How to Dual Boot Windows Vista and XP on Your Computer

Monday, December 22, 2008
Step 1: Understand What You're Doing
Dual booting is a nice idea - however, you do need to understand what you're doing. Meddling around with drive partitions and boot sectors might cause you to lose data. So one thing that I'd advise you to do is to do more research into your dual booting needs first - do you really need to dual boot? Think about that before embarking on this little dual booting adventure.
Step 2: Data Backup
The first thing you must do - the FIRST thing - is to back up all your critical documents and files. Also, make sure you back up and try to restore those documents back. I've seen many folks who use an imaging program (e.g. Acronis TrueImage) and successfully back up their documents. However, when their system crashes and they try to restore the files - it doesn't work. So always, always make sure you back up and try restoring the documents before proceeding to the next steps. Another option for back up is to get an external hard disk - this is a simpler solution. If you get a big external hard disk, you can copy all your documents over and they will be quite safe.
Step 3: Download GParted
What do you do next? Well, you download this neat program called GParted. What GParted does is that it shrinks the Windows XP partition. Once it is shrunk, you can burn the Windows XP partition into a DVD. You can then leave room for Vista (at least 10 GB worth of space).
Step 4: Install Vista and run EasyBCD
Once you've used GParted and shrunk the Windows XP partition, you should install Windows Vista to get Windows vista help. Once installed, you should download a software called EasyBCD. This program allows you to change boot up name of the different partitions to your liking.
Step 5: Try it out
The last step here is to try out the dual boot configuration. When the machine boots up, you should be able to choose either Windows Vista or XP as your installation choices. Make sure that you can boot into both operating systems and they work normally.
In summary, you can see that there is an advantage to dual booting. It is not that hard a process, but you do need to know what you're doing before you try it out. So until next time, happy dual booting and good luck!