How to Dual Boot Windows 7 & XP, when Win 7 installed first before XP

#1
I hope this is the right forum for posting this information.

I've just built a new system where I've installed Win 7 first, and then installed Win XP. That left me with only being able to boot into XP. So I needed a way to re-activate booting into Win 7, and have the option to boot into XP.

I Googled around, but couldn't find what I was looking for. I found hints, but no direct, step-by-step, simple to follow instructions. So hopefully Google will find this post and it might help the next person.

Turns out the solution is very simple with EasyBCD. (the steps below look a lot more complicated than they really are :smile:)

If you installed Win 7 first, then installed XP, then right now you can only boot into XP. So do the following from XP:

  1. Download and install EasyBCD (link).
  2. Inside EasyBCD, Click the 'Add/Remove Entries' Button (left side).
  3. Under the 'Add an Entry' section, select 'Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3' from the 'Type' drop-down list.
  4. (Optional, edit the 'Name' field.)
  5. Click 'Add Entry'.
  6. (Optional, under the 'Manage Existing Entries' section, use the Up/Down Arrow buttons to change which OS is first in your list, then click 'Save'.)
  7. (Optional, Click the 'Change Settings' button (left side). Then under the 'Global Settings' section, use the 'Default OS' drop-down to adjust which OS you want to automatically boot to by default. You may also adjust the 'Bootloader Timeout' to adjust how long the boot menu will display before loading the default OS. Then Click the 'Save Settings' button.)
  8. Click the 'Manage Bootloader' button (left side).
  9. Under the 'Bootloader Install Options' section, make sure the option for 'Reinstall the Vista Bootloader' is selected. (For our purposes, Win7 Bootloader and Vista Bootloader are the same.)
  10. Click the 'Write MBR' button.
That's pretty much it. EasyBCD will write the required changes, and tell you that you need to reboot. Just reboot, and voila, you can now Dual-Boot between Win 7 and XP.

Just a couple of quick points. The above assumes that Win 7 was installed first and was fully functional prior to installing XP. It also assumes that all the files required for booting are located on your Win 7 partition.

According to the things I've Googled, XP requires the following files for booting:

  • NTDETECT.COM
  • ntldr
  • boot.ini
The XP installer should have automatically put these files on your Win 7 partition.

Win 7 also requires some boot files, but I don't know what those are. Perhaps the good folks here at NeoSmart can fill in that information.

Beyond the above, I can't really offer any further suggestions or advice. This is as new to me as it is to you. But I've used the above steps, and it allowed me to Dual Boot Win 7 and XP on my PC.

Good Luck!

P.S. The above instructions work for me with EasyBCD v1.7.3. If you are using a different version, you may need to click around until you find similar options.

P.P.S. After posting the above, I found this link which gives the same result, but covers a broader scope. The main difference is that link it is written specifically for Windows Vista, whereas I was searching for solutions with Windows 7. However, as mentioned above, for our purposes, Windows 7 and Windows Vista bootloaders are basically the same. Therefore, if the above instructions do not meet your needs, than perhaps the instructions in the Vista related link will do better for you.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Dubious, welcome to NST.
Use EasyBCD 2.0 and let it auto-configure the XP dual boot for you.
It's all automated now.
(and this is all covered in the sticky thread)
 
#3
Thanks for the friendly welcome.

As a general rule, I don't use Beta software. Some Beta products are ok, but when it comes to messing around with the MBR of my HD, I feel safer using something that is not still in the "Please be sure to let us know if this blows up your HD" phase.

And I have to apologize, somehow I missed the part of the sticky that says to click a certain link for step-by-step info on how to fix the Windows 7 boot after installing XP. I'll have to look harder for it next time.

Regardless, thanks for the warm welcome, and I hope my original post wasn't too far off topic for here.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
While that may be true of a lot of "beta" products EasyBCD 2 is a different case really. Most problems have been worked out at this point and we can expect a release pretty soon.
 
#5
Sometime in the next few days I'll be reinstalling Win7 and XP on a different machine than discussed above. It was already tri-booting with Ubuntu, but last night something blew up my XP partition :frowning: (the boot partition), and I'd already been planning to nuke and re-install the Win7.

So, at the moment I'm in the process of backing up my important files and the Ubuntu partitions. Then I'm going to wipe the HD, do a clean install for XP and Win7, and then restore my Ubuntu. So, of course, at some point during all of this I'll be needing to set-up the tri-boot again.

In other words, looks like I'll be getting a chance to try out your Beta sooner than either of us expected.
 
#6
Dell studio 1537 dualboot win 7 and xp

I have follow all the guide at
http://www.samsware.com/Downloads/Dual_Boot_Windows_7_XP.pdf
and yours enable dualboot using easy BCD.
My problem is i can't boot my win 7 64bit if my bios setting SATA as ide and I can't boot to xp if my bios setting SATA as ahcpi.
It was not mention in any of the guide i use both the dual boot guide and the easybcd guide.
It just say that set the BIOS SATA as ide and all is good.
Can you please help me with this ?
Thank you.
 
#7
I hope this is the right forum for posting this information.

I've just built a new system where I've installed Win 7 first, and then installed Win XP. That left me with only being able to boot into XP. So I needed a way to re-activate booting into Win 7, and have the option to boot into XP.

I Googled around, but couldn't find what I was looking for. I found hints, but no direct, step-by-step, simple to follow instructions. So hopefully Google will find this post and it might help the next person.
Steps for multibooting - The NeoSmart Forums
Win 7 also requires some boot files, but I don't know what those are. Perhaps the good folks here at NeoSmart can fill in that information.
bootmgr, BCD, and winload.exe
bootmgr is always going to (or should) be located in the root of the "sytem" partition according to Disk Management.
BCD will be located in the hidden "boot" folder which is also located in the root. To see bootmgr, and the "boot" folder, you would need to enable "Show hidden files and folders" and unselect the "Hide protected system files" options under the View tab of the Folder Options in the Control Panel.
As for winload.exe, that is located at Windows/system32/winload.exe.
In order to boot Vista/7, in addition to whatever other OSes you have, you have to have a BCD that is configured correctly.

Side note: Obviously I know that is an old post that I'm quoting, but I figured the information might help whoever else happens to read this thread... :wink:

Addendum:

I have follow all the guide at
http://www.samsware.com/Downloads/Dual_Boot_Windows_7_XP.pdf
and yours enable dualboot using easy BCD.
My problem is i can't boot my win 7 64bit if my bios setting SATA as ide and I can't boot to xp if my bios setting SATA as ahcpi.
It was not mention in any of the guide i use both the dual boot guide and the easybcd guide.
It just say that set the BIOS SATA as ide and all is good.
Can you please help me with this ?
Thank you.
Try Googling "Intel Matrix Storage Manager" with the model name of whatever computer you have, and see what you come up with. Chances are there is one that you can install that will solve that problem.

When I first dual-booted Vista and XP a while back (installing XP after Vista) on a Dell Studio 1535 laptop, I had the problem of having to switch back and forth from AHCI and ATA mode in my BIOS each time I wanted to boot into Vista or XP, respectively. This was annoying, of course, so I searched for a solution, and was able to find an Intel Matrix Storage Manager driver, which I was able to install post-XP-installation, and I no longer had that problem. I was now able to boot both in AHCI mode. :smile:
 
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#8
Well,
i have tested again much variation with XP (Pro 32-Bit) and Win7 (Ultimate x64).
If a install first, or second or later Win X64 with an ather x64 OS, the EBCD 2.0 work fine (100% Top of the Top).
But..
If i install XP (32 Bit) after a x64 OS, i can only create a real function BCD entry for the new 32 Bit OS with EBCD 1.7.2 (EBCD 1.7.3 may work also fine).
But with this "old" EBCD was the BCD entry absolutly SUPER.

First, with EBCD 2.0 was the booting every time again:
Only WinXP was booting, never Win7, or VISTA, or ather x64 OS.
The automatic routine to found Win XP is not like the EBCD 1.7.x.
I think, it is a little bug in the 2.0 Version.

But EBCD is free of cost with a super forum, support and fantastic Members.
For the next (long) time all User of Win 32Bit + Win64 Bit on one HD (or splittet HDs) can work in the 32 Bit OS with the EBCD 1.7.x and in the 64 Bit OS with the EBCD 2.0.

I have as Win XP Pro (x86) the final Version with SP3, and all my HDs are SATA-2
In my BIOS are the HDs global set as RAID and the HDs self as EIDE (every single HD is setting as "NO RAID" = SATA).
The same BIOS seting is for my VISTA-x64, Win7-x64, XP-x64.

Hope this Infos help for the "Win-XP-x86 installed after Win7-x64 and the Computer boot only Win XP" -Problem.

Greetings from Germany,

STRUPPI