How to Dual Boot Windows Vista And Windows 7

windows-selection

For those of you who have waited long for the beta release of Windows 7, Micosoft has finally released the link for you to download a copy to test. In case you have not downloaded, here is the link:

  • Windows 7 beta 32-bit version
  • Windows 7 beta 64-bit version (the download is no longer available)

The file size is about 2.4GB in size, so make sure you are on a broadband connection and have several hours to spare. You will have to burn it into a DVD to use it.

Once you have downloaded it, you will have to install it on a working machine in order to access the full functionality. As this is still a beta release and not suitable for daily production use, it is not wise to erase or upgrade your existing Vista to Windows 7. A good way is to create a dual boot system where you can choose to boot into Vista or Win 7. Here’s how it’s done:

Shrink your Vista and create new partition

In your Vista, go to Start -> Control Panel. Click on the System and Maintenance.

Scroll down all the way to find the Administrative Tools. Create on the Create and format hard disk partitions. You should see information about  your current hard drive partitioning.

Right click on the chart diagram and select Shrink volume.

disk-shrinking

A window will pop up to ask you to enter the amount of space to shrink. This is the size that you want your new partition to have. For Win 7, you will need at least 10GB of hard disk space. Click Shrink after you have confirmed the shrinking size.

disk-srhink-size

Back to the Disk Management window, you should see two partition now: one is the C drive and a new unallocated partition. Right-click on the Unallocated partition and select New Simple Volume

create new partition on vista

Set the volume size of the new partition and click Next.

new volume size

Next, it will ask you to specify the drive letter of the new partition. To avoid confusion with the drive letter of the CD-ROM, I decided to go with G:. You can set your own drive letter though.

partition-drive-letter

In the next screen, you can specify the file format and Volume label. It is recommended to change the Volume Label to something that is easy to identify, such as Windows 7.

partition-format

The partitioning will now start. Once it is done, you should see something like this.

two-partitions

Close everything. Place in the Windows 7 DVD and restart the computer.

Installing Windows 7

Boot up your computer using the Windows 7 installer DVD (you might have to configure the BIOS to get the computer to boot from CD-ROM). Let’s the installer run and follow the instruction until you reach the point where it asks you to select the installation partition.Make sure you select the partition that you have just created (not the Vista partition).

win7-select-partition

Finish up the installation. It should be done in about 30 minutes time.

When it’s done, it will auto-restart. On the boot up screen, you should be able to choose between Windows Vista or Windows 7.

windows-selection

To dual boot windows XP and windows 7

The procedure is the same as the dual-boot between windows XP and Vista.

Accessing Windows Vista partition from Windows 7

When you boot into Windows 7, you will find that you won’t be able to access Vista partition. This is because in Windows 7, both the partitions are registered as Drive C:, thus it only displays the partition that the system boots up with. To solve this issue, simply go to Disk Management and change the drive letter of the Vista partition.

In your Windows 7, go to Disk Management.

Right-click on the Vista partition (the one with the blank entry) and select Change Drive letter and Paths

change-vista-drive

Click Add to assign a drive letter to the Vista partition.

vista-drive-letter

Save and close all windows. The Vista partition should appear in your Explorer now.