XP as a dual boot with Windows 10

Posted on 2016-07-20
Last Modified: 2016-11-22
Hello Experts.

What is the best path to install Windows XP as a dual boot with current Windows 10 or on separate disk
on the following new machine? How reliable is this for legacy games?

Dell XPS x8900-8756BLK Desktop (6th Generaton Intel Core i7) NVIDIA GTX 960
Intel Quad Core i7-6700K 4 GHz Processor
32 GB DDR4 RAM Included; 32 GB Maxium
2 TB HDD + 256 GB SSD Storage; Blu-ray and DVD/CD Combo Drive; 10 USB Ports
Windows 10 Operating System

The back end idea is to use XP for legacy games.

Thank you.
Question by:Bitlab
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Accepted Solution

garycase earned 252 total points
ID: 41722132
On a modern i7 your best approach to run XP is to use a virtual machine.

Download the free VMWare Player, then create a virtual machine and install XP in it.    On that hardware XP will "boot" very quickly (I'd expect < 15 seconds) and you'll be able to run legacy games with no problem.
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Expert Comment

ID: 41722133
VMWare Player is available here:

Note that it's free for personal use.

Assisted Solution

XcelogiX earned 62 total points
ID: 41722156
Windows 10 also includes the Hyper-V role. It might seem a little bit more complex than the VMware Player, as it is intended to be an enterprise-grade virtualization system, but it can take advantage of some of the hardware virtualization technologies built into the new processors.

That said, not all software--games especially--work well in virtual environments, especially if you have something that needs to interact directly with the graphics hardware. It really comes down to how "legacy" we're talking about--my idea of "legacy gaming" involves DOS or 16-bit Windows programs. It wouldn't hurt to try though, since you don't have to buy anything.

If the computer originally came with Windows 8 or newer, you probably won't be able to dual boot using your existing disk as it is probably using the GUID Partition Table (GPT) which Windows XP doesn't understand. Additionally, you may have UEFI, which will also complicate booting XP. In that case, if virtualization doesn't work out, it might be easier to use period appropriate hardware for running the legacy software.
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Assisted Solution

noxcho earned 62 total points
ID: 41722260
Your only chance is running the XP in virtual machine only. If you install it on physical hardware you would have various driver problems, OS is too old and the hardware is too new.
Thus have a look on Hyper-V VM imbuilt in Windows 10 or Vmware Player or Oracle Virtual Box. All free.
LVL 70

Expert Comment

ID: 41722282
VMWare Player also provides full hardware acceleration support for graphics and supports the hardware virtualization support of the processors as well (both vt-x and vt-d).     The VMs you create for it are also very portable => you can move them to any other hardware you want as you upgrade systems, as long as you have VMWare on that system.
LVL 88

Assisted Solution

rindi earned 62 total points
ID: 41722294
Hyper-V's integration services as far as I know only supports current OS's, and XP isn't current. So using VMware Player or Oracle's VirtualBox would be the better options in your case:
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Assisted Solution

by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 62 total points
ID: 41722962
I understand about VMware Player and that it is free, but I have a couple of XP machines on my Windows 10 computer and I use VMware Workstation. I think the value (network editor, unity mode in newer VMware versions, overall flexibility) more than compensates for the cost.

The machines will survive forever as virtual machines if you take care of them.
LVL 88

Expert Comment

ID: 41723008
Both VMware Workstation Player and VirtualBox have "unity mode" (in Virtualbox it is just called something else). Besides, if you need special network settings you can directly edit files, you don't need a special editor for that.

In my point of view just to run a simple XP VM for some old games a paid product is overkill, and as it is an obsolete, insecure OS you shouldn't have any network access at all. Actually even keeping XP just for some old games doesn't make much sense.
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Assisted Solution

garycase earned 252 total points
ID: 41723476
I use Workstation as well; but the free Player is fine for most purposes.    As rindi noted, Player supports Unity ... although if the goal is to simply play some legacy games I'd think simply running the VM in full screen mode is the preferable way to use it.

The only key feature missing from Player is snapshots => an absolutely compelling feature for me, but probably not critical for the use case noted here.    It's easy enough to backup a VM by simply shutting it down; and copying the current folder containing it to a backup location.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41726775
Thank you.

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