Vista + XP (Vista installed first)

Hi all,
So I have Vista installed OEM on a Fujitsu Siemens Scaleo P... I'm sick of Vista but want to keep it just in case :grinning:
I have a copy of XP lying around and I want to put it to good use.
I've read all the tutorials, but I have some questions:
1: Can anything happen at a hardware level during dual boot that could render my system useless?
2: What is the worst thing that could happen to me during this process?
I'm a bit scared, because if I loose my machine... *gulp*
Thanks to everyone in advance.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
The worst thing that could happen is that you don't pay attention, and go installing XP right on top of Vista.
That's easily avoidable if you don't just leave the "label" field blank when you create the partition you want to put it in. Give it a label like "XP system" and there's no mistaking it when you place the install.
The classic error (as described earlier) normally happens to users who create a number of unnamed, same-size partitions and think that they just have to remember the disk letter.
They forget, or don't know, that disk letters aren't "real" fixed entities, just an internal map kept by the running system in its registry, and that another system will have a different map.
The booted XP CD used to do the install is an OS in its own right, and will therefore call these unnamed partitions by its own (probably) different set of letters, hence things get placed in entirely unintended, and possibly disastrous, places.
Plan what you're doing carefully, and the whole business is safe as houses.
Read the sticky thread for general advice and background information.
If you have the luxury of a separate HDD for XP, then disconnect Vista, Install XP independently, and when it's booting nicely, put Vista back in the PC, place it at the top of the BIOS boot sequence, boot it and use easyBCD 2 to find and configure XP for you as a boot option.
If you are going to use Vista "shrink" to create space for XP on the same HDD, then the install of XP will regress the boot so that only XP is bootable.
EasyBCD 2 from XP (needs .NET 2.0 SP1 installed first) will fix that for you
or you can boot your Vista DVD and repair the Vista boot this way
If you don't have a DVD (probably not if Vista is OEM), get yourself a repair disk before you start

Oh yes, remember to check your XP Install CD first.
If it isn't at least SP2 level, it will have no SATA support, and you cannot install it on a modern PC without getting some SATA drivers first from your mobo website.
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As a matter of fact, I do have the luxury of a second HDD for XP.
But, that HDD has some programs I installed in Vista.
Should I:
1) Uninstall the programs, leaving the HDD blank for XP?
2) Make a new partition on the HDD?
Also, is there a chance that my BIOS won't read vista after I plug it back in and change the boot sequence?
I read that when multibooting you can disable some of your manufacturer's OS tools at startup. Does EasyBCD remove these tools?
Thanks for your very elaborate response :smile:
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Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
You don't have to uninstall the Vista apps.
Just defrag the drive ( and move the pagefile.sys off if you've moved it there, it's unmovable to a defrag), till the drive's nice and tidy, then do a shrink from Vista Disk Management to create yourself space for the XP partition.
Disconnect Vista (that will protect your Vista boot including any OEM custom features), and do a clean install of XP on the other HDD into the prepared space, including all updates to SP3 level, till you're happy that it all works as you want it.
Reconnect Vista, set the BIOS to boot from it (it's still completely unaltered obviously), boot it and you should get a normal Vista boot, with an XP system visible but not yet bootable.
Run EasyBCD 2 and add an auto entry for XP, and on your next boot you'll have the option to boot it from Vista bootmgr.
When you first run XP, apply this registry hack to prevent XP seeing the Vista partition and the Vista apps partition. Turn on system restore for the XP partition only (from XP) and off for all other partitions.

(If you want to share data, it would be best at the "shrink" time mentioned above to create 2 partitions, one for XP and one for shared data, then move the data from your Vista apps partition leaving only the apps, because you're going to make them invisible to XP)

When you reboot Vista, it will have lost all its restore points and backups (if you use the inbuilt VIsta backup), so immediately set Vista SR "on" for Vista and its apps, and "off" for XP and the shared partition, then set another restore point and renew your backup (if used).

Future uses of XP won't do this once the above linked hack is successfully applied. (DO check with a boot of XP and another boot of Vista that your new restore point is still there, verifing that the hack worked. For a few configs it doesn't (mostly it does), but if you find that you are one of the unfortunates (like me), don't worry. We have a fix for that too.