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Dual-boot Windows Vista on a Windows 2000 computer
(Windows 2K installed first)

Last reviewed: June 2010

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Introduction

This guide shows how to create a native (natural) dual-boot of Windows 2000 and Windows Vista on a computer with Windows 2000 already installed on it. 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 will not be used.

The installation of Windows Vista on the Windows 2000 computer will automatically create the dual-boot for you. The partition that currently controls the bootup will continue to do so but will be changed to the Windows Vista variety (that can be changed back to 2K's type if you ever wish to remove Windows Vista).

In this procedure you need to shrink the Windows 2000 drive to make room for Windows Vista unless you install Windows Vista on a second hard disk. Using a second disk simplifies the procedure but that's not a requirement. The example shown here uses a single hard disk.

You also need to determine if your computer has the minimum system requirements to run Windows Vista.

A previously installed Windows 2000 with SP4 was used in testing. The computer used was a 32-bit Dell Optiplex GX260 with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 1 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA or 1 TB SATA hard disk.

The procedure used is relatively easy and suitable for most computer users.

SUMMARY of Procedure

  1. Check at Microsoft's Windows Vista Compatibility Center
  2. Backup.
  3. Create sufficient Unallocated/Free space for Vista at end of Win2K disk or on second disk
    (you'll need a partitioning utility to resize the Win2K partition - the free GParted works fine).
    Restart to Windows 2K twice after resizing the 2K partition.
  4. Bootup from Vista installation DVD and select Install Now.
    Select "Custom Install". Select Unallocated space. Select the Format option.
    If 2K uses NTFS then also use NTFS for Vista.
    Let the installation finish including the reboots.
    The dual-boot has been created automatically by Windows Vista.
  5. Restart computer to Windows 2000.

That's it! The Windows Vista boot loader menu will boot Windows 2000 and Windows Vista.

Use the free EasyBCD utility under Vista to rename the boot menu item, "Earlier Version of Windows", to "Windows 2K".

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Help! Remove Vista and Repair Win2K Startup

If you wish to remove Vista and return to a Win2K-controlled startup then follow these instructions.

  1. Boot up from your Win2K installation CD.
  2. Press R to enter the Recovery Console, and then press C.
    Enter the number that represents Win2K (probably 1 for C:\WINNT).
    Press Enter for Administrator password (or enter the password).
    • Type in and then press Enter after eack entry
      FIXMBR
      FIXBOOT
      EXIT
  3. Remove the CD.

Your computer will automatically boot to Windows 2000 without any boot menu if none existed previously.

You can now use your partitioning utility to delect the Vista partition and then resize the Win2K partition to incorporate the free space left after deleting Vista, or you can simply Format the Vista partition.

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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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