Hi all - so very sorry for the lengthy post but I feel giving necessary information ahead of time can help a lot...........
I spent the better part of yesterday running around the Net and even here for instructions on how to set up a dual boot setup. While what I found was great the instructions weren't very helpful to my specific situation. I've never set up a dual boot system so every part of this is new to me and while I'm not a novice with computers when it gets into "installers" and the inner workings of Windows I get lost.
I have a 7-1/2 year old super Gateway desktop that came with XP Pro, changed it to XP Pro Retail, but only have gone as far as SP2 because SP3 always gave me problems. The system has royally passed the Windows 7 Advisor test except for a couple of printers I have connected to it but the hardware is just fine. At the time of purchase in July 2002 the system cost me $6,000 - half of that was for the 22" LCD digital/analog display alone. I've gutted it out as much as I could over the years and while I'd love to upgrade the board, processor and memory
, it being a Gateway is pretty much impossible given the proprietary way they make their systems.
The system is a 700XL desktop, was considered their top-shelf machine at purchase, and now has 2 Gigs of Rambus memory (came with one gig), I swiped out the OEM video card for an nVidia GeForce 6800, 128 Meg AGP 8x/4x, changed the OEM sound to the Creatives Live Drive Blaster X-Fi Platinum XTreme (part #: 70SB046000001), added a 250Gig slave HD to the OEM 120GIG that came with the system, changed the OEM power supply to a 500W with very "pretty lights" that I cannot see (
) , added an extra fan facing the processor (also lights up!) that is screwed into the screened area on the back of the tower. The system has the 1 AGP slot, 5 PCI slots (all filled), the front Firewire port is disconnected because it once connected to the onboard sound and is now tied off. The PCI slots are filled with a controller for the 250G HD (the mobo only "sees" 137G so I added the controller to fix that); it has a 4-port USB card and a 4-port Firewire card in the slots as well; the Creative setup also has a PCI card as well as the Live Drive taking up a 5-1/4" bay. There is one of two OEM DVD/CD burners still in it along with a Memorex 16-function DL burner I added as well as the floppy drive. The burner I pulled out can write DL DVDs in cartridges. There currently is an Epson scanner and one of two HP printers attached to it with the Microsoft Elite KB/mouse wireless combo setup attached to it. The processor is a 2.53G Pentium 4 (single core) that I'd love to upgrade, but can't.
This system has low "mileage" on it because I have other desktops and a laptop (all are Gateways), plus it not having SP3 on it and hasn't been cleaned off since September 2006 has made it so I haven't used it very much. Every time I put SP3 on it would crash so I left it off all this time. I knew once I formatted the system I could and would install it then. It does get online perfectly and I'm running Kaspersky Internet Security 2010 on it with 4 other systems (5 PC license).
What I want to do is format both drives and run XP Pro (Retail) and Windows 7 (Retail) on the system, it would have to be 32 bit of course. I know it can run both OSs but my problem is that all instructions I found were about making a partition for "7" from within
an existing install of XP and going on from there. I cannot find any instance where XP and Seven were set up as a dual boot on two *separate* HDs after a format of both HDs and I have no idea where to start. I also found many sites that gave instructions for running virtual operating systems which isn't necessary given the two HDs I have.
I own Ontrack's Data Eraser software (and their recovery application) and do plan on running the Eraser on both drives given the junk that was on that system and data removed just yesterday and backed up. The system is ready for formatting, I have both operating systems ready, both HDs are backed up of important data, and am confused as to where to start after the zero-write is complete.
I want to end up with an operating system on each HD with the ability to choose the OS at boot-up. I also saw a lot about a boot disc being needed but am not sure that applies to my situation given these OSs will be installed on freshly formatted HDs. I have all drivers for XP that came with the system as well as what little Gateway still has to offer and from what the Windows 7 Advisor gave me it can install pretty much all the drivers for 'seven' except for the video card which I can get off the nVidia site. I just recently did a clean Seven Retail Ultimate 64Bit install on my Gateway P-173XL FX laptop and had a hard time with the video card drivers off the nVidia site. I emailed nVidia and they referred me to another website that carries their drivers. While this one is working I still am having problems with the laptop that I will post about if nVidia can't help me with the booting problem the drivers are causing on the laptop.
I thank you in advance for any input you can give as well as links you can provide that I possibly missed (although I think I hit them all yesterday!). I also apologize for the lengthy post.