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Windows Vista hints and tips 4

Tips index

Run Vista in XP

Although you can't actally run Windows Vista in XP, it is possible to create a dual boot PC that has two hard disk drives or one disk that is partitioned to create two drives. You can then install Vista on one partition and XP or 98 on another. This is a useful option if you already have Windows XP and don't want to completely replace it with Vista and when you boot up you can choose the operating system you want to start from a simple menu. You can keep your old copy of Windows and applications, yet also have the option to boot up into Windows Vista and take advantage of the great features in the new operating system.

It is easy to mess up your PC when trying to create a dual booting system and the golden rule is to install the oldest operating system first and the newest last. This means XP should be installed, follwed by Vista. It is ideal for anyone who already has XP on their PC. You can add a second hard disk drive to the system, you can use a spare partition, or you can partition the existing hard disk to create a partition. There isn't a best option and all three methods are equally good. Adding a second hard disk is theoretically better because if one disk fails you have always got the other one, but apart from that, just choose whatever method is easiest.

A common PC configuration is to have one large hard disk drive. If you have at least 20Gb of free space, you can create a partition and install Vista on it. Paragon Software has utilities that can create new partitions on an existing disk drive without affecting the current configuration - you don't lose your existing Windows setup. A downloadable trial version may be all you need to create a partition, so try Partition Manager Personal or Hard Disk Manager Suite

Once you have created a new partition on the disk, you can insert the Windows Vista DVD in the drive and start the computer with it to install it. Just remember to install it in the second partition and not the first with XP! (Your PC should be set to boot from CD/DVD, but if it isn't, switch on and tap the F1 or Del keys to get into the BIOS setup utility and find the screen with the boot order option. Set it to CD/DVD first and hard disk C: second.

Run XP in Vista

You can actually run XP in Vista, provided you have Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, or Windows Vista Ultimate. It won't work with Home Premium or Basic. Microsoft's free Virtual PC basically emulates a whole PC with its own processor, memory, hard disk drive, video card and so on. After downloading and installing this utility, you can create a virtual PC and install an operating system within it, such as Windows XP or even Windows 98 or MS-DOS. You can easily switch from Vista to the other OS and it doesn't affect the Vista installation. It is not intended for running the latest games software, but most ordinary applications are fine, so if you need an XP application that's not available for Vista, you can just start Virtual PC and run it in XP.

Enable the Vista boot screen

msconfigThe screen that is displayed when Windows Vista is loading is boring and dated. You should replace it with something that fits in the new graphic design of Vista.

It is quite easy to do this and you just hold down the Windows key and press R to open the Run box and type msconfig.

This command starts the System Configuration utility (you will need to do this with when logged on with an administrator account). Select the Boot tab and tick the No GUI Boot option. Click OK and then restart Windows to see the effect.

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