Windows 7 – Dual booting with Vista

As well as my little netbook I always use a machine I built myself that I am pretty happy with, it is an AM2 4200 based machine, 4GB Ram (was 8GB, but I gave the other 4 to my brother and intend to replace them), and a single Nvidia 8800 graphics card, on an ASUS M2N32 SLI DELXUXE motherboard, currently this gets a 5 on the Windows experience rating, mainly due to the primary hard disk being an AM2, and the primary hard disk being IDE based, otherwise it would be higher.  I want to dualboot this machine as I want to use the machine primarily as a Windows 7 machine, however if there is a gap between when the beta expires and the product is released I want to have Vista to step back to.

Ok, the first step would be to back-up the system obviously, the best way is to use Vista’s backup tools, All Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Backup Status and Configuration:-


From here select Complete PC Backup, and Select Create a backup now and accept the UAC prompt, the PC will look for backup device, you will need to select either a basic disk, or an optical drive, in my case I selected a USB drive with enough space for the image, on the next screen I selected to only backup the the C: drive and set the backup running, it might take some time depending on the size of your C: drive:-


After this completes we need to resize the partition that Vista is installed on to free up some space to create a partition for Windows 7. The easiest way of doing this is by using Vista’s own Disk Management, to access this simply click the Start Orb and enter ‘Computer Management’ in the Search box and click enter (whilst you are typing this you will see ‘Computer Management’ appear as an option in the program list, you can just click on this if you prefer).  In the computer management window expand Storage, and click on Disk Management:-

ScreenShot-Disk Shrink1

When it finishes getting the disk configuration right click on the primary partition (Usually C:) and select ‘Shrink Volume’. and the computer will check to see how much space it can shrink:-

ScreenShot-Disk Shrink2

You then get to choose how much you want to shrink the disk by, but as you can see it won’t necessarily be the full amount of free space as it warns in the the next window:-

ScreenShot-Disk Shrink3

When you have selected a suitable amount to shrink by, continue until it has completed, then reboot the computer with the Windows 7 DVD inserted, in my case I have gone with Windows 7 64-bit. After selecting Language/keyboard options and accepting the EULA, you get two installation options, Upgrade and Custom, select Custom, then select the unallocated space you created on the system disk and click next, Windows 7 will now install and will probably restart a couple of times, it might take some time, mine took about 20 minutes. On the initial Set Up Windows phase, I named my computer, created a user/password and chose not to input a Product Key at this stage as I wanted to check how well the hardware was supported etc.

The driver for the wireless card/AP built into the motherboard which is a Realtek RTL8187, I got the motherboard CD and successfully installed the 64-bit Vista version of the driver, however I found this would not connect. The onboard wired NICs had working drivers on install, so I connected to my router via ethernet cable and connected to Windows Update. There were a number of important updates, and under the optional updates there were drivers for the graphics card, and for the Wireless NIC. I selected all of these and set it going, after the final reboot everything looks good, however the Rating has dropped to a 4.9 for Windows 7, however it rates some of the components higher, the disk and Processor hold it back again.


~ by Phil on March 25, 2009.

One Response to “Windows 7 – Dual booting with Vista”

  1. […] Windows 7 – Dual booting with Vista « Phil’s Technical Musings […]

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