Help installing windows XP after Windows 8 is installed for dual-boot

#1
Hello all, I intend to install Windows XP on a laptop that has come with Windows 8. I have done a little bit of reading around the topic and it seems that my best bet to do this the way I want is using EasyBCD. I want to know if it actually is possible to do this on a laptop that is preinstalled with Windows 8. My main concern is since the laptop in question hasn't got the tradition bios screen when it starts up, I'm assuming the way it boots is somewhat more different to previous OS. Furthermore, Microsoft did make it possible to install the older OS but hadn't included support for Windows XP. I intend to use this guide published by NeoSmart: "Installing XP as a second OS". Any thoughts?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
That guide pre-dates UEFI BIOS by some years and doesn't take any account of the fact that your new laptop will have "secure boot" enabled by default.
If you turn off secure boot and overwrite the W8 boot files with an XP install (always assuming that your laptop internal hardware is supported by your XP disc (how old is it ?)), you will most likely have removed an OEM custom version of the bootmgr which will have contained your recovery and "factory reset" options.
It won't be a simple job to get those back.
Bear in mind that support for XP ends in about a month.
Have you considered running XP in a virtual machine instead of risking breaking your new PC ?
 
#3
Hello Terry60,
If you turn off secure boot and overwrite the W8 boot files with an XP install (always assuming that your laptop internal hardware is supported by your XP disc (how old is it ?))
Do you mean if I install XP then it'll overwrite the W8 boot file? If so then yes I figured as much. I once installed Windows 7 to a laptop which was already running XP. At the time I wasn't sure what I was doing to be honest but I realised that Microsoft allowed Windows 7 installation to include a boot option for users that have already installed XP on another partition. Point is, I realise installing XP ontop wouldn't be configured to load a boot option for new Windows OS since XP boot files don't support this. The XP disc's age I do not know, it's just a generic installation that runs XP SP3. The laptop itself has hardware XP driver support.
you will most likely have removed an OEM custom version of the bootmgr which will have contained your recovery and "factory reset" options.
I would've been fine overwriting these files but since Windows 8 (and the hardware/software it runs on) is very new to me I thought it was worth while to have the factory reset accessible and handy just in case for the time being, this is why I have opted for the dual boot.
Bear in mind that support for XP ends in about a month
I am aware of that.
Have you considered running XP in a virtual machine instead of risking breaking your new PC ?
Yes I have but I do not wish to use them for this particular laptop. Based on what I can see online, there isn't too much feedback/interest/discussion on users who've done this successfully. Even less so with Easybcd. I thought Easybcd had it's own way of loading an OS once it has been installed (in configuration with Easybcd). I thought the guide produced was a step-by-step on how to achieve this.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
Yes XP will remove the W8 bootloader and as you guessed cannot boot anything newer. (MS setup logic will automatically dual-boot any older OS, on the assumption that newer OSs are installed after older ones in the natural order of things.)
Using EasyBCD to reinstall the MS bootmgr will give you a Vanilla boot. Your PC is almost certain to have come with an OEM custom bootmgr and all of its provisions will be lost.
I'd take a good tour of the OEM options before you do anything else and see if they give you an option to burn a portable recovery disc.
That will be your best option to retain all available facilities.
 
#5
Using EasyBCD to reinstall the MS bootmgr will give you a Vanilla boot. Your PC is almost certain to have come with an OEM custom bootmgr and all of its provisions will be lost.
I'm afraid I don't follow. Are you suggesting that even if it was possible for me to use Easybcd to dual boot with XP ontop of Windows 8, installing the Windows 8 MBR to the bootloader via Easybcd would give a generic (or as you put it "vanilla") boot, thus making me lose the OEM Windows 8 installation? Well I do not know how the OEM's Windows 8 bootloader could bear any significance into dual booting. And I would've assumed that if Easybcd could have the laptop could boot back into windows 8 under the vanilla boot, everything installed and such would be in place as it were prior to the dual boot MBR. Maybe I have the wrong impression of what Easybcd actually *is*, I thought that the only thing that would be changed from the OS I have installed ontop of (in this case Windows 8) is the way I would get it to load/boot/run/start which consequently would mean besides that, everything else on the OS (Windows 8 in my case) remains as it were before the change to the bootloader. I assumed this was also possible for other booting arrangements using Easybcd. Is this incorrect?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Read this
http://download.microsoft.com/download/9/c/5/9c5b2167-8017-4bae-9fde-d599bac8184a/OEMBoot_Vista.doc
If you buy a retail copy of Vista/7/8 it comes with the default MS bootmgr module, which is the only one available to EasyBCD.
If you remove the customized version which your OEM probably provided in its place, EasyBCD cannot recreate whatever additional proprietary features the OEM included.
It's probably still available somewhere in your recovery partition and no doubt, with sufficient inside knowledge and appropriate tools you could locate and restore it.
EasyBCD, 99% of the time, is merely modifying the contents of your BCD in accordance with your instructions. It's not a boot manager, just a tool to help you manage the one on your PC. It does however enable you to recreate the standard bootmgr module should you accidentally (or deliberately) destroy the existing "live" copy.
In your situation, bearing in mind that the MS development team have also done a lot of under the hood tinkering with the W8 boot which complicates things even more, I'm just saying I'd be very wary about overwriting it all with an XP install and then trying to get it all back again.

With W7 on an MBR configured disk I'd advise you to install XP into its own partition, having set it active first, to prevent it from touching the existing boot ( MS setup always installs the boot files to the "active" partition -i.e. normally a pre-existing older OS, which is how it contrives to auto dual-boot systems), then you could set the original system active afterwards and add the new XP as a BCD option in the untouched original boot partition.

Since GPT disks don't have an "active" flag you can manipulate in that way, the option is not open to you on a contemporary UEFI W8 PC to do the same.
I'm just warning you, things have got a lot more complicated since that guide was written, before UEFI, W8, GPT or "fast boot" had even been thought of, and nowadays you'll need to carefully weigh the possible consequences against just how important it is to have a native XP on your PC.
 
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