Just got a new Dell desktop with Win8 (64). I have a few programs and peripherals that will run only under win XP. They are quite expensive and I can't replace them so the only option is to install win XP on my new desktop (win8 drivers will not be available). I have spent a few days trying to find some info about doing a dual boot with win XP, however, all sites that I found talk about installing win8 on a XP machine. I need to do it the other way around. I currently have only one HD in the desktop, but have no problem installing a separate HD for XP - if that would make the process easier. I know that XP will overwrite the win8 bootmgr/BCD bootloader and use its own instead. SO, the problem is how to do this so that I can have an option of booting either into win8 or winXP on startup?? I would really appreciate step by step instructions or if someone could point me to a website with those instructions I'd be very thankful. This is my first time using this forum, so hopefully I posted in the right place. Thanks in advance!!!
Did you try to run your programs under XP mode or using backward compatibility mode? This doesn't work all the time but it could make them work under 8.
If not, instead of using dual boot, wouldn't it be simpler to run XP in a virtual machine instead? You could use Microsoft VirtualPC or Oracle VirtualBox, both are free.
Also note that Microsoft will drop support for XP on April 1st of 2014 which is in just a year or so. They will stop to patch the OS, so no more security updates after this date. This will make your system at risk, I would recommend not to connect it to the Internet or to a network after this date. But if it runs in a virtual machine you could just disable the virtual network card and transfer your data by disk-to-disk (virtual tunnel) between your host OS and virtual OS.
If you really need to run XP natively, make sure there are drivers for all your hardware first.
Best thing would be installing them on separate HDDs, i.e. unplugging your Win8 HDD until you're done installing XP. After that, you can use your motherboard's boot menu (often called by pressing F11 during POSTing) to choose which HDD to boot from.