“Dual Booting” Windows XP and Vista Warnings

This means loading two operating systems on the same hard drive and then at start-up, choosing which one to run.

  • Create a partition using a program such as “Partition Magic’ and make it at least 20 GB in size. (Larger if you’re going to install all of your programs into Vista as well as your XP). I labeled my partition letter “V” for Vista.
  • 2. You can either install Vista from with-in XP or booting up the system with the Vista DVD in the DVD drive. Then choose the “custom installation” so you can choose the new partition that you created.
  • Tweak Vista! In XP and earlier version of windows, you had a “boot.ini” file to store the boot details. Vista uses the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) store-bcdedit.exe from the command prompt. You’re better off downloading the VistaBootPro (www.vistabootpro.org ) or EasyBCD (www.neosmart.net ) both of which give you a “GUI” environment to work with.
  • Windows XP prefers 1GB of RAM or more, Vista wants 2GB MINIMUM! Don't short change it if you want the fancy graphics.
  • Speaking of graphics, buy a 256 mb video card preferably a "PCI-Express" type if your motherboard supports it. NOTE: A PCI-Express video card is not the same as a PCI video card. An “AGP” 4X video card will work ok also. The “Aero-Glass” graphics is one of the big draws for running Vista over XP, they’re fancy and pretty but not a big deal….The increased security features is the biggest reason.
  • A fast CPU, 2GHZ or faster. The worst thing you can do is spend the money for Vista and load it on a slow computer with-out enough RAM memory. You won’t be happy with it especially after spend all that time to load Vista and the money you spent.
  • When you boot off the Vista DVD, run the computer check program and see what the recommendations are for your system. On my system, 2.0 GHZ CPU and 1GB of DDR RAM, the power meters go into the red zone when opening a program such as Dreamweaver. Clearly Vista wants 2GB of RAM and a faster CPU but it's working ok so far.
  • Finally if you’re happy with XP and it runs ok then keep it. Only you can decide if it’s worth upgrading to the “latest and greatest” although that’s yet to be confirmed.
  • Search the web sites for and Vista drivers that your system will need, such as video, sound, motherboard, printer, scanner, digital camera,  drivers etc and then copy them onto a cd or flash drive. DON’T rely on Vista having those drivers built into the operating system for you.
  • Vista Warnings
  • The BCD provides a more robust start-up environment for windows, but the downside is that if you want a multi-boot system, you must be sure to install Vista LAST. If you put Vista on a machine and then install XP afterward, Vista WON’T START because boot.ini which XP adds automatically will render the BCD useless (although you can recover it by running the “fixntfs” utility from within XP).
  • Even when your XP/Vista machine is happily dual-booting, one problem remains. As you work in Vista, the System Restore utility automatically creates restore points-and you can create them yourself-that let you launch the system in a previous state and recover from errors. But when you exit Vista and launch XP, it will delete the Vista restore points.

Here's something that happened to me. After installing Vista Home Premium and getting 32 vista updates, my dvd drives disappeared from device manager. So after spending hours trying to figure it out, I did a search in Microsoft's Knowledge Base, and with the right search words, I found these two articles which made it all work again (until the next vista update). And you guessed it! another Vista update removed the cd drives again...... and probably again and again!!!!! NOTE: the "Mr. Fixit" program from Microsoft will not fix this problem, you'll have to do it the manual way by going into the regestry.




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