How to add Windows XP dual boot to a Windows 7 system?

  • Harrison Maseko

    His machine boots into Windows 7, and for him to boot to xp this is what he does as he has described it to me:

    Go to cmd, right click cmd, click on "run as administrator", click "yes" at user account.In DOS window, type "diskpart", enter "select disk 0", type "select partition 3", type "active." When in XP to go back to Win 7 he does the same thing except that instead of "select partition 3" he types "select partition 2."

    Any idea what is going on? Win 7 came pre-installed. Isn't there any easier way?

  • Answers
  • KronoS

    Manually choosing the active partition is a really bad way of managing dual boot.

    You should use the Windows 7 boot manager to handle this.

    This should help you:

    A reader has asked about how to add Windows XP to Windows 7 Boot Manager. Here are the steps. You do this when you cannot boot to Windows XP after installing Windows 7 or Windows Vista.

    1. Open an elevated command prompt.
    2. Type the following to create a boot loader for Windows XP. bcdedit /create {ntldr} /d "Windows XP"
    3. Type the following to set the device to where Windows XP is installed. I used D: in this example. 4. Replace it with the drive letter of your XP installation. bcdedit /set {ntldr} device partition=D:
    4. Type the following to set the path. bcdedit /set {ntldr} path \ntldr
    5. Type the following to add this boot loader to the boot up screen. bcdedit /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast
    6. Reboot the computer.
  • Paul

    If you are not so confident in executing commands manually there is a graphic interface for modifying boot menu:


  • Related Question

    windows xp - Replace dual-XP installs with single-XP install and repartition drive?
  • Questioner

    The Current Situation

    I have a hard drive that currently is split up like so:

    Primary Partition

    • C: 9.77 GB NTFS Healthy (System) with XP Pro (in Polish) installed

    Extended Partition

    • D: 39.82 GB NTFS Healthy (Boot) with XP Pro (in English) installed
    • 6.30 GB Free space

    When I start my comuter I get a black and white Windows Boot Manager dual boot screen with 2 choices both being Microsoft Windows XP. The first choice is the English version of XP and the second choice is the Polish version of XP.

    Images of my Computer Management window and Dual Boot screen

    The Mission

    What I need to do is get rid of the entire extended partition (D: 39.82 GB & 6.30 free space) and just have the one primary C: drive which I assume will be somewheres around 55 GB big. So in the end I just want XP Pro in English running on my C: drive and no black and white boot screen to show up when starting up my laptop.

    The Question

    How do I go about successfully completing The Mission with out making my computer a useless pile of silicon, plastic and metal?


    So I went ahead and tried to follow Neal's suggestion but hit a wall. I got to a Windows XP Pro install screen that had the 3 following options as well as my drive data:

    • To set up Windows XP on the selected item, press Enter
    • To create a partition in the unpartitioned space, press C
    • To delete the selected partition, press D

    57232 MB Disk 0 at Id 0 on bus 0 on atapi [MBR]

    C: Partition1 [NTFS] 10001 MB ( 4642 MB free )
    Unpartitioned space 6448 MB
    D: Partition2 [NTFS] 40774 MB ( 26225 MB free )
    Unpartitioned space 8 MB

    I figured I would go with the first choice ((To set up Windows XP on the selected item, press Enter)) because I just wanted to set up Windows XP on C: Partition1 (which was preselected) so I pressed Enter which brought me to a screen displaying this message:

    You chose to install Windows XP on a partition that contains another operating system. Installing Windows XP on this partition might cause the other operating system to function improperly.

    CAUTION: Installing multiple operating systems on a single partition is not recommended.

    So this leads me to 2 new questions:

    1. How do I get rid of the Windows XP (Polish language) install on C: Partition 1 so that I can cleanly and safely install Windows XP (English language) on it? Neal, is this what you meant by me possibly having to delete the partition that the Windows XP (Polish language) install was located on?

    2. Since I have the option to delete partitions with the 3rd choice ((To delete the selected partition, press D)), should I do that on this screen or wait until I have Windows XP (English language) safely installed on C: Partition 1?

    I have to ask these questions because I have read that it is possibly dangerous to delete hard drive partitions. Just being cautious.

  • Related Answers
  • Neal

    I would be wary of moving an XP install from a logical partition to a primary one, and I would also be wary of having no C: drive - so a new install may be a better idea than moving stuff around.

    Back up everything.

    Copy all your Polish data (data on the Polish install, I mean) onto your (old) English install.

    Install (new) English XP on the Polish partition - just choose this partition in the install process. (You may have to delete the partition and create a new one - it is a while since I installed XP)

    Copy your old English data (including Polish stuff) to the new English install.

    In disk management, delete the 40GB and 6GB partitions, and the extended partition that contained them; then you can expand the new install into the free space (I'm reasonably sure that disk management lets you do this.)

  • Mun

    If you've got an external USB drive or network, you could create an image of your XP Pro English partition, delete all partitions from your primary drive, and then restore the image. You could use something like the free edition Macrium Reflect to do this.

    You could also use BootItNG to clear your XP Polish partition and then copy the XP English partition into it, after which you can delete the extended partition and then expand the primary partition into this space.

  • Bobby

    Okay, first, backup EVERYTHING! Second, you'll need the following things: Some sort of Partition Manager Live-CD (SystemRescueCD, GParted-LiveCD f.e.), the Windows XP Pro CD.

    Step By Step:

    • Defrag your D Partition
    • Boot into the LiveCD
      • Delete the primary Partition
      • Move the second Partition out of the Extended Partition
      • Delete the Extended Partition
      • Resize the (now only one) Partition
      • Set the boot Attribute
    • Reboot and see if Windows comes up, if not
      • Boot with the Windows XP Pro Install CD
      • On the Selection Screen press R to drop to the Repair Console
      • Type fixmbr and hit Enter

    You're done. And one more time, back up first! Oh, and maybe you'll need to remove the Windows Boot-Loader...but I've never used that cr...neat piece of Software so I can'T help you on that, sorry.