A dual-boot computer is a system that has been set up with two different operating systems on it, giving the user the option of working in either one. They cannot be run simultaneously, but if you prefer certain features of one, and other features of the other, dual-booting can be a decent compromise. Windows XP and Windows Vista are two popular operating systems for PC users, and because they are made by the same company, they are fairly easy to set up on a dual-boot system.
Turn on your computer and enter BIOS. This is usually accomplished by pressing the "Delete" key or the "F12" key during the boot-up process. Your computer may also tell you which key to press on the first screen that appears after you turn it on.
Cycle through the menus once you are in the BIOS until you find the boot order menu. Use the appropriate keys to select your CD drive, and then move it above your hard drive in the boot order. This will cause your computer to check your CD drive for any bootable devices before it boots to your hard drive.
Insert your Windows XP setup CD into your CD drive, save your changes and exit the BIOS menu, then restart your computer.
Press a key when prompted to enter into the Windows XP setup program.
Choose to install a new copy of Windows XP.
Select the partition that does not currently contain an operating system as the install destination.
Follow the on-screen instructions as they appear, and Windows XP will start the installation process. Make sure you have your Windows XP serial key with you, because you will have to type it in about halfway through before the process will continue.
Making the dual boot
Load Windows XP normally. Because of the way Windows XP is installed, it overwrites the Vista bootloader, so you will not see the option to boot to Windows Vista. We will now restore the Vista bootloader so that you will be able to choose which OS you want to boot to when you start your computer.
Download and install Microsoft .NET framework 2.0.
Download and install EasyBCD.
Click the "Add/Remove Entries" button.
Click the "Drive" dropdown menu in the "Add an entry" section, and select the letter of the drive you installed Windows XP to.
Change the text in the "Type" textbox to "Microsoft Windows XP." Click the "Add an entry" button, and save the changes.
Click the "Manage Bootloader" button.
Make sure the "Reinstall the Vista bootloader" option is checked, then click the "Write MBR" button.
Restart your computer. Instead of booting to Windows XP, your computer should bring up a menu asking you to choose which operating system you wish to boot to. Congratulations. You have successfully created a dual-boot XP/Vista system.
- It is always a good idea to back up your important data before attempting any operation like this.
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