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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 12:28 pm 
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I want to dual boot with XP (Updated July 11, 2008)

Note: I personally do not feel that it is worth the hassle anymore to dual boot as Vista has had time to mature and solidify. Unless you have a mission-critical application that requires Windows XP, do not bother (and if you have such an app, why did you upgrade to Vista anyway?)

Written by yagisencho
If you want to have the choice of booting into either Windows XP or Windows Vista, installation order is the key. XP (and/or Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Windows Media Center Edition 2005) must be installed prior to Vista. If you install XP after Vista, you'll be forced to replace and configure the Boot Configuration Data file that Vista's Windows Boot Manager relies on.

Here are the steps. This involves either starting fresh or having a spare partition on your XP machine:
1) Create at least two partitions on the active boot drive, one for each OS. If you go with minimum boot partition sizes, be sure you have plenty of space left over in an additional partition and/or drive for programs and data files. Personally, I use a 20GB partition for XP (few programs), a 100GB partition for Vista (most programs), and additional separate partitions for games and data.
2) Install Windows XP on the first partition (recommended min 20+ GB).
3) Install Vista on the second partition (recommend min 40+ GB).

At this point, Vista will have created two entries in its Boot Configuration Data, 'Previous Version of Microsoft Windows' and 'Microsoft Windows Vista', with a default time-out selection of Vista. You can change the default settings via the System Properties dialog inside Vista. Go to the Advanced tab and click the 'Settings...' button under Startup and Recovery.


Last edited by Sovereign on Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 7:50 pm 
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I upgraded, but now I want Vista gone!

Hopefully you made a backup of all your important data. Programs can easily be reinstalled; don't worry about that. You cannot "undo" an installation even though Windows Vista's installer creates a "Windows.old" folder that some interpret to mean that the installation can be rolled back afterward. This is simply not the case!

Since you say you upgraded, I'm assuming you have a Windows XP disc around somewhere. It's really not difficult to downgrade back to XP if you don't mind losing your settings. Back up your data, prepare any F6 driver discs (better yet burn all your drivers to CD or put them on a different hard drive) and reinstall Windows XP.

If you want to preserve your settings, you're boned because there is no way to undo a Vista installation (unless you imaged your computer before you upgraded).


Last edited by Sovereign on Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:30 pm 
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My computer came with Vista pre-loaded, now what do I do to get rid of it and go back to XP?

If you have a machine that shipped with Vista, depending on the company you may be able to "downgrade" to Windows XP. Watch your warranty, sometimes it goes out the window even if the company in question provides XP discs with which to downgrade!

If you have a Lenovo/IBM machine, click here. The page is unclear as to what happens to your support status as a result of the downgrade.
If you have a Dell machine, click here. Note that if you downgrade your Dell, you void your warranty.
If you have an HP machine, read this PDF.

Once you get your XP disc...

Generic Vista Removal Instructions
by SuperChip64

My Acer AS5520 came with Vista Home Premium preloaded. Here's how I rid Vista from my machine and replaced it with XP Pro:

1.) You must ensure the manufacturer of the laptop (or desktop, for that matter) has available Windows XP drivers or you can find compatible drivers elsewhere, or it isn't going to work. As manufacturers are getting many complaints about Vista, many have made downgrading easier by providing XP drivers. If not, Google is your friend. Gather up all drivers, unpack them to one central folder, then burn to CD. Flash drives work, but if XP can't natively support your southbridge, you're hosed.

2.) Many very new laptops use an EFI-enabled BIOS. Acer provided a pre-install ISO to emulate the standard BIOS, and emulate IDE over SATA. Search your manufacturer's site for similar utilities. Burn this to CD as well.

3.) Since Acer does not provide a Recovery Disk Set, I created one on the laptop, using the included eMpowering software.

4.) As forewarned - back up anything you need!!! 'nuff said!

5.) Place the preinstall disc in the CD/DVD drive and boot to it. Follow the instructions. At the prompt, place your Windows XP CD in and reboot.

6.) Set-up XP as you would.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:01 pm 
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Can I upgrade from ___ to Vista, or do I have to do a clean install?

Image

Straight from the horse's mouth...

What about Windows XP Professional x64 to Windows Vista x64? As it turns out, Microsoft says here that
Microsoft wrote:
Windows XP Professional x64 users can purchase an upgrade license for the 64-bit version of Windows Vista. However, they must perform a clean installation of the operating system.


Upgrading from a 32-bit to a 64-bit environment directly is not possible.


Last edited by Sovereign on Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 4:45 pm 
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How do I make Vista "faster?"

All Images Credit: Sovereign

Assuming you meet the hardware requirements I laid out in another part of this thread, there are still things you can do.

Windows Vista contains many automatic performance tuning features; however this does not mean that the OS ships in an optimal condition out of the box. Far from it, unneeded services often run in the background, programs may start when they are not needed and the list goes on.

Service Tweaking
For a guide to Windows Vista services, I recommend BlackViper's comprehensive service guide. As with the rest of my post, I take no responsibility whatsoever for anything you might find on BlackViper's site or do as a result of using his recommendations. If you are not careful, you can end up shutting off Aero, crippling networking capabilities, disabling file sharing or even causing Windows Vista to deactive!

What is a "Service" anyway? From Wikipedia...
"A 'Windows service' is a long-running executable that performs specific functions and which is designed not to require user intervention. Usually, Windows services start when the Microsoft Windows operating system is booted and run in the background as long as Windows is running. They are similar in concept to a Unix daemon."

They are thus important to the overall functioning of your computer, but not all of them are essential. For example, if you don't have a Tablet PC, it's pretty safe to disable the "Tablet PC Input Service." Overall, disabling services will save some memory and aid boot time (in theory) because fewer items need to be loaded from the hard disk.

To tweak services, load up Services.msc from the box in your start menu. Do not use msconfig!

Startup Item Tweaking
Have you noticed that practically every application you install, from AIM to iTunes/QuickTime, wants to run automatically every time your computer starts? You probably don't need all of these items, and even if you are ready to protest "I use ___ all the time!" hear me out. If you want your computer to start quickly, you do not want a large number of program running at boot-time. These programs load when you hit the desktop for the most part, and contribute to what I call "Desktop Lag," or the time between when you can see the desktop and when you can actually use the computer. Windows XP was (for me) rather bad at this, even though I had minimized startup items.

Unlike Windows XP, Windows Vista ships with Windows Defender, which in addition to being an anti-spyware application, also can manage startup programs via Software Explorer. The Software Explorer screen looks like this:
Image
Image
is that it WILL allow you to disable critical Windows processes in "Show for All Users" mode (i.e. the "Microsoft Windows Host Process") so if you are not careful you can damage your operating system! However, you can use it to remove or disable items from loading at start. This can speed up boot times.

Disk Maintenance
Your hard drive can get fragmented. What does that mean? Instead of having continuous files like the "Defragmented" drive in the below example, the drive looks like the "Fragmented" strip: the files are broken into pieces and the computer must find them all before a file can be loaded.
Image
Obviously, having to constantly search for file pieces is not a good thing. Use the Windows Disk Defragmenter (type "defragment" into the start menu) to bring up the Windows Disk Defragmenter.
Image
As you can see, it is "Analyzing" my disks, and yes, this may take a while. However, once it is done doing its analysis, it will prompt you as to whether you should run a defragment operation or not. By default, it runs on a schedule. However, the Windows defragmenter only does the bare minimum. It consolidates files larger than 64kB, but does nothing for smaller files. It is also simplistic; it doesn't even have a GUI the way the Windows 9x series did!

I personally use PerfectDisk to keep my drives in order. Even if you only use the built in defragmenter, it's better than nothing!

More may be added later...


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2008 10:30 am 
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Vista Service Pack 1 makes all 4GB show up on a 32-bit system, does this mean I can use all 4GB?

Unfortunately no. This is a simple trick to help OEMs and integrators avoid the swarms of customers who order a 32-bit OS and 4GB RAM, then see that only 2.8GB (or some similar number) is showing up. Windows reports 4GB of RAM, but that changes nothing about the addressing problem in a 32-bit environment. The limitation still exists! Call up the Task Manager and in Help->About you will see no more memory available to Windows than before.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 7:51 pm 
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Does Service Pack 1 fix most of the problems people were reporting with Vista?

For the most part, yes. I'm sure some people still have problems, but in many of these cases the problem is between the computer chair and the keyboard, not the operating system itself. That's not to say Vista is perfect, but many bugs have been squashed. The network stack has been reworked to get rid of the "network flooding" problem. File transfers will now saturate a 100Mbps network with 99% of most consumer drives, rather than poking along at 6MB/sec from one Vista machine to another.

It is my personal opinion that with the release of Service Pack 1 (as is the tradition with Microsoft operating systems) that the OS is ready for prime time. For a very detailed explanation of what has changed in Service Pack 1, see Microsoft TechNet.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2008 12:29 am 
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What about Physical Address Extension in Vista? Can I run 32-bit and 4GB RAM then?

The Physical Address Extension, explained here, is available in 32-bit versions of Windows Vista (it was disabled in Windows XP as of Service Pack 2). However, just like that red button you always see in movies that says "Do Not Use," there is a reason that PAE is probably a bad idea, even in Windows Vista.

The ultimate fault lies in the x86/32-bit architecture, but the more immediate problem relates to device drivers and certain applications. In the professional world of Microsoft server operating systems, PAE is perfectly acceptable because device drivers (such as printer, videocard, sound etc.) are programmed to be "aware" of PAE and thus they are compatible with it. However, many consumer drivers and applications (including key software such as videocard drivers and antivirus applications) freak out when exposed to a system running PAE to allow 4GB RAM in a 32-bit environment. Symptoms of drivers and apps reacting badly to PAE include hanging, freezing, BSoD and a lot of other nasties.

But wait, PAE is required for NX (no-execute) and that is enabled by default in Windows XP SP2! So what's wrong with PAE? The NX feature is a separate feature than the part that allows for 4GB RAM. Thus, the NX portion is enabled but the showing-4GB-RAM is not.

If you have 4GB or more of memory (or are planning upgrading to 4GB or more) then you really should bite the bullet and obtain a 64-bit version of Vista. If you have a 32-bit version, you can obtain a 64-bit version and legally use the same key that you used with the 32-bit version. It will activate just like your 32-bit software and is entirely within the End User License Agreement as long as you are only running the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version, not both at the same time with the same key. 64-bit driver issues are virtually nonexistant now compared to release.



I can only boot Vista when ___ drive is connected/the Vista DVD is in the drive. Why?
If you have more than one visible partition when you install Vista (logical or physical), Windows will install, by its default configuration, the boot files and system files to different partitions or drives. I had this problem and had to figure this out the hard way: I had C:\ and D:\, where C:\ is my OS/apps/games drive and D:\ holds user profile info (documents, music, pictures) and stores other stuff like ISOs. However, I discovered that I could not boot without the Vista DVD in the drive. I also noticed in VistaBootPRO that one of the "boot" directories resided on D:\, not C:\. This is by design. To avoid this behavior, unplug all but one hard drive when installing Vista (this includes USB storage devices as well). If a physical drive has more than one partition, it won't matter if the boot files get splashed onto a different partition as you're still dealing with the same physical drive (unless you repartition).

No, you don't have to install Vista again, simply do this instead:
You need to have a Vista DVD handy. Boot from it (with the offending drives connected), pick your Vista installation to "repair" and go into the Command Prompt. DISKPART will let you assign partitions as "active" or "inactive." I can't remember whether you have to work with partitions, volumes or disks, but the point is you must find the rogue non-system-file-containing drive that has boot files on it. Select it and type "INACTIVE" into DISKPART. This will create a for-sure no boot situation. Never fear, run the Startup Repair tool twice. Run it, then reboot and run it again. Take the DVD out of the drive and disconnect the now-inactive boot device. You should be able to boot with just a single physical disk connected.



I only have an Upgrade Disk. Can I do a "clean" install?

Yes, you can. First, as always when reinstalling the operating system, back up your data! I am not responsible for any data loss as a result of you using this guide!

Second, after you have backed up your important files, insert the Windows Vista DVD into the drive and boot from it. Proceed to setup Windows as you normally would, and use the DVD to format the partition onto which you want to install a clean version of Windows. The key step is to NOT ENTER ANY PRODUCT KEY OR CHECK THE BOX TO AUTO-ACTIVATE WINDOWS WHEN ONLINE in this setup run, nor should you get the latest updates for installation either (although in practice Vista never installs anyone's network adapters in my experience until after the getting updates phase is done, defeating the point). It is absolutely imperative you select the correct edition of Vista that you purchased, this is NOT a hack to allow you to use a higher version of Vista with a lower version's key! Install the OS in "trial" mode. Once Vista boots for the last time during setup and you actually see your desktop, put the Vista DVD back into the drive and allow the Vista Setup to run. Start to install Windows as if you are doing an upgrade. This time, type your Product Key and if you wish, check the box for automatic activation.

Now your computer will upgrade Vista to itself. It will upgrade to the same edition you just installed, but because it is an "upgrade" install, your "upgrade" key will activate properly.

Is this legal? Yes. Is this within the EULA? Yes. Windows Vista upgrades may be used with any qualifying version of Windows, including Windows Vista. Although it may strike some as unethical, there is nothing illegal about this procedure, though it does require more time (upgrade installs can take 45 minutes or more, on top of the first install you did).



I read ___ about Vista licensing, is it true?

MYTH: Windows Vista is restricted on multi-core CPUs in some way.
FACT: Windows Vista only counts physical CPUs. For Home Basic and Home Premium, one physical CPU (unlimited core count, including actual cores and HyperThreaded cores) is permitted. For Vista Business, Enterprise and Ultimate, two physical CPUs (each with unlimited cores, logical and physical) are permitted. Anyone with more CPU sockets than this is probably going to require some flavor of Windows Server 2008.

MYTH
: You cannot transfer your Anytime Upgrade OS to another machine.
FACT: As long as you only have Windows Vista installed on one machine at a time, even if you have to call Microsoft, you are within the limits of what Microsoft will allow.

MYTH: Product Keys issued with 32-bit Windows do not work with 64-bit Windows.
FACT: The differentiation on Product Keys comes with Retail vs. OEM vs. Volume Licensing, not 32-bit vs. 64-bit.

MYTH: Buying OEM software means you must buy a new copy of Windows every time you change a single piece of hardware.
FACT: Microsoft is pretty liberal when it comes to OEM copies of software. Heck, only "system integrators" are even supposed to buy it, but thousands of enthusiasts purchase OEM to save money. There is technically a legal gray area in that the OEM software is supposed to be locked to the hardware (generally determined by the motherboard and its built in accessories) that it was first installed on, but in practice Microsoft does not enforce this rule as strictly as they could. I've moved OEM copies of software around from one computer to another, for example I installed a Dell OEM copy of Media Center 2K5 on a home-built machine for my mother even though the OS came with my laptop (which now runs Vista Business). The install of MCE 2K5 activated flawlessly over the internet using the Product Key on the bottom of my laptop. If online activation fails, call Microsoft with a sob story and they will allow you to move your OS. Remember: only one machine at a time!

MYTH
: I read the license agreement literally and ___ says you can't do ___.
REALITY/FACT: As far as I can tell (and many others will agree with me on this) as long as you are only using one licensed copy of Windows Vista on one machine, Microsoft generally doesn't care what you did (moved the OS, upgraded half your machine, etc). One OS per one physical/virtual machine. That's the bottom line.


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