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How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XP

windows-logo How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPMost of us have come to a point in our computer lives where we’ve found the need for another operating system, or the desire to try a different one. However, in doing so, we may not be willing or able to give up you current OS, and we just can’t justify spending money on another computer when you have a perfectly healthy one right in front of us. Don’t fret, there a couple approaches you can use to solve this dilemma.

One option is to use a third-party software like VMware or VirtualBox to setup a virtual machine (if your computer’s hardware supports it), and the other, which is what I’m going to discuss today, is to setup a dual boot operating system on your computer.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to install Windows 7 on a computer running Windows XP using a single hard drive, or two separate ones.

Applications Needed

Here is a list of the applications that I used for this demonstration. Click on them to go to their download location.

Step 1: Preparation

First and foremost, before you begin any major reconstruction on your computer you need to back it up. Most times the procedures we undertake are safe, but in the unlikely event that something should go wrong, it’s always reassuring to know that we can get everything back just the way that we had them.

Once you’ve downloaded everything, you’ll need to install CDBurnerXP to burn the Windows 7 and Gparted ISO to a disk. To do this, open CDBurnerXP and double-click Burn an ISO Image, locate the appropriate file, select the drive you wish to burn the disk with and click Burn Disk. Gparted is small and will fit on a CD, whereas Windows 7 will require a DVD.

Step 2: Create the Partition

Insert the Gparted Patition disk into your CD/DVD drive and reboot the computer. Gparted will boot the Linux kernel automatically with a flurry of commands that will fly by. Eventually, it will stop and you will encounter three screens regarding the keymap, language and video. I suggest using the default settings for all of these, which means all you have to do is hit enter when the respective screen pops up. About the only issue that you may encounter is with the video. If you don’t get a display using the default settings, then reboot the program and select 1 when you get to the video settings screen.

gparted-keymap How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XP

gparted-lang How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPgparted-vid How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPOnce everything has loaded, you will have a screen similar to the one below. If you have more than one hard drive installed, make sure that you select the correct drive before continuing. Next, click on the partition you want to resize, then select new.

gparted-unalocat How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPNow, drag the partition marker to the left until you achieve the appropriate size. Windows 7 recommends that you use at least 16GB of space. The new area will turn gray and display as unallocated.

gparted-shrink-vol How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPgparted-win-7-part How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XP

As before, left-click on the newly unallocated section, then click new. Make sure that you select NTFS format, and you should label the drive as something like “Win 7” so that it’s easily identifiable later. Click Apply, and let it do it’s business.

gparted-final How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPMake sure to not interrupt the procedure! Once it’s finished, close the window and click on the exit button, then select reboot. The disk drawer will open automatically. Replace the disk with your Windows 7 disk and hit enter.

Step 3: Installing Windows 7

Windows 7 will begin the process of installing itself. Once you reach the screen that asks, “Which type of installation do you want?” choose Custom (Advanced). The next screen will show you all of the available partitions on which you can install Windows 7. Choose the newly created partition under the name you chose and click next. This is also the section where you choose to install Windows 7 on a separate hard drive.

win-7-install-1 How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPwin-7-install-2 How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPwin-7-install-3 How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XP

The Finale

Simply restart you computer, and you will be given the option to boot the older version of Windows (Windows XP) or to boot Windows 7.

dualbootchoicewh7 How To Dual Boot Windows 7 and Windows XPWindows 7 will be set as the default operating system, which will boot after so many seconds if nothing is done. If you would like to change the default OS setting, boot Windows XP and follow the instructions below

  • Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  • On the Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
  • Under System startup, in the Default operating system list, click the operating system that you want to start when you turn on or restart your computer.
  • Select the Display list of operating systems for check box, and then type the number of seconds for which you want the list displayed before the default operating system starts automatically.

Final Note

If you are installing programs on more than one operating system, you have to treat each operating system as a separate entity. Any programs and drivers that you want to use must be installed under each operating system. Thankfully, Windows 7 does find most of the drivers for you.

(By) Brian Ross is technology enthusiast that can be found on Google and at his PC repair business.

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