What is a Parallel (Dirty) Windows Installation?

Windows XP Parallel (Dirty) Installation (Dirty Copy):

Just remember this:
A Parallel Installation of Windows XP is nothing but installing Windows XP in a different folder, other than the default one, which is C:\Windows. This is generally done for troubleshooting purposes and in situations where a user needs to access his drives/data and copy them onto an external storage device like a CD/DVD or even a USB Pen drive. Once you have copied all the data you need using Parallel installation, you can then do a Clean installation of Windows and then put back all the data.

This is how you would go about it:

  1. Start Windows XP Setup in the normal way and continue till you accept the End User License Agreement (by hitting <F8> key)
  2. Windows XP Setup will detect the existing installation of Win XP on your computer and will also give you the option to Repair the existing installation
  3. Now, since you do not want to repair the existing installation, but instead want to have a parallel instalaltion, select the existing installation of Windows XP and hit ESC to “Continue installating a Fresh copy of WIndows XP“….
  4. Then select the same partition it is currently installed and hit <Enter> just once
  5. In the next screen press C to continue installing in the same partition
  6. Next, choose the option “Leave the current file system intact” so that all your existing files etc are not lost.
  7. In the next screen, this is where you will be alerted by Windows that a Windows Folder already exists containing a copy of the Operating system. This is also where you will be given the option to install Windows XP in the same folder (by overwriting existing system files) by hitting the L key or to choose a different folder (for the parallel installation) by hitting the ESC key.
  8. So hit the ESC key now and give a different name to the folder where you want your parallel installation to happen (by using the backspace key and put in a different folder name) and just follow the on-screen instructions from there on.

For example, your existing windows installation will be in a folder called C:\Windows. So, choose a different folder name now for the parallel installation – like C:\Windows1 (or any other name you wish) – and continue with the rest of the installation as usual….

Why is this called a Dirty Installation or a Dirty Copy? That’s because you are putting in a copy of Windows without cleaning out the old installation which could possibly be infected with virus or contain corrupted system files.