Quite a few readers have reported problems booting to Windows XP after they install Windows 7 Beta. I was curious about how to fix the problem.
I took a Dell Dimension which I just rebuilt with Windows XP. I wanted to install Windows 7 and make this a dual boot machine and see if I can reproduce the error.
Windows XP is on the C: drive and the D: drive is reserved for Windows 7. There are two ways to run the Windows 7 Beta installer, one is booting the system using the installation DVD, the other is booting the machine to Windows XP and run the setup program under XP. I decided to use the first method.
The installation went without a problem. The installer even created an entry for booting to Windows XP on the boot menu. I could boot to the newly installed Windows 7 Beta. I noticed that even I installed Windows 7 Beta on the D: drive, the system now treats D: drive as C: drive. When I choose XP, the system just rebooted itself and booting to safe mode or choosing last known good configuration did not help. I suspect the problem is caused by the drive letter change.
What I did to fix the problem is to do a repair installation of Windows XP. For those who are not familiar with repair installation, you can google “windows xp repair installation” and you can find step by step instructions on how to perform this. And, no, the repair installation does not erase your files or programs from the machine. After repair installation, I could boot to Windows XP, but I could not boot to Windows 7 Beta.
I installed Windows 7 Beta again, but this time, I DID NOT boot the machine using the Windows 7 Beta installation DVD. I ran the setup program after I booted the mahcine to Windows XP. After installation, I could boot to both Windows XP and Windows 7 Beta. This time, the drive letter did not change and Windows 7 was installed correctly on D: drive.