Last time around, I described the HP Pavilion Media Center TV m7360n that Im using for my Vista vs. Linux shootout. Getting the PC was the easy part. Getting Linux and Vista to live together on the same machine turned out to be a bit harder.
On XP and earlier Windows PCs, making Windows and Linux live together was almost automatic. Any of the major distributions made it easy. With Vista, things have changed. Microsoft has deep-sixed its old boot.ini bootloader in favor of a new bootloader.
The new bootloader, BCD (Boot Configuration Data), is designed to be firmware-independent. It also comes with a new boot option editing tool, BCDEdit.exe, which isnt so much user-friendly as user-hostile.
Im not, by the way, talking here as someone whose chief concern is dual-booting Linux. BCDEdit is a pain to work with no matter how youre modifying Vistas boot behavior. Unfortunately, though, youre going to have to work with Vista bootloader, because Vista doesnt deal well with being installed on a system that already has an operating system on it that you mean to keep.
In my case, I had already decided to blow away my systems existing Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005, Update Rollup 2 operating system. I could have "upgraded" this system to Vista, but I really do want to give Vista its best chance to shine, and upgrading an existing Windows system appears to be an almost sure way to find trouble.
Unless you have a lot of time on your hands, you dont mind running into incompatibility problems, and you know exactly what youre doing, do not "upgrade" to Vista. Do a clean install, instead.