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Unique Dual-boot situation help

Last response: in Windows XP
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January 15, 2011 7:48:50 AM

I am wanting to install XP Pro to my external HD, which is connected via Esata -> Sata, which contains about 700gbs of stuff I do not want to erase. My internal/main drive is running Win 7 x64 Ultimate. I realize I will have to swap boot order in the bios, which is no problem, I am very bios familiar.
Am I able to install XP Pro to my external HD without reformatting/wiping all the files currently on there?

What I was going to try to do was insert XP Pro disc and swap boot priority to 1. CD 2. external 3. internal and then attempt to install XP Pro on the external drive without wiping the partition/re-formatting.
I may have just answered my own question though I am not 100% sure thus I am asking.

Thanks.

Edit: My external HD has no OS on it, it's simply a storage drive for my massive files. It is a 1 TB drive with around 300 GB free.
January 15, 2011 8:05:00 AM

canterbizzle said:
Am I able to install XP Pro to my external HD without reformatting/wiping all the files currently on there?



I wouldn't chance it personally. Have you got another disk to which to save them temporarily? I'm afraid the files are at risk, even if you Partition the drive. XP has a nasty habit of wiping an entire volume and in circumstances where you'll be confronting it with a different Master Boot Record to its own, it's likely to do the wrong thing.


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January 15, 2011 8:24:42 AM

Saga Lout said:

I wouldn't chance it personally. Have you got another disk to which to save them temporarily? I'm afraid the files are at risk, even if you Partition the drive. XP has a nasty habit of wiping an entire volume and in circumstances where you'll be confronting it with a different Master Boot Record to its own, it's likely to do the wrong thing.



Oh bugger. My only other HD that isn't in a working desktop is some 1995 60g IDE POS. My mobo doesn't like IDE =(.
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January 16, 2011 12:11:41 AM

Couldn't I shrink the partition of my external drive by like 10GB and create a new partition on that space then install XP?
Will my data be safe that way?

Or is that what you meant when you said even if I partition the drive.
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January 16, 2011 12:56:31 AM

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Does your bios support boot from USB? You are aware that your bootloader from your first ide drive will be overwritten and make windows 7 unbootable


Not sure I understand. My external drive is not USB, it's connected via Sata and has no prior OS on it. My internal drive has the OS on it. I'm not going to touch the internal drive with the OS.
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January 16, 2011 1:31:59 AM

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Yes but have you ever installed windows on two drives or partitions before. It scans the drives for other windows installations. So it will put the bootloader on the one drive not on both. Since xp is a older OS with a different boot loader its going to overwrite the one of windows 7. Although xp is going to be installed on the external its bootfile is going to be placed on the internal drive. my best advice to you disable your internal drive when your going to install xp. Then use a third party bootloader or config the windows bootloader after the install manually so that both OS systems are listed when you bootup in the future.


What if I installed XP on the external with the internal disabled, but didn't mess with the bootloader; instead if I wanted to boot to XP I would swap the boot priority in bios to boot from the external, would it work that way?
Edit: I don't care about the convenience of choosing which OS to boot from when I start my machine. I'm rarely going to use the XP install and I don't mind swapping bios settings every time.
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January 16, 2011 1:42:49 AM

Best answer selected by canterbizzle.
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