Unplug or leave plugged the old HDD when installing Win 7 on new SSD for dual boot ?

#1
Hello everyone!

I hope my question is simple one and I would appreciate your advise.
(Tried to search for answers in the internet, couldn't find one yet)

I have Win XP installed on my HDD. I purchased a new SSD drive and want to install Win 7 on it and have the convenience of the dual boot (that black screen at the startup asking which windows version you want to start).
I found several good step by step direction online, but there is one thing that varies and I can't figure out which option is best for me.
  1. Some directions give the typical installation sequence: install the new SSD; boot the PC from the Win 7 DVD and choose to install it on the new SSD. That's it, you will get the dual boot menu at startup. I understood that in this case although the Windows 7 is installed on SSD, it writes its boot info (MBR ? I am not sure what's the right name) on the old HDD where Win XP is installed.
  2. The other directions suggest to install the new SSD, but to unplug the old HDD rightaway, before installing Win 7. The directions say that this way Windows 7 will put it's boot info on the new SSD. However, as I understood, this option will not give me the dual boot menu at the startup and I have to go into BIOS every time I want to change the Windows version.
Could you please advise which option above is best to get the dual boot menu at the startup ?

If option 2 will not give me the dual boot menu, can the EasyBCD program easily fix this ?
Also, could you please advise which of the above 2 options is best for:
a) eliminating problems when in the future I want to remove one of the drives but be able to boot to the other one;
b) being able to "see" (copy, transfer files) SSD contents when I am in Win XP and "see" HDD contents when I am in Win 7.

Thanks a lot !
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Option 2 will give you maximum flexibility.
Both systems keep their own boot files and you can boot either one without the other being present if there's a future failure of either disk.
EasyBCD is built for the purpose. Just add an entry to the W7 BCD for XP and let EasyBCD 2 auto-configure it. Job done.
As to option b) (your last line) don't do it !
It's fine for W7 to see XP and any common data partition, but don't let XP see any newer Windows OS if you value the ability to use system restore or Windows backup.
XP corrupts restore points and shadow copies of Vista/7/8 because all four systems use the same name for the system restore folder, but the format changed completely with Vista. XP sees the new format on the other OS (no matter how hard you try to stop it) and "fixes" the "corrupt" files for you, destroying the W7 restore points. Since all restore point folders are chained logically, it will also zero its own points afaik.
Run this registry hack on XP to protect both systems
System Restore Points - Stop XP Dual Boot Delete - Vista Forums
 
#3
Thanks a lot Terry !!!
Very helpful & comprehensive answer.
One request though. When you say "Just add an entry to the W7 BCD for XP and let EasyBCD 2 auto-configure it. Job done." it sounds a little unclear for me since I am not familiar with EasyBCD yet. So that I don't read the whole documentation, is there a specific part or link explaining these procedures, that you could refer me to ?
Thanks again.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
That particular part of the documentation goes into a lot of detail concerning multiple XP systems, MS inability to handle it and NST's solution, which might confuse you even more
Windows XP - EasyBCD - NeoSmart Technologies Wiki
but for a single XP is really is as simple as previously described.
EasyBCD > Add New Entry > Windows Tab > XP dropdown > tick "automatic" > Click "add entry"