February 16, 2008

Setting up Dual Boot on Dell Inspiron 1525 with Pre-Installed Vista

The laptop has come Windows Vista Home Premium pre-installed, which is not so much useful for my regular development activities because not all tools and SDK that I am using are compatible with Vista yet!! Sad but its true..

So, after getting the laptop, the first task was to setup the machine for my regular development environment.. which includes my favorite operating system Windows XP (I just got new license for XP last time when I visited Redmond)

But I think, I can say one thing.. Installing windows xp on a pre-installed windows vista machine is just difficult. The main reason behind this is, boot record format/mechanism change in windows vista.

Boot.ini is no more significant for windows vista. Vista stores boot information in another format which can be manipulated using bcdedit.exe.

I really struggled for 7-8 hours (including installing XP for 2 times because of messing up with boot record.) Finally got VistaBootPro and changed the boot record using that. The most important thing is, one might get "\ntldr missing" or "\ntldr corrupted" when selecting to boot Windows XP.. Dont worry, you have everything setup properly in windows xp, its just that ntldr and another .com file are missing. Copy those files marked as hidden and system from vista drive to XP's drive (in my case XP was on D drive and Vista was on C drive).

After that, both OSs were working fine, but it took me significant debugging/troubleshooting, guesswork, and my 7-8 hours.. but a good learning experience.

Regarding laptop, its a good piece with 5.8 hours of battery life (when fully charged!).. 9-cell battery is paying off.. Happy

Stay tuned.. Wave