Any tips for installing a Dual Boot of Win XP & Win 7?

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#1 Edited by djames216 (489 posts) -

I'm toying with the idea of doing a dual boot of Windows 7 and XP. I'm still using XP at the moment and am finally looking to get Windows 7 at some point in the future. I'm tempted by the price of Windows 8 but put off by the fact that it's relatively unknown at this point because it hasn't officially come out yet. The main reason I want to dual boot them is to maximise game compatibility. I don't want to go down a road of installing Windows 7 on its own only to find some of my games won't work on it. The PC in question is a dedicated games machine so it doesn't have much else installed on it beyond Anti-Virus, and some basic software and drivers. I'm thinking that I would probably have two system partitions and maybe a third partition for games and data. I have Steam and its games installed on an entirely separate drive.

I've never done a dual boot system before and wondered if there was any pitfalls/tweaks/disadvantages you've personally come across that I should look out for?

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#2 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5904 posts) -

What games are you going to play on XP that you won't be able to get working with a bit of work on Windows 7? But, it's pretty easy to do and shouldn't give any problems other than potentially splitting up your HDD makes file management a pain in the ass (i prefer totally separate drives myself because then I don't have to worry about running out of space on a partition and not using it on another, I just use until full, and boom). As long as you have enough space, and set it up right, it should be fine.

But seriously, A) look up your games for compatibility, and B) the hell do you have that will work on XP but not W7 with a fan patch? Or, without one? You're more likely to get a game today that doesn't run on XP unless you play much older games primarily, and in that case, why bother upgrading at all, as you wouldn't probably care about staying current.

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#3 Posted by 9cupsoftea (676 posts) -

I'd also like to be able to do this. I think you have to use easybcd to create a boot menu, or something along those lines.

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#4 Posted by Barrock (3926 posts) -

What sort of games are you playing that won't work on 7? 7 is really damn compatible.

Depending on the amount of RAM you have, you could always play the game in a virtual machine.

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#5 Posted by djames216 (489 posts) -

I never said that I actually have games that don't work on Windows 7. I just want to avoid the potential scenario of incompatibility. I already took a quick look at a small selection of my Steam games and only about 50% of them are officially supported to run on Win 7. I know that doesn't mean it won't run but it also means I don't know until I try. Not knowing if some of my games will work at all on Windows 7 is unacceptable. Hence the point of this thread to look at a dual boot system.

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#6 Posted by Stete (782 posts) -

Install Windows 7 on a different hard drive/partition than the one your Windows XP is in. That's pretty much it. You should be able to choose an OS when your computer boots.

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#7 Posted by MAGZine (441 posts) -

@djames216: Unless if you're trying to play really old games, then you shouldn't have any issues. Please move on to Windows 7 or Windows 8 for your own sake. If you're worried about any particular game not working, do a Google search to see whether or not if it will not work. Steam is very good about compatibility.

You can always install Windows XP on a separate partition after you installed Windows 7, provided you left some unpartitioned space.

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#8 Posted by Kidavenger (4168 posts) -

You can install them on the same partition; just make sure to specify a complete install rather than an upgrade and make sure to rename the install location something that you are sure is different from what is already there.

If you install them on the same partition, windows will automatically create an entry in the boot menu that will prompt you to select which OS to boot each time you start the machine.

I have multiple machines setup like this, never had a problem.

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#9 Posted by Justin258 (14374 posts) -

Any game worth playing can be played on Windows 7. Someone, somewhere, has spent hours and hours, determined to make it work, and has done so.

But if you're really that concerned, then it would probably be best to run XP in a virtual machine inside of Windows and play whatever you're after through there. At least to me, that sounds a whole lot less painful than having to set up partitions and needlessly manage two different versions of Windows.

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