Windows XP is installed in my C drive. Can I install an another fresh copy of Windows XP or Linux or Windows 7 in same C drive without formatting the previous one?


Absolutely, the only times there are problems are sometimes when you try to install an older OS second as they usually build in backward compatibility to the newer OSs, whilst the older ones can remove features needed for the newer OS (e.g. Windows XP overwrites the Windows Vista / Windows 7 boot loader, whilst this newer boot loader is compatible with XP).

Just install in a good order and it should work fine. If you get any specific problems, feel free to ask here!

Just remember, if using Windows, select a different folder as they can't co-exist in c:\windows.

However, to stop compatibility issues, it is always best to use different drives (or even virtualisation).

  • 1
    wow, didn't know that. How do you choose which windows to use when you install on same partition? – bbaja42 Oct 7 '10 at 14:01
  • @bbaja - In XP, it is boot.ini - As well as disk/partition, it also states the folder to boot from. In Windows Vista and Windows 7 it is stored in the BCD and you can use the BCDEDIT tool to manipulate it. – William Hilsum Oct 7 '10 at 14:07
  • 1
    @bbaja42 If done properly, every time you boot up the system Windows will prompt you for which OS you would like to run. – Darth Android Oct 7 '10 at 14:07

Here's how you can do it for linux:
For ubuntu; try using wubi
or if you want bigger selection of linux systems, try been grubed

other option is using virtual machine; but that has it's own benefits and flaws

  • 1
    You can install multiple versions of Windows on a single drive. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Oct 7 '10 at 14:08

You can install multiple operating systems on one drive. That's one of the main reasons for partitions.

Your “c: drive” is in fact not the whole disk: it's a partition. That partition probably uses all the space on the disk, minus the first sector which contains the partition table (and a few other things).

To install another operating system, you'll need to make space for it. Most Linux distributions will handle this as part of the installation process, giving you an option to shrink the existing Windows partition. I don't know if that feature is available in the Windows installer.

You can make several Windows versions cohabit on the same partition (at least with some combinations of versions). They'll use different system directories (e.g. c:\\winxp and c:\\win7). They'll share other elements such as Program Files (unless you go out of your way, and perhaps even if you do), which might be a problem if you have software that's incompatible with one of the versions.

Ubuntu offers a way to install Linux in a file on a Windows partition: Wubi. It's tempting if you're a Windows user who wants to try out Linux, but it'll make your Linux installation dependent on Windows, which is not good for reliability (messing up in Windows could destroy your Linux installation).


You need at least an other partition on that drive. Especially true if you want to install win7 because it requires a different formating.

  • 1
    this is definitely wrong in case of linux. As for windows, Wil in other answer states it is possible even for windows. – bbaja42 Oct 7 '10 at 14:03

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.