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DUAL BOOT (2 HDs) WIN XP & WIN 7 Questions


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Hi All,


As WinXP will soon no longer be supported by MS, I want to set up my computer to dual boot either WinXP or Win7. Yes I want to keep my WinXP as I have a lot of older programs that XP runs great that Win7 does not. And yes, my motherboard and CPU/GPU can handle Win7. That being said:


I will purchase an additional 4 GB of memory to give me a total of 8 GBs. I will also purchase second HD for which to put Win7 on, and of course Win7 SP1 (64 bit) OS DVD.


Technical information I have found almost seems too simple. Basically what I have read is to set the CMOS to boot from the DVD. Install the second HD and boot my Win7 DVD.


Supposedly, Win7 setup/install will detect that WinXP is installed on the other HD and will then set the system up to give me the option of OS to load when it boots. Of course I need to tell the setup to use the new HD for Win7 install.  Also would I then set the Win7 HD as my boot drive in the CMOS ?


Is it as simple as it sounds ?


I understand I will need to load my motherboard specific drivers, graphic drivers, sound drivers, etc., as one would for a fresh install of a new OS.


I currently have my WinXP on a single HD partitioned as drives C/D/E/F/G. I have always partitioned my HDs so specific partitions are for specific type of programs. Keeps it easier to clean up and defrag smaller drive partitions.


Assuming the above dual boot Win7 install will work, what will my system identify the new HD as ? Will it become drive H: ? If I partition the Win7 HD into two drives, do they become H: and I: ? This I’m not sure of as I remember years ago, a second HD would always be inserted after drive C: and become D:. If that would happen I’m sure it would screw up my XP registry as partitions would no long correspond to actual program locations. I hope someone can answer this or give me a reasonable solution, as I could find no information on this on the web.


Just for info (as I’m sure someone will ask),

I currently have a three-year-old computer with:


MB: ASUS P8P67-M (P67 B3 Rev) I already updated BIOS to latest.

GPU: NVIDIA GeForce 550 TI (1 GB)

P/S: Coolmaster Silent Pro Gaming 80, 700 Watt

CPU: Intel I5-2500 3.3 GHz quad core

CPU cooling: Asetek 550LC Liquid Cooling

Mem: 4GB (2GBx2) DDR3/1333MHz Dual Channel


That should be enough system info for any questions about it.


Thanks in advance to any help or suggestions.

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Np and sorry I was on my phone yesterday and didn't see your other question till now. When you install your new hd and boot up your winxp it will assign a new letter to it after all your current partitions once you install win 7 on your new hard drive it will read all those partitions and assign them a letter automatically but it should not effect the lettering under winxp. Under win7 the hard drive it is installed on will be C: drive even if on your Winxp it reads as Z:

Hope that made a little sense

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I think I understand what you are saying.


Install the new HD with WinXP and it will be assigned as drive H:


Question:  Should I create the additional partitions I want with XP or Win 7 or does it not matter ?


Install Win 7 on new HD, it will now be identified as drive C: when running Win 7.


Old & new drive setup would be as follows when running either OS:


Win XP          Win 7 (new HD)


C:                  C:

D:                  D: (xp c)

E:                  E: (xp d)

F:                  F: (xp e)

G:                 G: (xp f)

H: (7)            H: (7 g)

I: (7)              I: (7 h)



Or, I am completly off base on I what I think the drive letter assignment will be ?


Thanks again.

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I was going to edit my prior post, but for some reason there is no EDIT buttion on it.


I did some more web searching and found some information on drive letter assignment and it appears there is no consistant method in Windos when it assigns drive letters, so I just hope the results will be understandable when I install Win 7 on the new drive.


I already created an image backup of my WinXP C: drive just in case something bad happens.


Now I just need to wait another week or so till the new hardware and Win 7 OS are delivered.


Will report back when its done.


Thanks for replies

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You are correct in that it could assign the drives as anything under win7 it will not effect your xp in the slightest though and it doesn't matter a whole lot I would probably do it under Win7 just to make sure I don't erase or move a critical system partition

Also once assigned you can always change drive letter assignment under win7 you shouldn't even need a reboot as they won't be system disks

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Well I was hoping to have Win 7 up and running in dual boot mode, but this had turned into a nightmare :sad:


The memory I ordered was supposed to be Crucial brand, 100% guarenteed compatible with my MB.  I received some substitute that didn't even have a brand label on it.  And this company advertised through the Amazon marketplace, so I notified Amazon.  Memory would'nt even allow the MB to boot and the memory tuning cabability of this MB was unable to get it to work.  So sending it back to the dealer for replacement.


The second half of the nightmare was the new WD (black) SATA III drive.  Installed the drive, set MB to boot DVD, and started install of Windows 7.  Took forever, after one hour was only at 14%.  Aborted install, disconnected everything from comp that was not needed for install, also disabled CMOS/BIOS settings that were not needed for install.  Tried again.  This time it got to 25% in about 45 minutes then failed with install errors  Rebooted system, received S.M.A.R.T failure for the new disk drive and was forced into the BIOS setup.  Disabled the SMART detection so comp would boot to WinXP.  Downloaded WD diagnostics and it confirmed the SMART failure.  Removed drive and shipping back to Amazon for replacement.


So I assumed the slow install of Win 7 was due to hard drive errors.


Amazon will ship replacement drive in 2 days and sent me pre-paid shipper to send failed one back.  Will probable be couple weeks before I see the replacement memory as the company won't ship until the bad ones are returned.


Sometimes I wonder if buying things local would cost more, but save some grief and easier return.  Its all a crap shoot.


So the saga continues.....sigh

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Amazon shipped by replacement drive via 2-day shipping and received it today.  This time I ran the WD diags on the hard drive before I even tried to install Win 7, and it all tested good this time.  Booted the Win 7 install DVD and all ran fine, selected advanced install mode and selected the new HD and set up three partitions.  This time there was no slow down and installed in less then 15-20 minutes.


I was disappointed that the install apparently did not detect my other HD with Win XP installed.  Perhaps since I disabled it in the BIOS setup, I don't know, but not trying again.  But the Win 7 install did see it and all its logical partitions, so don't know what happend with that.  Anyway once all was running fine, I simply used EasyBCD and added the Win XP to the MBR in Win 7 and now all is fine.  When I turn on my comp, it gives me the option to run Win 7 (default 30 sec timeout) or to select Win XP and boot to it.


All is happy now :)  Next the long job of installing various apps and tools in Win 7, but heck, I've got plenty of time to do that. 


Soon I'll be able to run some of those new games that did not support Win XP.....  :)

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