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William_Wilson 04-18-2007 01:00 AM

Dual Boot Vista and XP with Vista already installed
If you want to install Vista onto an XP computer, try the reverse tutorial: (XP already installed)

I'm not going to post any stats on XP, if you're running Vista, you certainly can run XP :)

*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).

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.

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


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!

rclarke 04-19-2007 04:04 PM

Dual Boot Vista and XP with Vista already installed

Thank you for taking the time and effort to lay out the steps for installing xp onto a notebook/desktop having Vista pre-installed.

I have a couple of questions:

In step 4 where we need to use the editor, isn't vista assigned to C and xp assigned to drive E? You state: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:

Isn't xp partition letter E? Up to step 4 everything doesn't seem difficult. But if we mess up here it seems big problems. On the other hand perhaps I missed a crucial point you made earlier and I should just enter exactly what you have shown in step 4 to conclude the dual boot facility.

My last question has to do with possible need for drivers. I found out my notebook hd is a seagate SATA drive. Will xp pro need to be concerned about this drive type and require drivers? Thanks...Ron

William_Wilson 04-21-2007 11:41 AM

i know the drive sounds off, but Vista is the only active partition, even though XP was installed on E:, it still places it's info for booting on C (the active partition)

XP is good with most drives, as long as your mobo can understand it properly you should be ok

rclarke 04-22-2007 05:36 PM

William...another thought. Unfortunately for us newbies, the initial hd configuration may not be straight forward and simple as yours. This raised another question which while seeming to go off subject, anyone following your instructions may encounter (especially newbies who would never in their life of ownership consider hd management and partitions) a situation where the single drive has already been partitioned into 3 primary partitions.

Question: Must the xp partition to be created be a primary partion? If so, and 3 primary partitions already exist does this preclude adding xp? If yes does that mean no dual boot of xp? Thanks for your time and patience to help with these questions...Ron

William_Wilson 04-23-2007 11:18 AM

You can still dual boot, but what you must understand is that a partition which will load an OS must be a primary drive. There is the option when installing XP to leave the file system intact... i don't recommend it, but it you have no place to put the files on the primary partition. You could always resize them to move the files around.

*Where did you get your computer? All partitions meant for data files/storage should be contained in an extended partition, especially since there is a limit of 4 primary partitions (on a single drive) under XP, and i assume Vista.

rclarke 04-23-2007 12:42 PM

William...I received my acer aspire 5610 as a gift from my daughter. Yesterday I started following your 4 steps to installing xp. Using the disk mgt wizard on vista I shrunk the partition and allocated a new partition of 8 gb for xp. I ended up re-doing this step as I neglected to remove a flash drive and this caused the partition to be assigned a drive letter of G. I then deleted the new partition, expanded the C and restarted the procedure by rebooting again.

After I got back to recreating the partition again, I saw it wasn't a primary partition, but an extended one. I also saw via disk mgt three existing partitions, one un-named (eisa configure), vista (c drive) and data (d drive)

So using the wizard doesn't give me a primary partition so I need to use some other means to make sure the partition created is a primary one and not an extended partition...Ron

Kishore 05-04-2007 11:08 AM

Hooray, it really works. I loaded up XP SP1 and did all the steps, but could never load XP, because it was showing error
File: \ntldr
Status: 0xc000000e
Info: The selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt.

I tried so many things, but couldn't make it run - untill I followed the advice.

Thank you so much.

Tom Wylde 05-05-2007 07:56 PM

Different drives...
I purchased a new pc with a Vista pre-load, and then upgraded over the net to Ultimate.

I have a 750 GB drive installed other than the 320 GB that came with the new PC and the Vista install. I created a partition on the 750 for the XP install. When I attempted to install XO, it said it would erase my Vista intall, (along with Photoshop CS#, Office 2007, etc.).

Is it possible to dual boot by disconnecting the Vista drive, installing XP on the 750 and reattaching the Vista drive? What drive(s) should I make active? Will this be a solution? I realize I'm basically 'geta-testing Vista and a lot of my drivers, software, etc. don't work with it so I want to run XP until at least Vista SP 1...

Thank you so much for for your help.

Tom Wylde

Unregistered 05-11-2007 10:56 PM

After getting to step four I ran bcdedit.exe command but every time i type in the four lines it tells me that it is not recognized.

Any thoughts?


William_Wilson 05-12-2007 09:34 PM

Kishore: glad to hear the tutorial was helpful :)

Tom Wylde: The Vista drive needs to be the active drive, and it needs to be attatched while installing XP. If they are both connected, there is no problem installing XP on the 2nd drive.

As for errors, in bcdedit.exe, if you could post the exact error, as well as the line it resulted from, I may be able to address the problem as well as find a solution.

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