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Next Install Windows XP in this Windows 8 Dual-Boot

Last reviewed: July 2013

Warning: Do you have the first page? It contains all the essential preparations you need before you can continue here. If you do not already have that page then select it here

Now Install Windows XP and Dual-Boot with the installed Windows 8

When Windows XP is installed it creates its own boot sector and puts the XP boot loader (NTLDR) in charge. The Windows 8 installation DVD is then used to reinstall the Windows 8 boot sector putting Windows 8's BCD back in control. Finally EasyBCD is use to add a Windows XP boot option to the Windows boot loader menu.

  1. Bootup from the Windows XP installation CD.
    • Install Windows XP as a New installation (Advanced) on the prepared disk area
      - check the size to ensure you select the correct Unallocated or Unknown (i.e. RAW).
      - select a full Format (not Quick) of the XP partition using FAT32 or NTFS.
    • Occasionally the XP installation stops at the first restart - that's not a problem.

    Now return startup control to Windows 8.
  2. When XP installation is complete or if the installation restart gave an error:
    Bootup from the Windows 8 installation DVD and do the following at the first screen ('Windows Setup'):
    • Hold down the Shift key and tap F10 (to open a Command Prompt).
    • Type in these commands and press Entry after each (note the space after each bootrec):
      bootrec /fixboot    - to recreate the Win8 Boot Sector of the system partition
    Exit the installation now and reboot. Windows 8 will boot normally.
    Next use EasyBCD to add Windows XP to the Windows boot loader menu.
  3. With Windows 8 now running:
    Install and run EasyBCD (click Yes for "User Account Control").
    • Select Add New Entry in the left pane.
      Select the Windows tab in the upper right pane.
      • In Type, select Windows NT/2k/XP/2k3 in the drop-down.
      • In Name, enter a name like "Windows XP"
      • In Drive, you'll see it is "Automatically determined". That's correct.
      • In Automatically detect correct drive, leave it ticked.
      • Click the Add Entry button in the same pane.
      • Optional: You can now modify the timeout of the boot loader menu
        - click the Edit Boot Menu (left pane) and set the Boot default OS after to about 5 seconds.
        - you can also change the OS that boots by default. Click Save settings when finished.
    • Exit EasyBCD.
  4. Restart computer and select Windows XP from the boot menu
    - or - complete the XP installation if necessary: first insert XP CD, reboot, select XP in the boot menu.
  5. After XP installation, label the Windows XP drive to w_XP.
    Optional: If another OS partition has no drive letter showing in XP, use Disk Management to add one.
    Install any device drivers required by Windows XP.
  6. You should still execute a Windows XP fix - read "Fix Restore Points Problem in XP" (read below).


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Fix Restore Points Problem in Windows XP (advanced users)

Every time Windows XP is booted, it destroys Windows 8's Restore Points and all except the most recent backup files from Complete PC Backup - read Microsoft's Knowledge Base article 926185.

A small addition to XP's registry avoids this problem by making the Windows 8 partition inaccessible when, and only when, XP is running. You must, however, use extreme care to ensure you enter the correct drive letter in the following corrective procedure. You must never enter the drive letter used by XP - that would prevent XP from ever starting again! This fix is applied when XP is booted and not from any other Windows.

  1. Download this tiny xp_rstr_fix.reg file,, and unzip it to XP's Desktop.
  2. Startup to Windows XP . It must be XP and not any other version of Windows.
  3. Note the drive letter allocated to the Win8 partition in Windows Explorer (probably C).
  4. Right-click xp_rstr_fix.reg on the Desktop and select Edit. Look at this line in xp_rstr_fix:
    • Carefully change that Z to the drive letter allocated to the Win8 partition
      (make sure you do not remove the \\ before the letter or the : after the letter).
    • Save the file back to the Desktop as xp_rstr_fix2.reg
    • Right-click the new xp_rstr_fix2.reg on the Desktop, click Merge, and click OK.
  5. Reboot to Win8, and create a new Restore Point (right-click Computer > Properties > System Protection).
  6. Delete the .reg files on XP's Desktop when you're finished.

When XP is booted the Win8 drive will still be allocated a drive letter. However you will be denied access to the contents of the Win8 drive and the drive will appear to be unformatted (RAW) even though the contents have not been changed. When you boot to Win8 you will have access to all your drives including the Windows XP drive.

This is the full xp_rstr_fix.reg file: (the blank line is required)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


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Repair Windows 8 Boot Menu and Startup

Users will have noticed that the above creates a plain boot menu. This is perfectly fine but some users would prefer the Win8 graphical menu which also has additional options. This simple procedure will return that graphical boot menu:

  1. Boot to Windows 8.
  2. Hold down both the Win and X keys and then press the A key (to open an elevated Command Prompt).
  3. Run this command at the prompt:
    bcdboot c:\windows
    where C is the letter allocated to your Windows 8 (change the C if necessary).
  4. Reboot. The Windows 8 GUI boot menu is back!

Windows 8 is the default boot. You can alter this in Change defaults or change other options on the GUI menu.

If you ever need to do a fuller repair of the Windows 8 startup, you should do the following:

  1. Bootup from your Windows 8 DVD to the first screen ("Windows Setup").
  2. Hold down the Shift key and tap F10 (to open a Command Prompt).
    Type in these commands and press Entry after each (note the space after each BOOTREC):
    bootrec /fixmbr    - to update the Master Boot Record - just in case!
    bootrec /fixboot    - to recreate the Win8 Boot Sector of the system partition
    bootrec /rebuildbcd    - to rebuild the BCD data & boot menu or just add a compatible Windows to the menu
  3. Exit the installation now and reboot.

Note: The Bootrec command has not been tested on the newer (U)EFI / GPT systems.

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