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I currently have Windows XP installed at the beginning of my hardrive in the first partition. I want to switch to Windows 7, but keep XP for dual boot.

I would like to have Windows 7 where XP now is, is it safe to just shrink and move the XP partition so the beginning is unallocated?

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It doesn't matter where the OS's sit on your hard drive. You can choose which OS boots by default and how much time XP will display your boot options. You can do this in the boot.ini. – pave Sep 16 '09 at 13:16

It really doesn't matter where the partition is actually located on your hard drive. If you have only one HDD, it doesn't matter if the new partition for windows 7 is at the beginning or at the end. As the matter of fact it doesn't even matter if you have multiple HDD in your system.

When you install windows 7 just choose the partition you want to install, when it finishes and boots up you will see the Windows 7 and Older Windows OS. (in your case the old Windows OS is your XP)

Windows 7 installer does everything for you, you don't even have to worry about those bootloader etc.

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so it won't be slower? I heard the disk is fastest at the beginning? – webjunkie Sep 15 '09 at 22:30
no it doesn't really matter, I don't know where you heard of that disk is not faster at the beginning, that I can certain. – Jonathan Sep 15 '09 at 22:37
even if the position of the partition do have speed advantage on different part of the hard drive. The speed gain will be really small you won't even notice it anyways. – Jonathan Sep 15 '09 at 22:39
About what matter, – user8228 Sep 16 '09 at 5:36

If you really want to manage your partitions, you may want to look at Easeus Partition Master, which is free for personal use. I can't personally vouch for this though, as I've never had any occasion to use it - but I constantly hear good things about it.

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no need windows itself disk manager is enough for the job anyways – Jonathan Sep 16 '09 at 2:05
Can Disk Manager move the system partition that is actively being used by Windows? I ask because I don't know. – techtechmo Sep 17 '09 at 2:07

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