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Dual Boot Computer - Windows 7 and Windows XP

I am assisting a client with a new computer setup.  The software he uses runs in Windows XP and the developer says it will not run in Windows 7.  I am hoping it may run in XP Compatibility Mode but if not I will need to load XP on to the new system.  If this is the case I am thinking of making it Dual Boot.  My questions are:

Is there anything special I need to do when I install the program?

If I need to do a dual boot I have read that I need to install XP first then reinstall 7.  I found information where after shrinking the volume, creating a simple volume, installing XP on it you then create a boot loader.  Here is the link.  howtogeek.com  What do you think?

Is there any reason if I can't run the program in Win 7 that I only have the computer run XP, they want to replace their XP machine.  It is for a doctors office and they use limited applications.

If I need to install XP I am planning on using their license from their old machine then recycle their old computer.  Is there any problem with this since they already own the XP license?  It seems to me that XP is very forgiving and reinstallable on a new machine.
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Mags
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Mags
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12 Solutions
 
Run5kCommented:
I would hope that the application might still run effectively in WinXP compatibility mode.  However, if you do decide that creating a dual boot configuration is necessary, you shouldn't need to do anything special or extraordinary when you install the program within the Windows XP environment.

The tutorial you found on HowToGeek should work.  I prefer the one on SevenForums, as it seems to provide a bit more detail:

Windows 7 - Dual Boot Installation with Windows 7 and XP

As far as licenses are concerned, if the WinXP license is OEM it won't work on another machine.

That being said, keep in mind that if your clients are using Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise, they are entitled to a Windows XP Mode license that may help solve all of your problems:

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/8247-windows-xp-mode-install-setup.html

http://blogs.technet.com/b/windows_vpc/archive/2009/08/27/three-modes-of-windows-xp-mode.aspx
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
For dual boot always install the older system first.

If it's a retail license you're moving then no problem, but as Run5K says if it's an OEM version no.

See:
Can I transfer my OEM version of Windows to another PC?
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garycaseCommented:
Simply install Windows 7 Professional (or Ultimate) and use the free XP Mode virtual machine.    It is very nicely integrated with the '7 interface, so it's not even obvious (from the interface perspective) that it's not running natively in '7  (If the VM isn't running, there's a small delay while the virtual machine "boots" -- but that process is visually hidden).

There's no real reason for the application you've noted that you couldn't just install XP alone -- but be sure there are XP drivers for all of the hardware.     This will, of course, be a problem for a dual boot system as well -- but not for an XP Mode virtual machine.
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Jim-RCommented:
If it turns out a separate XP install is required, some motherboards have a disk boot selection menu that pops up with a F8 hot key at startup.  

You could install the XP independently on a completely different hard drive and the user could choose what disk to boot at startup.  If the hot key isn't pressed, of course the default drive (as selected in BIOS) set to boot from starts.  If you change your mind about starting from the other drive, you just hit escape and the default drive boots.  If you change your mind about which OS you want to start, you just change what is default in BIOS.

This effectively isolates the two OS's making them totally independent of one another unlike the traditional boot menu that requires both disks be present and healthy for the system to boot.

Just a thought.

 images
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Danny ChildIT ManagerCommented:
One point to mention about either dual booting or virtualised XP Mode is that you then have 2 OSs to patch and secure (and buy software licences for), so it's good to go with your first thought and try the XP Compatibility Mode if it will work.  However, bearing in mind the developers' comments, it's unlikely...

It's a small risk that anything can break out of the virtualised environment, but damage could still be done within it.  

Also you may want to remind the client that XP Support is due to end in 2014 from MS, which could well be within the lifespan of this PC, so they may need to evaluate alternative packages.  
http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/?LN=en-gb&C2=1173
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SteveCommented:
Hi MagsMcKinley14,

There's some good advice so far but to deal with your specific questions:

•Is there anything special I need to do when I install the program?
Without knowing about the program itself we cannot give a definitive answer. In general is should install as normal, but take note of the location suggested for the installation. A dual boot system can cause some confusion as the 'default' location may be on the wrong HDD or in a folder for the other OS.


•If I need to do a dual boot I have read that I need to install XP first then reinstall 7.  I found information where after shrinking the volume, creating a simple volume, installing XP on it you then create a boot loader.  Here is the link.  howtogeek.com  What do you think?
That's about right. XP cannot install over windows 7 so XP needs to go on first. A number of good guides have been posted by the experts above so you have several optoions.
In general, its easier if you can partition your HDD to allow each OS to have its own drive. Physically seperate HDDs would be better but partitions would do if you are stuck.

If you want to avoid wiping the existing windows 7 install, you can install specially designed boot loader software that allows the PC to boot to multiple OSs. This allows you to install the OSs in any order, as the different OSs are not aware of each other.


•Is there any reason if I can't run the program in Win 7 that I only have the computer run XP, they want to replace their XP machine.  It is for a doctors office and they use limited applications.
Again, without knowing about the software we cannot be sure, but many older software titles dont work on vista/windows 7 as the design and layout of some important files are different, particularly if its x64.
Many newer PCs can be wiped and you could install XP on it.
You may find some hardware isnt compatible with XP so some devices may not work. Also, XP is being phased out so at some point you'll have to update to a new OS, as updates and support wont last forever.


•If I need to install XP I am planning on using their license from their old machine then recycle their old computer.  Is there any problem with this since they already own the XP license?  It seems to me that XP is very forgiving and reinstallable on a new machine.
If the license came with the PC (windows license sticker on it) then the license is only officially usable on that PC.
If the licnese was a retail purchase (windows license is stuck on a WIndows XP box or CD case) then it is probably ok to use on another PC.
In either case, the license is only valid for ONE pc. If you use the license elsewhere the original PC will not longer have a valid XP license.

Before wading into dual boot, i would double check the XP mode that is included with many versoions of WINdows 7. This runs a 'virtual' XP pc within the windows 7 system and is much easier to configure and maintain.
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garycaseCommented:
As I noted above, the XP Mode virtual machine is by far the most transparent way to resolve this, as the user interface remains the Windows 7 UI ... it simply runs within the XP virtual machine "in the background".     XP compatibility mode would be even better -- but you've already noted you're going to try that first.

If you must use a dedicated hardware boot for XP, I'd recommend a good 3rd party boot manager like Boot-It BM that completely isolates the two OS's.    Using two different disks (as suggested above) is a reasonable degree of isolation (better than the XP or '7 managers), but the OS's can still "see" each other;   with Boot-It they're completely isolated and do can't even "see" each other.    They can be on the same disk, or different disks -- doesn't matter.     For example, my main system has 8 different bootable OS's (all on the same physical disk).   I'll attach the boot menu so you can see how simple it is at boot time to choose the OS.


My-New-Boot-Menu-with-Win7.jpg
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Okay...I met with my client and the Office software they use (Chiropractic specific) was written for a 32 bit system.  If compatability mode does not work will it work in a XP Virtual environment that is part of a 64 bit system?

Fortunately, her XP is not OEM so I should be able to install it on her Win 7 system if needed, correct?  We would then recycle that computer, may even use the HD for a backup drive!
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garycaseCommented:
The XP virtual environment in XP Mode is a 32-bit system.

Note that MANY programs that people think  "won't run in Windows 7"  actually will run in Windows 7 32-bit ==> you may want to install the 32-bit version of '7 to try that.
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noxchoCommented:
And your Win 7 hardware should have enough resources to run XP Mode.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
>>Fortunately, her XP is not OEM so I should be able to install it on her Win 7 system if needed, correct?

Yes, you can install it wherever you want if it's retail as long as you remove other installations.

Is the incompatibility anything newer than XP as an operating system or just the 64 bit environment?
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Running Compatabily mode in Win 7 Home did not work.  Wish me luck...My client has Windows 7 Home but I have a copy of Premium.  I will follow Run5k: instructions to download and run Windows XP Mode after installing Win 7 Premium.  Making recovery disks now of the original system.
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☠ MASQ ☠Commented:
Premium doesn't include XP Mode, you'll need Pro, Enterprise or Ultimate installed.
Otherwise you could use Virtual PC but you'll need a retail license for XP.
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garycaseCommented:
Did you try it on a Win7 x32 system?   As I noted earlier, I've found MANY programs that "won't run in Windows 7" that actually won't run in an x64 system, but run just fine on an x32 system.
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
MASQUERAID: Sorry...I meant Professional.

garycase: No I haven't tried it on a 32bit system...I will...Thanks!
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Ok...I'm back...I can't test the software on my Win 7 32 bit computer, computer is not recognizing my DVD drive (will work on that later)  

Microsoft says that I can move from a 64-bit version of Windows to a 32-bit version of Windows 7 by choosing the Custom option during Windows 7 installation.  Do you agree?

If so can I use the recovery partition on the HP Desktop?  Will it allow me to do a custom install and choose the 32 bit version?
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garycaseCommented:
The recovery partition on your system will restore the OS as it was delivered from the factory -- you can't change it (i.e. from 64 to 32 bits).

If you have a retail DVD you can choose whether to install the 32 or 64 bit version;   if you're using an OEM copy, it will be either 32 or 64 bits -- but not both.

Since you have an x32 system, the best way to test whether the software will work on it is to replace your defective DVD drive -- or use an external unit.
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Ok...I am repairing my 32 bit system to test the software.

In the mean time...if the software runs would your suggest turning his 64 bit Win 7 Home machine into a 32 bit Win Home machine or upgrade his 64 bit system to Professional and running XP Mode virtual machine?
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garycaseCommented:
If it runs in Win7 x32 I'd simply reload the system with the x32 version of '7

Running natively on the machine is always better than a virtualized environment.
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
The software runs in Vista 32 bit so it should run in Win 7 32 bit, correct?

If I load Win 7 32 bit I will lose all software that came with the computer.  So for example: can I copy the Microsoft Office Program to work after I reinstall Win 7 32 bit or do all such programs need to me installed from a disk?

Plus all other programs and drivers would need to be reinstalled...would this be reason enough to upgrade his 64 bit system to Professional and run XP Mode virtual machine?  How transparently will it run?  Will only run when opening the 32 bit software?  Any other thoughts?

Thanks for your help!
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garycaseCommented:
If it runs in x32 Vista, it's VERY likely it will run fine in x32 '7 => but of course the only way to absolutely confirm that is to try it.

If you load Win 7 32-bit you will indeed have to fully reload the PC ... e.g. installing Office from the original media, etc.    There IS a way to avoid that -- you can buy a copy of PCMover Pro and "move" the programs from the x64 install to the x32 install via an external disk.    But it's better to simply reload everything if you have the installation media.

Since their primary software only runs in a 32-bit OS, I'd definitely do the reload.    But if for some reason you can't, it should run fine in XP Mode under Windows 7 Pro.    But bear in mind that you'll then have two OS's to maintain with updates;  ensure they have current antivirus/antimalware protection; etc.  (the XP Mode PC is effectively just another PC that runs "within" the Windows 7 host -- it needs its own antivirus;  has its own updates; etc. ... just like any other XP machine)

This whole questions ia a good example of why you should always consider what SOFTWARE needs to be run before specifying hardware and an OS.
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Sorry for the delay.  Just got back in town from my cousins funeral.

I agree, my client had already bought the computer.

PCMover looks very helpful.  Is there any reason I couldn't use the Home edition rather than the Pro?  The only actiion I may need in Professional is "Restore old PC Image to new Operating System...or maybe I will not use that feature at all.  Suggestion?

Thanks!
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garycaseCommented:
The most significant feature PC Mover Pro provides over Home is the ability to choose which applications to move => Home just moves everything (with no choice on your part).

I think that feature alone is worth the price difference.

Note that with either version, since you'll be "moving" from the same PC to itself, you'll have to first do the "move" with an external drive as the transition media; then reload the system; and finally complete the "move" back to the system (with the new OS).
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
That's my understanding as well.

I figured that since it is a new system, with very little baggage, it wouldn't be as necessary to choose which applications move over or not.

With that being said, it doesn't seem that I would be using the feature of moving, or restoring, an old PC Image to a new Operating System.  Correct?

Thanks for taking the time with me...this looks like a very useful program that I can see using in the future.  Saving me a ton of time and my clients money.
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garycaseCommented:
It certainly seems like it will do what you want -- the only version I've ever used in the Pro version, so I can't confirm whether or not there's anything else "missing" that might be useful.   I HAVE read some negative reviews of the Home version -- but as I recall they were all complaining about the lack of selectivity (which is clearly stated in the comparison chart).
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
I'm trying...decided on the home version.  Their servers must be down, get this message

Error:

We're sorry, but we are experiencing technical difficulties, and are unable to process your registration at this time. The system will be available shortly. Thank you for your patience.


Have not received my email with registration information yet so I can't download.  I'll keep you posted.
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Jim-RCommented:
Off topic.  Someone here is a "Justified" fan?  Me too.
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MagsOwnerAuthor Commented:
Thank you everyone...especially garycase.  Thanks for sticking with me and answering all my questions!  Installed a copy of Win 7 Professional 32 bit, used PC Mover to move all the software that came with the new machine and everything seems to be working fine...did not have to use the Virtual PC from Professional, the 32 bit did the trick in running the software.
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