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Thursday, December 18, 2008

Install a dual-boot with Windows XP on new Windows Vista computer

Shrinking the Vista partition down to make room for XP:
Open the Computer Management panel, which you can find under Administrative tools or by right-clicking the Computer item in the start menu and choosing Manage. Find the Disk Management item in the list and select that.

Right-clicking on the main hard drive and choosing Shrink Volume.
Choose the size (Type in) that you want to shrink, which really means you are choosing the size that you want your XP partition to be.
The next step change Drive Letter and Paths.Use D: for the Windows XP partition for easy identification.
Right-click on the device that's invariably taking up D: in the list and choose Change Drive Letter and Paths from the menu.
Change the drive to use E: by selecting that in the drop-down.
Create a new partition for XP installation and make sure that the drive letter is set the way you want. If you do not create a partition now the XP install will do so automatically, but it's easier and cleaner to do it this way.

Follow through the wizard and select whatever options you'd like, making sure to use D: as the drive letter.
Close out of disk management and reboot your computer.
Open up Computer from the start menu and then right-click on the D: drive and select properties. Give your partition a meaningful name like "XP". It would be useful to name the C: drive to "Vista" at this point as well.
Pop your XP cd into the drive and boot off it. You may have to configure your BIOS to enable booting off the CD drive.
Once you come to the screen where you can choose the partition to install on, then choose either the unpartitioned space or the new partition you created.
When XP is completely installed at this point, and you will no longer able to boot into Windows Vista, so you'll need to use the VistaBootPro utility to restore the Vista boot loader.

Download and install VistaBootPro(Vista Windows Vista Boot Manager - Dual Boot XP - BCD Edit) from vistabootpro.orgDownload and install VistaBootPro from alternative source1
alternative source2
During the install you'll be forced to install the .NET 2.0 framework. Open up VistaBootPRO and then click on the System Bootloader tab. Check the "Windows Vista Bootloader" and then "All Drives" radio buttons, and then click on the Install Bootloader button.

When the Windows Vista bootloader is installed and you'll only be able to boot into Vista, to enable XP boot just click the Diagnostics menu item and then choose Run Diagnostics from the menu.

This will scan your computer and then automatically fill in the XP version.. click on the "Manage OS Entries" tab and then click in the textbox for Rename OS Entry, and name it something useful like "Windows XP" or "The Windows That Works"
Click the Apply Updates button and then reboot your computer… you should see a new boot manager with both operating systems in the list!

Should you get an error saying "unable to find ntldr" when trying to boot XP, you'll need to do the following:

Find the hidden files ntldr and in the root of your Vista drive and copy them to the root of your XP drive.
If you can't find the files there, you can find them in the \i386\ folder on your XP install cd

Windows XP users

1. Insert the Windows XP bootable CD into the computer.
2. When prompted to press any key to boot from the CD, press any key.
3. Once in the Windows XP setup menu press the "R" key to repair Windows.
4. Log into your Windows installation by pressing the "1" key and pressing enter.
5. You will then be prompted for your administrator password, enter that password.
6. Copy the below two files to the root directory of the primary hard disk. In the below example we are copying these files from the CD-ROM drive letter, which in this case is "e." This letter may be different on your computer.

copy e:\i386\ntldr c:\
copy e:\i386\ c:\

7. Once both of these files have been successfully copied, remove the CD from the computer and reboot.

Important reminder: Windows XP will be installed on the D: drive, even in Windows XP… so you'll need to keep that in mind when tweaking your system. NB. In Windows XP, its drive may be shown on E instead but when configuring in VistaBoot "Manage OS Entries", be sure to select "D" for booting Windows XP.

You can share information between the drives, but recommended not to mess with the other operating system's partition too much… it might screw up your files. What is recommended that you store most of your files on a third drive shared between the operating systems… you could call that partition "Data".

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