Windows Vista forum

General discussion

Vista and XP on the same computer

by rapheek / February 22, 2007 4:00 PM PST


I purchased a new computer which came with vista. It already started getting into my nerves. Most of the security programs do not work despite the updates (ZoneAlarm, System Mechanic...). My question is : can I install XP on the same partition as vista? Or do I have to wipe out the HD, install XP and then Vista?

My best regards.

I still have another option. I have XP installed on an EDI HD in a external USB enclosure which I can boot from USB.

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RE: Vista and XP on the same computer
by jcritch / February 23, 2007 7:07 AM PST
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You need to partition...
by John.Wilkinson / February 23, 2007 7:24 AM PST

While it is possible to install two copies of Windows on a single partition it is considered undesirable since it can create unforeseen problems, particularly if a system file is overwritten by another incompatible version. In addition, Windows (including Vista) was not designed to be bootable from an external hard drive, so attempts at such will fail. (You should, in fact, receive an error message if you attempt to install it to an external hard drive.) Thus, your only option is to partition your hard drive and install one version on each.

The good news, however, is that you may not need to wipe your hard drive and start fresh. You could use the built-in Shrink feature to free up some space on your current partition and create a new one out of that, or use a third-party partitioning program (such as the free Gpartedto get the job done.

Additional complications will likely occur, though, since installing XP after Vista would remove the Vista boot loader, rendering it temporarily unbootable (just Vista, not XP) until you follow these instructions to restore the boot loader.

One final note. Since your computer came with Vista pre-installed, chanes are you have an OEM recovery system, not a Windows Vista DVD. In that case you would likely not be given an option to partition if you used the DVD/CDs to start would recreate exactly what you have now. Thus, the above two partitioning options are the best solutions available to you.

Hope this helps,

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by jtx472 / February 23, 2007 5:44 PM PST

How do I access the "built in Shrink feature"?

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