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Windows 7: Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

27 Aug 2013   #2020

Windows 7 Professional / Windows 8 Pro

I have to give credit / mention to Brink for this.

brilliant... worked a treat.

thank you.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Sep 2013   #2021

Win7 32bit

I've resolved my problem now. Since it's pretty much the same as your, you might want to try doing the following:
Open EasyBCD and make sure windows 7 is shown as the default booting OS, since it's installed on hard disc 0.

Now on the Edit Boot Menu, DELETE the boot entry for Windows XP if it exists.

On the BCD Deployment tab, click the Write MBR button.

Now go to the Add New Entry and select Windows NT\2K/XP/2K3 from the dropdown menu. Now, UNcheck the Auto Detect box, then select "D" drive (or which ever partition XP is installed on), from the Drive drop down menu, then click "Add Entry.

Next, go to "View Settings" to make sure the XP entry was added properly. Now Close EasyBCD and reboot the PC. Let us know if that corrected your dual-boot menu options.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2013   #2022

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, XP 32-bit

I am planning on setting up a dual boot with Windows XP 32-bit installed first on a 300GB SATA drive, with Windows 7 64-bit Pro installed next on a 256GB SSD drive. Windows XP will be used only to play old games that do not play nice with Windows 7, even in XP mode, while the majority of computing time will be in W7. I also am planning on having a RAID 0 set up with two Seagate Momentus XT hybrid drives to store very large image files (some more than a Gig) for use in Photoshop. I have two questions.

1: My case (Cosmos 2) has hot swap bays in front. I would like to install the XP on the 300 Gig drive while in one of the hot swap bays, and complete the dual boot installation of W7 on the internal SSD to free up a SATA port on the motherboard, leaving me the option to remove the XP drive from the bay during times that I am not playing any of the XP games. If I pull the XP drive out of the bay, will the system recognize the single Windows 7 installlation and simply boot into it (and by extension give me the dual boot option when I put the XP drive back into the bay)? Or will the system go into fits when I boot after pulling the XP drive out of the bay?

2. Since neither of the two drives striped by the RAID 0 have an operating system, can I load both operating systems on their own drives, re-boot into BIOS and do a hardware RAID on the hybrids, and be good to go in either operating system?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2013   #2023

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Perturbed, and welcome to Seven Forums.

For what you are wanting to do, I would recommend to remove all drives except the one you want to install XP on. This way it will have it's own separate boot manager.

This way you will have XP and Windows 7 installed basically like to separate installations on the same PC.

You will need to remove the OS drive that you do not want to run at startup before booting the PC though.

Yes, you will be able to set the RAID 0 that way later without having to remove them.

Hope this helps, :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Sep 2013   #2024
Microsoft MVP


To best accomplish what you want, keep all other HD's unplugged when installing each OS. This will make them independently booted via the BIOS. Set Win7 first HD to boot in BIOS setup, then when you want to boot XP trigger it at boot using the one-time BIOS Boot Menu key.

If this is not to your liking, install EasyBCD (click Download - no Name or Email required)
to Win7, add XP on Add OS Entry menu by name, type and let it autocomplete drive letter, Save and reboot to Dual Boot menu. By doing it this way, it will not write both OS's System Boot files to XP as when you install XP first and WIn7 second with both HD's plugged in, requiring surgery to remove XP. Either OS HD can come and go as you please.

Edit: Oops, Shawn beat me to it. Oh well you have two votes now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2013   #2025

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, XP 32-bit

Unplugging the SSD drive from the MB every time I wanted to run XP would be kind of a hassle.

As I understand Greg's first option, I unplug all hard drives except the one docked in the bay and install XP (I'd have to take an mSata out of the MB but I can do that). Then I undock the XP, plug in an SSD and install W7 separately. Reboot with both and in BIOS set W7 as the first boot drive, XP as the second. When I want to run XP, I reboot, hit F-something-or-other while BIOS is running and select the XP drive to boot.

As I understand Greg's second option (and maybe I don't), I first install Windows XP with all other drives unplugged as above, then plug in the SSD and do a dual boot installation of W7 second. I download EasyBCD and install it to W7 and add XP to the W7 Boot menu. Is this backwards, though? If W7 boot procedures are set for two operating systems, and the XP is not in the bay it won't see it. Shouldn't I set up XP to be the one giving me two options in a boot menu and W7 to only show one boot option?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2013   #2026
Microsoft MVP


As stated if the XP HD is left plugged in when installing Win7, the booted Win7 installer will write the Win7 SYstem boot files onto the XP partition so that XP boots both OS's, and Win7 HD cannot independently boot itself without surgery: marking 7 Active to run Startup Repair 3 times.

Avoid this by unplugging the newly-installed XP HD, install Win7 to it's HD, then try booting either via BIOS as preferred.

If that isn't to your liking, install EasyBCD to Win7, add XP so that Win7 will be only providing a Windows Dual Boot menu, but each OS will still have its own boot files so that either HD can boot itself, and come and go as you please.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2013   #2027

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit, XP 32-bit

". . . the booted Windows 7 installer will write the Windows 7 System boot files onto the XP partition so that XP boots both OS's, and Windows 7 HD cannot be removed without marking it Active to run Startup Repair 3 times."

Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'm fine with XP drive booting both operating systems and giving me a choice, because it's the XP drive that will come and go, and I'm not planning on ever removing the Windows 7 hard drive. Assuming that I install XP first, with the SSD drive upon which Windows 7 will be installed not yet in the MB, then the XP boot files won't be written onto the SSD during XP install. If I install Windows 7 onto the SSD drive with the XP drive still hooked up, I'm assuming that W7 installation will write its boot files to the XP drive, and will also transfer the XP boot files to the W7 partition to give me a dual boot option when W7 starts and when XP starts, so I should take the XP drive out during W7 install, also.

What happens after that is the question. I could always choose a boot drive during BIOS as stated by choice 1 above. Alternatively, it seems I can use EasyBCD to modify a boot procedure, but intuitively in that case, I would think that I should set BIOS up to have the XP drive be the first boot option and the W7 drive be the second, and have EasyBCD set up the XP drive to add a W7 boot option. If both drives are in, the XP drive will boot first, and give me an option for XP or W7. If the XP drive is out of the bay, BIOS will move to the W7 drive (the second boot drive in BIOS) and the W7 drive only has W7 boot files installed, so it boots straight into W7.

In any case, why do I have to leave other drives (besides the 300GB XP drive and the 256 SSD drive) unplugged while installing each OP? If I data drive or a game drive has boot files from both OPs installed, but is itself not a bootable drive, I would assume that they would be available regardless of which OP was booted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Sep 2013   #2028
Microsoft MVP


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by perturbed View Post
If I install Windows 7 onto the SSD drive with the XP drive still hooked up, I'm assuming that W7 installation will write its boot files to the XP drive, and will also transfer the XP boot files to the W7 partition to give me a dual boot option when W7 starts and when XP starts, so I should take the XP drive out during W7 install, also.
Why would you assume that? I told you that Win7 would write its System boot files onto the XP partition, nothing more.

The XP drive cannot come and go if it is booting both OS's. This is why each HD should have its own System Active Boot OS partition. This is achieved by unplugging the other HD during install.

The reason to not have any other drives plugged in except the one being installed upon is that if any drive is in a preceding slot with Primary partitions, particularly if marked Active, then the installer will write the System boot files to it. This is incorrect and a common mistake we see here regularly.

It is easiest to set the Win7 HD first to boot since most all users rely on it much more and abandon XP in time, often quickly.

If you don't like BIOS boot of your HD choice, install EasyBCD to Win7 to add XP which will give you a Windows Dual Boot menu at boot, and leave the System Boot files on each drive so they remain independently bootable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Nov 2013   #2029

Windows 7 Ultimate x64bit.

Guys you are my only hope to solve this (self inflicted) problem. I have checked various posts, tried few solutions but nothing works. About year ago, following this tutorial I had installed Win7 Ultimate along with already installed WinXP Pro and everything was working ok until I started messing up with disk managment. I must have set partition with Win 7 to active and of course could not longer boot with NTLDR is Missing error message. Being total moron instead of going for recovery I decided to format partition with Win XP and reinstall it.BIG MISTAKE. With great difficulties managed to install EasyBCD but on start up Windows boots straight into Windows XP. Did try various combination with EasyBCD only to get all sorts of non start errors -so far reinstalled XP 4 times and no luck. If anyone could pls help me to get back to dual boot so I can have Win7 running again.

Your help will be greatly appreciated
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

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