How to Install Windows Vista on a Separate Partition and Dual Boot It With Windows XP

June 21, 2007 by  

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

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.


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Comment by vhanded
2007-06-21 15:46:15

I tried dual boot last time, and it success, but I facing problem to delete it, end up format the whole hard disk…

Comment by Gaman
2007-06-21 16:21:56

I assume you can’t delete the dual boot message? I think EasyBCD would help in such situation.

Comment by Arstan
2007-06-24 00:32:32

You could just boot with windows installation cd and fix mbr.

(Comments wont nest below this level)
Comment by Arstan
2007-06-24 00:36:20

I remember there were times I had 3-4 different OS installed on my laptop. I even tried Mac OS X on my thinkpad.

Comment by Edward Amissah Subscribed to comments via email
2008-03-18 16:50:36

I am using a Toshiba satelite laptop and I partitioned the hard disk, installed vista home basic on drive C then installed XP on the F. Now when I restart the machine I dont have the option to choose Vista but XP boots automatically, and the vista files are still in the drive C. I have tried the boot optio but Vista does not appear.

Comment by Gaman
2008-03-18 23:41:14

You should install XP first then Vista. The latest version of Windows must be installed last.

Comment by Mayang Gupta
2008-04-05 23:19:24


i need to do this with my mac, any advice?

Comment by inneedofhelp
2008-06-05 11:37:47

ummm, hello everyone…i own a dell xps m1330 and just recently i got a virus or something and my screen is completely scrambelled, i can see it but everything is all over and i need to reinstall vista….i ahve the disc and everything but i cannot see the screen for reinstalling it….i was wondering if anyone could put there vista disk into there computer and send me screen shots of each step so i can restore my comptuer….someone help me out please.

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