Dual boot Win10 Win7

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  1. Posts : 12
    Windows 10

    Dual boot Win10 Win7


    Some time ago I bought a new laptop with Win10 pre-installed on it and have been trying to make my old programs work with this OS. I've found solutions for most of them but for a couple (a database and some old games) it doesn't seem possible to make them run on Win10.

    I've been thinking about installing a dual boot Win7/10, but as I have never done this, I am not sure how things will work and thus but have a few questions.

    See the attachment on how the volumes currently are organized. Drive C: is a SSD with Win10 on it. Drive D: is a HDD and I use it to store documents and pictures. The laptop also has a DVD-RW (drive E:) and USB (drive F:).

    I've been reading on this forum that I can have a max of 4 primary partitions or 3 plus 1 extended on an MBR disk and if more partitions are needed I need to convert to GPT. I am not sure what the 8 MB unallocated is… Is it a partition or something else? How any partitions are there currently on disk 1, i.e. do the 100Mb boot, 1GB recovery and 8MB unallocated sections count as a partition or not?

    If I shrink C: and create a new partition (which I want to be a separate drive), will the next letter in range automatically be assigned to this new drive or should I name it myself? And if the latter applies should I call it E: or G:?

    Let's say this drive will be named G: and I install Win7 on it. Would Win7 be able to access and run programs and docs on C:, D:, E: and F:, or only stuff that is on G:? When I use the database that doesn't run on Win10 and want to run on Win7, I sometimes also use Word or pictures. Can Win7 does this or do I need to install the programs a second time on G:?

    I read somewhere that Win7 takes about 20-25GB. I find it difficult to estimate how big this new partition should be (i.e. by how much should I shrink C:). Should I just take the sum of the programs (Win7, the database and 2 or 3 old games) plus some extra for any files they generate (and possibly Word and an imaging program if needed to install twice) or is there anything else that I should take into account when deciding on how much space to allocate to the new drive?

    Anything else (besides making a back-up) that I should beware of before making such a drastic change to my computer?

    It sure hasn’t been easy so far, and still isn't, to make ALL my stuff work on Win10 and I would appreciate your help .

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Dual boot Win10 Win7-disk-management.jpg  
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  2. Posts : 42,871
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Hi, the tutorial section is a great resource and can save you a lot of time in some cases. Try

    Dual Boot Windows 10 with Windows 7 or Windows 8

    Searchable list;
    Windows 10 Tutorial Index
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  3. Posts : 41,449
    windows 10 professional version 1607 build 14393.969 64 bit

    See Windows lifecycle:


    Windows 8.1 and 7


    Microsoft made a commitment to provide 10 years of product support for Windows 7 when it was released on October 22, 2009. When this 10-year period ends, Microsoft will discontinue Windows 7 support so that we can focus our investment on supporting newer technologies and great new experiences. The specific end of support day for Windows 7 will be January 14, 2020. After that, technical assistance and software updates from Windows Update that help protect your PC will no longer be available for the product. Microsoft strongly recommends that you move to Windows 10 sometime before January 2020 to avoid a situation where you need service or support that is no longer available.
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  4. Posts : 16,892
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170


    When I set up dual-booting I used the instructions at
    How to dual boot Windows 10 Technical Preview with Windows 7
    Windows 10 how to dual boot with Windows 7
    How to dual boot Windows 10 with Windows XP

    The author, JWStuart, was/is a highly competent contributor to the MS user forums and I found his dual-boot procedures to be both correct & decently explained.

    You will also find guidance in Dual Boot Windows 10 - TenForumsTutorials

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  5. Posts : 14,046
    Windows 11 Pro X64 22H2 22621.1848

    I think a better choice would vbe a Windows 7 Virtual Machine (VM), Oracle, VMWare or the built-in Hyper-V. Much simpler and should work well for what you are doing.
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  6. Posts : 12
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Thanks everyone for your reaction.

    I've been searching the web and reading the tutorials about dual boot on this site (which are great/very clear by the way - thank you Shaun, a heck of a job) but some of my questions only raised after this research. For instance the 1st question about the number of partitions I currently have: what is this unallocated black section and is it a partition or not? Or my 2nd and 3rd question.

    @ zbook, I am well aware that MS unfortunately ended support for Win7. The point is that I have a database (that has taken months if not years to establish) that is incompatible with Win10 and never will be. I am not willing to buy/look for a comparable program that does run on Win10 (if it exists) and transfer my raw data as it no doubt would lead to big data loss of all the specific info my current software can handle. So my only option is to install a version of Windows prior to Win10 to work with it (and preferably Win7 as I know it works with that without any bugs). I don't mind if my database and windows versions are outdated and un-updated.

    @Try3 Thank you for the site. I hadn't come across it yet. I've been looking around on it but I still am not clear on these partitions or the ability to use 1 single installation of programs such as Word to be used by both Win7 and Win10.
    @Ztruker I wouldn't be switching between programs that run on Win10 or Win7 all the time. If I work on my database, I'm on it for hours. On this site - Dual Boot vs. Virtual Machine: Which One Is Right for You? - they recommend to use a dual boot in that case. I don't have any experience with either option. I am not sure I understand how a virtual machine works (or even a dual boot, hence my question 3). I can imagine a dual boot permanently takes space/capacity from my machine. What are the characteristics or advantages and disadvantages of either option?

    I have been thinking that I also could set up a dual boot in taking space from the D: drive (HDD). In that case I wouldn't be limiting the space on C: (which may already have the max of 4 partitions?). Would Win7 then run on (the slower) HDD? Would it be at all possible cq. a good option?
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  7. Posts : 16,892
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170

    the ability to use 1 single installation of programs such as Word to be used by both Win7 and Win10
    No. Applications have to be installed for each operating system separately.

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  8. Posts : 12
    Windows 10
    Thread Starter

    Try3 said:
    No. Applications have to be installed for each operating system separately.

    Thank you Denis, that answers that question and helps to determine the space I would need for a new partition.
    Last edited by Judiver; 10 Oct 2019 at 08:16.
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 16,892
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170


    About your other questions -

    1 That black unallocated space is not unusual & is nothing to worry about. It is wasted space but it's only 8MB.

    2 Before doing anything else, I do suggest finding out where all your storage space is being used up on your current C drive because I think the amount of space used up is unusual given that you are using D for your own files.
    - You could clean up the disk using the guidance in Free up space to install the latest Windows 10 feature update - Windows Help and Free Up Drive Space - TenForumsTutorials
    - TreeSize free is a suitable utility for investigating storage space usage. You might also usefully use this on your old Windows 7 computer [if you still have it] in order to assess the amount of space your games are taking up.

    3 As things stand, you will want to create a partiiton on your current D drive to hold your Win7 OS
    - However you estimate the storage space you need, add on at least 25% working space and use that result as your minimum OS partition size.
    - I use OS partitions of 80GB for Win7/10 x64 but you might need more if your games & other partitions really are taking up that huge amount of space. I only have small applications [MS Office & a few audio-video editing tools] so 80GB is plenty for me.
    - If cleaning up your current C drive is so successful that you have enough space on your current C drive as well then you might decide to use that instead.
    - MiniTool Partition Manager [free] is better than / easier than Win10's Disk management utility.

    4 I don't know anything about using a VM instead.

    5 The comments about Win7 end of life are valid. You would have to accept that you should disable internet access when Win7 is no longer supported. I've seen estimates that over 90% of malware seeks to exploit unpatched / unsupported OSs.
    - I still have a Win10-WinXP dual-boot computer that I use for odd jobs so I have set my router to deny it internet access [despite the router's instructions being written in a lttle-known dialect of ancient Martian].

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  10. Posts : 42,871
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    4 I don't know anything about using a VM instead.
    Imagine opening a window in Win 10, and having Win 7 boot up and run in that window. You can shut it down, install programs, restart it... all while Win 10 is still running. That lets you install older incompatible progs under Win 7 without dual booting.

    That requires (for Home) that you install a free program, run that program (e.g. Virtualbox), and install an O/S within that program. I.e. Win 10 is running, Virtual box runs, and the second O/S runs (typically) in that program's window.

    A bit of a learning curve... lots of help and tutorials around.
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