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Install Windows XP on Dell Laptop with Windows 7 for dual boot

I want to install Windows XP in a separate partition for a dual boot configuration onto a Dell Laptop with Windows 7 preinstalled. Other posts suggest that to do this I must restore the Windows 7 boot sector after installing XP. Does anyone know if I can I use the Dell OS re-installation CD/DVD that comes with the machine to do this? I suppose another option is to repartition the drive, install XP, then reinstall Windows 7.  Could I do this with the Dell re-installation CD? Which method is better?    
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wildgolf
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wildgolf
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5 Solutions
 
tigermattCommented:

If the machine is anything like the Dells I have been working with recently, the reinstallation media contains a full, standard copy of the Windows 7 installation, rather than simply acting as some form of backup. I would always start with the oldest OS installed first during a dual-boot scenario; I've had problems getting Windows 7 to properly start after loading XP to another partition.

Partition the drive up, install XP first, then throw in your Dell reinstallation DVD and install Windows 7. This will give a clean, fresh install and should cause you minimal hassle.

-Matt
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wildgolfAuthor Commented:
Looks like a very complete tutorial and EasyBCD a great tool.  I'll try doing it as recommended. Not quite ready, but will try soon. Thanks for the help.
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younghvCommented:
I just ran 5 Dell Latitude D-830's through my workshop for a customer who wanted dual-booting XP/7.
Basically, I did exactly what tigermatt posted.
Formatted the HDD, created 2xOS partitions of 20GB each.
Loaded XP, then loaded Windows 7.

Something to note - all of the XP drivers had to be loaded manually ... NONE of the Windows 7 loads required any driver activity by me - a very cool thing.

The advice I have always followed for dual-booting is "Oldest OS gets loaded first".
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Agree that simply installing XP first, then Windows 7 will let you have a reliable dual-boot XP/7 system.

However ... just to toss in a bit of counterpoint ==>  this approach will result in several things that may not be entirely desirable ...

(a)  XP will by default destroy your Windows 7 restore points [this behavior can be fixed by hiding the Windows 7 partition(s) ];

(b)  the two OS's will be able to "see" each other -- which can result in undesired interaction by ill-behaved programs;   and

(c)  Windows 7 will likely create an extra 100MB partition that can complicate maintenance/booting if you ever want to modify the dual boot structure;


There's an easy way to eliminate all of these -- use a 3rd party boot manager that completely hides (not just as a "hidden partition" the other OS's.    As the other experts know, I prefer Boot-It NG for this [http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/bootit-next-generation.htm ].    If you install Boot-It NG (a $35 program), you can then completely isolate the two OS's from each other (and in fact can install as many other OS's as you may desire).    Windows 7 will also not create the 2nd 100MB partition as long as you first create a partition for '7;  then install it with only that partition visible to it (and no free space on the drive).    This makes it MUCH simpler to move '7 to another drive;  expand (or contract) the partition it's using; image the OS; restore from an image; etc.

If you use this approach, simply install Boot-It on the drive (to its own partition);  create a partition for XP; a partition for '7; and a partition for all your data (you'll want this partition to be "seen" by both OS's).     Then just install the OS's & you're done :-)    There are several tutorials you can watch on the Terabyte site, but if you need any assistance just ask.     http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/howto/index.htm

As an example of the "power" of this utility, here's the boot menu for my main system:


My-New-Boot-Menu-with-Win7.jpg
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BitsBytesandMoreCommented:
If you have Windows 7 Pro and above, I don't think you will need to bother with having to install a dual boot unless you have a compelling reason.
You may not be aware that Windows 7 comes with a new feature called XP Mode, which is basically XP running on Windows 7 seamlessly. It's fast and the nice thing about it is that all the applications that you have installed on XP Mode will run in Windows 7 transparently to the user (as if they were originally installed on Windows 7)...
You might want to take a look at the videos at the bottom of the page on this link..... they are very interesting.
When you buy Windows 7 Pro, you get to download a fully licensed copy of Windows XP to run in XP mode.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/default.aspx
 
Bits.
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younghvCommented:
@garycase - great advice and I didn't know the downfalls of doing it the way I did. Fortunately, I have time to get 5 more Boot-It NG licenses and do it right.
Thanks,
Vic
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Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Vic -- there's not really anything "wrong" with simply using the Windows boot manager for a simple dual boot setup, such as XP and '7   ==>  there are simply a few things to be aware of when you do it that way.    As long as you're aware of the potential pitfalls, it's fine.   I just like the total isolation you can get with Boot-It that completely eliminates those issues.

Personally, I can't imagine setting up a dual-boot system any other way -- although I did do it for one system a couple months ago so I'd know what folks were talking about r.e. the "extra" 100MB partition Windows 7 creates ... I had previously only installed it under the control of Boot-It and had thus never encountered the issue.    [Note that you don't actually have to use Boot-It to avoid that extra partition -- you simply have to install it to a pre-existing partition and not have any other unallocated space on the disk it can use ... in that case '7 will install to the single partition.]
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younghvCommented:
Gary  - OK - great comment.
I did 20GB each for the OS's and 80GB for data (three partitions on 120 GB HDD's) so there was no unallocated space left.
I think I'm safe on that.

Rather than (continue to) Hijack this Q, I'm going to post a separate one about some interesting peripherals ... watch for it.
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wildgolfAuthor Commented:
Thanks to all of you for your help.  I can't accurately grade the responses yet and won't be ready to implement any solution for a week or so, but you have all provided valuable information.  
Note to BitsBytesandMore:  I want a real dual boot setup for my business in Tech Support.  
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