Today I am going to provide the method, by which you can make dual boot Windows 8 and Windows 7 on the same PC or laptop. The developer preview for the new OS is out and yet the idea of removing your fully functional prior windows setup to just try this new release is rather flimsy. In this tutorial I will show you how to create a dual boot setup so you can run both operating systems aside one another.
Brief Intro of Dual Boot Windows 8 and Windows 7
This should all be rather familiar if you have ever dual booted before but even if you haven’t its not that hard. All to do here is to create a separate partition for Windows 8 to be installed on and to select Windows 7 as your default OS.
Procedure to Dual Boot Windows 8 and Windows 7
Here is how you can do this:
First and foremost create a backup of your important data because you will be formatting drives here. Once this is done we will need to free up some space on your hard drive to install windows 8. Here I will assume that you have at least 20 gigs of free space on your drive before we use Windows’ Disk Management to set partition those 20GB for Windows 8. Right click on computer and select manage then select disk management from the left side bar.
In the bottom section select your computer’s hard drive. Right-click on it and then click “Shrink Volume”. Shrink it till you have at least 20 gigs of free space. Then, click on the “Unallocated” block of that drive that appears and click “New Simple Volume“. Click Next on the next few windows until you get to the “Format Partition” window. Here, give it a volume label you’ll recognize (like “Windows 8“) and click Next. It should format the drive for you. Now you’re all set to install Windows 8.
Install Windows 8
To make dual boot Windows 8 and Windows 7, first you should install Windows 8. You can download the ISO file for the Windows 8 Developer preview at the Windows Developer Center. You can either burn it to a DVD or a USB thumb drive to be ready for use. As per the option you choose make sure your system is ready to boot from the specified media.
When you get a prompt to press any key to boot from cd/usb then simply press any key on your keyboard. This should take you to the Windows 8 installer. Due to its resemblance to the Windows 7 installer it will feel quite familiar. Choose the language and proceed with installation and be sure to choose “custom” for the type of install.
On the following screen you will have to select the new partition you made to install the OS. Take care in selecting the partition because this will format it. Click on “next” and wait for the installation to finish. Once this process is done your computer will reboot automatically into windows 8. After this it will reboot once more and you will now see the windows 8 startup screen. If you choose to enter a Windows Live ID here, make sure you have access to your email and can confirm your computer—otherwise it might not let you boot into it.
Windows 7 as Default OS
When you boot up your computer you will notice a new menu in the process that will allow you to select either windows 7 or 8 to startup. By default if left inactive for three seconds your computer will automatically boot into windows 8. It might be pretty obvious that you are not ready to make windows 8 as the default just as yet so this has to be changed.
On the boot menu there will be at the bottom: “Change Defaults or Choose Other Options“. Under it will be “Choose the Default Operating System”, select this. Once you select windows 7 here, that will be your default boot option. You can come back here any time to change this. Enjoy your experience with the new dual boot Windows 8 and Windows 7 operating system.