can even make one data partition to share files with both OS's.

Most important is to get a perfect install of each OS, by adapting these tips for WIn7: Reinstalling Windows 7

The drives will relate to each other as data drives only. The boot files will remain on each OS instead of one updating the other which is how interference can happen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #1565

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Hi gregrocker,

Thanks very much for your quick reply :)

My XP (SP3) is actually on my IDE drive and works fine so does this means I don't need to worry about slipstream drivers I've read about? Howabout the .Net Framework updates that other people have mentioned? My Win 7 install will be on the Sata drive.

Indeed, I will have a couple of partitions to share files between the 2 OS so its good to know that the files can be shared without corruption :)

Also thanks for the link. I'll take a proper read later but I didn't realise there was extra consideration for installing Win 7. Glad you pointed this out.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #1566
Microsoft MVP


If you already have XP installed then there are no worries, and then only to provide SATA drives for SATA HD if installing it fresh.

Net Framework 2 is needed only to use EasyBCD to knit the two OS"s together into a Windows-managed Dual Boot which you've wisely decided against, since they interlock the HD's making one harder to remove without surgery.

Win7 goes in easily enough without the steps I gave but they are to get it perfect, based on thousands of installs done here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2011   #1567

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Nice one. Thanks for your help gregrocker! I read your advice to other people about installing the OS on 2 separate drives and then dual boot via the one time boot menu. It sounded like the best way for me and decided to go with your suggestion :) I just need to find the time now to do it!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2011   #1568

Mac OS X LION 10.7.2
Dual boot to many drives PROBLEM

I've got dual booted Win 7 and Win XP but I've got 4 instead of 2 drive partitions. How is it possible that I have "System reserverd" partition shown and declared as "C" and one partition which can't be accessed. This happen when Win XP loads. The C is System reserved, D is Win 7, E is Win XP, and F can't be accessed.

In Win 7 C is Win 7, E can't be accessed, F is Win XP and G is System reserved

Could someone tell me what happend? Iv'got many experiance and working on Hackintosh development but this is little crazy situation.

And when installing XP, then Win 7, everithing works like a charm.

Thank you in advance!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Nov 2011   #1569
Microsoft MVP


Please post back a screenshot of your maximized Disk management drive map and listings showing all columns, using the SNipping TOol in Start Menu. We can help you sort what's happened.

When installing in order of age, the newer OS correctly configures a Dual Boot, whereas XP when installed last doesn't know what it's doing with the newer OS, steals the boot requiring adding Win7 with EasyBCD, or starting Win7 to add XP easier.

SysReserved should NOT have a drive letter in Win7. Other than that is your problem that XP is not Seen from Win7? This might be solved by installing EasyBCD to 7, deleting the XP entry then Adding it back again, since Easy works better from Win7 and won't allow XP to letter SysReserved if XP is not already corrupted somehow.

But let us see the picture first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

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