So here’s the scenario. You already have a working Windows 7 x64 installation on your system and you need to install x86 for testing purposes.
You left your Windows 7 x86 DVD at a friends house and your PC doesn’t support booting from USB. You’re out of luck right?
UPDATE: You can download the RTM versions of Windows 7 Ultimate, Professional, and Home Premium here (64/32-bit available.)
If you have an ISO of your Windows DVD then we can get the job done, and in half the time it takes using a DVD or USB drive!
Start by creating a partition you want to install Windows 7 x86 on.
Shrink/Extend a Partition on Your Hard Drive with Vista (7 compatible)
Mount your Windows 7 x86 ISO.
Download imagex.zip, extract to your Desktop.
Press WinKey+R, type cmd and click OK
In the command prompt type;
imagex /apply z:\sources\install.wim 5 e:\
(Where z:\ is your mounted ISO and e:\ is your new Windows x86 partition)
This will probably take around 5-10 minutes.
When you see
[ 100% ] Applying progress
Successfully applied image.
Total elapsed time: X min X sec
(where e:\ is your new Windows 7 x86 partition)
You’ll see a message saying Boot files successfully created.
You can now exit the command prompt.
Click the Edit Boot Menu button. You’ll notice the new installation is visible. Choose which installation is default, set the default countdown timer and click Save Settings.
Now reboot, choose the relevant installation at the Boot Manager prompt, wait a few minutes and you’ll be greeted by the OOBE for Windows 7 x86!
This is a much faster, easier & efficient way of installing Windows if you already have an existing installation. With todays massive hard drives, there’s no reason not to have both. One of the biggest advantages is that you can carry on working whilst it’s installing and reboot to complete at your convenience.