Adding Windows XP to a Windows Vista Installation (Dell Studio XPS)

If you want to run multiple operating systems on one machine, Microsoft recommends to install them in the order of increasing age with the oldest first.

However, when I got my Dell Studio XPS machine an year and a half ago (gosh, is it already that old!), Windows Vista 64 bit was already installed and I wanted to add Windows XP. So what I did to run both OS’s was the following:

  1. Add a new partition, in my case 40 Gigs, for Windows XP and the associated programs (J: drive in my case. Windows Vista is on C:). You can partition your drive within Windows Vista – Computer Management –> Storage –> Disk management. When partitionened, format that new drive.
  2. Install Windows XP on that drive
  3. After the install, Windows Vista is no longer accessible. There is no boot menu
  4. Restore the Windows Vista boot partition. I did it with “VistaBootPro 3.3″ (google it, but careful: the first site displayed charges 9.99$ for the program. Look for the next results where your should find the freeware version). Make the program restore the Windows Vista boot loader.
  5. At this point only Windows Vista will boot, so we now configute the Vista boot loader to recognize Windows XP as well.
  6. Start a DOS command prompt (right-click it from Accessories to start it in ADMINISTRATOR mode) – Note: These instructions were taken from a microsoft document to be found here.
  7. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /create {ntldr} /d “WINDOWS XP”      (type it in as is. you can change the string “WINDOWS XP” to anything you want. It’s possible that you get an error which says “entry already present”. fine, no problem. continue below)
  8. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /set {ntldr} device partition=x:        (replace x: with your boot drive, in my case it was C:)
  9. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /set {ntldr} path \ntldr                          (enter as is)
  10. Enter the following in the DOS window: BCDEDIT /displayorder {ntldr} /addlast           (enter as is)
  11. Reboot.
  12. At this point you should the OS choice menu. Enjoy.

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