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Is it said that if you have Vista and/or Win 7 already installed on the computer, you can't install Windows XP, or else it will affect the Vista and Win 7 installation?

So what can be a proper way? Some people say remove the hard disk first, and install XP on a brand new hard drive first.

What about using some tool (can GParted do it?) to make all partitions invisible, except only 1 primary partition visible (which is an all empty partition), and then boot up the XP disc to install it? thanks.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

If you have Windows 7 installed you should look at Virtual PC. This will also have the effect of sandboxing your XP installation in case it gets a virus.

There are limitations, but they are detailed on the page.

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thanks. i will use that... also, kind of want to install XP on a physical machine, just to see how fast it runs (a 2001 OS running on 2009 hardware). – 太極者無極而生 Nov 7 '09 at 13:40
It's surprisingly slow, Vista and 7 both (massively) outperformed it when I installed it on my machine. – Phoshi Nov 7 '09 at 13:44

If you just want to run programs that only work on XP, then Windows 7 has an 'XP Mode' which lets you run a program in an emulated XP environment. This is only available with Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate though.

If you want to do a full XP install on your current hard drive your best bet is, as you said, to shrink the current drive partition and create a new one in the freed space. Then install XP on this new partition. GParted is a good way to do this as its free and easy to use.

I can post more info should you decide to do one of these methods.

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the question is whether needing to mark the other partitions invisible or what's the best way – 太極者無極而生 Nov 8 '09 at 0:52

You should be able to use gparted to change the partition type into some non-windows-readable format and turn it back to NTFS after the installation. Just don't let gparted or the windows installation do any formatting so maybe don't choose and extfs or swap to avoid accidentally doing so! Then use the Win7 cd to reinstall the new MBR, I don't know though if it automatically adds Win XP to the boot menu or if that involves further steps.

Also, to prevent drive assignment issues, I suggest you add a 1MB partition temporarilly: Say you have Win 7 on C: and want Win XP on D:, then split the D: partition into a 1MB FAT partition (so that C: will be taken by that) and the NTFS partition for XP. After the installation you gparted to merge the temporal partition into the XP one. (I don't know if this is actually necessary, maybe XP already assigns it's intallation partition to C: no matter what?)

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