Installing Windows XP/2003 on machine with SATA hard drive (Dual boot with Vista)

I have a Sony Vaio laptop (VGN-FZ140) which came with Windows Vista pre-installed in it. But then I needed 2003 server to work with server technologies. As usual I tried to insert the Setup CD and boot from it. Now here came a major issue, the installation wasn't detecting any of my hard drives. With lots of research I could finally have dual boot on my laptop. Here is what I did.

The problem was not with Vista at all. The default installation CDs of Windows XP and Window 2003 Server do not come with in-build drivers for SATA hard disks. And you do not have any floppy drives to specify custom drivers :(. So whats the solution; You need to have a installation CD of the OS with your laptop's driver embedded in it. Sounds complicated but it isn't.

There are a lot of tools in market that allow you to rip your installation CD, add your custom drivers into it and generate a newer version of installation disk. This process is called SlipStreaming.

The best & simple tool I found was nLite. You can download it from http://www.nliteos.com/download.html.

What you need to do?

  1. Copy a dump of your OS CD on your local hard drive.
  2. Download your laptop/computer drivers from your vendor's site and extract them to a temporary folder.
  3. Download nLite (or any other slipstreaming tool)
  4. Run the tool and provide it with your driver information and dump of OS
  5. After the tool has updated your dump with drivers, use any standard CD burning utility to create a bootable CD with your latest dump. Ensure that you have a bootable blank ISO file for the required operating system. Refer :http://www.tacktech.com/display.cfm?ttid=346
  6. Before starting the installation make sure that you have a seperate partition. If it doesn't exist use the Vista's disk manager to split your partition into two.
  7. Try to boot with the CD and install the OS.
  8. After you have completed the installation, your Vista boot is completely lost. Dont worry. Download this utility VistaBootPro from http://www.vistabootpro.org/ and use it to restore your Vista partition.

Be ready to do away with couple of blank CDs if things dont work at the first time.

Best of luck

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