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How to Run XP & Windows 7 on One PC

    • 1). Check your drives in Computer Management. Click "Start" and type "compmgmt.msc" into the search bar -- or click "Run" and enter "compmgmt.msc" in Windows XP -- to open Computer Management. Click "Disk Management" under "Storage" to see a list of partitions.

    • 2). Look at your available hard drives. You need to have at least two partitions with at least 10 GB of space to run two operating systems. Primary disks are listed as "Disk 0" and secondary hard drives as "Disk 1." If you have two hard drives, you can easily install two operating systems. Most people have just one hard drive. Click on your Disk 0 to see partition information. When installing a dual-boot system, it's a bit easier to start with Windows 7, since you can repartition on the fly and convert your unused hard drive space into a new partition. For more information on repartitioning, read Greg Shultz's tutorial on Tech Republic (

    • 3). Back up all of your important files to an external drive, USB flash drive, or DVDs. Insert one of your two operating system discs into your CD drive. If you are starting from Windows 7, insert the XP disc. If you are starting from Windows XP and only have one partition, insert the XP disc. If you are starting from XP and have two partitions, insert the Windows 7 disc. Turn off the computer.

    • 4). Turn the computer on and look for a "press any key to boot from disc" prompt. When this message flashes on screen, press a key to start the Windows setup from the disc you inserted in Step 3. Press "F8" to accept the Windows license agreement and then "Esc" to bypass the recovery console. If you're installing for XP on a computer with one partition, go to Step 5; if you are installing XP onto a computer with two partitions and a copy of Windows 7 pre-loaded, go to Step 6; for installing Windows 7 on a computer already running Windows XP and with a second partition, go to Step 7.

    • 5). Choose your primary (only) partition from the list of partitions and press "D" to delete it, then press "L" to confirm. Press "C" to create a new partition and enter the size (divide your hard drive space by two). Then press "C" again in the area labelled "unpartitioned space" to create a second partition for the Windows 7 installation. Select the first partition and press "Enter" to install Windows XP here. Follow the prompts to format the drive, then enter your personal information to complete the Windows setup. Proceed to Step 7 to install Windows 7.

    • 6). Choose your secondary partition (not your "C" volume) as the destination for Windows XP. This will install XP into space not used by Windows 7. Press "Enter" to confirm, then choose "Format the partition using the NTFS files system" and press "Enter" again. Enter your personal information when prompted.

    • 7). Choose "Custom" install from the Windows 7 setup screen. Select a partition (not "C") as the destination for Windows 7, then enter your personal information. Choose "Format this drive," when prompted, to clean the boot sector in install Windows 7 fully.

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