My dad has Windows 7 64bit installed on his computer. He had, on his previous Windows XP-running computer, an arcane piece of software that does not work on the newer OS, no matter what we try with compatibility modes.

Our current idea about this is to install the exact same Windows XP that he had on his previous computer, side-by-side on his existing Windows 7, to run that software there.

We would like both installations to access the same data (His HD is partitioned to several logical drives – I guess sharing access to at least one is sufficient).

  • Is it possible?
  • Where would the WinXP get installed?
  • Do I need to do anything new with partitioning ?
  • What should I pay special attention to during the Windows XP installation?
  • Have you tried XP Mode by chance?
    – Ramhound
    Feb 7 '12 at 14:18

First up, Yes you can Install Windows XP and Windows 7 side by side on the same system and be able to access your entire hard-drive from both OSs.

However from your post, you seem to be requiring the WindowsXP -just to be able to run a single (old) software..

You have to realize that this means you will always need to 'reboot' your system from Windows7 and get into WinXP just to use it (you'll get fed up of having to do this all the time- just to be able to run that software)

So my question- Are you sure you have tried the Compatibility settings And "Right Click on the Program - Run as Administrator" ?

If this still did not work, you may want to look up on google about compatibility issues with Windows7, and if you get a patch / fix that lets you run your software- perfect !!

If there is absolutely no fix/patch available for your software, then have you considered Installing a Virtual Machine software (such as VMWARE Player - and Run "Windows XP" within Windows 7

The advantage of this is that you dont have to reboot your system anytime just to be able to login to Windows XP and all you got to do is Start up VMWARE, and boot up your WinXP "virtual machine" and run the software you require..

Its very convenient and lets you have a full-fledged Windows XP Instance running in a 'virtual box' within Windows7 that you can power on or power off, just as when required..

If i had a choice of installing a physical windows xp next to my windows 7 OR Running WinXP through VMWare from within Win7, i'd go for the 2nd approach simply because of the convenience factor and the fact that it's really easy to setup

  • Thanks. Yes, I'll go explore virtualization options before going for multi-boot. Any strong recommendations on free VM engines for my specific host/guest OS combination ?
    – ob1
    Feb 7 '12 at 12:48
  • 3
    @ob1 - Virtual Box is 100% free. There are free versions of WMWare Player I believe is free. Virutal PC 2007 is 100% free. XP Mode ( Virutal PC 2007 ) is built into Windows 7 Pro+
    – Ramhound
    Feb 7 '12 at 14:18

In theory yes you can do this, but there might be some issues with the order in which the operating systems are installed - it could be that Windows XP needs to be installed first.

What you can do is install a virtual machine and then install XP in that. This has full access to your hard drive (via shares). You need to have a valid XP licence key. Windows 7 Professional has XP Mode, but this isn't available to "lower" versions:

Designed primarily with small- and medium-sized businesses in mind, Windows XP Mode comes as a separate download and works only with Windows 7 Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise.

3rd party virtual machines like VMware are available.

  • I'm pretty sure it's a "Home" edition, so probably XP Mode won't be available. What free VM software is recommended ?
    – ob1
    Feb 7 '12 at 12:39
  • @ob1 - you can go with VMware (or similar)
    – ChrisF
    Feb 7 '12 at 12:40

Have you tried XP Mode on Windows 7?

It installs a VM in Windows 7 for this purpose.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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