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31Dec/080

How To Install Windows XP on a Windows Vista Machine (Part 3)

Step 3: Transferring System Files

You should now be able to boot into Windows XP and work in that, but you don't have any access to Windows Vista, save maybe being able to see the hard drive in Windows XP. Now we have to undo all of the stuff we did in the BIOS which will allow you to be able to boot back into Windows Vista, however, you won't be able to boot into Windows XP yet. Refer back to Part 2 to refresh you memory about the changes we made in BIOS. Basically, the most important change we have to make, is in the Hard Disk Drive area on the Boot tab. You will need to reorder you hard drives so that the Vista boot drive is again at the top. Check your device boot priority and make sure either the CD/DVD drive or the Vista drive is in the top of the boot order. (Note: It is handy to leave the CD/DVD drive at the top and the Windows Vista drive second in case you want to boot from a bootable CD such as a Live Linux distribution, Norton Ghost, or an OS Installation CD). Verify you have your boot information correct and then save and exit from the BIOS setup. You should now test to see that you will boot into Windows Vista. If you don't boot to Vista, double check your settings and try again.

Now that we are back in Windows Vista, you will need to open up your management console and take a look at where everything is located in respect to how Windows sees it. To do this simply click start then right click on Computer in the right pane of the start menu and click Manage. Because this can affect system wide settings, you will need to confirm the action to UAC by clicking Continue.

Windows Vista Managment ConsoleYou should now have a window on your screen that is similar to the image on the left. Here you need to remember a few things. First you need to remember the drive letter that Windows XP is installed on. If you didn't label the drive specifically, the Windows Vista drive should be the one that says Boot beside the healthy status. It may say a few other things, such as page file, etc, as well, but boot should be in there somewhere. Now you should have the letter of the Windows XP hard drive, in the example here, this will be 'G:'. You will also want to note which physical identifier the hard drive has. Below the list of drives you will see the partition bars labeled Disk 0, Disk 1 and so on, for all of your physical drives. Our Windows XP installation resides on Disk 0, so we will also want to remember that.  Yours may be on Disk 1 or another drive, so just make sure you know which number corresponds to your installation.

Administrative Command PromptMinimize the Management console and open up an Administrative Command Prompt. To do this, click Start, All Programs, Accessories and right click on Command Prompt then click Run As Administrator. Again, you will need to authorize the action via Continue on UAC. This will open up a black command prompt window like the one pictured on the left.

Administrative Command Prompt With CommandsNow that we have an administrative command console open we will have to execute a number of commands to grant us access and change the visibility of some files we will need on the Windows XP hard drive. First off, to make sure you are on the right drive, type the letter of the drive which holds Windows XP then a colon and hit enter. So for our example this would be: 'G:' (without the quotes). Now we have to set some attributes of the needed system files on the Windows XP hard drive. We need access to three specific files; ntldr, ntdetect.com and boot.ini. There are few system files on that hard drive at the moment so we can just globally modify the files. In the Command prompt type 'attrib -s -h *.*' and then hit enter. Now, should you do a 'dir' you will be able to see these files. We now need to copy those three files over to the hard drive that holds Windows Vista, this should be c:, but sometimes it can be different, although highly unlikely. So, we now have to copy those three files. Type the following commands, replacing <drive> with the corresponding drive letter for your Windows Vista installation, don't forget the colons after the drive letter.

'copy ntldr <drive>:'
'copy ntdetect.com <drive>:'
'copy boot.ini <drive>:'

We have now made copies of the files we will need in Windows Vista in order to make the Windows XP installation bootable, although we are not wuite done yet. Before we continue, let's change the attributes of those files back to hidden system files. This time we type 'attrib +s +h *.*' to reset the system and hidden attributes. We are now done this part of the process, only one more step remains.

PART 4