Best way to dual boot Vista and XP

Posted on 2007-11-22
Last Modified: 2013-11-30
What is the best configuration for dual boot of XP and Vista?  Single drive with multiple partitions or two separate drives.  What is the best utility or software?  Xp is installed and the Vista installation will be a clone of another identical system with a successful installation of Vista.
Question by:mtwalsh
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Expert Comment

ID: 20335713
I will let others comment about the merits of partitions vs. drives.  One problem with a dual boot of XP and Vista is that XP System Restore will will wipe out Vista's Restore points when you boot into XP.  See this page:

Myself, I decided to get rid of XP on my old computer (which I used to multiboot XP, 98, and ME on) and then reinstall XP on the new Vista machine as a virtual OS, using Microsoft's free utility Virtual Pc 2007.  Doing this is much handier anyway, because mostly I use Vista now, but with XP as a virtual OS, I can start it up at the beginning of my Vista session, then leave it running (or even paused, to conserve on machine cycles) in the background for whenever I want to use it; and to do so, I just have to click the icon on the Taskbar.

Microsoft Virtual Pc 2007 is a free download available from Microsoft; it is the first version of this program that is compatible with Windows Vista.  An overview of its features is presented here:
Microsoft Virtual Pc 2007 Product Information

MS Virtual PC 2007 is available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and works with Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions, as well as Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, and Windows XP Tablet Edition.  You can download a Microsoft Word document about MS Virtual PC 2007 called VirtualPC2007.doc that contains a fair amount of information on the product from this page:
Using Microsoft VIrtual Pc 2007 for Application Compatibility

Expert Comment

ID: 20335722
Either option is fine. You can either have a dual boot configuration by having vista on one partition and xp on the other or have both operating systems on seperate drives.

Check out the following link:
LVL 59

Accepted Solution

LeeTutor earned 125 total points
ID: 20335724
If you're intent on dual booting:  

This page gives a very good tutorial on dual booting WinXP and Vista, with lots of screenshots accompanying the article:
How do I... Install Windows Vista in a dual-boot configuration along with Windows XP?

This page describes doing it with Vista installed first and then XP afterwards:
How to dual boot Vista and XP (with Vista installed first) -- the step-by-step guide

I think the best way to dual boot is not to use either XP's boot loader or Vista's, but instead the free utility here:

Expert Comment

ID: 20335742

Author Closing Comment

ID: 31410591
Excellent educated and well-reasoned answer.  In fact, it added siginficant additional value to the original questions and answer

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