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Install Windows XP in Dual Boot with Pre-Installed Windows 7

Install Windows XP in Dual Boot with Pre-Installed Windows 7

Postby Grav!ty » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:03 am

Install Windows XP in Dual Boot with Pre-Installed Windows 7

This is a preliminary guide based on pre-Beta and Beta builds of Windows 7. It is expected that the features of Windows 7 used and taken into account in this guide will carry forward to the final RTM release. How the various OEM system builders like Dell, HP and others deal with these features is as yet an unknown.


Another very important consideration is the availability of Windows XP device drivers. Check that Windows XP drivers for your system are available from the manufacturer of your system or from the motherboard manufacturer BEFORE attempting to install Windows XP. In particular, if you are using an SATA drive, make sure that you have Windows XP SATA Controller drivers available as they may be necessary for Windows XP setup to be able to "see" the partition on which you intend to install it. This is an important step especially with new Laptop and Notebook systems as well as OEM Desktop systems from manufacturers like Dell, HP and Gateway.

Prepare your system

Windows 7 creates a small "hidden" System partition on which it places the boot system files, bootmgr and the folder Boot. Windows XP needs to have access to that partition so that it too can place it's boot system files there. They are ntldr, boot.ini and NTDETECT.COM.

1. Assign a Drive Letter to the System Partition

Go to Disk Management in Windows 7 by right clicking Computer and select Manage and then Disk Management. Right click the drive tagged (System). It won't have a drive letter allocated, so that's the first thing you need to do so that it's visible to Windows XP setup . Allocate a drive letter by selecting "Change Drive Letter and Paths..." and then click Add and assign the first drive letter offered in the dialogue box that opens.

2. Create a Partition on which to install Windows XP

Unless you have a second hard drive on which to install Windows XP, you will need to create a partition on which to install it. You can achieve this by "shrinking" the Windows 7 partition. This will leave you with "unallocated" space on your hard drive and it's recommended that you do not actually create a partition or format it from within Windows 7 as Windows XP uses an earlier version of the file system NTFS.

Still in Disk Management, right click the large Windows 7 installation partition and select "Shrink Volume". After disk management has finished querying the available shrink space, a dialogue box will open where you need to insert the amount of space you want to shrink the partition by. Click on Shrink when you've decided how much space you want available for Windows XP.

Care and some judgment needs to be exercised here as selecting the offered default WILL result in inadequate space being left available for the use of Windows 7.

You will now be left with unallocated space at the end of your drive. As previously mentioned, it's recommended that you do not create a partition or format it from Windows 7. That is best done using Windows XP setup so that the fully compatible Windows XP NTFS file system is applied to the partition.

Shrink Windows 7 Volume..Insert Space Required for XP.. Unallocated Space

You have now completed preparation for the installation of Windows XP.

Install Windows XP

Insert your Windows XP setup disc, restart your system and boot to your XP CD to install Windows XP. When you get to the setup screen where the drives/partitions are listed, select the unpartitioned space you created in Windows 7 and create a partition by pressing C on the keyboard. Once the partition is created, press Enter to install XP on that partition and then format the partition. A quick format is fine. Here are some screenshots to guide you if you are unfamiliar with the process:

Set Up XP on Selected Partition..Format the XP Partition

Create a Dual Boot Menu using DualBootPRO

Once you have completed the installation of Windows XP you will have temporarily lost your ability to boot into Windows 7. You will now need to restore a dual boot to both Windows 7 and Windows XP.

It is recommended that you install all device drivers in Windows XP or at the very least, the Chipset drivers for your motherboard. After that is done, download and install DualBootPRO and be sure to follow the prompts to install the applications Prerequisites, .Net Framework 2.00 or higher, as DualBootPRO will not run without it.

Open DualBootPRO, ignore the prompt to backup your BCD. Go to the System Bootloader tab, select "Windows Vista or Windows 7 Bootloader" in the first section and "All Drives" in the second section and then click Install Bootloader . Next, go to the Diagnostics item on the menu bar and select "Run Diagnostics". DualBootPRO will default back to the Manage OS Entries page and you will see that you now have entries there for "Windows 7" as well as "Earlier version of Windows". Change the name of the Windows XP entry using DualBootPRO if you wish. Restart your system and select the operating system you would like to boot to.

Install the Windows 7 Bootloader....The Windows 7 Dual Boot Menu

Alternative Method to Create a Dual Boot Menu

After installing Windows XP you will have temporarily have lost the ability to boot to Windows 7. Here's an alternative method to restore your dual boot.

1. From Windows XP, open My Computer and go to Tools>Folder Options>View. Check the check box for "Show hidden files and folders", and un-check "Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)".

2. From My Computer, open the System partition. It should be drive C:\

3. Select and copy the Windows XP boot system files ntldr, boot.ini and NTDETECT.COM

4. Open the XP installation partition and paste those three files to the root of the partition.

5. Install and open DualBootPRO and go to the Manage OS Entries page. Check Add New OS Entry, give your Windows XP entry a name such as Windows XP, select Windows Legacy from the drop down menu and allocate the drive letter as seen from My Computer. Click on Apply Updates

6. Now go to the System Bootloader page of DualBootPRO and select to install the Windows 7 Bootloader>All Drives>Install Bootloader.

7. Reboot and test each of the boot menu items to make sure they are good.

Change Folder Options...Copy XP Boot Files..........Paste to XP Partition

Add a Legacy Entry...........Install Windows 7 Bootloader
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