Dual Boot Windows 7 with XP/Vista in three easy steps

By on October 19, 2009, 4:51 AM
[Updated] Windows 7 has proved to be quite the drastic improvement over Vista, enough that it even has XP stragglers crawling out of the woodwork to check it out. Your chance to test drive the release candidate is now running thin, in fact, if you haven’t tried the new OS until now you are better off postponing your plans for a week and installing the real thing. The final version of Windows 7 has already been sent to partners and is scheduled to debut publicly later this week on October 22.


Even if you have pre-ordered Microsoft’s latest OS, installing it on top of your existing copy of Windows may feel a bit premature if you haven't been running the beta or RC as your main installation. Thankfully, setting up a dual boot configuration is both easy and practical. If you’re looking for a quick and dirty, yet thorough how-to on getting Windows 7 to run alongside your installation of XP or Vista, read on.

Read the complete how-to guide.




User Comments: 44

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guyver1 said:

How about a windows 7 & Linux dual boot feature?

For example, I intend to run win7 x64 and Ubuntu 9.10 x64 in a dual boot scenario but i want to use the windows 7 boot laoder and not grub. How do i got about doing that?

Do i simply install Ubuntu first and then Win7 so that Win7 takes over boot loading?

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Dual booting xp and win7 is really easy. I used gpart live cd to make a 25gig partition (btw, if you have a 500 gig hdd like I do, set this up to go, and go to bed. I didn't quite realize it would take about 5 hours to do. Should have thought of it, but I didn't).

Burn Win7 RC to a dvd, and installed it. Was very simple. Win7 even installed drivers for just about everything on my computer. It was very nice to to have to scramble around on another machine trying to find my ethernet driver like i always seem to end up doing when i do a clean install of xp.

As for your question guyver1, i have no idea, but i love your screen name!

Staff
Per Hansson Per Hansson, TS Server Guru, said:

There is also the possibility to resize the disk inside the Win7 installation, on the second screen press Shit + F10

This brings up the command prompt, in it you have access to microsofts command link "diskpart" tool, maybe not the most user friendly but it gets the job done...

Guest said:

I intend to run win7 x64 and Ubuntu 9.10 x64 in a dual boot scenario but i want to use the windows 7 boot laoder and not grub. How do i got about doing that?

Use EasyBCD, it's free... to make this possible set grub or lilo to load from the linux install partition or the Linux boot partition if you created one.

Guest said:

I don't think that the Windows boot loader can recognize a non Windows OS.

Grub should work fine. You can alter the grub boot sequence after you install Ubuntu if you want to boot Windows by default.

Guest said:

>I don't think that the Windows boot loader can recognize a non Windows OS.

Grub should work fine. You can alter the grub boot sequence after you install Ubuntu if you want to boot Windows by default.

I currently have 2 Ubuntu installs that I launch from the windows boot menu ... I used EasyBCD to set it up... I set the Linux boot info to the Linux partition so the when i install another window os I don't have to edit the BCD again (Linux is still available)...

Guest said:

>I don't think that the Windows boot loader can recognize a non Windows OS.

Grub should work fine. You can alter the grub boot sequence after you install Ubuntu if you want to boot Windows by default.

I currently have 2 Ubuntu installs that I launch from the windows boot menu ... I used EasyBCD to set it up... I set the Linux boot info to the Linux partition so the when i install another window os I don't have to edit the BCD again (Linux is still available)...

That's great. I'll give it a try. Sounds like the best way to use a multiboot system.

Is it possible to use easyBCD after both Windows and Linux are installed and Grub is the boot loader?

Guest said:

That's great. I'll give it a try. Sounds like the best way to use a multiboot system.

Is it possible to use easyBCD after both Windows and Linux are installed and Grub is the boot loader?

I just found the answer to my question. There is a 5 min YouTube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdjNfXZjRxs that gives a good introduction.

Guest said:

Once I am comfortable with Windows 7 (after having setup a dual boot XP and Windows7) what is the process of removing XP? What problems would i run into that I should be thinking about?

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

We have a removal guide for Windows 7 partitions (the idea was to remove a beta OS), but it can be applied to removing XP as well following the instructions as if you were running Vista:

[link]

Guest said:

If you dual boot Vista and W7, do you need a full version of the latter or can you do it with an upgrade version?

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

As far as I understand, Microsoft stipulates that you would need a full retail version for a dual boot setup. The reason is that when you purchase an upgrade license for Windows 7, it will deactivate the license key from the OS you are upgrading from.

Kadir said:

Used this. Amazing. Worked.

But I can't seem to create more than 30GB of space for the new partition, from my current Vista Partition.

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

windows 7

and that means what?

Crossbow said:

How about no partition?

I want to buy an ssd and load it with W7 and some games. Nothing else. Clean and fast. But I also need to work with information I already have on a hard drive (WD Raptor) with XP.

I don't want to partition the ssd and clutter it with files/photos/etc that are on the XP drive.

Can I make the XP disc my "D" drive on the W7? Would that keep the ssd and W7 clean and fast?

If not, is there any way to get the two different drives attached to the same computer/motherboard but in a dual boot configuration?

I own both the XP and the W7(pro) discs.

Thanks.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

You can install Windows 7 on the SSD as you would normally and boot off either drive independently. When you turn on your system, look to see if you can bring up a boot menu or select your boot device (it's generally just a button like F10 and then you're given a list of available drives).

If you don't have that option, you can manually adjust the boot order in your BIOS (again, look for a message about entering setup or something when you first turn on your PC).

You should be able to access the data on your XP drive from within Windows 7 without any configuration.

Crossbow said:

Hi Matthew:

Thanks for your prompt reply.

I'll be buying my ssd this weekend and installing it next week.

I will try your suggestions.

Crossbow

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Some of the images on page 1 do not appear, and I'm not seeing any of them on page 2 and 3. Tried in Opera 10.10 and IE 8.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

Should be fixed now, thanks for the note.

Guest said:

I kept getting the BSOD when trying to get my laptop running windows 7 to dual boot with XP. I ended up installing Sun's VirtualBox and using that to run XP as a VM. Works fine and was a bit cheaper to buy a copy of XP than it would have been to have purchased the upgrade to Window's Professional so that I could have used Windows 7 XP mode.

Guest said:

My Fujitsu notebook is currently set up as dual-boot, with Windows XP Home Edition (Korean) on the C-drive and Windows XP Professional (English) on the D-drive. I would like to install WIndows 7 (English) on the C-drive, and leave the English XP installation on D. (The C-drive is already the right size.) Do I need to format the C-drive, or will that happen automatically when I select that partition? Do I need the "upgrade" or "full" version of Windows 7?

JessicaD said:

Guest,

You can perform a clean install from a Windows 7 upgrade version however you will have to have a valid previous copy of Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Vista installed to validate the upgrade and activate the product key. Please note that when migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 you will not have an "in place upgrade" option. You will however have the option to select "custom" install when prompted. The Windows 7 install process will then copy all of your data in "My Documents" over to a Windows.old folder within Windows 7 itself. All applications and documents stored in other locations will have to be reinstalled / transferred manually.

For more information on the Windows 7 Upgrade, please go here: http://bit.ly/3DvynK

For additional assistance with the migration of Windows XP to Windows 7, please go here: http://tinyurl.com/mhbep4

Jessica

Microsoft Windows Client Team

Guest said:

Ok, I understand you need a full upgrade version to install a dual boot. However, say I have Windows Vista and I create a new partition, load an old Version of Windows XP I have on that new partition, can I then load the upgrade version with that? I have the upgrade version already but don't want to lose everything I have as some of my programs seem to not be compatible.

Guest said:

I have three Xps, one Vista Home Premium. All were working fine when I installed Windows 7. Now Win7 works fine, whereas Vista, takes ages to open, denies access to non-admin accounts, and for admin it accepts password but still no desktop. Ctrl+Alt+Del brings the task manager though but nothing else and I have to shut it down. Any ideas? I use Acronis Disk Director to carve out 2 partitions of 20 Mb each (though I put win7 on a different Primary partition whereas Xp, Vista are all on logical drives)

Guest

bigclick said:

Good to see this article revived. Dual booting is not for the everyday user though. I've come to the conclusion that's it's easier to buy a laptop with a bad display and network several computers. Actually, if a computer maker would produce a laptop sized form factor or laptop minus the display...I'd be interested. I don't care for the problems of dual booting but like saving desk space.

Guest said:

when i installed windows seven, my windows vista was "de-activated"...when i activated vista, windows seven "de-activated"...and it repeats...what can i do?

Guest said:

I regularly used and liked Acronis on my Vista 64 Ultimate. But after I installed a Win 7 amd 64 Ultimate, Acronis destroyed the boot sectors. There may be an update for Acronis; I haven't looked and won't try it. The WIN 7 INSTALL DISK WAS ABLE TO REPAIR THE BOOT SECTORS. gOOD LUCK!

maestromasada said:

Why dual-boot any more when you can use XP Mode or even better WMWare????

Guest said:

I've installed tri boot, xp, vista and win7. Now I want to remove vista. How do I remove vista leaving me dual boot xp and Win7?

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Should basically work the same as in the guide. Delete the Vista partition, reallocate the open space to another partition (or partitions) and if you have any troubles booting, run Windows 7's Startup Repair.

Guest said:

'You' still want to dual boot with XP because there are MANY games that run on XP but will not run on 7, even in an "XP compatibility mode". And there are some programs that people like myself use that will not work on 7.

DixHistory said:

Have retail Win7 installed can I also install retail win xp?

I just bought Windows 7 64 bit and did a clean install. I love it and the ease it installed. Most things work great but I have hardware that date to windows 95 that I managed to keep working up to and through XP service pack3. That includes my Epsen 740 printer and cheap ink as well as my USB scanner that has no Vista driver much less a Win7.

Since I have also have a retail XP version of windows, can I do right the oppsite and create a partion for XP with out messing up the Win7 that is installed on my computer now?

Then boot to win xp to do email using IE6 and outlook express. Pretty sure the scanner and printer should work if IE6 does.

Thanks in advance for your comments and thoughts.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

You could do the reverse (you'll probably have to repair your boot loader with the Windows 7 disc after installing XP). That said, you might be able to set things up in a virtual machine -- either with your license and VirtualBox or with Windows XP Mode (requires Windows 7 Professional or higher). Worth a shot, this way you don't have to reboot every time you want to use XP.

Guest said:

Thanks Matthew...I have the 64 bit home premium. I do have an Esata dock drive with a couple of hard drives all sata sitting around.

Would it be better to put win xp home on the notebook and then install Win 7 on the Esata or can that even be done?

Sevilho said:

Suppose I have dual boot XP and Win 7 configuration.

1. Will I see system XP partition as C: (as usial) in XP environment and system Win 7 partition as C: (as usial) in Win 7 environment ?

2. What letter wil have the adjacent system partition ? D:, E: ? May I change this letter to U: (for example).

Guest said:

Hi, I have a new laptop with Windows 7 Home Premium installed and wish to Run Windows XP as well to run a couple of programs that cannot run in Windows 7. I used this article "Dual Boot Windows 7 with XP/Vista in three easy steps" and Shrank my C: drive by 50 GB which gave me 48.83 GB of Unallocated space. All this went fine.

However, after the final stages of creating a "New Simple Volume" following the directions and leaving the maximum space defaulting in the "Simple volume size in MB:" box, assigning the Drive letter "E" (I renamed the DVD drive to "F", New Volume name (Windows XP), when I click "Finish" I get the following message:

"The operation you selected will convert the selected basic disk(s) to dynamic disk(s). If you convert the disk(s) to dynamic, you will not be able to start installed operating systems from any volume on the disk(s) (except the current boot volume). Are you sure you want to continue?" There is only a "Yes" & "No" button, no "Back" one.

The first time, I clicked "No" as I was not sure & went to do some more research. This left the 48.83 GB showing as Unallocated, so I went back and did it all again selecting "Yes" at the end. I then get the following message:

"There is not enough space available on the disk(s) to complete this operation."

So I have now tried several more times, each time selecting a smaller & smaller number of GB, right down to 30.00, (It actually shows in MB, so I put 30000), but still get the not enough space message. I have rebooted the computer to see if something changes, but cannot get it to give me the "Healthy Primary Partition" that it is supposed to.

Is there something I am missing, like maybe the Home Premium version doesn't do this or something. I might add, that the disk already has a partition as D: drive, it is the "Recover" drive & came like that, so looks to me like it should work. Thanks in anticipation of some help.

Katnko.

Guest said:

what is WMware please explain looks intersting!!

Guest said:

you cant run windows xp or any other OS in dynamic disk.

just press right click on unallocated space change the disc to "basic" instead of "dynamic".

and make sure it is primary partition.

and hopefully it will solve your problem.

Guest said:

can you please guide me through that commands??

i have xp installed in drive c(74.52 G) and i dont have any other partitions.

i want the commands for resizing the c.

and i m supposed to fromat the unallocated space through disk management

and then install win 7??rite?

Guest said:

Any thoughts as to any issues that may arise if running XP on raid10, and then installing dual boot to W7?

Ta.

Guest said:

pls i have win7 installed but i need window xp on another partition which i installed and disable window7 to boot how do i go about it

Guest said:

I have XP 64 in my computer, and when I installed w7 ultimate, I never had the chance to choose the SO to be launched at the boot.

I've installed 7 on a different HDD. When I boot my PC, XP launches automatically. When I choose manually to boot from the disk where W7 is installed, I receive a "disk error" and nothing happens so I need to reset.

But when I boot my PC with my W7 dvd into the drive, I get the chance to choose between W7 or the "previous version" launch (the Windows 7 boot choice window).

Any idea on why does this happen? W7 seems to have been correctly installed and it works fine when I boot with the DVD into the drive.

Thanks!

Please send any info regarding this to this direction: [email address removed]

Guest said:

I tried t do it and this is the 12th place I have looked for answers.I sttill cannot put my win 7 ultimate alongside win 7 home premium. Everytime I get to the custom part I try to put onto the disk H which is my new partition and it comes up with disk cannot be used error code 4. Any help I am wanting to use ultimate for the xp mode for games

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