As you probably already know, windows vista is the latest operating system from Microsoft in the market, and as you also might know many people are reluctant to new products or technologies, which is also understandable. Many products are not that good right off the bat, they need improvements, patches, etc. so most people wait until the product is mature enough and most bugs have been shoveled out.
But, for those of us dying to get our hands dirty in the brand new operating system but also reluctant to leave our beloved windows XP operating system behind, well, why not install Windows Vista along with windows XP? Yes, as a dual-boot.
In that way we can play with windows vista but have the option to go back to windows XP any time we want in case something does not work as expected on windows Vista. Nice uh, you don’t need to be a computer geek to do this stuff. You only need to have motivation, well, and a bit of time too.
Ok. Let’s get started. What will you need to dual-boot windows vista with XP? You will need to have an extra new hard drive or used one, and it will need to be properly setup on your computer as a slave drive to be used by windows vista installation. The other method is to slice your current hard drive to make room for windows vista installation; this is a risky method so if you can get a new hard drive it will be better.
I know some desktops don’t have an option to add a new extra hard drive as do most laptops, so you need to slice the hard drive right? OK. To slice your hard drive you will need to use third party software like PartitionMagic from Norton, which costs around 70 dollars.
There are many free ones that can do the same thing, one of those is GPARTED-Live CD . Please read the instructions on how to resize your hard drive here . Also remember that for windows Vista you need at least 15 GB of free space on the hard drive, so keep this on mind when you resize the hard drive, the unallocated space you should leave for vista must be 15 GB or more.
Please, please, don’t try to install Windows Vista on the same partition Windows XP is currently on, you could get away with this on a dual-boot with windows 2000 and windows XP, but Windows Vista uses a totally different directory structure which could make your windows XP installation unusable.
It does not matter which route you chose above; if you chose to get a new hard drive and set it as a slave drive on your computer, good for you, and if you chose to resize the hard drive with one the tools mentioned above, great, you made it. By this time you should have a dedicated drive for windows vista. We will proceed to install windows vista now.
Boot up from the windows vista setup DVD, this will bring up the normal windows vista installation setup ( check this post on how to install windows vista in 12 steps) follow the procedures on how to install windows vista on the link above. Where you need to pay attention is when setup reaches the screen that asks “which type of installation do you want?” You will need to choose “custom (advanced) check the image below.
That should bring “where do you want to install windows?” window, like in the picture below. Disk Drive C: should be the one where windows XP reside, so, you will need to choose the second option, which in my case is Disk Drive D:
After that, the setup should proceed exactly as it does in the “Installing windows vista in 12 steps“ procedure. Now when windows vista gets installed, you will notice one difference: when you reboot the computer a boot menu will show up to let you choose what installation of windows you want to boot from, like in the image below.
Microsoft’s new dual-boot menu lets you choose between your previous operating systems (which should be your windows XP installation) and windows vista. You should have windows XP and Windows Vista properly running on your system as dual-boot now. Enjoy!