Windows XP/XP multi-boot
I don't know if you can answer my question or not but I'm an XP user that is really reluctant to switch. But I must admit I'm having problems that some say is related to XP no longer being supported - things like losing network connectivity, malware, etc. I'm ready to buy or try Win 8.1 or some Linux version. Is there a way to safely and reliably add multi-boot capability to my PC? The processor is an Intel i3-2120 running at 3.30G.
Chris, I have never used a dual boot computer (e.g. Windows XP and 7 or 8) but it does not appear difficult to setup.
The procedure involves creating a new partition on the C: drive then installing the new operating system in that new partition. The Windows XP OS remains in place and is still usable.
First make sure that the hard drive on your XP computer is large enough to contain both
operating systems plus paging, application programs etc. If necessary, you could move data, photo, video, sound files and so on to a newly added second hard drive. Obviously your computer must have physical space for this second hard drive.
Also make sure that sufficient memory or RAM is available for Windows 7 or 8; whichever one you choose to install.
Since dual boot setup is a common procedure there is much information on the internet telling how to do this.
I just did a Google search on "dual boot" and I will quote the lifehacker.com writeup. Many other search results appear including one from Microsoft.
I will quote from the lifehacker.com writeup with minor editing.
How to dual boot Windows 7 with XP (works for Windows 8 also of course).
Step 1: Download the Windows 7 software and burn it to a DVD using the burning tool ImgBurn (free download). Some other burners will not create a bootable iso file.
Or use a purchased copy of Windows 7 already on a DVD of course.
Note: You will need your license key for the Windows 7 software during the installation step.
Step 2: Partition Your XP Hard Drive
You need to create a new partition on your hard drive to hold the new installation of Windows 7.
To partition your hard drive in Windows XP, you'll need to download a third-party partitioning software. There are a lot of options available, for example the GParted live CD, a free, open source boot CD that can handle all kinds of partitioning duties.
To use it, just download the GParted Live CD, burn it to a CD, then reboot your computer (booting from the disc). You'll boot right into the partitioning tool. HowtoForge's guide to modifying partitions with GParted is a great place to start, but it's a fairly simple procedure:
Resize your current OS drive to free up enough space for a Windows 7 partition (the minimum system requirements ask for 16GB).
Create a new partition from the newly freed space.
Apply your changes.
Step 3: Install Windows 7
Now that you've done all the heavy lifting, it's time for the easy part: Installing Windows 7 on your new partition. So insert your Windows 7 disc and reboot your computer (you'll need to have enabled booting from your DVD drive in your system BIOS, but most PCs will have this enabled by default).
Once the DVD boots up it's a simple matter of following along with the installation wizard. When you're choosing installation type, be sure to select Custom (advanced) and choose the partition you set up above. (Be careful here. Choosing the wrong partition could mean wiping your other Windows installation out altogether, so make sure you pick the new partition you just created.)
After you select the partition, go grab yourself a drink and let the installer do its work. Windows will run through several installation tasks and restart a few times in the process. Eventually you'll be prompted to set up your account, enter your license key, and set up Windows 7.
Congratulations! You should now have a new entry for Windows 7 on your boot screen when you first start up your computer. You now have all the tools necessary to dual-boot Windows 7 and XP.