Before jumping into the untested waters of Windows 8 dual boot with your Windows 7, it is only natural that you wish to first test it without losing your current Windows 7 setup.
For a PC user, upgrading from their time-tested OS to new OS is a tough call to make. The easiest solution to your up-gradation dilemma is having Windows 8 dual boot with your present OS Windows 7.
Dual booting your system is a good way of easing into Windows 8 without letting go of Windows 7. This way you can have both the operating systems alongside each other although you can’t run them side by side. Once you are comfortable using Windows 8, you can let go off Windows 7.
To dual-boot, you have to use the Windows 8 installer which creates a multi-boot set up. This multi-boot setup pops up every time you start your system. Where you can select your desired OS to load. Multi-booting is a simple procedure if you do it right.
We are assuming that you are currently using Windows 7 and that you want to install Windows 8 alongside Windows 7 on the same PC.
Well, the rules of installing have remained the same. You have to first install the older version and then add the newer version. The reason why we need to go from the older to the new is rather simple.
Each version of Windows comes with the newer version of Windows boot loader. While the new Windows boot loader has the capability of understanding the older version, the opposite is not true.
BACKUP AND RESTORE:
Before proceeding to configure Windows 8 dual boot, a word of caution, create a back up of all your files and documents. In the unfortunate event that something untoward happens during the installation process, you might be comfortable having a back up of all your documents and files.
Moreover, creating a separate backup of your documents is also highly recommended. While some may consider this as an unnecessary precaution, just having additional copies of information in CD’s or in DVD’s or in to the cloud may give you some peace of mind.
Creating a complete system image is also another highly recommended precautionary step. While Windows 7 has an in-built backup and restoration feature, creating system image requires the use of third-party software.
CREATE A PARTITION:
After securely putting away the system backup CD’s, you can now turn your attention to setting up a partition for Windows 8 installation. For Windows 8 installation, you need at least 16 gigs worth memory.
When you key-in ‘Disk Management’ in the Start button search box or run, it will display a list of options. Choose the top most option. It helps you create and format partitions pertaining to hard disks.
You are most likely to get two partitions, one with larger memory compared to the other. Choose the larger partition and apply the shrink volume command. After a few dialog bars, you will eventually get a message that gives you the exact available free space in the drive.
For 32-bit version of Windows 8 you need to enter a size more than 16GB and for 64-bit version of Windows 8 you need to enter a size above 20GB.
READY TO INSTALL:
Bring out your copy of Windows 8 pre-release. It is recommended that you use Windows 7 USB tool to create a bootable USB key. Or, you could also try creating an installer DVD from the ISO file by using Windows 7 disc image burning feature.
[note color="#FFCC00"]Click here to download Windows 8 Release Preview ISO images [/note]
You can’t start the dual-boot process while the system is running. You need to boot to the upgrade disk or the USB drive.
Install Windows 8 with the USB stick that you just created or using the DVD you just burned. Then, restart your system. Choose the language of your preference and install.
You can find the product key on the ISO download page. After accepting the prerelease software license, you should remember to select the option ‘custom’ only.
Windows 8 Product key:
Don’t choose to ‘upgrade’. Now you need to select the unallocated space in the drive. You are going to install Windows 8 on to this space. The installation process takes close to 20 minutes.
Initially your system, of course, will reboot into Windows 8. But at the next restart, a multi-boot menu will appear on the display. This menu gives you the option of choosing Windows 8 or Windows 7 as your OS.
This screen is displayed only for 30 seconds post which Windows 8 will get launched automatically.
Windows 8 Dual boot ing with Windows 7 is a fairly simple and straightforward procedure if you do it right the first time around. But as a precaution having a backup of all your important files, photos, videos, documents is important if you encounter anything out of the ordinary while dual-booting your system.
This is a guest post by Ann Phillip of globalx.net, a site that offers savings and current information on dish network, as well as dish.com services.