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I have a Dell laptop which I bought a few months ago and it came with Vista.

Its one of those laptops where you dont actually get any discs with Vista actually on but on a "hidden" partition (D:) is a recovery "disc" which allows you to restore the computer with a fresh copy of Vista (and the various add on software files).

(I have downloaded a Vista Recovery disc which I have burnt to DVD just in case).

I have just downloaded a copy of Windows 7 Beta from MS.

I want to know if its possible to dual boot Vista and Windows 7 if I have Vista "pre-installed"???

Thanks

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it is, just make a new partition for win7, install and it should dual boot.

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I have tried to make a new partition from within Vista using the Disk Management and shrinking the current C: drive.

For some the space available to shrink is only 915Mb??? (I know about 30Gb of free space)

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I wouldn't shrink the partition down, since you are only dealing with 30 GB of free space now. I'd use Virtual PC 2007 or VirtualBox and run Windows7 in a VM for now. This way, the "undo" is very simple.

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thanks for the advice

if i wanted to shrink partition what tool would you recommend. as I have said above I tried using Vista management tools and it didnt work.

(can i just create a seperate partition, put in DVD with Windows 7 on, boot from disc and then install to the new partition and the partition with vista on will be left fine??)

also i have installed windows 7 through virtual pc and its really slow and jumpy.

my laptop spec should be fine (Dell XPS M1530, 4Gb Ram, 250Gb (about 30Gb spare), NVidia GeForce 8600M, Intel Core2Duo T8300@2.40GHz, 5.1 Windows Experience Index rating,

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I've installed a second hard disk as I want to test drivers etc.. ready for RTM. This isn't really possible under VM. I'm using Vista drivers and am going from Vista 32-Bit to W7 64-Bit.

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I'm curious, where did you download the Dell Vista recovery image from?

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You should boot with the Win7 DVD. Press shift+F10, the command prompt will pop up. Enter "diskpart", then select your hard dirve by entering "select disk 0", then enter "clean" (WARNING: THIS WILL ERASE ALL DATA FROM YOUR LAPTOP, INCLUDING THE HIDDEN RECOVERY PARTITION CONTAINING THE VISTA INSTALLER - so you should first create a complete PC backup in Vista to an external hard drive, if you want to recover your previous settings later!). Then enter "create primary", then "active", then "format fs=ntfs quick" then "assign letter=c", then "exit", then close the command prompt window. Proceed with the Win7 installation as normal.

Alternatively you may create a complete PC backup, upgrade the Vista installation to Win7, test it, and if you don't like it, restore your Vista installation from the backup.

Note that you'll need a Vista DVD to restore your complete PC backup if you deleted the recovery partition. But you can use a Win7 install dvd as well to restore the backup images (if you don't have a Vista DVD), using diskpart to clean the drive, and then the wbadmin command-line tool, but you may also need to tweak the restored windows (use bcdedit tool if you run into the 0xC0000001 problem during booting the restored Vista) to make it boot properly.

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