Dual boot Vista and XP

when vista is preinstalled


when xp is installed first



4 thoughts on “Dual boot Vista and XP

  1. *You will need your XP and Vista installation discs!

    Step 1 – Partition the Drive:
    Vista comes with a nice partitioning tool, so i’ll be using it instead of partition magic this time around.
    -right-click computer under the start menu and choose “manage”

    -right-click the drive you want to partition, and select “Shrink Partition”
    -The amount you shrink the partition is the amount of space used for the XP partition, so i would suggest making it at least 3-

    4GB in size, as a full XP installation will take 1.5GB on it’s own.

    -now right-click the unallocated memory and select new basic partition.

    -Choose NTFS file system, this will save formatting before installation.
    -name the drive anything you like, i chose “XP”
    -click next on the rest of the screens and finish.

    once the formatting is finished you will have something like this:

    *this new partition is where your XP installation will go, so take note of it’s location, in case there are multiple partitions

    on the drive (there will now be atleast 2).

  2. Step 2 – Install XP:

    wait while XP installs (I won’t go into detail, there are many tutorials on this, and it is reasonably straight forward)

    Now that XP has installed, it attempts to boot for the first time… all goes fine, video settings, networking, then the lovely

    welcome screen as usual.

    You restart, expecting a boot loader screen… followed the tutorial this far, and now you seem to only have XP… well not

    quite, I wouldn’t leave you hanging without giving you a proper dual boot.

    here lies the only real issue with installing XP after Vista, but it’s a quick fix if you have your Vista CDs/DVD handy.

    The problem is that Vista and XP use different boot loader utilities in the MBR (Master Boot Record) of your hard drive. XP does

    not recognize Vista, but Vista will recognize XP, so we need to remove the boot loader that XP just put in with the old

    Vista boot loader. So restart once more, but this time with your Vista disc in the drive.

  3. Step 3 – Fix Boot Loader:
    Vista will load the GUI files, and then display the loading splash screen.

    -Click “Next” on the first screen
    -Once the “Install Now” menu (do not click Install Now) choose “Repair Your Computer”:

    -You will be prompted to choose the OS to repair. Don’t worry if Vista is the only OS that shows up, even after a search.

    click “Next”

    -I realize there is a “Fix Startup” option, but it’s been my experience that it doesn’t work, and this method will.
    -choose to open a “Command Prompt”:

    type in the command prompt the following 2 lines (separatly):
    Bootrec.exe /fixMBR
    Bootrec.exe /fixBoot

    -close the prompt and restart
    -now that Vista controls your boot loader, the process is mostly finished, now we need to inform Vista that XP is installed, as

    to enable the boot loader selection screen.
    *There are programs such as VistaBootPRO that will do this for you, but it requires .NET framework, etc, so I did it the manual


  4. Step 4 – Edit boot.ini:
    In Vista, the boot.ini is not editable directly, as the file itself is hard to locate, so we will be modifying it through “Boot

    Configuration Data Store Editor” bcdedit.exe:
    (Just as an explanation, the loader type for XP is an NT Loader, hence the use of ntldr)

    -first open a command prompt with administrative privilages (right-click and choose “run as administrator”)
    *Note the following 2 answers from bcdedit for each item are acceptable:
    “The Operation Completed Successfully”
    “The Specified Entry Already Exists”
    Be sure to type each line carefully (replace C in the first line with the drive containing your Vista installation):
    bcdedit –set {ntldr} device partition=C:
    bcdedit –set {ntldr} path \ntldr
    bcdedit –displayorder {ntldr} –addlast
    bcdedit -set {ntldr} description “Microsoft Windows XP”

    The completed bcdedit file should resemble this:

    -This will correctly add XP to your boot sequence, and even name it properly instead of “Earlier Version of Windows”
    -the displayorder line also allows the entry to be visible under the advanced settings of your computer properties.

    Vista is the default boot, if you wish to change this to XP it can be done by setting {current} to addlast, or under the computer

    -> properties -> advanced settings.

    If all done properly, XP and Vista will dual boot properly!

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