How to install Windows XP on another hard drive from within Windows 7?

Marina Susan May 11, 2013
Ads by Google

I am running Windows 7. I have a second hard drive that I want to install Windows XP Pro on — for another PC I am building. The copy of Windows XP I have sadly is the type you have to install from inside a previous version of Windows, I can’t just boot to it from a formatted hard drive (it’s from the days when we were all upgrading our versions TO Windows XP lol).

Anyway — how do I do this? Windows 7 won’t let me install it even though I definitely want to install it on another hard drive not a dual boot. Ideas?

  1. someoneF
    August 21, 2013 at 9:27 am

    I like how everyone keeps repeating the same thing, and no one actually answers the question.

  2. null
    May 16, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Installing fresh xp on a drive and then trying to get it to work with different hardware is not worth the trouble. Since you have a cd key, why you don't just download any bootable xp image, burn it to cd and then just install it with your cd key?

  3. Sonesh Lakhani
    May 14, 2013 at 9:13 am

    First install the win xp and then install the new copy of win 7 in another drive

  4. Tim Brookes
    May 12, 2013 at 12:45 am

    This really depends what you want from the system, and the specs of that system.

    Arguably the best solution for you to install and run Windows XP from within Windows 7 is to use a virtual machine, like Windows 7's own XP mode (I've never had any success with this myself, you need Windows 7 Pro from memory) or there's the more attractive option of using a third party virtualisation tool, I'd recommend VirtualBox -

    It's completely free, though it is also a little rough around the edges. It doesn't have the graphics support or features of the commercial solutions from companies like VMWare. The program has a wizard that will help you set up a virtual machine for the OS of your choice. You'll need the installer CD or .ISO file (if you have a valid licence you can just download a copy of XP from wherever you like and activate with your own product key).

    As for the other hard drive, well if you wanted to install it on that you could install the hard drive within your PC (presuming you have a desktop PC) format it and simply install VirtualBox & XP to that drive (it'll be E: or F: or something). You won't be able to boot your PC into XP mode, instead you'll have to launch XP from within Windows 7 by starting that virtual machine, but it means you get access to both fairly easily.

    Hopefully your hardware is up to the task of running a virtual machine, I'd have thought for an OS as old as XP you should be ok with moderate performance even on older hardware.

    Let us know if this helps!

    • Marina Susan
      May 12, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      Thanks everyone for answering! I do appreciate it... Just wanted to update this for inquiring minds lol...

      Yes, you actually CAN install XP (or Windows 7 for that matter) on a hard drive, then put the HD in another machine. I have done that before. It takes a few minutes for the hard drive to make the adjustments, find the new hardware like the motherboard etc. Sometimes that works seamless but usually you need to install the associated drivers for all the new hardware like motherboard, sound, video, etc... But again it DOES work. I have done it successfully on both XP and 7 machines...

      The reason I want to do this again is because the XP version I have isn't bootable -- you can only do an install from inside windows... But after tinkering with it through the night I did manage to install is using a virtual machine... Then I took the hard drive and put it in the system I wanted... And like I said in my first paragraph just had to install all the hardware like usual and bam. It works. So now I have another pc running XP..

      Thanks for help!

  5. Alan Wade
    May 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    A question that hasnt been asked, why dont you wait until you have built the new machine then install Win XP on the new hard drive?

  6. Biljana
    May 11, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I am using WMawre player and Linux,KSP in windows 7.

  7. ha14
    May 11, 2013 at 8:18 am

    well if you point windows xp to its folder then perhaps will take itself as previous version installed and will proceed the installation?

  8. Jeffrey Wilson
    May 11, 2013 at 8:12 am

    I use virtualbox to several operating systems inside windows 7 including ubuntu.
    you can use the the free version its very user friendly.

  9. Alan Wade
    May 11, 2013 at 6:10 am

    You cannot install an operating system onto a hard drive then transfer the hard drive to another machine, it will not work.

  10. Harshit J
    May 11, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Why not get the licence key for it and use it with another installation CD? Besides, you could get a windows 2000 CD and install it on your second hard drive and then upgrade it to XP.

  11. Bruce Epper
    May 11, 2013 at 3:02 am

    You will need to install XP on that hard drive in the system that will be running it. You do NOT want to attempt to move a hard drive containing XP (or any other Windows operating system) from one system to another unless they have IDENTICAL hardware. Trying to move a hard drive with a working copy of Windows from one machine to another without identical hardware will require you to jump through hoops in an effort to change the drivers required to make the system work and if you have not done it before, it will just frustrate you since it is rarely easy.

    Build the PC. Get everything ready to run. Find someone who is still holding on to their ancient copy of Win98, WinME, etc and keep the CD handy. Start the install process for WinXP by booting from the WinXP CD. Fairly early in the installation process it will say that it needs to have a copy of a previous operating system. Insert the old Windows CD into the drive and continue. It will scan the disc to see if it really does contain an older version of Windows (notice it does not need to be installed on the system). It will then prompt you to put the WinXP CD back in the drive. From here, it is just like a normal full OS installation.
    No matter what, you cannot install an older version of Windows from a running copy of a newer version of Windows. The installer just won't allow it.

  12. Rajaa Chowdhury
    May 11, 2013 at 1:55 am

    Microsoft has a virtualisation solution on Windows 7, where XP SP3 runs from within Windows 7. More details at

    Download link :

Ads by Google