Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Dual-Boot Windows 7 on a Windows Vista computer (Vista installed first)
Last reviewed: June 2011
This guide shows how to safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows 7 with Windows Vista on a computer with Windows Vista already installed. You can then run either of those two Windows by selecting one from a menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
In this procedure you need to shrink the Windows Vista drive to make room for Windows 7.
32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista Home Premium & Basic, installed on a single NTFS partition, were used in testing. The computers used were (1) a 32-bit Dell Optiplex with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA hard disk, and (2) AMD Athlon 64-bit (2.4GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA hard disk
The procedure used is quite easy and suitable for users of all abilities.
Important Installation Notes
Full Installation CD/DVDs. The Windows you are adding cannot be installed from Recovery or Repair CDs or DVDs provided by some OEMs. You need the full installation or setup version to install a Windows.
Shrinking a Windows Vista drive. You should use Shrink in Windows' Disk Management to resize the Windows partition. If the free space achieved is inadequate, you can read Shrink the Windows Vista Partition for instructions on completing this task successfully. Use the free GParted Live CD to gain disk space only if you absolutely must - read the page Use GParted to Resize the Windows Vista Partition to learn how and, before you use GParted, read Repair Windows Vista Startup (below).
SUMMARY of Procedure (Advanced users)
That's it! The Windows boot loader menu will boot Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Details: Install Windows 7 when Windows Vista is already installed
It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated and you should have a properly working Windows.
Make your preparations
Make Unallocated space for new Windows 7
The single 160 GB disk usually used in testing initially had: Windows Vista (150 GB, Primary, NTFS). The Windows Vista drive was shrunk leaving about 40 GB Unallocated space at the end of the disk (to the right). After repartitioning it had: Windows Vista (100 GB, Primary, NTFS), new (50 GB, Unallocated).
Now Install Windows 7
The new Windows 7 has been automatically added to the boot menu. Nice!
Congratulations! You have created a natural dual-boot of Windows 7 with Windows Vista.
Repair Windows Vista Startup
You will not have any problem if you follow the instructions as stated above. However you might encounter some freak occurrence like a power failure during installation. Windows Vista will boot again if you execute the following procedure.
If still stuck for a solution, boot again from the installation DVD, select Repair your computer, highlight Windows Vista, get to a Command Prompt, use DIR command (DIR C: or DIR D: etc.) to identify drive letter allocations (sizes and Labels will help), and type in:
Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.
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