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Windows 7 and Vista (and XP) Simple Multi-Boot Guide - Installing Windows XP

Keen to have the best each OS has to offer on the same PC? We show you the cleanest way to go about it.

| Guides | Posted: Jan 14, 2009 5:00 am

Step 4 - Installing Windows XP

 

Again, the hardest part for including XP on the multi-boot is already done, you did that in the previous step. But this time, unlike Vista, there are a few more steps involved.

 

Windows 7 and Vista (and XP) Simple Multi-Boot Guide

 

Find your copy of Windows XP and boot from that CD at boot and begin the XP install process as normal. Again, the only real difference for installing is that when it comes to choosing where to install XP, you need to make sure you pick the new partition you setup and labeled for Windows XP (or whatever you called it) - if you labeled the drive during formatting in Windows 7, it should be very easy to pick out.

 

DO NOT pick the wrong partition as it will break or damage your Windows 7 or Vista installs.

 

Once XP has been fully installed, reboot and don't panic; it will have removed (well, more so hidden) your Windows 7 and Vista boot menu, since XP uses a different boot loader in the MBR (Master Boot Record) of your hard disk drive. Follow the next steps to restore the boot menu, and then we are back in business.

 

(We would like to credit William Wilson over at SysChat for doing the groundwork here.)

 

Step 4a - Find your Windows Vista setup DVD once more and boot from it as if you were installing Vista again.

 

Windows 7 and Vista (and XP) Simple Multi-Boot Guide

 

Step 4b - Click next on the first screen and then click 'Repair your computer' - do not click 'Install now'!

 

Step 4c - Setup will search for operating systems and will detect Windows 7 and Vista, but not XP - that's okay. Click 'Microsoft Windows Vista' and then click 'Next'.

 

Windows 7 and Vista (and XP) Simple Multi-Boot Guide

 

Step 4d - Next you will be greeted with System Recovery options and you need to click 'Command Prompt', as you can see above.

 

Step 4e - In the command prompt, type the two following commands one by one:

 

Bootrec.exe /fixMBR

 

Bootrec.exe /fixBoot

 

Windows 7 and Vista (and XP) Simple Multi-Boot Guide

 

If the commands were successful, you will see something like the above. What we have done here is hand back control of the boot loader to Windows Vista from XP - you can reboot your system now and boot into Windows Vista.

 

Step 4f - Now we need to edit the Windows Boot Manager in Vista to tell the boot loader that Windows XP exists and that we want it on the boot menu. We need to open up a command prompt in Vista with administrator privileges - to do so, click start and then in run type 'cmd' - right click on it and click 'Run as administrator'.

 

Now you need to enter in these commands one by one (note: NTLDR means XP):

 

bcdedit -set {ntldr} device partition=C: (this either needs to be set to the drive letter of your Windows 7 or Vista partition - if you try and boot XP and it tells you that you are missing or have a corrupted file, just try a different letter!)

 

bcdedit -set {ntldr} path \ntldr

 

bcdedit -displayorder {ntldr} -addlast

 

bcdedit -set {ntldr} description "Microsoft Windows XP" (or whatever you want to call it in the boot menu - you can go crazy!)

 

Now you can close and reboot Windows Vista.

 

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