Installing W7 64b alongside XP 32b


Hi there, I am new to these forums so please bear with me, if I am asking questions that were answered already I apologize and would appreciate if anyone could point me in the direction of the answers.

Currently, I have a system with 1 HDD and 1 partition (C: obviously). I downloaded the W7 64b RC directly from Microsoft and burned it to a DVD in UDF format (which is what Nero Burning Rom suggested). When I boot the DVD, I get into the W7 setup and it tells me that if I want to "upgrade" I should run it from the DVD once I boot into Windows XP - however, it seems that this is unsupported by my installation of XP SP3. If I am doing a clean install, it warns me that it will delete all my data (which I dislike).

My predicament is the following, how do I get a working copy of W7 64b whilst keeping access to my current XP setup? I am trying to get some value out of the extra 4GB of ram that I recently purchased and am going to install into my system. This is where a friend of mine pointed me to these forums and the EasyBCD program that I have looked at for now, but am not entirely clear on how to use in this relation.

Just to clarify, I have no problem partitioning the HDD into multiple partitions (if that is possible to do while data is on the drive - wasnt easy when I last toyed with it in the latter part of the 1990s)...
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Hello Remmer, welcome to NST

Boot from W7 DVD. Click the custom install option. At the partition screen click the advanced button. Click on your existing windows XP partition and than click "Shrink". The default should shrink XP's partition in half (specify another size in MB if you want it to be something else). Select the newly unallocated space and click "Create" to create a new partition. Format the new partition. Now with the new partition formatted and selected, click next to procceed with installing Windows 7 there. Under this setup W7's installer should pick up on XP and create the dual-boot for you automatically.
It might help if you defrag your XP first to create as much contiguous free space as possible before you do the shrink.
Wow, thanks for the quick responses.

I've ordered a new 60GB SSD to arrive on Monday, so I think I'll wait until then to install W7. Does W7 give me the option of installing to a different drive than C: or would I have to change the boot order to boot from the SSD before the HDD before starting the installation?

In any case, thanks for the responses and the tip about defragging the HDD before shrinking. I can definitely see how that would improve performance over a fragmented partition.
Yes you can direct the W7 install to your new SSD, if that's what you were asking. You don't need to make space on the HDD. You could simply direct the W7 install to the alternate destination but using the following technique will give you the advantage of keeping your existing setup safe from accidental unintended consequences.

If you temporarily disconnect your HDD, boot the W7 DVD and install it to the SSD, you can then reconnect the HDD leaving the SSD before the HDD in the boot sequence, install EasyBCD 2.0 latest build on W7, add an entry to the W7 BCD for XP, letting EasyBCD auto-configure it for you.

You'll then have a dual-boot which will have made no changes to your HDD, enabling you to revert to your old XP-only boot by simply putting the HDD before SSD in the BIOS, if you ever have problems with the SSD or you just decide to ditch W7.

Remember that when you install W7 to a blank space, it will create 2 partitions, one of them (with the boot files) "secret" and unlettered. If you want W7 all in one partition with its boot files integrated with the rest of the OS, then make sure you format your SSD first with the partition configuration you want, and point the W7 install to the partition of choice.
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Thanks for the help, I've now got W7 RC 64 bit installed on a SSD which I've mapped as the primary boot drive. I have installed the EasyBCD 2.0 latest build and configured an XP OS on the (now) secondary drive (D:\) however, when I try to boot into XP from the boot selector screen all I get is a black screen.

I am able to swap the primary/secondary status on my HDD and SSD and get XP to boot up like it used to, so no major harm done.
delete the XP entry, add it again, let EasyBCD 2.0 latest build configure everything automatically and don't change what it does. (the BCD doesn't point to XP, but to the copies of the XP boot files which EasyBCD has correctly placed for you with the W7 files)