Can I hot key swap between XP and Vista Dual Boot (controlled by Bootit)

I have (with a lot of help) created a Dual Boot system:

Dell XPS Dimesion
Dual Boot:

XP PRO 32 bit 2 gig ram, (My board can only see 2 gig on the 32 bit system)

Vista Home Premium 64 bit, 8 gig ram (but the same board can see 8 gig on the 64 bit system...go figure that one out (Dell Tech Support could not!)

Bootit ng used to Dual boot.  Both XP and Vista reside on the same HD and Bootit works its magic to make each OS think it is using the C partition.

But I have found I can not load (at least) one major application I use all the time (DragonNaturallySpeaking PRO V10) on the Vista 64 OS.  I have to go back to the XP 32 OS in order to use it.

I have seen in other threads that it is possible to run both at the same time and hot swap, but I need to know if I can (and how I can), do this when I am using Bootit at boot time to select which OS I want to fire up.

Would appreciate advise on this one.


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I'm afraid this must be a misunderstanding. You are certainly not able to run two Operating Systems simultaneously.
When people say that with a bootmanager like BootIt-Ng you can run OS1 and OS2 "at the same time", then what they want to say is: you can have them installed at the same time on the same system, but not that you can boot from both simultaneously.

The only way to achieve this (and to hot swap) is when you install one of these OS's in a virtual machine (VMWare, VirtualBox, Virtual PC etc.) with the other OS as a host.
bob733Author Commented:
right.... Sorry if I was not specific.   I know that Bootit allows you to install two OS's on the same drive and have both be on  a C: partition.  I also know, that with Bootit, you cannot have both running simultaneously

But i read threads about the VM and I was wondering how (or if) I could do that, given that I have installed the two OS/s with bootit.

It almost seems as if I could have installed XP 32 into a Vista 64 OS.

the only problem with that (for my machine), is that XP was first.

That isn't really a problem, I think.

Just download Virtual PC (, install it on Vista and install XP into it.

Then run it for a while, check whether you get along with it and whether this is the solution you were aiming at.

Should you find out in the end that you don't need a full XP install anymore, ways and means may be found to erase it from your hard drive.
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Im not sure with Dragon software, but are you experiencing version compatibility issues. You mention that your running a Windows XP 32-Bit OS as well as a Vista 64-Bit OS. Your version of Dragon and any other software that doesnt work on Vista, is it capable of running in a 64-Bit environment? I would be careful trying to run different applications in different BIT OS's as it might cause unforeseen issues. Just a suggestion anyway :)
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Well ... you can easily install XP within a Virtual PC 2007 virtual machine and then run it from within Vista;  and Dragon should install with no problem in the VM.

.... However, the performance of XP may/may not be good enough for Dragon to work well.   As I understand it, this is a pre-Core-architecture system, without hardware virtualization support.   While a virtual machine will probably run fairly well; its performance may be too slow for good real-time voice recognition.   Only way to know for sure is to try it.

One caveat:  Virtual PC 2007 does not support external USB devices or any specialized hardware cards.   If Dragon only relies on your sound card's output and microphone, it should work fine (with the virtualized Soundblaster in a virtual machine).   But otherwise it will not work.

One good thing:  With 8GB of memory, you can allocate plenty of memory for your XP virtual machine -- this may just allow the performance to be fine for what you'd like to do .   I'd allocate 1GB ... or maybe even 1.5GB.   [Note:  It's simply to change that allocation any time you want from within Virtual PC's console.]

Are you SURE Dragon won't work in the x64 version of Vista?  Have you tried compatibility settings?   Clearly it would be best if it would simply work natively.

One final note:  While you can't run them simultaneously, you CAN make it very trivial to boot between your OS's with Boot-It.   For example, these icons are on my Vista Ultimate desktop (their function is obvious).   A simple double-click ... and in about 60-70 seconds I'm running whichever other OS I want.

bob733Author Commented:
Couple of items... your Boot icons look interesting... as long as I didnt have to go through the normal boot sequence (shutdown, restart, embr 2.01, embr 2.04... pick a OS (if I pick XP, I have to again pick earler os), and then it boots).

clicking one icon therefore sounds very interesting, and maby that might be a first step to using Dragon.

I sent the VM verbiage back to (probably the formost Voice recognition web site in the world), to get their comments.

If I went with the install of another XP, can I use any XP as long as I have the Product key?

Also, will it affect the other XP that I also have now (that you helped me with)?

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
If you install XP in a virtual machine, it's just like any other computer -> you need to activate it and will need a valid license.    And no, there's no intererence with your "real" XP install => a virtual machine is an entirely different computer.

As for the Boot-Now icons ... yes, it's just a double-click and no further intervention.   Causes a shutdown; reboot; and automatic selection of the approprate OS.   You simply need to check the "Boot Now" support box in Boot-It's settings menu; and then download the free BootNow utility from their web site [ ].   Just extract the files from the download to anyplace on your hard drive [I put them in C:\Program Files\Utilities];  then just create a shortcut to the BootNow utility on your desktop.

Here's what my "Boot to XP Professional" icon has as a shortcut:
"C:\Program Files\Utilities\BOOTNOW.EXE" Windows &XP

The name of the OS ["Windows &XP"] has to match exactly what is in the Boot Edit description in BootIt for that boot item.   [The "&" in my name causes the "X" to be highlighted on Boot-It's menu -- so I can just hit an "X" to select it from the main boot menu]

VERY simple -- and nice to just do a double-click to boot to whatever OS you want.   I actually have more than just the two icons I posted above ... just thought two was enough to give you an idea of what you can do.


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bob733Author Commented:
I have Vista 64 Home Premium... Virtual PC 2007 will not run on this platform ( I got a message that it is not supported)

Any alternatives?

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Virtual PC will run fine -- just ignore the message and continue the install.   Once it's installed, you won't see the message anymore :-)   [Same thing's true on XP Home]

... I don't recall if there's a "Don't show me this message again" box you have to check or not => if so, just check it.
bob733Author Commented:
Ok Gary, some of the comments you have made are now making sense (now that I have Virtual pc 2007 loaded).

In essense, I have XP loaded virtually, and I have activated same.  I do not belive (as I think your comment eluded to), that I have hardware virtualazation in my system.  Called Dell and they really could not tell me either!

I do know that my sound card shows Sound Blaster 16 (which is not what I have).  I have a Soundblaster SB Audigy 2 ZS.  Additionally, I have a Wireless CS50 USB headset.  The virtual XP does not see either one (again, as you comment mentioned).

So, I am stuck.  I think.  Unless you can think of some work-around (different VM application? etc?).

It is a real shame because Dragon V10 is really great and FAST!.  The supplied Microsoft Voice recognition application is just so so, and far inferior to the Dragon.

I think my only alternative (unless you can work/think of some magic, is to try your boot method described above.

Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Virtual PC emulates the following hardware

=> Intel 440BX chipset
=> S3 Trio Video Card
=> Intel/DEC 21140 Network Card
=> Soundblaster 16 ISA PNP Sound Card

... so that's what your virtualized PC will see => doesn't matter what the "real" hardware is.

I'm sure your processor does NOT have hardware virtualization support ... the XPS 600 didn't ship with any CPU's that do.

Does the virtualized XP run fairly well?   If it's running at a reasonable speed on your system, then you MAY be able to use Dragon by installing XP in a virtualized system using VMWare instead of Virtual PC.   VMWare supports direct access to USB devices -- so your headset may work on a VMWare-based virtual machine.   I can provide more details later ... but will be gone for the next few hours.
bob733Author Commented:
Ah ha... ok... I will go and see if I can install it now.  Only trouble is that I already activated the XP I loaded....
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
The activation may be an issue ... but you can also import a Virtual PC machine into VMWare --> that should eliminate that issue.
bob733Author Commented:
And that is exactly what I did.  I can record using the wireless microphone and it plays through my speakers.

I do have some issues (base system device and video controller VGA) but I am still working on it.  Going to try to load the Dragon soone
bob733Author Commented:
hmmmm couple of "opportunities" with this VirtualVM>  I have Vista as the host, running VirtualVM as a guest, which has VirtualPC 2007 (XP 32) as a guest:

1.  I can no longer connect to the internet (like I could with VISTA Home Premium 64 bit, Host with guest VirtualPc 2007 XP32.

I can not see my external USB HD
Any thoughts?
bob733Author Commented:
got it up and everything running   thanks
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