HELP : Windows XP 32bit and Windows 7 64bit on separate HDD's - dualboot needed

Hello all

I am new to this forum, but i already found it very useful. Especially for some dual/multi boot ideas and similar. Also i noticed that support and everything else is on a very high level, so congratulations to administrators, moderators and all other users for doing all this great work!

Now if i move to my "problem"...

I have windows xp pro 32bit installed on (lets call it) 1st hdd (sata). And i have also IDE (yes still IDE,lol) RAID, which is made out of 2 IDE drives running in (if i remember correctly in raid0...anyway in faster mode...combined...or is that raid1? well nevermind). So on those 2 ide hdd's, which now act as one...i installed windows 7 64bit. At the time of install....i removed cables of 1st sata hdd...cause i didnt want some boot files of win7 to be installed there. What I wanted to to be able to remove either 1st sata hdd...or other 2 hdd's in raid....and still be able to boot into the system that was on still connected hdd(s)....without that annoying "ntdlr missing" or similar messages and lockups.

Now all that works fine. So if i boot in win xp...i simply also see other hdd with win7 files on it....and can also remove those hdd's without any damage to the xp sytem. But if i want to boot into win7...i need to remove cables of 1st sata drive (with win xp). And in this case i cant see or use 1st drive while working in win7...which is logical without the cable connected,lol.

So what i wonder now is...whether its possible to somehow copy win7 boot files onto winxp hdd (or maybe just include the path to win7 somehow on win xp hdd) ....and combine them later into dualboot option? So that I could have all hdd's connected....and decide at start which OS i would like to use.

I read in your forum, where you answered to someone with very similar problem, that he should just remove and re-add xp entry in I tried to run easyBCD 2.0 build 64 in win XP...but no luck..."error opening BCD Registry" i am stuck there. I know i probably missed something else to...or maybe its simply impossible to make dualboot because of the way i installed operating systems....but i would like to hear that from you. :smile:

Thank you in advance for all your opinion, ideas, suggestions about how to make that work for me.

popopopopo alias John :wink:

All operating systems and all drivers are updated...also .NET2.0 sp2 is installed...etc..etc...

One last thing...(you be the judge whether its important or not,lol)

With all hdd's connected (so running win xp) drives/partitions are like this:
C (windows xp installation)
D (2nd partition of 1st hdd)
E (3rd partition of 1st hdd)
F (dvd drive)
G (windows 7 installation - 1st partition on ide raid hdd's)
H (2nd partition of ide raid hdd's)

and if i remove sata drive cable (in case i wish to run windows 7)
C is G from above (so win 7 installation)
D is H from above (2nd partition)
E is F from above (dvd drive)

I know all this is a big mess...and it could be done in a much nicer and easier way...but i dont want to go into that would took ages to i wonder is whether dual boot is possible or not....and Thanks once more....for both...your time to read this and help. :wink:
Hi pop, welcome to NST.
Install EasyBCD 2.0 in W7 and add an XP entry from there, letting it auto-configure
Boot with W7 first in BIOS boot sequence.
If XP can see W7, it's destroying W7's restore points and shadow-copy backups.
Try this.
If that doesn't prevent XP from being able to access (and damage) W7, you can always use HnS
(W7/Vista can access XP without causing problems)
Hi Terry and Thank You for your fast and accurate answers.

I will try the method you described right away. I read (from the link you provided) about preventing XP to destroy W7's restore points and shadow-copy backups. I believe that wont be very hard to do.

What I am not sure about is...whether i'll be able to add XP entry in W7. Correct me if I am wrong...but since I must disconnect hdd's cable (of hdd with XP on it) when i want to boot into W7...I dont know whether i'll be able to add XP entry later!? Or is that contained on all disk's that XP use? Or maybe easyBCD makes them from scratch? Otherwise i dont see a way to do that...unless I can copy some files needed for that operation from hdd with XP's on it first!?

Any ideas?

Thank You in advance.

So when i apply the fix for XP to stop destroying backups and system restore of W7...I wont be able to see W7 hdd in XP anymore right? I just ask this because i use 2nd partition of W7 hdd for torrent downloads now...and in this case I'll have to just point their download location somewhere on XP disk. Or can I just hide W7's 1st partition...and leave 2nd partition on W7 hdd that it will still be seen on XP. It doesnt contain any important W7 system data I believe...or does it?

And finally...what should do I do first...apply that XP fix...or boot into W7 and add entry there...and later boot into XP and apply fix? Probably first apply fix in XP right? Otherwise it will again corrupt W7 restore points when i'll boot into XP.
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When you install W7 with XP disconnected, it's to ensure that XP stays untouched and can always be booted alone if your W7 HDD breaks in the future.
EasyBCD 2.0 makes automatic copies of all necessary XP boot files and correctly links your new HDD BCD to the XP OS on the old HDD. W7 only needs XP reconnected at the time you run EasyBCD so it can see where it is, to point to it.
XP shouldn't be able to see or to access the W7 (or Vista) partition, or any partition containing apps installed on W7 or Vista.
If your extra partition on the W7 HDD contains only data (no apps), then it's safe to let XP access it (but make sure system restore is disabled on that partition.
System restore on any OS only needs to be active on the OS partition and any partition containing apps installed on that OS. That's because system restore might need to uninstall a new app if it's responsible breaking the system
System restore doesn't back-out your personal files, so there's no point in having it turned on for a partition that contains only data. In fact having it turned on on an unnecessary partition is bad, both because it consumes unnecessary space and system resources, and because if XP sees it, it will corrupt it and maybe break system restore for the whole OS.
It doesn't really matter about the order you do things.
XP will reset the W7 restore points, but that doesn't matter when the system is brand-new, there's no restore point history to be lost.
Just make sure, after you've applied the XP hack to check that you can't see the W7 OS or apps with XP Explorer.
If it worked, just set a manual restore point in W7 as soon as you reboot it, so that you've got a "ground-zero" point of a nice clean fresh system as your system restore start point.
Thanks again Terry for your very detailed explaination! I really appreciate your help.

So if I sum it is how i should do it (sorry for all this but i really dont like to be left with XP unaccessible...i dont mind about win7 atm...but XP is important to me...thats why i rather ask twice)

1. boot into XP...apply that hack...and make sure that win7 hdd isnt seen (i'll see at that time, whether to just hide 1st partition or both on that disk - since i dont use 2nd part for anything else than data...and even if i leave it to be seen (2nd partitions)...i'll make sure that system restore is turned off there).
2. boot into win7 with XP drive unattached...start easyBCD....and then reconnect (or rather connect it before starting easybcd) win XP easybcd will be able to get that needed data from. Luckily that drive is sata so it can be hot plugged...cause if it was would probably be harder to acchieve that.
3.create that double boot in easybcd - with win7 as top option.
4.Create system restore point in WIN7.

Anything else I missed?

So from there on i'll be able to select right at boot whether to run XP or WIN7...and have all hdd's attached without any problems? Right? :brows:
You don't need to hot-plug XP.
It only needs to be disconnected during the W7 install, just to make sure W7 doesn't use it. Once the install is finished you can reconnect it at any time.
Get the dual boot working with EasyBCD from W7.
Boot XP through the W7 boot menu.
Apply the hack.
Check it works.
Boot W7
Set a restore point, give it a unique name
Boot XP
Boot W7, check that your uniquely named point is still there.
You probably missed the fact that i ALREADY have WIN7 installed on 2nd hdd (and XP on 1st). See how drives and everything shows up when i boot in XP or WIN7 (my first post).

And thats why i asked whether to hot-plug XP hdd later or how? So can i use the method you (and me later in your reply) explained....or what should i do?

Sorry for all the trouble and Thank You once more.

One more thing...
If i have both hdd's connected i can currently only boot in XP...because WIN7 hdd shows up as drives G and H. And in case i wanna boot WIN7....i need to disconnect XP that WIN7 hdd can become drive C (and D - its 2nd partition).

Unless I try (which i totally forgot) to set WIN7 drive to boot in bios...if that will work this way...only in such case can i leave all drives connected. Will try that and report back.
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Yes, you don't need to disconnect disks to get another one to boot. Just alter the BIOS sequence. i said...i totally forgot about that option i always disconnected xp hdd whenever i wanted to boot into win7. :tongueout: is what i've done so far...

i applied hack....created xp entry in win7...then setup dual boot....saved system restore point....gone back to xp...rechecked that win7 partition wasnt seen....left 2nd partition there still seen (but turned off system restore there...and on some other partitions on xp disk as you adviced. then i booted back into win7...and checked system restore point...which was still there. GREAT! Thank You so much! All is working flawlessly now. :wink:

There are few more things i would like to ask you...

1. although 1st partition on hdd with WIN7 now cant be seen or accessed...i would like to totally hide it from showing up in win xp. because now it shows like local disk (looks like some raw unformatted hdd or something...with no info about capacity or anything)...but if possible i would rather dont even see that drive in Explorer. Is that possible and if, how?

2. I would like to do the same with XP partition when i am using WIN7. I know that WIN7 probably wont do any harm to it...but it would be better to not see it at all when using WIN7...just in case you know. How about that?

3. May I now turn back boot order in BIOS to the way it was to "boot" from "XP" drive first? In case that easyBCD saved that info to XP drive too...then that shouldnt be a problem, right?

and finally...

4. If I decide to remove any of the disks in the future (either sata or other 2 ide hdd's in raid)...will the remaining hdd's operating system still work or will i need to tweak something? I know i would need to remove that "nonexisting hdd's) boot entry from the menu...but wonder if there will be anything else to do?

Thats it...THANK YOU once again! I cant say how happy I am that I can finally boot any OS without disconecting another or any other problems!
You have to keep booting from W7.
XP can't be made to boot later systems. The fact that you can run EasyBCD on XP has nothing to do with where you're booting from.
If you boot from the XP HDD, the MBR will look for NTLDR not bootmgr, and NTLDR will open boot.ini, find a single XP entry, and load XP with no boot menu.
That's the advantage of having installed W7 without touching XP. It will continue to function as a stand-alone system if the W7 hard disk goes u/s, or if you ever break the W7 boot.
HnS will hide XP from W7 completely (the partition(s) don't show at all in Explorer) but not the other way round.
If you're familiar with grub, you can customize the menu.lst which HnS creates to do what you want, but I'd leave well alone in your place. W7 won't harm XP.
As long as XP isn't seen as C:\ by W7, you won't have problems caused by the OS.
(No Windows OS should ever be able to see a C:\ disk if it isn't C:\ itself. This isn't a problem with Windows, but several 3rd party apps (like Adobe reader) will put things on C:\ instead of on the OS partition, even when you tell them not to. That can screw around with the C:\ disk if it's a different Windows and cause problems for it. )
Ok...I'll leave the W7 to boot first in bios. I just asked whether i could change that cause i thought that easybcd also saved startup files to xp disk. Now i see thats not the case...but its better the way it is cause i can disconnect W7 hdd at any time and still have XP runing as before. And probably the opposite would work remove xp hdd and still have w7 running (offcourse i would need to remove that xp entry from boot menu in that case).

The reason I asked whether it was possible to hide some partitions in xp...and vice that I wouldnt like that someone deletes or alters anything there by some "mistake"...and the best way to do that is to simply dont see its there. Ok nevermind...i'll make sure that doesnt happen (wont play with HnS for now...cause i dont want to mess something up...especially now that all works flawlessly). :tongueout:

One XP now i dont fear that anything can be done to damage W7 (unless someone forgets and think that the drive G (1st partition of win7 hdd - seen now as local disk in raw format) is unformatted and decides to format it, lol. But i wonder about W7...which can now see XP hdd (as G,H and I drives - 3partitions total). Can I i.e. install some software from win7 also on those (especially i wonder about G partition - which becomes C when booted into XP) partitions? Would that corrupt anything on XP hdd (the system itself i worry the most) or not? Probably not, since you said that W7 uses completely other method right? But its still better to install W7 software to its hdd, right? Or it absolutely doesnt matter?
You must not have apps from XP and apps from Vista or W7 sharing a partition.
Each OS must have system restore enabled on any partition that contains its apps, and you mustn't let XP see any partition with a V/W7 system restore folder, so you can't have it enabled on both systems at once.
Keep apps for an OS either in a partition dedicated to that OS, or in the OS partition itself.
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Ok...I have everything setup just as you described. XP sees only its hdd's and partitions. Actually it also sees 2nd W7 partition...but since it contains only torrents - data...and i also wont install anything from W7 there...i guess thats ok. And W7 sees all drives and partitions...but since i wont install anything on XP's partition either...I believe thats ok too.

But I can still copy files (data) from i.e. W7 to XP disk right? (offcourse in that case i'll watch not to mess with some xp system or other important files there)

Well thats all for now...Thanks again and hope to talk to you soon (hopefully not about the problems with my setup,lol).
You must not have apps from XP and apps from Vista or W7 sharing a partition.
Each OS must have system restore enabled on any partition that contains its apps, and you mustn't let XP see any partition with a V/W7 system restore folder, so you can't have it enabled on both systems at once.
Keep apps for an OS either in a partition dedicated to that OS, or in the OS partition itself.

I have a similar situation that I'm about to work on; W7 is installed on one HD (others disconnected when I installed 7) and a clone of the XP OS installed on another HD. I have a common partition that contains program files for both W7 and XP. I have SR enabled on this partition in W7, but I plan to boot into the XP HD and turn off System restore on all partitions and drives except for the XP system partition. I plan to keep XP only to keep some apps like an old scanner, etc. and operate it only off-line. Eventually it will wither away and be deleted.

Will this work?

I'm also torn between the choice of using EasyBCD 2.0 to create the dual boot or use Paragon Disk Manager 9.0 for modifiying the boot manager. I used PDM 9 to create a dual boot between W7 RC and XP (XP being in place) before I received the released 7 DVD. There is an option in the PDM boot manager to hide the other OS partition and that might save me a registry mod, that I like to avoid if possible.

I have a lot of compter experience, but messing with the boot process is something that I have only done recently and don't want to do regularly.

Thanks for any tips you can offer,
Hi Doug, welcome to NST.
It doesn't help, turning off system restore in XP. (believe me , it's the 1st thing i tried 2 years ago now when I was first wrestling with the restore point problem - the thing that brought me here to these boards)
XP is very determined. Even when you turn off sysres on every drive and disable the services involved, it still resets any "corrupt" restore folder it sees (Vista or W7 are different format i.e. "wrong" to XP)
Don't worry about the registry hack, it's only setting the appropriate drives as offline, never known to cause a problem that I've ever heard of.
Unfortunately it's not effective for everyone, me for example, though it's been a long time since I heard anyone else say it didn't work.
I'd be tempted to try it again myself, to determine if it still doesn't work for me, or whether whatever stopped it from working has disappeared since I reconfigured my HDDs, but I have no need for it, as I used Neogrub and then HnS which superseded it.
EasyBCD + the hack will probably do the job for you. HnS certainly will, but being a custom-build of Grub is quite separate from EasyBCD and means that you won't get all the benefits of Easy2.0 if you want to multi-boot extra OSs in future.
If you're inexperienced playing with the boot process, have a read of the first link in the sticky thread
Thanks for the info. I will make the registry change! There are enough surprises in these things without leaving a door open when you don't have to.

I took the plunge and used EasyBCD to modify the Win 7 boot manager. After reading the articles a few more times, I was more comfortable using EasyBCD. It certainly lives up to it's name. The job was painless!!

Now, the machine dual-boots just as it should. I turned off System Restore in all drives but the two boot drives. There are program files from both systems on a common partition (in different folders), as well as music and pictures that are referenced by both OSes but that doesn't seem like a problem. I assume your strong warning about having apps from both OSes on the same partition applied only when SR was turned on in that partition by either OS. I expect my use of XP to drop near zero on this machine, which is primarily an HTPC.

My thanks for the use of a fine program and such good support.
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You have to have SR turned on on the apps partition (SR needs to be able to back-out a newly installed app in case that's what broke the system).
That's why you can't let XP share the apps partition with a newer OS.
If you anticipate XP dwindling to occasional use for legacy apps or hardware, not supported in Vista or W7 (the way I use it, for my printer and scanner), then it'd be a good idea to uninstall all the XP apps which you can use from W7 and reinstall those which must have XP into the XP partition, then offline the apps partition to XP and turn on SR for the drive on W7.
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I think I am beginning to get the big picture about XP and SR.

I will move most of the apps from XP to W7 in the next few days and turn W7 SR on in the app partition. since I expect my use of XP to be minimal, I think I'll just turn off SR in XP and take my chances. After all, there were a lot of Win Me haters that did without the new SR system (in Win Me) early in the decade and they presumeably survived.

As I understand it, once SR is inop on XP or the registry is hacked and the XP apps moved, then SR on Win 7 won't be bothered any longer.

If my use of XP on this machine were more important, I might go a lot farther to make both OSes happy.

Who knows, tomorrow I may change my mind, but thanks to you, now I have a good idea of the options.

You can leave SR turned on for XP, but only on the OS itself (if that's where you're moving the installed apps to). That way you get the benefits of the SR insurance policy, but W7 won't be affected if XP can't see W7 or its apps.