Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dual Booting Windows XP in HP Laptop with Pre-Installed Windows 7

Dual booting a PC gives us free air when things are not going well. For example we are unable to install a very needy application on our PC and our factory installed OS won’t accept it e.g. Vista or Win 7 because of compatibility issues.  Nowadays when we buy a laptop we’ll be having very less choice of downgrading it to all time favorite OS i.e. Windows XP. Mostly we get Vista or Windows 7. I have got a HP laptop with pre-installed windows 7.  Windows 7 is looking good but my inertia still pulling me towards windows XP. So I tried to make my HP Laptop Dual Boot with XP as I don’t want to lose my factory installed OS. The following procedure of making Dual Boot will allow me to work in any of the two OS i.e. Windows XP and Windows 7. 

NOTE: Although I am successful of making HP Laptop into Dual Boot Laptop with following procedure, but I won’t give any guarantees that this procedure will work perfectly on your Laptop or PC as well. So it’s your choice to follow my procedure, if anything goes wrong, Please don’t blame me J . It’s better to make Recovery DVDs for your Laptop and to make things more secure make Disk Image using third party softwares e.g. Acronis Home Image.
You have HP (or any other Brand but mine was HP, not sure if following procedure works on other brands) Laptop with pre-installed Windows 7 and you want to make it dual boot with windows XP.
 Software You Need:
·         CPU-Z ( )
·         EASUS Partition tool ( )
·         Partition-Wizard ( )
·         nLite ( )
·         EasyBCD ( )
·         Bootsectgui ( )

Step 1:
First thing is to turn off you UAC. You can enable it later.  You can do it by going into the control panel of Windows 7, then User Accounts, then User Account Control Settings and slide it down to Never Notify Me.

 Step 2:
Now this is interesting. Windows XP install CD won’t have the SATA driver for today’s HP Laptops.  So we need to make Windows XP CD contains these drivers.  This is called Split Streaming. Fortunately we have the complete guide for it. You can download the procedure from following website. Thanks to Mr. Daniel Potyrala. He has made that guide in a very intuitive and elaborated way. Refer to for making Windows XP CD with HP SATA drivers.
Step 3:
Now we need to know how much Disk space we can have. Most of the disk space is consumed by the Windows 7 partition.  If you go to Disk Management (Right Click My Computer, then Manage, then click Disk Management), you’ll see the four partitions in HP Laptop.
1.       System (Approx 200Mb with NTFS)
2.        Windows 7 (More than 100Gb, depends upon of your total disk space, with NTFS)
3.       Recovery Partition (Approx 10Gb, with NTFS)
4.       HP Tools ( Approx 100MB with FAT32)
We can get disk space from Windows 7 partition only, but its boot partition as well. We can make partition with any partition tool but first we need to know how much space is being occupied by Windows 7 itself. The used space shown in Disk Management is not all correct. So it is better to know that how much Windows 7 itself can spare. For that we need to use Shrink Tool of Windows 7. For this Right Mouse click the Windows 7 Partition. Click Shrink. After querying, windows 7 will tell you how much you can shrink in Sizeable Shrink Space after querying. 

 Note down the size of available shrink space (e.g. 135312MB in the picture) and cancel the shrink procedure because we will use another tool for shrinking it.
Step 4:
The laptop I get has Dynamic disk volumes instead of Basic disk volumes. As we see in step 3, we have four partitions and they are all Primary partitions. We cannot have more than 4 Primary partitions. Therefore we need to have Logical partition on which Windows XP can be installed. But we cannot do this if the Disk has Dynamic volumes. If you are lucky then you may already have Basic partitions on your Laptop, then you can skip this step. So what we need to do is to convert the Dynamic Disk Partitions to Basic Disk Partition so that we can create Logical Partition.  For this you need to install free version of EASEUS partition master home edition ( ). You can download it from their web site. It is a free version and will work for us. After installing EASEUS Partition tool, Run it and you can see the four partitions of your disk.  But you can’t do any operation on any partition until the disk is Dynamic. On the top you can see Disk 1. Right click and you’ll see the option of Convert to Basic Disk. Click it and apply changes. The system will restart and after that you’ll get your Disk converted into Basic volumes. Be sure you do not have any mirrored partitions or more than 4 primary partitions. For details about converting the Dynamic Disk to Basic Disk volumes go to

Step 5:
Now we are going to make logical partitions. For this we need to install another partitioning software because EASEUS cannot make logical partition on Windows 7 partition as it is boot partition. This can be done by using free version of Partition Wizard and it can be easily downloaded from their website ( Install it and run it. Now right click on Windows 7 partition and click Modify and then click Set Partition Logical.

After converting it to Logical, again right click Windows 7 partition and then click Move/Resize.  You’ll get a screen where you can select the space for creating new partition. Now enter the new partition size in Unallocated Space After little smaller than we found in step 3. May be 2-3 GB less than what we get in step 3. This will make sure that we are not exceeding the limit that Windows 7 itself can spare while using its own Shrinking tool.

After doing resizing, you’ll get Unallocated Space of hard disk. Now right click on Unallocated space and then click Create.

In Create New Partition window, Label it with “Win XP” and just click OK and your Unallocated Space will be available as new Logical partition. (If you want to create more partition e.g. DATA partition for saving your data, don’t use the whole Unallocated Space, Just resize the bar to according to your need and create two logical partitions, one for Windows XP and second for DATA).

Now Apply changes and allow system to restart.  Partition Wizard will run and your system will boot into windows 7 again.

Step 6:
Download You can search on goggle.  It’s available on as well. Unzip it C:\Windows7 partition root.

Step 7:
Insert the Windows XP CD that you have created in step 2 and restart. Make sure you have 1st boot option selected to CD/DVD ROM from Bios. (Or you can select it from the Boot Menu if your bios show you during startup of your Laptop).  The Windows XP installation will start.

Windows XP installation will ask you to select partition. Chose the partition with label “Win XP”. Sit back and relax while windows XP get installed on your Laptop.

Step 8:
When Windows XP in completely installed your system will automatically boot into XP. Don’t worry your Windows 7 is still there but its boot loader is taken up by windows XP now. We need to rewrite the boot loader of Windows 7. For this go to “C:\windows 7” hard drive from My Computer. Open Bootsectgui folder that you had unzipped in step 6. Run Bootsectgui.

Select System drive from the drop down menu of Select Single drive.  It will be at C:\ drive right now. Select “Windows Vista” in Select Master Boot Code Version. (Don’t worry with the name of Vista J).  Then click Write Master Boot Code.

Repeat the process but now selecting Windows 7 Partition (It should be at D :\) from drop down menu of Select Single Drive.

Last Step:
Restart your system and it will boot into Windows 7 now. Don’t worry; you didn’t lose your Windows XP. Its just your are playing with Boot loaders.  In last step you changed your boot loader of Windows XP. Since Windows 7 is latest version of Windows, so we want that its boot loader should run in the start up and it should know that there is Windows XP on this system as well. For this you need to install EasyBCD. Its available at  Download and install. Run EasyBCD.

Click Add New Entry. Select Windows NT/XP in Type. Then click Add Entry button.  Click “No” to “Automated NTLDR configuration” option. Restart your Computer and you’ll get Multi Boot option screen. Enjoy the Dual Boot HP laptop. J

Thanks To:
I must thank to EverWin and Mr. Daniel Potyrala for their video and written tutorials.