I just installed the Beta 2 of Vista on one of my dev boxes.  It used to be my primary development box until I got a bright shiny new one last year.  About two weeks ago, the hard drive had a massive failure (it needs to be defraggled at this point) and I needed to rebuild the box.  Since we had the Vista DVD, I figured why not.  We set it up as a dual boot, with XP as the “other” OS.

After a couple of days of use, I’ve come the this conclusion.  Vista is a pig.  It’s slow to boot and slow to run.  It’s running on an older box, P4 1.7ghz with 1GB of RAM, but that box is fast enough to run XP without any issues.  It’s slow enough that I am not going to use it as a day to day OS.  I’ll run XP as the primary OS and I’ll manually boot into Vista when needed.  The performance issues come with the beta tag, that’s all and good.  I just can’t use it.  It felt like OS/2 on a 386.

The fun part was trying to figure out how to get XP back as the default OS.  The new Vista Boot Loader is a strange and wonderful beast, but it’s not your father’s boot.ini file.  With boot.ini, it’s a trivial process to set the default OS.  Vista requires you to use a new command line tool named bcdedit.exe.  With bcdedit, you can specify the default OS, by using the /default parameter and the GUID of the OS to run.

The GUID of the OS?  Where the frack do I get the GUID of the OS? If you run BCDEDIT /enum all, you get a listing of everything BCDEDIT knows how to load and the includes the GUID.  Except for my XP, which didn’t get one.  Apparently that’s a magic number, if you run bcdedit /default {466f5a88-0af2-4f76-9038-095b170dc21c}, the legacy OS becomes the default.

Since I’m using the Vista Boot Loader, I’ll need to remember to restore XP’s boot loader before I rip out this Vista Beta for next one.  In the Vista section of Tech-Recipes, they have helpful information on how to do that.  What you need to do is the following:

  1. Reboot using the XP CD-ROM
  2. Start the Recovery Console
  3. Run FixBoot
  4. Run fixmbr to reset the Master Boot Record
  5. Exit the Recovery Console
  6. Reboot

Lifehacker has some tips on how to setup the dual boot here.</p>

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