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[How To] Install Vista and have dual boot with XP


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Using PartitionMagic, I created a "primary" partition on drive C: made up of 20 gigabytes of free space. I assigned the drive letter V: for Vista. When you apply your partition changes, PM will make you reboot. Then you hold your breath and pray while PartitionMagic rejigs things on your hard drive. If the gods are smiling upon you, you'll boot up into XP with a shiny new disk parition all set up.

Now, once Windows XP is fully booted up and you can see your new 20GB drive, pop in the Vista DVD and run the install from there. Choose your newly created V: drive as the installation location, and let 'er rip. Vista will spend lots of time copying files and restarting your machine. All goes well in installation-ville, and you'll set up your first administrative Vista user and go from there.

Note: Vista didn't have the drivers for a whole bunch of the devices on my machine, like the sound card, video card, USB Wifi adaptor, dialup modem or Ethernet card, so be prepared to have all the driver disks that came with your computer (you did save your driver disks, didn't you?) to get your machine fully functioning with Vista.

Now, once you restart your computer, you'll get a choice to boot into XP or Vista.

"Microsoft Windows" refers to Vista, and "Earlier version of Windows" refers to XP. The default choice is Vista, and you have 25 seconds to make another choice. Otherwise it boots into Vista automatically. (I'm sure one can change this behavior; something to research.)

There's much to be discussed regarding Vista, so this is the first of a series of posts that will do so over the next few weeks.

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Cool when I get my laptop on tuesday I will have to give this a try!

Also you should try Windows ReadyBoost feature. Stickin' usb drive and selecting superboost option from autoplay screen you'll improve performance.....

More on Windows ReadyBoost:

Adding system memory (RAM) is often the best way to improve your PC's performance. More memory means applications can run without needing to access the hard drive. However, upgrading memory is not always easy. You need to know what type of memory you need, purchase the memory, and open your computer to install the memory

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Note that installing Vista from within Windows will load Vista boot files on your XP partition, which is probably your active partition since you are running XP.

The active partition is alway the partition that stores the boot files for MS OSes.

The system partition is the partition that the current OS resides on.

So if Vista OS is on V: (the system partition) and Vista boot files are on C: (active partition) and you format C:\ you won't be able to boot to Vista. You'll need a Vista boot floppy. Here's how to create one just in case you ever have boot problems: Vista Boot Disk.

Installing Vista by booting from DVD, however, will make the partition that you're installing to the active partition and the boot files will go there.

Just something to think about.

Edited by Space Surfer
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Those of you considering this I have followed the steps above on my Dell B130 laptop twice now. Instead of Partition Magic I used Acronis Disk Director, but both work basically the same. I was lucky and had no problems with drivers or devices not working properly(except there is no AERO driver made for my graphics card) but Dell did have Vista drivers available. Be aware that not all graphics cards will support the AERO(Glass) so make sure to check the maker of graphics card to see if they have updated drivers. I have had no problems with my system being messed up and have twice now installed and removed Vista, and then re-merged the partitions with no problems (First was Vista beta, second I use XP more so decided to remove vista for now).

And some of you may want to remove Vista so I wanted to make a note to help you from my experience. As for editing the Vista boot loader(changing os names, boot menu time, os order, save) I recommend the Vista Boot Pro(Freeware) which makes editing the Vista boot menu easy and if you decide to remove Vista it can remove the Vista boot menu and replace the XP boot menu with a mouse click.


To remove Vista:

1- Backup your system.

2- Boot to Xp and run VistaBootPro

3- Remove the Vista Boot Menu and Restore Xp Boot Menu.

4- Restart and Verify Xp boot menu is functioning & Xp boots as normal.

5- Format Vista Partition. Re-Merge with primary partition using Partition Magic if desired.

I used the above process twice without error but check below if you have any problems using the above removal process or don't want to use third party tools.



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