You will need to make sure your hard drive is large enough to accommodate the space requirements of both operating systems, plus enough room to install software and store files for each perating system. Personally, I do not recommend attempting this on drives of less than 50GB with Windows operating systems XP and later. You will first need to optimize the existing installation to reduce and condense your total disk space. To do this you can run the following utilities on your existing installation: create a restore point then, run a registry cleaner (Ccleaner is reliable and free), registry defrag, system cleaner (Trial versions of Yacimsoft Optimizers or Glary Utilities are fully functional free downloads which will give you all the tools needed to achieve these functions), uninstall any program files you do not use . . . then perform a complete disk defrag once all junk files, temp files, old document files etc have been deleted and removed from the recycle bin . . . then reboot the computer.
To perform the disk partition inside Windows XP and later, make sure you are logged on to a user account with full administrator privileges., then click on start and RIGHT click on My Computer (WinXP) or Computer (Vista and 7) on the start menu and select “Manage” this will invoke the “Computer Management Console. In the far left column find and select “Disk Management” This will open the Windows utility to create disk partitions.Your primary Hard Drive will be labeled “Disc 0” and display information about the size of your drive. Newer laptops and desktops may already show multiple partitions setup by the manufacturer which are used to restore your original factory settings – DO NOT DELETE OR TAMPER WITH THESE OR YOU WILL LOSE YOUR ABILITY TO RECOVER YOUR ORIGINAL OPERATING SYSTEM IN THE EVENT YOUR OPERATING SYSTEM BECOMES UNUSABLE.
Find the rectangular section of the Hard Drive Graphic which bears the word BOOT Right click, Select “SHRINK VOLUME”. A new window will appear with minimum number of megabytes the drive can be. You will NOT want to use the minimum number. If you do, you will be creating a partition only big enough to accommodate your current data. There will be little or no room to add additional programs or save files. What you will instead need to do is look at the total capacity, then calculate how much additional space you want to allocate to your original Windows installation with enough remaining space to install the secondary operating system.
Lets pretend the original OS is any flavor of VISTA and you are planning to install Windows XP SP3 on your new partition . Your HDD is 60 GB (this will be shown in MB units which will be a 5 digit number for drives less than 100 GB and a 6 digit number for drives over 100 GB total capacity). Note: HDD capacity calculations are not exact. Do not be surprised if your 60GB drive actually only shows a “Total Size Before Shrink” of 58777 megabytes or some other number less than 60000 as you might expect. This is an industry norm. The true capacity is rounded up to the nearest GB even though the actual capacity may be slightly less.In this scenario the Disk Management utility informs you the minimum size you can shrink your Vista volume to is 22497 megabytes. You want more room for downloads and stuff you add later. The total capacity you need for your XP installation and other files you decide will be 20 GB. This leaves approximately 20GB of space you can apply to the Vista partition. Therefore you will enter a number something like 44000 in the Shrink window field labeled: Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB. Now click the “Shrink” button. The operation will take several minutes to complete. Once the Shrink has completed successfully, reboot the system to make sure your original OS is operational and the computer boots without any issue. Then return toDisk Management You shoulod now see your Vista volume and a second area of Unallocated Space.Right click in the unallocated space, select “New Simple Volume” This will begin the Simple Volume Wizard. Click Next. Use the maximum size indicated & click “Next”In the next menu select “DO NOT ASSIGN A DRIVE LETTER OR PATH. Format the new partition to NTFS.
Return to the Disk Management utility & you will see the new partition. When the format is complete, right click on the new partition and select “change drive letter” use the default drive letter suggested.
Insert your XP Installation CD into your DVD/CD and run SETUP within Vista and select the option to install a copy of XP on this machine.Select the empty new partition you created for XP and follow the installation instructions.
Vista Boot Loader will detect the XP installation and prompt at startup which OS you wish to boot. You now have 2 separate options for which operating you want to run on your computer.
DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RUN PROGRAMS INSTALLED ON ONE OS IN THE 2ND OS. YOU WILL NEED TO INSTALL ANY PROGRAMS YOU HAD INSTALLED ON YOUR ORIGINAL OPERATING SYSTEM SEPARATE INSTALLATION IN THE NEW OS. ALWAYS SAVE PROPRIETARY FILES AND BACKUPS TO THE CORRECT PARTITION CONTAINING THE OPERATING SYSTEM WHERE CREATED.
EXCEPTIONS ARE: MOST STANDARD MEDIA AND DOCUMENT FILE FORMATS – mp3, .doc, .pdf, .jpeg etc. These files are universal and can be accessed from either OS by pointing their opening application to their location on any logical drive.
My Next How-To will be PART 2, Installing multiple Operating Systems on a Clean Unformatted Drive.Please send any feedback or questions to GeekMaker@hotmail.com
Colt Baldwin – FixYa.com Computer Technology Support Expert.