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Windows XP forum: Installing dual-boot Windows-XP with Windows7 installed

by: yasinghMD November 14, 2010 10:53 AM PST

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Installing dual-boot Windows-XP with Windows7 installed

by yasinghMD - 11/14/10 10:53 AM

Installing Windows-XP on a computer without the Windows7 installation disks is, tricky. The drive letters are reassigned arbitrarily, whenever a new partition is created or other storage devices are attached. This makes the Windows7 un-bootable after a new set up. Restoring the image of Windows7 from an external drive reassigns the drive letters also.
Of course, you can repair it and ?recover? the windows7 but that is unsightly.

Each time I forget the hurdles I had faced with the last new computer.
Here are some notes for the future.

So far on each new computer we find a tiny hidden boot ?C? and a huge visible C with the OS and a small D containing recovery files. (The C is in fact ?D? because the ?real? C is the hidden 100MB boot partition.) This set up will use the hidden boot partition as a visible C partition for the Windows XP. Here are the steps that I can remember:

Important: Name each partition (below) to avoid confusion during their manipulation.
First: Make recovery disks and store an image of the hard drive on an external disk.
Shrink volume C - name it ?Win7?
Delete volume D (Recovery)
Reassign drive letters to the DVD drives as ?O? and ?P?
Reassign drive letters to the Card readers as U, V, W, X etc
Create a new volume of the free space - name it ?Backup?
Assign Drive letter ?E? to the ?Backup? partition
De-fragment 'C' (Win7) (there is no D at present)
Make an image of C - save it on E (Backup)
Note the size of these partitions before the next step
Use Windows-XP installation disk for the next step
Delete the earlier partitions except the last one (Backup)
Create a new 20GB partition for XP (C)
Create a new 60GB partition for Win7 (D)
Install XP on the 20GB (C)
Boot in XP and assign proper hardware drive letters again
Name Partition C as ?XP? and partition D as ?Win7?
Install Windows7 on D (using a trial version or any other installation disk)
Boot in each OS and be sure that the partition letters and the names match
Windows-XP will see ?Wn7? as D and windows7 will see ?XP? as D
Restore the Image of Windows7 from E (Backup) to D (Win7)
Be sure that the drive letter is not changed during the restore operation
(If it did - Win7 will need boot repair)
Boot in XP and delete the ?Backup? (E) partition
Boot in Windows7 and create new partition(s) of the free space
Save a new image of each partition

Here is a useful link for the HP laptops:

Finally: When replacing the hard drive, restoring the saved image of ?C? XP (boot partition for the Windows7) did not work and it needed Windows7 boot repair.
You will need to install a new set of XP as above.
Cloning the hard drive (Seagate Wizard) worked fine instead.

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