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Two independent systems? xp and vista

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I have XP Pro installed on my first Sata 250gig hd. Some of the programs that I have I know won't work with vista. Like my early ver. of Zone Alarm and eTrust anti-virus. My creative premium x-fi sound card probably won't work until I try the new driver from creative. So here is my question:

When I install vista premium on my second Sata 250gig hd does it make it's own registry? And does it try and use the stsrtup programs on XP or can I install vista capable programs for vista's startup? Are the 2 systems going to act independent from each other?

I read when using dual boot and starting XP, it will erase the restore points made in vista. That doesn't really bother me and I'm sure there is a work-around for that.

I'm asking cause XP is running well and I don't want to mess that up.

Thanks in advance.
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If it's on a second HD or partition, I it's treated completely separately. IDK if you can even install to the same partition. Each will run independently, although they'll be able to read/write files to eachother and to any other partitions opr storage on the machine
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