2 hard drives, 2 operating systems

August 28, 2012 at 02:51:56
Specs: Windows 7
I have a lot of very old software so I want to have win 7 on one hdd and win xp on another. But whenever I start the computer it automatically loads win 7 and then when I boot onto the E disk it wont accept it.

I would like to have a very basic, step by step reply if possible!

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August 28, 2012 at 05:07:33
If you haven't configured them to dual boot, try installing a boot manager.


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August 28, 2012 at 05:29:16
You cannot take a hard drive out of another computer and expect it to be able to boot from (I do not know if you tried this), you need to install the operating system while the hard drive in in that particular computer.
There are two ways to install 2 operating systems on two hard drives.
One involves installing one operating system with one hard drive installed, switching and installing the other operating system with only the other hard drive installed. Then you would set up your BIOS to give you the boot choice.
The second and more common requires you to install the older operating system first and then install the newer one to the other hard drive. When the newer operating system is already installed and the older one is installed after, it overwrites the boot manager and ignores the newer operating system. To solve this you need to do a Start Up Repair on the newer operating system to set up the dual boot. On Windows 7 you would need an install disk, or a Windows 7 Repair Disk. You can make the repair disk from within windows 7 in the back up section. You can make one from any Windows 7 machine as long as both are 32bit or 64bit.

Know that if you have a modern system then you will have two main problems in installing XP, one is that XP does not support SATA drives during the install, and the other is that most modern hardware does not offer drivers for XP any longer. Make sure that you can handle these before you proceed. If your BIOS supports it, you can tell it to emulate an IDE drive until your drivers are installed, and then switch it back, but if you cannot download the proper drivers, it may not pay to bother.

You can get a virtual machine to install under Windows 7 and then install XP within that. This makes things easier for running older programs that will not install under W7.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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August 28, 2012 at 07:11:52
Assuming you installed both versions on those hard drives while the drives were located in the current computer then the following may work. If you do not see any such screens you may need to enter the BIOS (setup) screens and disable fast boot. You may also need to disable any logos because they may be hiding the screen you are looking for.

Watch your screens at start up time. You may see a message telling you to hit a certain key to choose the boot device. In my case the key is F11. This shows me a list of drives I have installed. I can scroll down to any boot bootable drive on the list and choose it.

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Related Solutions

August 28, 2012 at 09:16:30
On modern hardware running a Virtual Machine is preferred, as getting XP drivers can be an issue:


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August 28, 2012 at 11:04:23
Post the model of your computer or the hardware specs.

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