Random Access   chris, kp & rob
In The Lab
Multi-booting Vista Step-by-step
by chris

Split personality?
In our February edition of Random Access, I mentioned that I would install Windows Vista on my next computer, but would probably configure it as a Multi-Boot so that I could switch back and forth between XP and Vista. The reason I would do this is only to maintain some level of compatibility with my older programs and hardware. With any major change in an operating system, there may often be a delay while the program developers play catch up, either creating updated drivers or patches to their current product to run properly in the new environment, or for them to release a whole new version that is compatible. Note that you can encounter these types of issues not just between old and new, but even when trying to move between the 32-bit edition of Windows XP and the 64-bit version. Some programs will run fine, but others will fail to run or generate errors because of how they were written, the driver libraries they required for their operation, or simply because the programmer took some shortcuts which are no longer "allowed" under the new OS.

Whatever the reason you have for needing (or wanting) to switch back and forth between operating system versions, you have several ways of handling it. One method is by using a third-party application such as Boot Magic (part of the Symantec Partition Magic product) or DreamCatcher's Disk Director Suite. These products allow you to adjust partition sizes and have a startup boot menu to choose which OS installation to start. One thing you must be careful of is to make sure that they will support a brand new OS version like Vista. Even these products may require an update or a new version to support an operating system that did not exist when the product was released. A common problem would be an inability to boot from your modified configuration, because of changes to the startup filenames or disk structure.

Microsoft DOS, Windows 3.x, Windows 95, Windows 98 and 98 Second Edition, and Windows ME all support FAT disk partitions, but while Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP all recognize FAT partitions, file security and encryption required NTFS partitions to be used. Under DOS and early versions of Windows 3.x and 95, FAT 16 limited the partitions to 2GB or less; the short term solution was FAT 32, which works well if you don’t need the integrated NT style of security features. Besides all of the confusion with which partition types are supported by the OS, different OS loaders are used to copy the system files from the drive into memory during the boot process. Most Microsoft NT based operating systems support a multi-boot menu, but only if you install the OS versions in chronological order from oldest to newest. Installing 98 over a 95 installation results in a system that boots Windows 98; and you do not get a menu to start the "Previous OS version". Multi-Boot only shows up if you install Windows NT, 2000, XP or Vista on a system where an older Windows OS version already exists. So what does the recommended process entail? Read on...

Windows XP and Vista Multiboot install - "the easy way"

If you have a system where you have no OS installed or one with an older version of Windows you can simply boot from the CD and install Vista to a new drive (or an empty partition) on the current drive. If you want to install all of the OS versions on your primary hard drive, you may have to make room by shrinking or reinstalling the old OS onto a partition that does not fill the entire drive. If the old OS version is Windows XP, you may have an option of upgrading to Vista, but only if you run the install from inside Windows XP; but even then, you can only upgrade from XP to certain versions of Vista. To configure a system for Multiboot using Windows Setup, install the oldest version of the OS first, and the newest last. For best results, install each OS to its own partition to minimize the chance of overwriting system files of the same name, but from different versions of the OS. You will need device driver support for each version of the OS you want to install; on newer system boards this can be a problem, because there may be no hardware support available for every device or all of your integrated components.

Step 1) Install Windows XP

  1. Boot from the Windows XP CD.
  2. At the blue "Welcome to Setup" screen press Enter to continue
  3. Press F8 to agree to the license agreement
  4. At the partition list screen, press "C" to create a new partition. If you press enter, setup will use the entire drive for the installation; we want to only use a portion of the drive and leave room for a second partition to install Vista on.
  5. Enter the size of the partition in megabytes (MB) and press "Enter." The default value is the entire drive; you will need enough room for the OS and any programs you want to install unique to the OS. Otherwise you can install all other programs to a second drive or a dedicated data partition. By default, Windows will try to save all of your documents and files to the boot partition, so keep this in mind as you choose a size.
  6. With your [New (Raw)] partition selected, press Enter to install Windows XP on your drive.
  7. Choose how to format the partition and press Enter. If you have used this drive before and are confident it is free of errors, you can probably choose to "Format the partition using the NTFS file system (Quick)", otherwise use the slower (default selection) choice to format which will also double check for errors during the process.
  8. Follow the prompts and instructions to complete your setup and start Windows for the first time...
    1. At the (GUI) "Region and Language Options" screen, click "Next"
    2. Enter the owner name and company and click "Next"
    3. Enter the 25-character XP Product Key and click "Next"
    4. Enter the computer name and click "Next"
    5. Set the date, time, time zone, daylight savings time option, and then click "Next"
    6. For Network Settings, choose "Typical settings" and click "Next"
    7. Click OK to adjust Display Settings and then click OK to confirm the change in resolution.
    8. At the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows" (OOBE) screen, click "Next" and follow the prompts to complete the setup and reach the Windows XP desktop.
  9. Install Device drivers for your motherboard (chipset), video card, sound card, etc. Check Windows Device Manager to verify all hardware has been detected. If you are installing an old SP1 or earlier version of Windows XP, you may need to install SP2 and several other critical updates to support newer devices, including some USB, audio, and video hardware
  10. Install anti-virus, firewalls, and any other security programs, and then connect to the Internet to check for and install any critical updates and security patches released for the operating system.
fig. 1

fig. 2

fig. 3

Choose Partition
fig. 4

Step 2  Install Windows Vista

  1. Create a partition where Vista will be installed.
    1. Open the System Management Console. Click on Start, right click on My Computer, select "Manage." (fig. 1)
    2. Select "Disk Management"
    3. Right click on the unallocated area of your hard drive and select "New Partition" (fig. 2)
    4. In the New Partition Wizard, click "Next"
    5. Select "Primary partition" and click "Next"
    6. Adjust the disk space for the partition if desired, and click "Next"
    7. Change or accept the assigned drive letter and click "Next"
    8. Add a volume label for the new partition and click "Next"
    9. Click Finish to confirm your selections and format the new space.
  2. Insert the Vista DVD while at the Windows XP desktop; If Setup does not run, open My Computer and right click on the DVD drive to select "AutoPlay"; If this is not a choice, open the DVD drive and double click on "Setup" to begin the installation process.
  3. At the Install Windows screen, click "Install Now" to start the process.
  4. To install from the DVD, click on the selection "Do not get the latest updates..." (fig. 3)
  5. Enter the Vista Product key, remove the checkmark from "Automatically activate..." and click "Next"
    1. If you do not enter the product key for your Vista version, clicking Next will display a dialog asking you to enter it at this time, click "No" to enter it later.
    2. Without the product key to identify the version, you must select the version from the list, add a check mark that you have selected the version you purchased, and then click "Next"
  6. Add a check mark that you accept the license agreement and click "Next"
  7. For the type of installation, select "Custom (advanced)"
  8. Select the new Vista partition you created in step 1 and click "Next" to start the copy and install process. (fig. 4) Vista will reboot the system once or twice and should automatically create the new start menu with the choice for "Earlier Version of Windows" and "Microsoft Windows Vista." At the start menu, select Vista to continue the setup process.
  9. At the Vista Region screen, verify the settings for region, currency and keyboard, and then click "Next"
  10. Enter the User name, password and choose a picture for the account; click "Next"
  11. Accept or change the name for the computer and choose a desktop wallpaper; click "Next"
  12. Click on "Use recommended settings" for automatic updates, etc.
  13. Set your time zone and verify date and time; click "Next"
  14. Select the computer location in terms of network security and trusted zones (home, work, or public)
  15. Click "Start" to complete the setup process. If Vista does not detect your current hardware, use Device Manager or the driver installs to complete the process. Install any chipset, network, audio and video drivers as needed. If Vista does not detect your newer video card, you may need to apply one or more updates and restart the system before it will detect the card properly.
  16. After Vista downloads and installs updates, you may need to restart.
  17. Install anti-virus, firewalls, and any other security programs, and then connect to the Internet to check for and install any critical updates and security patches released for the operating system.

How to change the Start Menu to indicate "Windows XP" instead of "Previous version":

  1. Open a Command Prompt window with administrator privileges. Start, All programs, Accessories, right click on "Command Prompt" and select "Run as administrator". Click "Continue."
    In the Command window, you can type "bcdedit /enum" and press "Enter" to display the current OS version details of the start menu. The Windows XP entry should appear under "Windows Legacy OS Loader".
  2. To change the menu name for XP, enter the command:
    bcdedit /set {ntldr} description "Microsoft Windows XP"
  3. Type "Exit" and press "Enter" to close the window.

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