Windows

Video: Dual-boot Windows XP and Windows 7

Bill Detwiler explains how to create a dual-boot system that runs both Windows XP and Windows 7, using EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition.

If you're a Windows XP holdout who's curious about Windows 7 but still cautious about jumping into a new OS, today's tip is just for you. In this week's TR Dojo episode, I show you how to create dual-boot system that runs both Windows XP and Windows 7.

For those of you who prefer text to video, you can click the Transcript link that appears below the video player window or read Greg Shultz's article, "Create a Windows XP and 7 dual-boot system staged for an easy migration," on which this episode is based.

You can download EASEUS Partition Master Home Edition from TechRepublic's Software Directory. In next week's video, I'll cover how to remove the Windows XP installation once you've decided to stick with Windows 7.

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

83 comments
harryxebec
harryxebec

Who is stupid enough to install let alone insist that readers use that Flash crap? Bill Detwiler is just another moron.

digitrog
digitrog

BILL, I hate to burn your toast on this one ... BUT have you checked the Licensing on the WIN7 regarding DUAL booting ? Apparently, there is a clause regards the Win7, once it is installed, technically you aren't allowed to install another older OS on the same machine to which WIN7 has been installed! [even though they give all the detail on how to dual boot ?!?!?] Some rather obscure amendment from M$ - either an oversight, or a blatant way to impose only the using of their new OS! Technically, even if you do a dual boot with Win7[x32] and also Win7[x64] the 32bit version becomes invalidated [ even though all the versions of Win7 can be found on the same install disk! ] a very inconsistent and technically unenforceable contract ... it started as a warped amendment to upgrades , but seems to have got carried further into the full versions ...

thehawk74
thehawk74

Remember that a dual boot like this mean to own 1 xp license and 1 Seven license. Consider also that in Windows 7 you can execute for free a virtual xp machine, this is called 'XP mode'.

alinder
alinder

Quibble RE the video itself: Am I the only person who noticed this? Please tell the editor (I see from the end credits that it was Sonja Thompson) that the opening title for this video should be "Dual-boot Windows XP and Windows 7" not "Install Windows 7 from a USB flash drive." That was the title of last week's video (whoops!).

AiR_GuNNeR
AiR_GuNNeR

Whenever you boot into the XP operating system, all of your Windows 7 restore points will be deleted. My understanding is this is because XP does not recognize the new Win7 restore file structure, thinking it is invalid, they are deleted.

mike
mike

What size would you recommend for the Win 7 partition if you intend to use it only for the OS and will install all of your apps on a different partition?

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

I've been dual booting between XP 32-bit and Vista 64-bit on for 9 months already. I have XP on the first partition, Vista on the 2nd and My Docs from both are on the third [they share the same folder]. Ain't hard. There is a little quirk though. When XP is installed on a system with Vista or Win 7, they will fight each other regarding the System Restore points - one zapping the other. There is a KB regarding this. Still planning on doing a XP/Win7 dual boot with Win7 being 64-bit. XP still needed as Palm hasn't released 64-bit drivers for the older PDAs [but not the only reason].

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I create a partition on my hard drive and install MojoPAC into a folder there.I can be on the Internet without a single worry.If computer page freezing problems occur,I delete the partition,make a new one,and reinstall.The computer doesn't crash.The host OS remains untouched.It's virtual BIG.The Folder will even copy to a CD and you can copy/paste to the drive.It yells at you a bit but it works.(For the Internet choose favorites and MSN.You can browse for your home page then save it.Also the host-switch will allow you to copy/paste files from your host to the desktop folder in Mojo on the partition.)

Aliskov
Aliskov

Hey man.. Great post, it'll probably help out those who have no idea what a mouse and a keyboard is used for. However, I just wanted to mention that speaking of the fact that "we now have better software" you should probably consider upgrading your desktop recorder for 2 simple reasons: quality would be so much better; and you get to actually point at the stuff you're talking about, rather than have your viewers trying to find it somewhere on the screen. Other than that.. keep up the great work ..

JimDeVico
JimDeVico

I've never been a fan of dual booting. I just downloaded the free VMWare tools and converted my Vista machine to a VM. I also created an XP VM. Then I did a fresh install of 7. Now I can run my Vista & XP VM's from within 7.

glnz
glnz

Mr. Detwiller - VERY interesting. Question: My existing PC (a Dell Optiplex 755 running WinXPPro SP3) has only a single partition -- if I re-install XP, that would normally wipe out everything, which I wish to avoid. Instead, could I use EaseUS Partition Master Home Edition to create a new partition and then do a fresh install of XP into the new partition so that my original partition is untouched and can still be used? The idea would be to have TWO separate installs of WinXPPro - I would use the new install on the new partition to see whether the fresh install solves a problem I'm having with Wake on Ring. If it works, I could gradually move everything over and eventually delete the original XP, yes? Thanks!

domiles
domiles

What a lot of work! I run XP, Vista and Win 7 all on the same computer, three hard drives and the f8 key is much the quickest way to do this. You can partition if you want but at the price of hard drives these days why bother? I had XP pro 64 bit on a hard drive and Installed Win 7 6 bit through it on a new hard drive. Every thing worked fine. The one program I needed from the XP set up works from Win 7 or XP. Then I removed the hard drive from my inherited machine with Vista 32 bit, plugged and screwed it in, used the f8 key and booted from it just fine. Again I can run programs from it, from the xp drive and Win 7 as needed. I will say that things go more smoothly now that all are SATA drives, but that is the mother board not the OS. Why bother? there are several programs on the Vista disk I do not have the installation programs for and need at least 5 times a week and one Photo editing program that will not run on a 64 bit machine but will run in the Vista 32 bit OS since I use it nearly every day I am very happy, need to only have 1 desk top and no need to roll all over the room to different computers, copy stuff to flash drives and download it to another computer. I had to take ownership of lots of files, a bit time consuming but I would have had to do that if I only had one OS any way, as I learned with Vista. Some times we forget to keep it simple. I am old, ill and by nature a lazy person so the KISS principle prevails in my life!

luiant1
luiant1

Hmmm. Does Windows 7 has any uninstall option if I don't like it?

Roc Riz
Roc Riz

With Snow Leopard, you can dual boot to Windows with Boot Camp. It's easy and intuitive. Grub works for me on Linux/Windows, though I have been using Virtual Box and have forgotten about the dual boot, and just boot up a lean host, and load the bloated guests up in VMs.

thisisfutile
thisisfutile

I too am a frugal, IT manager that doesn't own a smart phone. I thought I was THE only one! :-)

lg
lg

"Easeus Partition Master Home Edition" does not seem to run on a 64 bit system though...

neo.dcm
neo.dcm

whats the big deal in that? i was using xp + vista earlier. i think we can use xp + 7 in the same way,right?

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

If there is a Linux distribution on the system, your best bet today for dual or multi-booting is Grub. Many distros will recognize existing OSs during setup and put them into the menu. If not, or if you add another OS later, most of the Grub GUIs make it easy to modify the menu. Or, just edit the menu.lst text file. If you don't mind setting up a tiny primary partition for DOS, the old Boot Magic program from PowerQuest continues to work well for multi-boot. XP's boot.ini file is easy to modify for multi-boot, but the BCD store in Vista and Win7 is such a pain to work with, I leave it alone and use an alternative.

jpmello
jpmello

I tried this and the partitioning program choked. It wouldn't partition my hard drive. It gave me an unknown error. I also tried partitioning the drive with Partition Magic 7 and it choked, too. CHKDSK didn't find any errors on the hard drive so I guess there must be gremlins in my machine.

Neil Colthorpe
Neil Colthorpe

Because to get to the XP mode of Windows 7 you'd have to erase the drive and install Windows 7

JCitizen
JCitizen

At least that is what I keep reading in the It news. I've been running all but a few of my favorite XP 32bit programs on Vista x64. However, when you get to a few of the powerful security programs like Snoopfree Privacy Shield, you will run out of luck!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

The following clause is found in the Microsoft Software License Terms for Windows 7 Professional: 15. UPGRADES. To use upgrade software, you must first be licensed for the software that is eligible for the upgrade. Upon upgrade, this agreement takes the place of the agreement for the software you upgraded from. After you upgrade, you may no longer use the software you upgraded from. A similar section can also be found in the Windows XP SP2 EULA: 8. UPGRADES. To use Software identified as an upgrade, you must first be licensed for the software identified by Microsoft as eligible for the upgrade. After upgrading, you may no longer use the software that formed the basis for your upgrade eligibility. The bottom line: If you're dual booting, you'll need a full license for both copies of the software.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Hey! Thats a nice Steyr rig you got there! That looks like a HELL of a windage wheel on that scope! What kind of a compensation is need for such a rocket pel gun!! Does it have the "bloop-tube"?

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

I think Win7 wants 15 Gb available for the installation, but you'll be better off with 20 Gb. Figure: 12 Gb for Win7 2 to 6 Gb for hiberfil and pagefile Space for deleted files Space for restore points Space to defrag

techrepublic
techrepublic

I am just downloading MojoPAC. Looks too good to be true! What's the catch??? Will it ask for $$ once I got hooked?

JCitizen
JCitizen

I hear Win7's is better than TiVO!! Only problem is, I got a special OS and media center in Vista x64 because of the cable DRM! My OEM can't even figure out what I'm talking about on an upgrade! Guess I'll have to hope those MS salemen know what they are doing.

Realvdude
Realvdude

I use the free vmware to keep a NFR copy of Vista on my XP machine. I installed the RC of Windows 7 with the vm configured the same. Even though the 768Mb of RAM I allocated was below the minimum for Windows 7, it performed better than Vista. That was enough for me to spring for the Home Premium Upgrade 3 pack to upgrade the Vista laptops in the house. I was hesitant to try installing on my XP machine, but after a little digging found that the custom install would use another partition. All the MS upgrade directions say to select the current Windows partition. Bill's presentation gave me that 110% assurance I was looking for. FYI - One laptop done, 2.5 hrs after making enough space. It's a 1.6Ghz Celeron M with 2Gb of RAM. The user is quite pleased.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

What you propose will work. Some considerations: 1. If you plan to run two copies of XP on the system for an extended period, you'll need two licenses. 2. You will need to re-install, rather than move, most applications. 3. When you are finished with the first XP, if you use Disk Management in the second XP to delete the original partition, it will automatically adjust the entries in boot.ini to the correct values.

blackweaver
blackweaver

but if like me you also intend to have up to 7 or 8 linux distros on your pc, not to mention opensolaris and bsd then partitioning is the nly way to go; unless you want to run them in a virtual machine which would reduce the performance potential of the guest os

innovative network solutions
innovative network solutions

I have been using all three, and and found that they all work sucessfully. However, I am finding that OSX is definately alot faster, which is a plus. It works even quiker than the other I have used.

dbrbjb
dbrbjb

The Easeus Home Edition, 32 bit is a free download and works very well. They do make a 64 bit"Commercial" version that you can purchase from their web site.

JCitizen
JCitizen

trying to edit the boot.ini file after SP3 has not been a winner for me.

JCitizen
JCitizen

Gis Bun is probably right too, but Symantec destroyed the usability of Partitian magic in my opinion. I never use the installable software version! As long as the original drive is formatted using the proper software from the drive manufacture, the boot version on the CD is better. It is the original Quest version, and probably beats the tar out of this freebee mentioned in the video. However - I would still try Bill's suggested freebee, as long as I also did a chkdsk and defrag first. In XP I would do the defrag over and over again until it finishes within a few minutes or less. I've averted many a disaster this way. My clients are still using their drives up to 5 years after installation, with no reinstall(so far).

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Symantec does not support PM7. They barely support PM8 but not with Vista or Win 7. You're taking chances.

domiles
domiles

When I was testing Win 7 beta and RC, I just did the partitioning within the Win 7 install and had no problems. Puzzling why the use of 3rd party partitioning soft ware hung up. I swear I did not send any of my gremlins thru the net! Though I have used them over the decades I have not had that problem. I wonder, if like me you had the flakey {physically} Seagate Barracuda drives and they just flaked themselves to death?

mike
mike

Thanks Dogcatcher, that helps. I've got the space available, but I think I'll bump it up to 30 GB considering apps that install files in system32 and others that insist on installing in Program Files or elsewhere on the system partition and don't give you the option of specifying the install path (I HATE that!).

techrepublic
techrepublic

The installation mentions "Professional", but I can't find anything on their web site. Is MojoPAC still in Beta, or where is additional info?

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

Win7's Media Center is technically competent, but the UI is frustratingly clumsy and childish.

glnz
glnz

Dogcatcher: Thanks for your reply. What if my XP CD is the OEM XP Re-install CD from Dell? Will I still need two licenses?

JCitizen
JCitizen

NTFS doesn't like having it's root boot partition blown away. This will result in data loss; if you mean the tail end partitian - then I digress.

domiles
domiles

Lunix is not an option for me, but I will take your word that this would require artitioning. I was just questioning why people using other Windows programs wanted to go to all the unnecessary bother. I go back to the days when you had to partition because computers could not utilize the capacity of a 350 Mg hard drive other wise. Having several huge data bases, I needed the storage and learned how to partition out of necessity. But it takes the one thing I have too little of -time! I am impressed by you people who have time and energy to adapt alternative OS to your needs and hardware, but I have too much work and a brief time frame to finish it. It is like keeping the ancient soft ware I use a lot, sure there is new improved stuff, but each new improved version has more of what I will never use and less and less of the features I need every day to finish my genealogy project before I die and keep the business stuff going until I have trained someone else in what we need and why. Sure wish people who write accounting soft ware were a bight and open minded as many members of this forum!

JCitizen
JCitizen

the way x64 handles NTFS now, I'm not surprised! I will never go back to 32 bit now, on any new operating system. My Vista x64 has impressed me greatly - besides - I can't do HD video without the RAM capability that 64 bit brings to the table.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

"I never use the installable software version! As long as the original drive is formatted using the proper software from the drive manufacture, the boot version on the CD is better. It is the original Quest version, and probably beats the tar out of this freebee mentioned in the video." PQ's bootable CD for PM is ok, but I extracted the DOS version and have been using it for eons. Those who don't want to contribute money to Symantec might take a look at a well-done Partition Magic clone called Partition Wizard. http://www.partitionwizard.com/ The creators of PW have largely replicated the PM functionality on a Linux base. And, making it even more attractive, you can download an installable version or a bootable iso file.

JCitizen
JCitizen

especially when he makes sense! It is a 30 day trial, then pay. Just Google it.

JCitizen
JCitizen

mine has been improving with every update, but I was hoping for a better UI. I hear the security isn't so good on 7 compared to Vista, but that is inevitable on any rewrite of an operating system, I suppose. I should wait till SP2 before upgrading, if ever.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

At some point you're going to activate the second copy of XP if it resolves your problem. Maybe Microsoft's product activation technology won't care if you have two XP installations running with the same OEM license number -- in which case you're home free. But don't bet on it. Be prepared to move your data and re-install your apps.

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

There are so many aspects to your question, it could take a book to cover them. Nevertheless, in brief: Partition Magic, Partition Manager, and Partition Wizard all can hide and unhide partitions. The later two have free editions available for download. Partition Wizard has a bootable iso that is useful with a bare drive and non-working systems. After you have installed the new OS, un-hide the original one if you wish to multi-boot. If you will use XP as your boot manager, you can easily add lines to boot.ini for other OSs. Be sure to change the partition number if you create the new lines by copy-and-paste. Make a copy of boot.ini before editing it, and use Notepad for editing. Boot.ini may be read-only. If so, remove the attribute after making a copy. DOS-based systems can have only four primary partitions. If you create an extended partition for logical drives, the extended counts as one of the four primaries. Windows prefers to be in a primary partion. You can separate the boot loader from the OS, but there is no need to introduce that complexity to your system. Linux can go into any partion. Sooner or later, you will make a mistake and create an un-bootable system. Be prepared. Before messing with any partition manager, make an Automated System Backup disk (from System Tools > Backup). Also, make an image of your production system using Ghost (or similar) and know how to restore the image. If you can practice restores on a spare computer before messing with your production system, do it. And, of course be sure to have good backups of your data on an external drive or DVD. Multi-booting and working with a partition manager is not rocket science, but there is a learning curve and there will be mistakes. Be patient and experiment until you find solutions.

glnz
glnz

Dogcatcher: Thanks yet again, but I'm not at your level of knowledge. Before I try my idea of installing XP in a new partition -- so I have two different installs of XP -- what do I need to know about boot code? And how do I "hide" the primary partitions before I install XP in my new "target" partition?

JCitizen
JCitizen

that is why I decided to go with it for my PClinuxOS project on my laptop. If I ever GET to it, that is. I'm so busy chasing my clients problems, I don't get much time for my own. If I could just talk them into behaving, or switching to a FOSS solution, maybe I'd have more spare time on my hands. It's all fun for me if it involves IT. So. I guess I can't complain. Thanks again!

Dogcatcher
Dogcatcher

If you allow Windows to install boot code in a partition other than where the OS resides, it can be a real p.i.t.a. when you need to make changes. So, when I install for multi-boot, I hide all primary partitions other than the target partition. All the bits then end up in the proper box. I don't care what Windows writes to the boot sector because I'll overwrite that with BootMagic or Grub.

JCitizen
JCitizen

When I tried to follow your link MBAM blocked the IP saying I was being attacked by a malicious IP 69.89.31.144 Apparently somebody on Blue-host network is fouling up that web-site.