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Have dedicated partition for each OS. But W2K8 creates a "system partition" which gets overwritten during subsequent windows 2003 install.

how to plan the install, so that both can co-exist?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Create the partitions before installing Windows Server 2008, and it will not modify the existing disk layout.

First install Windows Server 2003 in the first partition, then install Windows Server 2008 in the second one. The WS2008 setup will take care of all details for you, including setting up the dual boot.


If you're starting with an empty disk, use WS2003's setup to create the first partition and install WS2003 on it; then use WS2003 to create the second partition; then start from the WS2008 DVD and install WS2008 on the second partition; it will handle the dual boot automatically.

Yes, it's really that simple :-)

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do you mean do not create any partitions using Windows boot manager? – John-ZFS May 24 '10 at 17:42
Do you mean Windows setup? – Massimo May 24 '10 at 17:54
During the WS2003 setup, partition about 1/2 the disk (or whatever) but leave the rest unpartitioned. During the WS2008 setup, create the new partition in the empty space and install there. – Chris S May 24 '10 at 18:33
Hi Massimo, Chris: yes i meant windows setup. could you tell me why it is necessary to follow this install order ie w2k8 over w2k3? what happens in background? – John-ZFS May 25 '10 at 0:38
When WS2008 detects an existing installation of WS2003, it overwrites WS2003's boot loader with its own, but then automatically sets up dual booting; if you install WS2003 on a system where WS2008 is installed, now it's WS2003 which overwrites WS2008's boot loader, so you have to restore it manually and then set up dual booting by yourself. This can be done, but having WS2008's setup handle it is a lot simpler. – Massimo May 25 '10 at 5:55

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