OK, I have done some scouring of the forum and I think I know the answers to most of my questions, but I want to make sure.
I am thinking about getting a Vostro 1500 laptop with Vista Home Premium installed. However, I must be able to dual boot Win XP. I know that the model supports XP, as it is an option on purchase. I have my own copy of Win XP Home with SP2 that I can install.
Now, from what I can gather, Dell DOES ship a true reinstall DVD for Vista, yes?
Since Windows likes to have the oldest version installed first on a dual boot configuration, then I would need to wipe the HD and break down any preexisting partitions. What parititions exist from the factory? I would imagine there is a restore partiton...should I leave it alone?
Once the HD is wiped, then I would need to install XP, but I have learned that since XP does not have SATA drivers, would need to either slipstream them into an XP CD (I have never done this) or could a person use an external USB floppy drive to load the SATA drivers?
After this hurdle, it should be a breeze, yes? Create an XP partition, install into that partition, pop in the Vista DVD, boot, and let it do its thing in the remaining space?
Also, does this monkeying around affect that MediaDirect feature? Is it a partition that needs to stay where it is?
I just want to know what I would be looking at for difficulty before I make my decision.
Are there any CLEAR, step by step instructions out there that anyone knows about?
All you'd need to do is once you get it open it up and stick your Windows XP disk in (I hope you have a licence key for it that isn't already registered to another motherboard!) and let it boot from disk. Partition your drives and let XP install on one of them. Once installed do the same wiht the Vista disk, obviously without repartitioning again.
If I were you, I'd create 3 partitions: XP, Vista and "data partition" where you can share your personal user files across both OS.
That would lose any factory partitions, wouldn't it? (MediaDirect, Diagnostics, restore if there is one).
This would be a last restort for me. I would rather leave everything else in place for now, except maybe the restore partition.
I am absolutely no expert but I want to do the same thing on my Dell Inspiron 530.
I have learned that you should absolutely not wipe your HD. There are 2 things on there that you need to keep if you want to be able to get Dell help later. I don't know how it will be with your portable but here is what I had on mine:
One 320Gb harddrive with on it 3 partitions:
One 63Mb primary partition with EISA : this you should absolutely keep it is used by Dell
One 10Gb primary partition with Recovery : with this you can reset your system to the state it was in when you received it. Some say you could copy it to a CD and erase it to win disk space but I can certainly spare those 10Gb so I keep it on.
The rest was C partition.
With Vista you can make new partitions. At that I ran into problems. I managed to make 3 new partitions of about 40Gb but couldn't reduce the C partition under 153Gb. Untill now I haven't found a solution for that problem.
However in your case you could reduce C, make a new primary partition,
Install XP over Vista on C and then install Vista on other partition. Vista will then create a multiboot.
I haven't done it yet so on the last part experts may correct me.
Anyway one thing is sure: don't touch EISA partition.
As this is a Dell forum I hope some Dell people are reading this.
This is my first experience with a Dell computer. When ordering I wanted a partitioned disk but that was not possible. I would have expected some help on the partitioning part but they refused to give it. I think everybody agrees that the best way to organise your computer is to work with a separate data partition. As Dell puts an essential partition on their computers they should at least help people so that this partition is not wiped when trying to partition or organise a dual boot.
I assume the EISA partition is the diagnostic partition?
I am thinking that this partition can be recreated using the Media Direct CD?
Let's say that I am starting with a blank HDD after having wiped it clean.
From what I can gather, I would boot to the Media Direct CD, where I can create both the Media Direct and the diagnostic partitions (and others?). Then, i can install XP in one partition and Vista in another. Then, after all is installed, I can install the Media Direct software for the appropriate OS? Does it matter which OS?
However, how does this affect the MBR? Vista will see XP and create a boot menu, right? Does this change to the MBR affect MediaDirect and diagnostics?
As I said - I'm no expert. I didn't even know what Media Direct CD was so I googled it and came on a Dell Support page. http://support.dell.com/support/topics/global.aspx/support/dsn/en/document?docid=041031D196A7CAC0E04...
I understand that this Cd comes with a Dell PC with XP on it and my guess would be that you couldn't use it on a Dell with Vista.
In my previous post I described my PC. I think yours will probably have the same 3 partitions.
Meanwhile I have been able to reduce my C partition to 80Gb.
It seems to me that if you work with dual boot you would need to have your data on a separate partition.
I have added a partition containing 3 logical partitions for data, backup and media.
If I want to make a dual boot (I am beginning to have my doubts because I'm quite happy with Vista) I will expand the Recovery partition (which is totaly useless as I got a true reinstall DVD with Vista from Dell) and put XP there.
I hear from experts that you do not have to install XP first if you get a bootmanager.
I don't know if you can get one for free. System Commander 9 was recommended to me but it costs some 70$.
You will certainly need to get the XP drivers for Vostro 1500 before starting all this. Download them and put them on a USB stick.
Non-expert is back again.
I am looking into the dual-boot problem for myself and just found this in a computer magazine (dutch).
I am trying to translate:
Before starting make a back-up. Keep Vista on your system.
You need a free primary partition for XP. You install XP on this partition.
You will have a problem because XP boatloader comes in your MBR.
You can solution this by putting the Vista bootloader back. For this you start the system from the Vista dvd - choose your country and then opt for 'repair your computer'
Select Vista installation - you get options for system repair and choose the first: 'startup repair' (translation from dutch). After this you start in Vista. Now you have to reanimate XP. You can use the free EasyBCD 1.7.1 for this (http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1)
Start this tool en select Add/Remove entries. In 'Add an entry' open windows tab and select Windows NT/2K/XP/2K3
Change the name in Microsoft Windows XP, change the disk letter to the one you used and confirm with Add Entry and save