Win7 & XP - Preferred install order, & WHY ?


Win7 & XP - Preferred install order, & WHY ?
I appreciate the documentation here that describes how to perform either multiboot,
but I have NOT seen any description of which approach is better under what circumstances?

I'm setting up a new laptop to multiboot Win7, XP, and eventually SnowLeo_x86 & Linux.

- have 2 Seagate Momentus XT hybrid 500 gb hard drives.

I'll also have each of these OSs as VMs to run within the booted OS,
but I want the ability to natively boot each OS mentioned.

I can install the SnowLeo_x86 & Linux on the 2nd hdd,
so I'm not concerned with that at the moment -
ESPECIALLY knowing that EasyBCD will be the Boss of ALL of them! :wink:

.... now, I HAVE experimented with installing XP 1st - then 7 - then EasyBCD,
and also the opposite: 7 - then XP - then .NET - followed by EasyBCD.

so, I can get it to work either way -
but I'd sure appreciate some feedbacks from those who might know -
which way is OPTIMUM, under what circumstances, and more importantly - WHY ??

the MAIN criteria I'm searching for personally, is the ease of reimaging -

I make multiple tiered images of system partitions using Drive Snapshot,
and I reimage about 2x/month, cleaning & updating my current working image as I evolve.

(I only install OS + programs on system partition - all Data is on other logical partitions)

so will it be easier 1 way or the other?

or, will I have to use EasyBCD to rewrite the MBR every reimage, in either case ?
** on a slightly different note of interest -

I set up a multiboot on the 1st Intel Core Duo iMac (2006) proceeding in this order:


1st partition is of course the 200 MB EFI "protective partition"
2nd partition initially set to Mac OS Extended = "Windows 7"
3rd partition initially set to Mac OS Extended = "Windows Data"
4th partition initially set to MS-DOS ............ = "XP Pro"
5th partition set to Mac OS Extended ........... = "Snow Leopard"
6th partition set to Mac OS Extended ........... = "Mac Data"


* Snow Leopard on the technical 5th partition,
* then rEFIt on the SnowLeo partition

...... booting each time from here on with rEFIt as the Boot Mgr !!!

* then XP on the technical 4th partition - reformatting it NTFS @ install time
* then Windows 7 on the technical 2nd partition -reformatting it NTFS @ install time,
* .... and being sure that XP is set "Active" after installing Windows 7
* then reformatting the 3rd partition from within XP or 7 using command line

....... convert "X": /fs:ntfs

Then using Drive Snapshot, I imaged both the Windows 7 and the XP partitions (2 separate images).

After making a few changes on XP, I restored the image, and nothing was disturbed -
rEFIt came up at boot and allowed me to choose & go Directly to either 7 or XP.

Then I made a few changes on 7 and then restored the 7 image,
and again nothing was disturbed - rEFIt at boot allows all choices.

So.... my conclusion is that on a GUID/GPT system, with rEFIt as boot manager,
I avoided MBR type reimaging issues - reimaging did NOT rewrite the critical boot information.

...... Ideas ? Thanks !

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Oldest to newest is often best if you're starting out. Newer versions of Windows well detect your previous installs of an older version most of the time and setup the multiboot for you. If you want EasyBCD in charge I'd recommend OS X and/or Linux, then XP, then Windows 7, etc. In that order, you would only need to add an entry for OS X and/or Linux to the boot menu with EasyBCD.
thx JW - i'm familiar w/ the 1-1-1 idea -
install oldest OS 1st, on the 1st partition of the 1st hdd, etc.
as well as the phenomena that the newer OS will auto-configure the older.

I noticed that if 7 is installed last, it puts its boot files on the earlier install's partition -
and I don't have the experience to know if this will sooner or later be a p-i-t-a to work around?

The guy over at has covered the mechanics of this pretty well -
but as I said earlier, the ultimate meanings or consequences haven't been explicitly described, at least not to my satisfaction.

Being a "hobbyist", I don't know what the long-term benefits or liabilites are for either approach -
but like anyone else, I want to preserve my "easiest/best" options!! :|

[btw - are you the JustinW associated w/ the NE laptop crew?]
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My preference is to install Windows 7 first. It will make 100 MB or so hidden (boot) partition at the front of the drive. Then install Windows XP. Windows XP’s boot files will end up in the hidden boot partition. I would run Easy BCD out of Windows 7. Windows XP is getting old so it’s more likely to break than Windows 7. That’s why I would run Easy BCD out of Windows 7.

The philosophy of installing Windows OS’s from oldest to newest is if you want Windows to handle loading. If not it doesn’t matter.

How did you get Snow Leopard installed?
Thanks for your input Pillars - appreciated !

How did you get Snow Leopard installed?

sorry, didn't mean to imply that I'd already installed it on this "WinTel" -
as I know that's still an ongoing issue to get it playing nicely w/ EasyBCD.

My install of Snowy is on the mid-2006 Intel iMac,
but interestingly also installing 32-bit Win7 there too (supposedly not possible?) -

but can't get the Aero effects going 'cause I haven't figured out how to get it to recognize the ATI-capable drivers to do that -
it just uses standard VGA drivers from BootCamp (latest upgrade).

**But to update this post for future seekers such as myself -

Since I don't allow 7 to install its 100 MB partition,
I've decided to just stay w/ the 1-1-1 strategy :

so, on my WinTel PCs, I installed XP 1st on the 1st partition of the 1st hdd,
then installed 7 w/ EasyBCD installed on 7 too.

Refine the install for a baseline image, image w/ Drive Snapshot,
made various changes & reimaged - and everything works! nothing overwritten -

i.e, reimaged XP, and the initial bootscreen for both XP & 7 still comes up
and allows either choice, then successfully boots into the choice.

I was afraid I'd have to go through a MBR repair every time I reimaged XP especially -
thinking it might disturb the multiboot scenario, but so far I don't have to.

I will look forward to posting my experiments w/ Snowy x86 when I get a chance to play with that.

Many Thanks for this super-useful tool, and the Help available here :smile:
hi, I am not an expert, I just want to have Windows 7 and Windows XP installed on my Notebbok with a procesor i5 64 bits.

My question is which OS System have to be installed firts, Win 7 for 64 bits or Win XP for 32 bits

Best Regards
XP first/W7 second means W7 will take over the boot and auto-dual-boot the two, though it will put its boot files on XP.
W7 first/XP second means XP will take over the boot and W7 is unbootable till you repair the W7 boot.
The latter method will mean XP is not C:\, the former both should be C:\ when booted.
Either way remember this after you've installed both.
With Win7 VHD Nativeboot you don’t need to worry which one first or last:MBR remain untouched It wont create conflict No need to create partitionMore then one vhd possible Create portable vhd is possible for booting anywhere