Another newbie

Hello to you all

Firstly I'm pretty certain that my technical knowledge leaves a lot to be desired and stretches as far as installing a new motherboard etc many years ago.

Now for my request for info:smile:

I have a Laptop that has Win 8.1 which was updated from Win 7 using the £25 Windows upgrade so no discs. I need to load XP onto a new partition, that I've already created, for a vehicle diagnostic system that is only suitable for XP. I have a new retail copy of XP ready to load to the new partition but I also want to be able to dual boot so I can still access 8.1. I have read that when I load XP that this will become the only bootable drive as it will overwrite 8.1's boot device hence the need to dual boot.
i have also read that I need to have XP loaded before I can load 8.1 if I want to download EasyBCD 2.2, is this correct as I would need to remove 8.1 which I prefer not to do.

Many thanks for reading
Seems I should have read the EasyBCD thread first, now trying to absorb as much as possible before installing XP. Have also ordered a Win 8.0 repair disc in case I have to remove Win 8.1.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Windows setup places the boot files in the "active" partition,
This is how it manages to dual-boot automatically if newer OS follows older. (backward compatibility)
It's also how the boot gets regressed if older follows newer (no forward compatibility).
If you install an older OS on a different HDD and make sure it cannot access the newer OS you won't get a problem (simply reconnect and boot from the original untouched HDD).
If however you must dual-boot on a single HDD, you can produce the same separation by doing the following.

Make sure that your BIOS is set to boot from CD-ROM before HDD (this is essential for the upcoming XP install which will fail at the first reboot if you attempt to install it by a simple dynamic BIOS override)
Shrink W8 to produce the desired space for XP.
Format the new space as a partition and give it a Partition Label (eg XP System)
Set the new partition "active" using Disk Management

(make sure you are absolutely ready to proceed before going any further. By making the empty space active the HDD has become unbootable until XP has successfully completed installation. It would be a wise precaution to have a bootable Partition Manager to hand in case you make a mistake and need a method to set W8 active again)

Boot with the XP CD in the CD-ROM tray
"press any key..." when asked to do so ( this starts the XP install from scratch. Ignore the same message when you see it again (several times) subsequently as the XP setup does automatic reboots. It's a highly ambiguous message because it's coming from the CD hence it has already booted. What it really should say is "Do you want me to start the install from the beginning, If so press any key....")

When XP setup asks for a target space to install into, point it at the new "active" partition. (You should have no confusion if you previously labelled it. Failure to have done so (and lack of labels on other partitions) can lead to the disaster of accidentally overwriting your existing OS, so make sure you have labelled it. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the Disk Letter will guide you. That is a virtual label which only exists in the registry of the running OS, and hence will be completely different when running a different OS (like the XP CD). The Partition Label is a physical entity written into the MBR's Partition Table, hence will always be associated with the same space regardless of what you are using to look at it.)

When the XP installation has finally finished, you should have a fully working XP sitting alongside an untouched (and inaccessible) W8.

Use XP Disk Management to set W8 "active" and the next time you boot, W8 should appear.

If you only want to use XP on very rare occasions, you could use this technique of just flipping the active bit to the other OS, but if you need to alternate regularly, you can use EasyBCD in W8 to set up an XP dual boot (let it auto-configure)

One other thing to bear in mind when dual-booting XP with Vista/7/8, is that it will destroy their System Restore Points unless you patch it to prevent it from being able to "see" the newer OS
System Restore Points - Stop XP Dual Boot Delete
Many thanks for reply

When I go into disk management using 8.1, after shrinking to make the new partition, I am unable to see where I can make the new partition active, the only way I can see how to do this is to change the drive letters over, making C: into F: then E: into C: is this the correct way ?


---------- Post added at 05:31 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:44 PM ----------

Sorted the active problem, trying to use the new partition F: instead of the other empty partition E: Only problem now is that when I try to load XP, afterloading so many files then says starting windows I end up with "a problem has been detected" with tech info ***Stop: 0x0000007B (0xF78dpD2524,0xC0000034,0x00000000,0x00000000 looks like I'll have to try and use the Win 8 disk I've got coming tomorrow.

many thanks


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
I tried to tell you not to think in terms of disk letters. Disk letters are a Windows-specific virtual registry map of devices. Each version of Windows (and that includes the install disk - an OS in its own right) will have a different map, and none of those maps will be the same except by pure coincidence.
When you format a partition it gives you a field to label the partition and an opportunity to give that partition a letter in the map of the OS being used at that moment. The letter is irrelevant. The label is universal.

Did you prepare yourself with a bootable partition manager ?
If so set W8 back active again and it should boot.

Did you set the BIOS to boot CD before HDD ?
That error smacks of a half completed XP installation which is trying to reboot from the HDD instead of the CD.
I did say as the very first instruction that the install would fail if you did not do so.
Hello Terry

yes set the bios to CD and will be downloading the partitition wizard on to disk using my desktop. Didn't get as far as the partitition and disk letters as download failed before then. Will use the wizard when downloaded and try again.



Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
How old is the XP disc ?
There might be a problem if it's not at least SP1.
Until that SP, there was no SATA support in XP and the disc won't boot on a modern PC.
The disk is a full retail version with SP 3. The disk boots and starts the install but after about 10 minutes comes up with the error message above. Just ordered a windows repair disk for XP, Vista, 7 and 8 so hopefully that should fix it. I tried to burn the Wizard you linked but my desktop only has XP so the Disk wouldn't boot on my laptop with 8.1.

Thanks for the info
Last edited:


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
When the installation setup says "...will now reboot..." do you see the "press any key...." message again ?


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member