Forewarned is forearmed...
I have a Windows 7 desktop PC and I want to know how to add a second hard disk drive and install Windows XP on it
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I want to install a second internal disk drive in my new Windows 7 Home Premium PC and then install Windows XP Professional on it, of which I have a retail installation disc, because I have many applications that run on my old Windows XP PC and I want them all on the Windows 7 PC. I know that I can only use my Windows XP on one PC at a time, so I will be retiring my old PC. I intend to use Windows 7 for web browsing and Windows XP to run my programs and save my data files. Switching between the internal hard disk drive and an external USB hard disk drive is easy, but I don't know how I will access the new hard drive when I'm running a program from the boot drive that runs Windows 7. I assume that at boot time I will be provided with the option of selecting which version of Windows to use. But how to I get from one hard drive to the other to open a file, etc?
You should try installing your Windows XP programs in Windows 7, because most software that runs in Windows XP will run in Windows 7 perfectly well. If it doesn't, you can try locating the program's executable .exe file in the program's folder under Program Files in Windows Explorer, right-clicking on it with the mouse pointer, clicking Properties and then opening the Compatibility tab, which allows you the options to run the program as if it were being run by earlier versions of Windows. If doing that doesn't work, you can also buy a version of Windows 7 called Anytime Upgrade that allows you to upgrade to the Windows 7 Professional or Ultimate versions, both of which have a Windows XP Mode that is effectively a complete copy of Windows XP that runs within Windows 7, in which you can install your XP software.
How to confirm your PC can run Windows XP Mode -
This checks to find out if your PC's hardware can run Windows XP Mode.
You have a new Windows 7 PC, which will have several SATA connectors on its motherboard, so, if there is a free drive bay in the case around the existing hard drive, you must buy an internal SATA hard drive, which is easy to install. You just fit it into a free 3.5" bay far away as possible from the existing drive so that it can keep cool with four screws that will come with the drive. It has to be powered by a cable from the PC's power supply unit. Being a new PC, the power supply will no doubt have several SATA power plugs that you plug into the power connector on the hard drive. If the power supply only has four-pin Molex power plugs, you can buy an inexpensive molex-to-SATA power cable. Then you just have to connect the data-transfer cable to an SATA connector on the motherboard and then to the hard drive itself.
The motherboard's user manual shows where the SATA are located. If you don't have a copy, you can identify its make and model and download one in the PDF format from the manufacturer's website. You can find out the make/model of motherboard by opening the PC's case to examine it or make use of a utility such as CPU-Z. However, doing that shouldn't be necessary because a bank of SATA connectors is very recognisable. Click here! to go to the Build Your Own PC page on this website that deals with installing an SATA hard disk drive. It shows images of the connectors and the cables. Some cables just plug into the connector; others have clips that clip on the the connector.
Windows XP doesn't have SATA drivers in its driver library, so they have to be added at startup, usually from a floppy disk, but Windows 7 installs the device drivers for an SATA hard or optical CD/DVD drive automatically.
When you connect an external USB hard disk drive to the Windows 7 PC, it installs the required device drivers and then assigns the drive a drive letter (D: - E: - F:, etc.). When you have installed the new hard drive and boot the system for the first time, Windows will do likewise. All of the hard and CD/DVD drives installed in the computer can be seen under Start => Computer in Windows 7, so, if you make a note of the drives already installed, you can see which drive letter has been assigned to the new drive and you can give a name, such as WinXP, by right-clicking on its entry and selecting Rename. If the boot drive is just called C:, you can rename it to, say, Win7.
A new drive usually has to be formatted in order to be used. To do that, you just have to enter disk management in the Start => Search programs and files box and click the link that is provided called: Create and format hard disk partitions. The Disk Management window that presents itself, shown below, shows a representation of the hard disk and optical CD/DVD/Blu-ray drives installed in the computer.
The Disk Management window, shown above, shows that the boot dive is Disk 0 and that there is a second hard drive installed (Disk 1), but that the computer does not have a CD/DVD drive installed. To access the Format and other options, just right-click with the mouse inside one of the boxes representing a drive. You cannot format the boot drive because it contains the working copy of Windows, but, if there are other drives or partitions, you must make sure that you format the unformatted drive, because formatting a drive with data on it will erase that data. Windows provides a warning that any data on the drive will be deleted.
When the new hard drive is formatted, you can access in the same way that you access your external USB hard drive. You can install programs on it by selecting its drive letter during the installation process, or store data on it by copying files to that volume.
Installing Windows XP to the new drive will be more difficult than just using the Windows XP installation disc, because installing an earlier version of Windows to the latest version is problematic. If you had Windows XP installed first, creating a dual-boot system would be just a matter of installing Windows 7 and letting it create the boot manager that runs at startup and which allows you to choose which version to boot with.
The following illustrated article explains how to do the installation, what happens and how to fix the problems that occur:
How to install Windows XP over Windows 7 in a dual boot -
"This guide tells you 'How to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows XP' with Windows 7 installed first. This case is applicable for users who have Windows 7 pre-installed on C: and want to install XP on their D: partition." -
Alternatively, you can buy a third-party boot manager, such as Acronis OS Selector, that can locate the versions of Windows installed and create the boot menu that presents itself at startup.
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