Install Windows XP On Windows Vista Without Formatting Hard Drive


In this post we are going to share with you the experience we had while trying to Install Windows XP on new laptop which has Windows Vista and how we achieved it virtually.


I bought a HP Pavallion notebook which had Windows Vista, and first thing I wanted was to make it dual boot with Windows Vista and Windows XP.  I studied a lot of articles on Internet for installing Windows XP on new laptop. So I did a spilt-streaming of SATA drivers and Windows XP onto a same CD using nLite tool. The CD was able to start the setup, but as soon as the system restarted between, all was gone, it neither booted again with XP setup nor it had Vista on boot-loader anymore.

Finally I was back to face this reality that these new pieces of hardware are not happy to run Windows XP because of driver issues and other compatibility problems. I was disappointed with this for a week or so, after which I realized that we can do a Virtual Install with a tool from Microsoft. This tool is called Virtual PC, so I will tell you how I Installed Windows XP on Windows Vista without any trouble.


The good part about Virtual PC is that its a Virtual Environment within your running Windows Vista operating system, this means that you need not create a separate partition for it, you need not worry about boot-loader and other problems, and it is very convenient to Install and problem free.

For this, you need to download and install Virtul PC on your computer. Download Virtual PC here.

After you download and install Virtual PC from Microsoft, run the virual PC, on this you can now create a virtual Window XP machine. We will give you detailed steps one by one as below:


Run the Virtual PC and click on New Button


This will launch a new virtual machine wizard like one below


Now Give it a name, any name u like, I gave it Windows XP machine


Select Windows XP on this screen from the list of OS


Now select the memory or RAM which you want windows XP to use, if you have more than 2GB RAM on your computer, select about 500 MB for this virtual machine. This is the amount of RAM out of your total RAM which will be used for running Windows XP in virtual Environment.


Now Select to create a new Virtual hard disk. Good thing is that, this will be created inside a file, and that file will be of only that much space, as is in use, not the free space part.


Now select the path or the virtual hard disk and size, we recommend minimum of 5000 MB, you can give any size, 100000MB would be good and enough for most cases.


This Completes half-job! Virtual Environment is created, now you can install Windows XP on it, how? Well, not difficult, just read on.


After you create this machine, you will see the machine name in the list, click on machine name, and click start. this will launch the virtual environment.


Now you will need a Windows XP CD or ISO and a valid Windows XP Serial Number.

In this window, click on CD and select the CD path. After this step, just press enter on this screen, and see the magic ! Windows XP installation will start on this virtual machine.


Windows XP setup launches


Setup Progress


Windows XP Setup about to Finalize


Setup Complete and Windows XP up and running.


You can install any softwares you like to run on this Virtual XP.


Note: You may observe the warning below while running Virtual Machine, just ignore it.


IMPORTANT:  To make full use of XP and make it run smooth, you must install Virtual Update Install Additions, steps available here.


  1. hi thank u very much for ur idea, installing xp thru virtual pc on vista laptop, problem is only cd drive is working not the usp ports on virtual pc

  2. hmm..
    just wanna ask..
    can i erase the first installed OS before the Virtual XP and just use the Newly installed XP in Virtual Machine???

  3. hey thanx very much…
    but i ve one problem my laptop has only 1gb ram..
    so it will work smoothly and again how we can remove xp aftr installing it????

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