Windows XP Users: Don't Boot Vista, Dual Boot Instead

Not quite ready for the move to Vista? We’ll show you how to ease your way into Vista and keep that XP system you’ve come to love.


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

On-Demand Webinar

Posted February 26, 2008

Ronald Barrett

Ronald Barrett

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You probably know the feeling of owning a really comfortable pair of jeans that seems to be ready to be tossed just as they start to fit right. Many XP users are feeling that same emotional tear as they start to consider what to do about their XP system that they just can’t seem to part with.

In spite of the many improvements in Vista, many users are – to say the least – less than excited about the news that at the end of June 2008, Windows XP will be going away for good.

This news has many clamoring to buy systems before the cutoff and hold tight. Even many of my own clients who raved when I was mentioned as one the “Vista Masters” in the books Tricks of the Windows Vista Masters by J. Peter Bruzzese, have shown an overwhelming resistance to moving to Vista in the near or distant future.

But is it really necessary to start thinking about scrambling to make a new purchase before June’s deadline (or bunker down and refuse to lose that four year-old Pentium 4 PC), simply to avoid Vista?

No, there is another more palatable solution to the Vista or XP question, and it is this: You don’t have to choose between them – you can have them both. We’ll show you how in this article.

Have your cake and eat it too!

One of the many improvements in Windows Vista is the ability to repartition disks on the fly and create new volumes. This little utility will help make it possible to create the dual boot environment.

Of course before we begin, a full backup should be made of the Vista system. Depending on your version you can back up your files and data (or for Business, Enterprise and Ultimate) users you can do an image-based backup. Once your backup is completed begin by doing either of the following:

1. Right Click Computer and choose Manage – Storage – Disk Management or Click the Start orb and type diskmgmt.msc. UAC will then prompt you to be sure you want to proceed. Press Continue (Although you may have turned this off, after all it is probably the most hated new feature of Vista).

2. Next you’ll need to choose your Vista volume and either right click or choose Action – All Tasks – Shrink Volumes from the menu. After a short disk query you will be asked to enter the Amount of Space to Shrink in MB. While Microsoft recommends 1.5 GB for an XP install, it is important to note that you will need to leave enough room for updates and for additional software and files you want available in XP. For example, to create a 20GB partition type 20,000 (MB’s) and click shrink.

3. Right Click the new partition and choose new simple volume. Follow the disk wizard and assign this volume a drive letter. When prompted, format the drive using NTFS. Once the format is done you can change the drive letter assignments if necessary.

a. Right click or choose Action- All Tasks – Change Drive Letter and Paths

b. Choose add (if no drive letter is assigned) or highlight and choose change

c. To re-arrange drives either assign a temporary drive letter or work from last to first (e.g. G:, F:. E: etc.)

d. Click Ok and close Disk Manager

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Tags: Windows, Microsoft, software, Vista, Storage

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