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I already have an existing Windows 7 installation and want to dual boot to XP. I already create a partition for the XP installation. If I proceed with the Windows XP installation, will anything bad happen to my Windows 7 (erased MBR, etc)? What is the best way to dual boot Windows 7 and XP? XP first then Windows 7 or is it the other way around?

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You should always start with the oldest operating system and work your way up. – benjamin239 Feb 6 '10 at 22:13
up vote 10 down vote accepted

Although the recommended method is to install XP and then Windows 7, there is no need to reinstall in your case.

Follow this guide (edited below) using a free tool called EasyBCD.

  1. Download and install EasyBCD. Click I Agree to the license agreement, click Next to install in the default location, and the installation wizard will do the rest.

  2. Click View Settings.

  3. Change the Default OS to Windows 7. The operating system to associate the settings with should be Windows 7 too. Select the drive on which Windows 7 is installed under Drive. Type Windows 7 in the Name box and press Save Settings.

  4. Click Add/Remove Entries.

  5. Under Add an Entry, choose the Windows tab. Select the drive on which Windows 7 is installed. Type Windows 7 in the Name box and press Add Entry.

  6. Under Add an Entry, choose the Windows tab. Select the drive on which Windows XP is installed. Type Windows XP in the Name box and press Add Entry.

  7. Exit EasyBCD and restart your computer to be presented with a multi-boot option screen for Windows XP and Windows 7.

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This looks promising. Thanks and I'll update later. – salamander2007 Sep 14 '09 at 4:36

Install XP first. After that install 7. When 7 is installed, its bootloader will also recognize XP; that way you'll be able to boot in both operating systems without needing to do anything else.

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Why do you need to dual boot XP? If you have Ultimate just install Windows 7 then install XP mode in Windows 7 and it's all virtualized. Unless you have some specific reason for it which you could add to the question.

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Or maybe simply he wants to do like this, for his own reasons, that he doesn't need to explain ? All you need to know is that he wants to have a XP/Win7 dual boot. Answer the question, don't try to fix the user. – Gnoupi Sep 11 '09 at 7:36
XP Mode in Windows 7 is only supported on processors that have VT-x. – Coxy Sep 11 '09 at 7:40
He never said what type of CPU he had so I threw it out there. Asking the user a question might give him better insight into his problem and he wouldn't have to do it this way. I asked him Why, I didn't tell him to do it. – user10547 Sep 11 '09 at 14:03
I need to run specific in-house application that only runs correctly in XP. My machine is Intel P8400 which capable of doing XP mode, but Sony intentionally disable VT support on my FW machine. – salamander2007 Sep 14 '09 at 4:41

Why don't you install and run XP from a VHD file? Windows 7 is able to natively boot VHD files, so this might be the easiest way to get XP installed.

If you still want to install XP and Win7 side by side, I'd install XP first, then Windows 7. Why? Because XPs installation does not know or recognize the Windows 7 bootloader, while the Windows 7 bootloader will know the XP bootloader.

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Unfortunately Win XP can't benefit from Boot to VHD, as it requires specifice kernel change that only supported in Win7 and Win Server 2008 R2 – salamander2007 Sep 14 '09 at 4:33

Also is installing xp completely needed why do you need xp for?

First check if all of the programs if you could use all of those in either vista or win7.

(for me I use a website called FileHippo is has an update checker to check all of you're programs for an update)

Than if there is a reason you have to use win7 than consider virtualization.

For me using virtualbox is easy and simple.

For instructions view the [pdf][4].

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