Partitioning a Vista Hard Drive in Preparation for a Dual Boot

I decided to set up a dual boot with Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Server 2008. Boy, was I shocked at how EASY this was. It was so easy, I started looking for things to do with all my spare time ;> I am not kidding. I am used to hours, days even months of utter frustration with technical matters like this – either with Windows dual boots or Windows/Linux dual boots.
I will maybe post more in the future re: the Windows Server 2008 install.

Well deserved plug for eMachines:

I did this disk partitioning, or volume extending, on a new killer PC from eMachines. My initial take on this AMD Athlon /64 bit/ 320 Gigabyte SATA monster (and I mean that with love and respect ;>), is that it is AWESOME. Maybe it is too early too get excited, but this T5254, which cost only $400 at Best Buy is the deal of the century from the comparisons I have done.

My initial concern was the hard drive. In order to dual boot 2 operating systems, you either need 2 hard drives or 1 hard drive that is partitioned or split into 2 parts. Here is what I did. I like to use the Computer Management tool because it has all sorts of useful tools available when you open it. In this case I want to work on the “Storage” and Disk Management. So, I right-click the Computer icon and select Manage. In fact I use Computer Management so often, I right clicked it within the Start menu and selected “Show on Desktop” so it is more readily available. Anyway, after opening this tool, I selected Disk Management and my volumes and Disks are shown. These days there are frequently many disks that show up here, but they are usually for removable cards, i.e. SD/MMC etc. You should also see a CD or DVD ROM drive referenced.

The disk I was interested in was Disk 0. But really, I need to go no further than the top part under Volume. There most people would see this: (C):, Simple, Basic, NTFS (for Vista), or something very similar. Simply right click the C: volume and select “Extend Volume”. You will be prompted for the desired size. I cut my 300+ GB monster SATA right in half and the process was on its way. That is it!

After the extension or resize, the partition can also be deleted or even shrunk. Also, note that the new volume will get a drive letter assigned. Generally speaking, as the C:drive is already used and as most people have a CD/DVD ROM drive with D:assigned, and finally, most PCs these days have a smallish Recovery type of disk (purpose: emergency reinstall of original OS), etc etc, the letter should be around the F: range or so. Regardless, the new volume should be ‘unallocated’, which means it is ready to be formatted. In my case, I booted off the Windows Server 2008 disk and installed this OS right onto the new unallocated volume.

As always, proceed with caution, and be sure not to install the second OS on the C: drive: that would be bad.


Have you done the User Account Control (UAC) dance yet? Oh, it’s great fun, especially when you first start to use Vista. Basically, every time you try to make an administrator type of change or even a change to your Internet Explorer homepage, you are prompted for proper credentials. To turn off UAC, go to Control Panel, and simply enter UAC into Search. Under User Accounts, you will see the link to “Turn User Account Control (UAC) on or off”. There is a box to check whether you want it on or off.

I know that I personally did not have the luxury of one complete Vista Business edition rollout to my company. Vista slowly worked its way into the mix, so to speak. I soon learned that Group Policies do not play nice with Vista, in a Windows 2000/2003 Server and XP environment, so disabling UAC for most users, despite its noble intentions, was a wise choice.
This works for work or home on most versions.