Windows Vista – How to Dual Boot Windows Vista with Windows 8
How to protect your existing installation of Windows Vista and evaluate Windows 8 over the coming months.
The object is not to lose your current Windows Vista operating system, to quickly recover Vista should the installation of Windows 8 fail, to be able to easily remove the Windows 8 if you don’t like it. Using an image and data backup strategy for Vista will provide a layer of protection should you need it. Keep in mind nothing is ever perfect and recoveries can and do fail on rare occasions.
Device Drivers: Most store bought computers that came with Windows Vista pre-installed are now fairly old and your PC manufacture may not have Windows 8 device drivers available. Home built computers on the other hand may find some or all the Windows 8 drivers you need for your motherboard and graphics card.
Note: Older computers that have a Pentium 4 processor may not support the NX bit, which will prevent Windows 8 from installing; socket 775 processors (Core 2 Duo or Quad Core) most likely will not have any problems.
Image Backups and drive partitions The key is to preserving your existing investment in Windows Vista. I’ll show you what you need to know in order to survive any catastrophes that may occur by providing a detailed look at backup strategies, recovery procedures and how to install Windows 8 alongside Windows Vista to create a dual boot computer.
Document backups: Obviously you will continue to use Windows Vista while evaluating Windows 8. This means you will day by day continuously add more data files (Documents, Photos, Music, Etc) when using Vista. It’s not practical to create a new image backup each day, but there is a convenient utility named SyncToy which can make quick work of backing up your data files to an external USB drive. More about using SyncToy at the end of this article.
Drive Partitions: There are a significant number of partition arrangements, from a variety of computer manufactures which have preinstalled OEM versions of Windows Vista or home built systems with retail versions of Vista. For this article I will be using a drive with a single partition arrangement with Vista installed on that partition.
Image Backups: All backups will be made from the Windows Vista environment and backup restoration / drive recovery will be made from a bootable recovery disk.
The very first backup will be an image of the entire hard drive and is your baseline should you need to restore Windows Vista. Note that a number of computers with Windows Vista preinstalled may have included “Recovery Media” or a recovery partition. Recovery partition sizes vary from one manufacture to another and can be as small as 10GB or as large as 30GB. You should include this partition as part of your backup. Note that using the recovery partition or media to restore Vista will erase all your existing data and applications which is the main reason for an Image Backup which will restore Vista and all your data and applications.
That first / baseline image backup you create will allow you to revert to your pre Windows 8 drive configuration should Windows 8 fail to install or is lacks the device drivers you need to function properly.
The Image Backup software will be installed in Windows Vista and “All” Image Backups will be created from within the Windows Vista operating system, so the backup software only needs to support Vista. The choice of which backup software you use is yours, however I suggest one of the following three products:
1. Norton Ghost 15: (Supports XP, Vista and Windows 7, but it cannot be installed in Windows 8) 2. Acronis True Image: Version 2011, 2012 or 2013 (XP, Vista, Windows 7 and version 2013 supports 8) 3. EaseUS Todo Backup Free: Version 5.6 or later (For those of you who do not have Ghost or True Image, Todo backup is a free solution and supports XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8)
I will be using EaseUS Todo Backup installed in Windows Vista. Before any changes are made to the drive partition layout, a baseline image backup of the entire drive will be created. After the Windows Vista partition is shrunk / resized to make room for Windows 8 (using a third party partition manager from EaseUS’s Partition Master) another baseline image backup of the entire drive will be created, this second baseline will be used as a starting point prior to installing Windows 8.
Note: After you have your dual boot system configured and operational, you should create separate image backups of just the Windows Vista partition if and when you install additional applications within Windows Vista. This will allow quick recovery of your latest Vista configuration, data files and applications.