Windows Vista -
Windows Vista Installation Guide
Published on 12/21/2005
It should be noted that this is a BETA operating system and should therefore not be used as one's primary operating system.

Windows Vista Installation Guide


*CPU 1.5 GHz*
*RAM 512 MB*
*GPU with DirectX 9 Capabilities*
*HDD 10-15 GB NTFS Formatted*

Our recommended minimum system requirements for the installation of this build are those shown above.

These are the official file names that were released for Windows Vista Build 5231 by Microsoft, both via MSDN and MS Connect:

32-Bit DVD:
64-Bit DVD:
32-Bit CD Set:
64-Bit CD Set:

An interesting innovation from Microsoft is that by inserting the product key for Windows Vista Server during setup, and using the same DVD and CD discs as above, installation of the server build is triggered.


It should be noted that this is a BETA operating system and should therefore not be used as one's primary operating system. A "dual boot installation" together with the operating system one usually uses, is strongly recommended, unless the installation is to take place on an independent test computer. Data corruption by Windows Vista is possible (as is the case when using any Beta software), and PROnetworks cannot be held responsible for any damage to your system that may occur as a result of your choosing to install it to your primary computer.


A. Booting from the CD\DVD-Rom is the recommended method of installation.

B. In previous builds of Windows Vista, it was possible to place the contents of the extracted ISO image file in a small dedicated hard drive partition (say of 3 GB), of its own and to run setup from that location. In Beta 1 and the pre_Beta 2 builds, this has been found to work on some systems but on others has led to a "stub loader error". This method of installation is therefore not recommended to our members.

C. Setup can also be run from within Windows. Insert the installation CD/DVD, and then select "Install now" from the Splash screen that appears. This method of installation has been found to be considerably faster than running setup by booting from the installation CD/DVD, but cannot be used if one needs to install SATA or RAID controller drivers.

NOTE: Those installing Windows Vista 5231 x64 can do so from within the Windows XP Professional or Windows Server 2003 x64 Editions, whilst the x86 versions can be installed from within both x86 and x64 platforms. The same applies as with the 32-Bit version, in that the "Express Upgrade" option is not available.

D. Another alternative is to mount the ISO using a tool like Nero Image Drive or Daemon Tools and to run the executable from the resultant virtual CD Drive.


The recommended minimum installation partition or disk size is 10 GB for the x64 version and 12-15 GB for the x86 edition. A partition size of around 25GB would be recommended for Vista installations including a good collection of applications and with a view to future upgrading to later builds. A Larger size is recommended for developers.

This should be a NTFS pre-formatted Primary Partition, but it has been found that it will install satisfactorily on a NTFS formatted Logical Drive within an Extended Partition.

This build has greater native support for SATA Hard Disk Drives than previous builds of Windows Vista. There are however unsupported SATA Controllers. It should be noted that the opportunity to install SATA Controller Drivers using an "F6 Floppy Disk" does exist. There is a "Load Driver" button on the "Windows Setup - Drive Selection" setup screen. As a result, it is possible to install Windows Vista 5231 to a RAID Array.


1. (A) Make sure that your PC is set to boot from your DVD/CD drive, insert the Windows Vista installation DVD to the drive and boot up. Press any key to boot from CD or DVD... when prompted to by Setup.

1. (B) It is reiterated that in Windows Vista 5231, running Setup from a hard drive partition has not been found to work on all systems, with a "stub loader error" being the result in some cases.

1. (C) Run setup from within Windows by inserting the Vista installation DVD and selecting Install.

1. (D) Run setup from the virtual CD drive. The process is similar to that experienced when using the installation method indicated in point 1. (C) above.

2. The first screen you will see is the setup splash screen, followed quickly by startup splash screen

3. The next screen gives you 2 options. Install now and View release notes for Vista Beta 2 release. Click on Install now.

4. At the next screen you see, click "Next"

5. There are 4 possibilities on this screen. Go online to get the latest updates, do not get the latest updates, help me decide and Read the Privacy Statement. Unless you are doing an upgrade installation, getting the latest setup updates will probably not work. Click on "Do not get the latest updates."

6. On this screen you will enter your product key, which is the 25 character alpha numeric code provided with your installation disk. There is also the option to automatically activate windows once you are online. Default is unchecked, which gives you 14 days to activate your copy of Vista.

7. Accept the End User License Agreement (EULA)
8. Upgrade or Custom installation screen. Select custom for a new installation. (Upgrade is only available if installing over build 5219 or later).

9. Here you first need to select the drive or partition on which you intend to install Windows Vista

10. At this stage of setup it is possible to install one's SATA or RAID drivers from a "F6 Floppy Disk" by selecting the "Load Driver" function

11. Once the installation drive or partition has been selected, one returns to the screen in step 9, and can then change the Computer Name
12. The final setup screen is this one, and the file copy process which lasts for about 20 minutes, will commence. Once the file copy process is complete, the system will reboot.

13. On restart, setup will continue for a further 20 or 25 minutes before rebooting again, this time into Windows Vista.

Remember to adjust Clock and Regional settings, if so desired, as soon as the Vista desktop is available.


Native motherboard chipset, graphics card and other device driver support have been vastly improved in this build of Windows Vista. However not all devices are supported.

On first boot and once installation of your Operating System is complete, you will be greeted by the supplemental driver pack installation screen.

1. Run the Supplemental Driver Pack - it is required that you have your setup DVD inserted to do so

2. Copy your motherboard and other legacy device drivers to a folder called "i386", on the root of your installation hard disk drive. During hardware setup, you can just point to this folder, without the need to navigate to specific folders contained inside (*):i386\
(where * represents the relevant drive letter)

Because of changes in installation protocol, some legacy drivers packages will fail to install correctly in this build, even when they may have worked perfectly in earlier versions of Windows Codename "Longhorn"

3. Install your motherboard chipset drivers. It may be necessary to do so in Windows XP compatibility mode: right-click the setup file>select Properties>go to the Compatibility tab>check "Run this program in compatibility mode for">Select Windows XP from the drop down menu>click Apply>click OK and double click the setup executable to begin installation.

Reboot your system when prompted to.

4. In most cases, Longhorn Display Driver Model (LDDM) drivers will have been installed for your graphics card. It is NOT recommended that you install Windows XP GPU drivers. If you have found Windows Vista LDDM drivers provided by the manufacturer of your GPU or by the GPU chipset manufacturer, you can attempt to install them. LDDM drivers should NOT be installed in XP compatibility mode.

5. Audio drivers should be installed next, and it may be necessary to do so in Windows XP compatibility mode

6. LAN drivers, if not installed by Windows setup or in the process of installing motherboard chipset drivers, may also need to be installed in XP compatibility mode unless drivers specifically written for Windows Vista are available.

7. Finally, go to your Start menu>right click on Computer>select Manage>go to Device Manager in the left hand pane and check that all devices are fully installed.

Manual Driver Installation

Manual installation of device drivers may be necessary if drivers are not successfully installed by running setup in XP Compatibility Mode.

This is accomplished from Device Manager (right click Computer>Manage), by right clicking on the device>Update Driver>No, not this time>Next>Install from a specific location (Advanced)>Next>Include this location in the search>Browse – to the location containing the required drivers - select the (*):i386\ folder created earlier, and let Vista search for the correct installation files inside the folder.

If this method does not work, you may try pointing to the correct sub-folder, but the drivers installation package for your hardware may simply be incompatible with Vista build 5231.
It is necessary to extract the .inf, .sys and .cat driver files to a folder using a tool such as WinRar before you can manually install your drivers in this way.

Third-party Drivers

The driver model that Windows Vista uses is different to that of previous versions of Windows, and legacy drivers may be functionally impaired in this build of Windows Vista. If a device is functioning correctly after the initial setup procedure, it may be desirable to use the drivers provided by Microsoft rather than those provided by a third party manufacturer.


1. If you installed Vista 5231 as a standalone operating system on its own PC, then simply reformat the hard drive it is on.

2. (a) Where one has Dual Booted with another operating system, for example Windows XP, then boot into Windows XP and go to Disk Management (right click My Computer>Manage>Disk Management).

Select the drive you have Windows Vista installed on, right click it and select Format. A quick format should be all you need.

2. (b) Proceed to and use the Dual-Boot Removal Method below.

3. To remove Vista 5231 where it has been installed on a system containing two or more other operating systems, follow the same procedure as with the "Dual-Boot Removal Method" below and in addition, follow the process as per our "Multi-Boot Removal Method".


Go to the Run dialogue box on your start menu and type “msconfig” (without the quotes). This will open the System Configuration Utility. Then go to the BOOT.INI tab and select "Check All Boot Paths".

This is automatic and all you need to do after this is select “OK” and "Apply".
Do not select "Restart" at this point, choose "Exit Without Restart" instead.

Next, you must delete the following files and folders from the root of your System drive or partition (Usually Drive C: )

Boot (folder)

Now restart the computer.

On restart, place a check in the System dialogue box that pops up.

Note: This method while easy to use and effective has its shortcomings. It does not carry out a full cleanup of your system and leaves traces of the Windows Vista 5231 installation on your Windows XP system drive.

These will however not interfere with your Windows XP installation should you choose not to remove them.


(Modifying the contents of one’s boot.ini file and bootsector may lead to not being able to access the operating system).

With Windows Vista still fully installed, insert your Windows XP CD and reboot and “Press any key to boot from CD...” when prompted to by Setup.
Wait for this Setup screen and press R (NB. If you installed Windows Vista to a Multi-Boot RAID Array, you will need to install your F6 RAID Floppy drivers, before you get to the setup screen where you press R to enter the Recovery console).

Select your Windows XP partition – 1. C:\WINDOWS – type “1” (without the quotes) or the appropriate corresponding number for the drive containing your boot.ini

Insert your Administrator password when prompted and Enter

Type “fixboot” at the command prompt and Enter

Type "Yes" and when “Are you sure you want to write a new bootsector to the partition C: ?” appears, type “Y” and Enter

The following message will appear – “a new boot sector was successfully created”.

At the command prompt type “exit” and Enter

When the system reboots you will notice that the Windows Vista bootloader no longer exists.

Boot into Windows XP and go to Disk Management (right click My Computer>Manage>Disk Management).

Select the drive you have Windows Vista installed on, right click it and select Format. A quick format should be all you need.

Now go to Windows Explorer and delete the following files from the root of your Windows XP installation hard drive or partition:

Boot (folder)

Next, right click My Computer, select Properties>Advanced>Startup and Recovery>Settings and under System startup, make sure that Windows XP is selected as the Default operating system. If not, then select it as Default operating system and select OK at the foot of the Startup and Recovery user interface and again select OK at the foot of System Properties user interface.

Return to My Computer, select Properties>Advanced>Startup and Recovery>Settings and this time select Edit. In the Notepad file that opens, select and delete all lines mentioning Windows Vista and then in that Notepad file, go to File and select Save.

Close Notepad and select OK at the foot of the Startup and Recovery user interface and again select OK at the foot of the System Properties user interface.

To confirm that your boot.ini file is now correct, go to the Run dialogue box on your start menu and type “msconfig” (without the quotes). This will open the System Configuration Utility. Go to the BOOT.INI tab and select "Check All Boot Paths".
You should get a dialogue box appearing with the message “It appears that all BOOT.INI lines for Microsoft operating systems are OK”.

Source: Pro-Networks