Windows 7 dual boot with Windows XP using seperate hard drives

#1
Hello, I'm new here and since I did not see any windows 7 section, it seemed most appropriate to post it here. As the title suggested, I'm planning to do dual boot Windows 7 and XP together on separate hard drives. I've been reading on many forums, so I slightly get the idea but I'm hoping you guys can confirm what I'm doing is right.

Currently I have not installed anything yet. So my first step would be to install Windows XP first to avoid the boot loader problem, but do i connect both hard drives while doing this or only plug in the first hard drive.

The next question is after I installed XP, and moving on to Windows 7, do I need to disconnect the XP hd or leave it in there for windows 7 to recognize it and create the boot loader menu.

I'm also confuse on the Master and Slave part, I've read that both drives will think they are master, so which HD should I set to slave/master (XP or 7). Or will it already be done automatically.

If everything works well, will there be any problem with partioning a hd. Because I read on another forums ome one cannot boot after he tried to partioning one of his HD.

Also, is there anything else i should pay attention to?

Thank you in advance :??

Edit: Windows 7 is 64 bit and XP is 32 bit.
 
#2
Hello, I'm new here and since I did not see any windows 7 section, it seemed most appropriate to post it here. As the title suggested, I'm planning to do dual boot Windows 7 and XP together on separate hard drives. I've been reading on many forums, so I slightly get the idea but I'm hoping you guys can confirm what I'm doing is right.

Currently I have not installed anything yet. So my first step would be to install Windows XP first to avoid the boot loader problem, but do i connect both hard drives while doing this or only plug in the first hard drive.
Hello azn, welcome to NST.
I would leave the other one disconnected, while you're installing XP, and then disconnect that one, and plug the other one in, when you install Win 7. Then simply plug the XP HD back in, and use [thread=642]EasyBCD 2.0 beta[/thread] to add XP to the dual-boot menu.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#3
Hi Az, welcome to NST.
Master/Slave is a bit of a misnomer. It only means Disk0/Disk1 and implies no hierarchy of importance.
If you install, XP then W7 with both disks attached at all times, the dual-boot will be achieved automatically. (That's the way MS designed Windows to work)
However, it will mean that your W7 boot files end up alongside XPs (by design).
If you Install XP, then install W7 on a single HDD (with XP temporarily disconnected), the W7 install will keep its boot files on the same HDD (but pre-allocate/format your partitions first, don't allow W7 to install into a blank space unless you want it to create a secret unlettered boot partition in addition to the Windows partition)
Then you can reconnect the XP drive, keeping W7 first in the boot sequence, boot W7, install EasyBCD 2.0 latest build, add an entry for XP, letting it auto-configure.
This will also end up with a dual-boot, the difference being that in the latter case, the W7 boot files are on the W7 disk not XP, and the XP disk is completely untouched and can be used in emergency as a stand-alone system which you can boot by just making it first in the BIOS, if your W7 disk is ever having problems.
 
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#4
Thnx for the replies, I'm leaning toward having W7 loader on its own HDD. However I'm still confused on the ability to shrink part of a HDD W7/WinXP after everything is set up.

For example, I have installed XP on one HDD and 7 on the other, leaving only one HDD plugged in at a time. However after I've done this, and I want to shrink a small part of W7/XP HDD to create a back up, will that mess anything up? Or should I make a back up first before installing the other Window. Thnx again :grinning:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#5
XP Disk Management doesn't include the shrink function, but W7 does, and you can shrink W7 and XP partitions using it.
It's very uncontroversial, just altering the end of partition marker to exclude empty space, but you might need to defrag first if that space is a bit messy to create as big a contiguous space as possible.
Also pagefile.sys is unmoveable so it might prevent you creating a free space as large as you'd like.
You can workaround that by moving the system swap space to another disk in advanced performance options.
Far better though, if you're doing all this from scratch, is to plan what partition configuration you want to have ultimately, and pre-define/format/label all of the partitions before installing either OS, then point each install to the place designed to take it (the labels also prevent you from accidentally picking the wrong place - easy to do during install, especially if several partitions are the same size)
This also has the benefit of preventing W7 from indulging in its favourite hobby, "hide the boot files".
 
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#7
Booting Xp and Windows 7

I already have a SATA drive with Xp Installed I hope to purchase another SATA drive and install Windows 7, I then hope to use the option in bios to boot from a spacific device, which could be the drive with either Xp or the drive with windows 7, is there any problem with doing it this way?

Cheers, Bob
 
#8
I already have a SATA drive with Xp Installed I hope to purchase another SATA drive and install Windows 7, I then hope to use the option in bios to boot from a spacific device, which could be the drive with either Xp or the drive with windows 7, is there any problem with doing it this way?

Cheers, Bob
Hello Bob, welome to NST.
Nah, there is no problem with doing it this way.
However, it would be easier to use [thread=642]EasyBCD 2.0[/thread] from W7 to add an XP entry to the BCD (letting it auto-configure), and dual-boot from a single boot menu. :wink:
 
#9
would there be problems with drive letters? IF for instance what is drive 0 or c under windows and drive 1 with windows 7 how would I get that to be drive C if I was booting from bios and not dual booting form one drive with both operating systems on drive C, I hope this makes sense
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#10
Disk letters aren't "real". The Disk label is physically written to the partition, and is visible to all systems (including non-Windows), but the Partition letter is just an entry in the registry of the running system.
Both systems will run seeing themselves as C: and seeing the other system as whatever letter you tell it to be (or the 1st unused letter if you don't give it a specific letter yourself)
 
#11
I know this is an old post, but I just came across it on google. I currently have Windows XP. I want to install Windows 7 on a separate drive. After trying it for a while, if I like 7, I'll delete XP and use that drive as extra storage space. If I don't like 7, I want to be able to delete it and go back to just XP, using the new drive for file storage.

It seems like the way to do this is to unplug the XP drive, plug in the new drive and install 7, then plug the XP drive back in, set 7 drive as first in the boot sequence, boot from 7 drive, install EasyBCD and add an entry for XP. Then I'll have a dual-boot. Correct me if this is wrong, please.

What I don't understand is when Terry60 said
(but pre-allocate/format your partitions first, don't allow W7 to install into a blank space unless you want it to create a secret unlettered boot partition in addition to the Windows partition)
I don't want any extra partitions on the Windows 7 drive, I want it to just show up with all its space as C. So what do I need to do when I format to avoid the "secret unlettered boot partition"?
Please help. Thanks.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
Just format the HDD as one partition, then install W7 into that partition.
Don't leave the HDD as unallocated space and let the install format it, because it will format it as described with the 100Mb unlettered "System Reserved" boot partition and your C disk.