Saturday, 25 September 2010

Technology: Windows 7 Crossover Windows XP

Alright, in the last entry about Windows 7 I mentioned about a software called Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor that can help me find out whether or not I can upgrade from XP to 7, and now this is what happened about I wrote that entry...

As expected, I downloaded the Advisor, installed it and ran it, and I was more than happy to know that I can upgrade to Windows 7, only that I should install the 32-bit version instead of the 64-bit one. Well, that is okay because I have both versions.

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As I was almost getting ready to press that install button, I suddenly remembered that I should at least try to make my data partition safe by hiding it, so I ran an old software called Partition Magic 8, aka PM8, ( there are many other free versions that can do the job just as well, and there is the Disk Management on your Windows XP and Windows 7 too ) because I am more familiar with PM8, and chose "Hide Partition" to ensure my data partition cannot be overwritten.

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While I was doing that, a question just popped up in my head, "Why can't I have both Windows XP and 7 on the same hard disk?" I have tried to install 2 Windows ME on the same hard disk, and then later 2 Windows XP on two separate hard disks, though there was not much point doing that, there is a good reason I do this now. As I know that there are still quite a number of software not compatible with Windows 7, so keeping Windows XP allows me to ensure I can still work smoothly if anything goes wrong with the installation.

Now, this is called "Dual-booting".

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The first thing to do then, was to create a new Primary Partition for Windows 7 to be installed later, and also hide the current Windows XP partition, then reboot system.

To cut short the story, the installation was quick and smooth, and the installation program was smart enough to download all the most updated drivers from the internet and saved me from lots of hassle. (But soon after that I realised the hiding of the partitions was unnecessary because Windows 7 is too smart.)

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In no time, I was running on Windows 7. But let's not forget, my goal was to be able to choose which Windows to run when I wanted, and with my data partition and XP partition hidden, I need to unhide them, now how do I do that?
  1. I could either install PM8 on my Windows 7 first, but no guarantee it will work on the 7, or,
  2. I could make use of my Windows PE, a home-made Windows ME that allows you to run Windows using just the RAM (well, not really, but more or less true), which includes PM8 and other cool disk manager softwares inside.
Image from Google
And of course, I did the latter, because I hate to install something that I later do not need, and in seconds, Wahla!!! All partitions are visible now!

But now what? Will your computer now knows that you have 2 different Windows on the same hard disk and so let you choose which one you want to use?

That depends on your luck. Windows 7 has a Windows Boot Manager at startup, but if it doesn't come out, then you'll need to install something called the (second-stage) boot loader, in this case, I used EasyBCD

Following the instructions I found from the internet (please see links below), and Ho Ho Ho!!! I can now choose which ever Windows I want to boot! Hurray!!!!

After installing all the usual software I often use, I have figured out a new challenge, which I will share some time after accomplishing, or failing......

(To be continued)

Dual-boot / Dual-booting -- Multi-boot or Multi-booting is the act of installing multiple operating systems on a computer, and being able to choose which one to boot when starting the computer. The term dual-booting refers to the common configuration of exactly two operating systems.
hassle --  [C or U] informal (a situation causing) difficulty or trouble
boot loader -- a software that loads the main operating system for the computer.


For a video guide instead of reading what I am writing:

On detail use of Disk Management:

On using EasyBCD: