how to set up a dual with win7 and xp

December 23, 2010 at 19:49:37
Specs: win7 ultimate, 2.8amd/x4/6g/ram
i purchased a new tower with an amd x4 @2.8ghtz....6g/ram////can i setup a dual boot with win7 as primary and xp as secondary..i have two seperate 1tb sata came with tower and its where the os and programs are and the other is pics and documents...tks

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December 28, 2010 at 23:47:12
You can set up Windows 7 and XP on the same computer, but there are some things you need to be made aware of.

It doesn't matter if Windows 7 or XP is "primary" or "secondary". You can only boot one of them on a computer at time.

The best way to set up a dual boot system is to install Windows from scratch, on one or more blank drives - install XP first, make all NTFS partitions with XP, then install Windows 7.
However, you can set up a dual boot configuration in any case.

If you use the dual (multi) boot feature built into XP or Windows 7 to dual boot with, by default, ALL the System Restore restore points in Windows 7 (or Vista) are DELETED, EVERY TIME you boot XP. If that concerns you, Microsoft has only two workarounds for that situation - one is you use the BitLocker feature, but that's only available to you if you have the Ultimate or Business version of Windows 7 (or Vista) - the other workaround may not work in all situations.
I got around that, for dual booting Vista Premium and XP MCE 2005, by using a paid third party boot manager program that can be configured to HIDE Vista's (in your case Windows 7's ) Windows partition from XP while booting XP - BootIt! N.G.

Vista and Windows 7 use a slightly different NTFS version than XP and 2000 do. XP cannot see NTFS partitions that were made by Vista or Windows 7 (in My Computer or Windows Explorer) , but Vista or Windows 7 can see NTFS partitions that were made by XP or 2000 fine (in Computer or Windows Explorer) .
If you were starting over from scratch, you could install XP first and make all NTFS partitions with XP, but that presents a problem if you want to keep at least your present Windows 7 Windows partition (the one Windows 7's Windows was installed on) data contents intact.
( You could make a NTFS partition in XP on un-allocated drive space, or if you don't have any, on un-allocated drive space made available by shrinking an existing partition in Windows 7's Disk Management, then copy your pictures, documents, etc. to that, then delete the Windows 7 made partition the pictures, documents, etc were on and remake a NTFS partition in XP . The partitions can be merged if they're beside each other on a hard drive, or made larger or smaller in XP by you using a third party "partition manipulation" program, as long as you're not trying to merge two partitions that each have an operating system on them. However, Vista and Windows 7 can react badly if you move the data on their Windows partition or change the size of the partition in anything other than Vista or Windows 7, or a "partition manipulation" program that is 100% Vista or Windows 7 compatible. )

Vista and Windows 7 always see the first installation of them as being installed on C, for their Windows partition, no matter which partition you install them on, no matter which hard drive partitions are already present when you run Setup.
XP, on the other hand, only assigns C to the partition it's Windows is installed on if Setup does not detect any other hard drive partitions as having already been assigned drive letters when Setup is run. If that concerns you, if you want to have XP seeing it's Windows partition (the one XP's Windows is installed on) as being installed on C, you either have to install it on a blank drive, disconnect any other hard drive, BEFORE you run XP's Setup, or you have to use a "partition manipulation" program to HIDE all other existing hard drive partitions on drives connected to the computer BEFORE you run XP's Setup.
E.g. the freeware Easeus Partition Master Home Edition.

All versions of XP except 64 bit Pro are 32 bit operating systems - they can't use more than 4gb of ram, and even then they can't use all of the 4gb for programs. I assume since you have 6gb of ram that you have a 64 bit version of Windows 7.

The 4gb virtual memory address limit for 32 bit operating systems.
An example of 3gb working better than 4gb in a 32 bit operating system.

See Response 6:

jam's explanation refers to links on other sties:

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December 29, 2010 at 01:34:23
I have noticed on a few systems that if more than 4GB of memory is installed the 32 bit opersting system will not function, instead you get a blank white screen. I have seen this with both XP and Windows 7. You may want to keep that in mind.


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December 29, 2010 at 14:18:23
"....on a few systems that if more than 4GB of memory is installed the 32 bit opersting system will not function, instead you get a blank white screen...."

I haven't heard of that. On the other hand, I've never had more than 4gb installed on any system that I've fiddled with.

Most people don't need more than 4gb for Windows 7 for what they're using the computer for.

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December 29, 2010 at 22:29:45
I first noticed it with an XP MCE system I was building. I couldn't afford all the hardware that I wanted so I started with just 1GB of ram in a MB that could take 8GB thinking I could add more as time went on. I went to 2GB and all was well then 4GB and I noticed that it didn't seem to help much. I had a bit of tunnel vision and was focused on getting to that 8GB that the MB could support and never thought about the limit of the OS. When I went to 6GB all went white. Tunnel vision still in full effect I tore that system all apart testing hardware to see what I had fried and how. When I started puting it all back together one part at a time it hit me. DOOOOOOHHHHHH!!!!

Later I upgraded to Win 7 Ultimate so that I could use it all. Not being all that brite I tried to install XP MCE for XP mode to keep my programs. Again DOOOOOHHHHH!!!!


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December 30, 2010 at 10:39:45

32 bit Windows 7 Ultimate has the same 4gb virtual memory address limit.

If the ram modules were not all identical, your problem may have been caused by one or more ram modules not being 100% compatible with being installed on that mboard.


Some ram manufacturer's modules do not strictly adhere to the JEDEC standards that most mboards bioses use to determine ram settings.
In that case, the ram settings in the bios Setup that the bios has automatically chosen may not be correct.
Check the ram settings in your bios - the ram voltage, and the ram timing numbers - those should be the same as for the specs for the modules themselves. Often the ram voltage and timing numbers are printed on the label on the modules.

If the voltage setting or timings settings in the bios are different from the specs for the ram, change them in the bios. The timing numbers must be as close as you can get to the same, or slower timings (higher numbers = slower) - you won't notice the difference the slower settings make.

If you have a mix of different modules
- don't mix ram that different voltages are specified for - the bios will force the ram to use the lowest voltage, if "by spd" or similar is used (default settings) - ram that a higher voltage is specified for is more likely to not work properly in that situation.
- the bios settings must be those for the slowest timing settings of all the modules, or slower (higher numbers = slower).

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December 30, 2010 at 21:12:05
All my ram is identical and Win7 ultimate I am running is 64 bit not 32. I am afraid I am not very well versed in the virtual thing yet. I have not gotten that far in class. What I did try and the out come was ----> With Win7 Ultimate 64bit the only installed OS I attemted to install XP MCE using the built in tools for XP mode. I again got the blank white screen. Later I set up virtual box and was able to install Win98 SE. It never ran very well so I dumped it. By then I had found replacements for the programs I wanted XP MCE for so I gave up on virtual box and never tried that. Should I have been able to run 32 bit XP in XP Mode with 6GB of ram? I have since gotten away from using XP on that box and built another one just to run 32 bit XP so I can play a few old games that I have.


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December 30, 2010 at 21:57:26

Ok, so the modules are identical, and Ultimate is the 64 bit version.

Are you overclocking anything in the bios ? If so, try setting the bios to defaults - you may have gone too far.

As indicated in response 3, I haven't noticed anyone else mentioning your problem, and you probably don't need more than 4gb. .

Did you try re-seating the ram ??

Check the ram settings the bios is using for the ram.

If you're using "also-ran" brand ram such as OCZ or G-Skil , it's well known that you may need to tweak the ram timings when you have more than one module installed so they're higher (slower) or bump up the ram voltage a small amount, within the limits for the ram module, in the bios, in order to get it to work properly.

"Later I set up virtual box and was able to install Win98 SE. It never ran very well so I dumped it."

You have to use a lot newer internet browser version than 98SE comes with - e.g. Opera 10.10 (you can't use 11.x). You must install IE 6, and use Microsoft Update to update it to IE SP2, even if you don't use IE. You must install Adobe Flash 9.xto support the Flash version used on many web pages. . You must modify a registry setting if the system has more than 512mb installed.

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December 31, 2010 at 01:22:58
It is all Kingston ram which at the time, over three maybe four years ago, was apparently one of the better brands. I expiremented with overclocking and decided I really didn't need it so why put extra stress on the hardware. A lot of the bios is no longer set on default or "automatic" or let the system decide whatever but it is not overclocked either. Instead the settings are set where they need to be. The only thing set different is the ram voltage, it is at 1.9 instead of 1.8. I was having trouble with BSOD's and changing this straightened this out.

The first time I got the white screen was before the changes were made. Everything in the bios was set to default except maybe the boot order.

I have seen the white screen on many other systems as well. Come to think of it though I never tried less than 6GB of ram I just went from 4 - 6. Maybe that is the bottom of the white screen threshold with 32 bit systems. I have 2 systems here now that were bought for chrstmas presents with 2 or 3 GB's installed. The owners brought them to me to try and have me install more ram because the manual said they could support more and I am having a heck of a time explaining the limit of the OS to them. One keeps saying "but the manual says it can have 16GB's I only want 10". It has Win 7 Home Premium 32 bit installed actually they both do. The second one the owner only wants 8GBs. He just dropped it off and left a note with my wife as per what he wanted done. I have not been able to reach him. I am almost tempted to go ahead and install the ram and then charge them for their next visit as well but I know that isn't right. At the moment my reputation is feeding us so I need to keep it clean.


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December 31, 2010 at 11:23:16

For your own system, Kingston ram is known to be very reliable, however, some mboard models may supply a ram voltage that is a little off in reality from what the bios says it's set to. For their ram that doesn't have a brand name specific part number, they have *.pdfs of the ram specs for the module that you can look at to find the range of allowable ram voltages that won't damage it.

For other systems, they may be using a mixture of modules, or "also ran" brand modules that are well known to often need to have there timings or ram voltage tweaked in the bios for when more than one is installed, as well as the mboard possibly not actually supplying the exact ram voltage stated in the bios.

The info about the 4gb virtual memory address limit for Windows 32 bit operating systems is all over the web....
E.g. memory manufacturer's and distributor's web sites, mboard manufacturer's web sites ( in mboard manuals), on brand name system web sites, etc. etc. could point your customers that have 32 bit operating systems to that,
and there's no point in installing more on the mboard because the 32 bit operating systems can't use anything over 4gb.

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December 31, 2010 at 15:50:56
I did show the one customer a couple articles on this a few hours ago. He has decided to leave the computer with me until he can upgrade the OS and install the 10 GB's he wanted. His son has just got to have this so he can play Call of Duty go figure. I told him it would be sever overkill especially for a 13 year old. I still have not been able to reach the other.


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