How to Install Windows Vista on a Separate Partition and Dual Boot It With Windows XP
June 21, 2007 by Gaman
I upgraded my operating system to Windows Vista Ultimate a few days ago without having to wipe Windows XP from my hard disk. It involved installing Vista on a separate partition in my hard disk so that I can still run Windows XP anytime I like.
By doing so, I’ll have an OS to fall back to in case my Windows Vista installation goes horribly wrong. But I didn’t have a choice, I would have to make Vista works and I am glad it did.
This method works if you have a PC running Windows XP and you want to install Windows Vista from its installation DVD to have both OS dual boot.
For those who don’t know, dual boot is the ability to boot your computer using one of two different operating systems.
First Thing First
Like everything that has to do with hard drive repartitioning, it’s a risky business. You could end up with a corrupted hard drive that will render your data unusable. So it goes without saying that first thing you should do is to backup, I repeat BACKUP your data.
This is paramount especially if you are, like me, who’s crazy enough to perform the partitioning on my production PC.
For that I am using a 300GB external hard drive attached to my PC via USB 2.0 to backup my data.
Use anything you like as long as you back up all your important data.
Partition Your Hard Drive
There’s no built-in tool in XP that could help you partition your hard drive without wiping out your data. If you happen to have Norton’s Partition Magic laying around, you could use that.
I found another way to do this for free using GParted Live CD. It’s a free partition manager available as a live CD that can be run directly from your CD Rom drive. It could create, resize, delete your hard drive partitions as well as its non free counterpart.
Here’s a good introduction to GParted Live CD from Linux.com
Now create a new primary partition with at least 20 GB in size to install Windows Vista on. Since I’ve a large empty space, I’ve created a 110 GB partition for this purpose.
Keep in mind that reducing your main XP partition size won’t create a new working partition automatically. You’ll have to set the unassigned space as a ‘New’ primary partition and format it as NTFS filesystem.
Play around with the interface first before committing with the changes.
Time to Install Vista
Do not run the Vista installation DVD while XP is running, you’ll end up installing it on top of your existing XP installation.
What you should do is insert the Vista DVD and restart your PC. The system will boot from the DVD and just point your newly created partition as the installation destination when prompted.
Your PC will restart at various stages during installation. It should take less than 30 minutes to complete.
Now It’s The Fun Part
Once the installation completed, the system will restart. You’ll be able to select whether to boot to XP or Vista from Windows Boot Manager.
Windows XP is described as ‘An Earlier Version of Windows’. Select ‘Microsoft Windows Vista’ and have fun.