Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have herd it is possible to install the windows 7 boot loader on to a windows XP machine, has anyone got instructions for how to do this?

I am wishing to use the windows 7 boot loader to boot from a virtual hard drive, or on to XP on the physical hard drive.

share|improve this question
up vote 4 down vote accepted

You can install the Windows Vista / 2008 / 7 bootloader onto a Windows XP machine and dual-boot Windows XP and Windows 2008 / 7 from the VHD (I don't believe Vista has VHD boot support). I'm doing this on my main laptop computer right now. The easiest way to do it is simply to install Windows 2008 / 7 into a VHD, and you get the bootloader "for free" during the install.

  • Boot the Windows 7 DVD
  • Choose Repair and Command Prompt
  • From the command prompt, execute the following:
    CREATE VDISK FILE="filename for virtual disk here" TYPE=vdisk MAXIMUM=size-in-megabytes
  • Close up the command prompt. start the Windows 7 install.
  • Choose the virtual disk (you'll be able to tell by size which one it is). You receive a warning that you cannot install onto that disk. Continue anyway and the install completes fine.

After that completes you will have Windows 7 install that can boot off of VHD and the Vista / 2008 / 7 bootloader.

share|improve this answer
Demonstration: Windows 7 VHD Boot… – Adam Jul 10 '09 at 12:20
Very cool. Just a note that if you find this isn't working for you, you probably forgot to ATTACH. And the vdisk must be at least 5.7 GB. – Kara Marfia Jul 10 '09 at 19:17

The most straight-forward way of installing it is through the directions at

share|improve this answer

If you have an OS in a virtual machine, you can't boot to it directly from the host's boot loader. I assume this is what you mean by virtual hard drive? Can you give some more details?

share|improve this answer
When you have a moment, check out the new "Boot from VHD" functionality in Windows 7 / 2008. It's pretty cool. – Evan Anderson Jul 10 '09 at 12:49
"Windows 7 has a new feature that makes it easier than ever to set up multi-boot scenarios on a single machine. Boot from VHD allows you to mount a vhd as a bootable drive and, as the name implies, boot from it. It's a great scenario for creating multiple OS installations without having to create multiple OS partitions on your hard drive." – David Waters Jul 11 '09 at 9:21

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.