Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Windows Vista + XP on Windows Vista computer (Vista installed first)
Last reviewed: June 2013
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows Vista and Windows XP on a computer with Windows Vista already installed. You can then run either of those two Windows by selecting one from a menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
In this procedure you need to shrink the Windows Vista drive to make room for Windows XP unless you install XP on a second hard disk. The example shown here uses a single hard disk.
32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista were used in testing The computers used were:
Following these instructions correctly should always succeed. However, any change to your computer should not even be considered unless your have a rescue plan. This guide also contains that rescue plan - just in case!
This procedure is suitable for experienced computer users.
Important Installation Notes
Full Installation CD/DVDs. The Windows you are adding cannot be installed from Recovery or Repair CDs or DVDs provided by some OEMs. You need the full installation or setup version to install a Windows.
Shrinking a Windows 8, 7 or Vista drive. You should use Shrink in Windows' Disk Management to resize the Windows partition. Read Shrink the Windows 8, 7 or Vista Partition for instructions on completing this task successfully. Use the free GParted Live CD only if you must - read Use GParted to Resize the Windows 8, 7 or Vista Partition to learn how.
Formatting. It's best practice to install another operating system on an Unallocated area of the hard disk. If necessary you can try with an unformatted partition (RAW). All partitions should be Formatted when installing that OS to ensure compatible file system versions. Avoid formatting Windows partitions with GParted or any other third-party partitioning utility.
EasyBCD. The highly-acclaimed EasyBCD is a free editing utility that allows any user to easily edit the Windows 8, 7 or Vista boot menu (the BCD or Boot Configuration Data). EasyBCD runs in Windows 8, 7 and Vista, but also in Windows XP if you first install Microsoft's free .NET 2.0 Framework.
Details: Install Windows XP when Windows Vista is already Installed
Installing other operating systems on your Windows Vista computer may invalidate your warrantee.
Make your preparations
Make free space and create new partitions
Always note the size of each partition and also label each (this guide uses vsta and w_XP).
You should have no trouble using Vista's Shrink in Disk Management to create Unallocated space on a 2nd or 3rd hard disk. Restart Windows when finished. Then skip from here to Next Install ...
If installing on the first hard disk:
Next Install Windows XP in this Windows Vista Dual-Boot
The link below shows how to install Windows XP in this dual-boot and how to return to a Windows Vista-controlled computer.
The Windows Vista boot menu will then boot Windows Vista or Windows XP when selected.
Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.
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