How to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 developer preview

By Jamie Pert - Sep 14, 2011

Yesterday we told you that Windows 8 developer preview was available for download, today we have been trying it out and thought that some of you would be interested in how to install Windows 8 alongside Windows 7 and set it up as a dual-boot setup – this means your Windows 7 install remains in tact, while you can still try out the new Windows 8 build. This guide requires some computer knowledge so don’t attempt to follow it unless you have perhaps installed an operating system in the past.

Firstly and most importantly we must state that as this is a developer preview the software may not be stable or secure, also please backup all important files just in case something untoward happens – once you are aware of this you can download the Windows 8 developer preview here, we installed the 64-bit build.

Once you have downloaded the ISO file you must burn it to disc (DVD), also you need to ensure that you have a secondary partition on your HDD – luckily our Toshiba laptop comes with a Data partition (D:) and this had over 20GB of free space, however if you only have one large C partition you will have to create a secondary partition (you may have to search Google for some help with this).

If you shutdown your computer and boot from the recently created DVD you will be able to carry out your Windows 8 developer preview installation – however you must choose the correct options, so make sure you follow our installation guide carefully.

The first thing you must do is choose the correct language and keyboard layout, this is pretty self explanatory and once you have selected the correct options click “Next”. The next screen will show you the Windows logo and ask you to “Install Now”, click this.

As with most software installations there are some license terms to agree – tick the box if you agree to these terms and then click “Next”, the next step is the important one.

Below is what you see next, here you must choose what sort of installation you want to carry out – for a dual-boot you must not choose “Upgrade” and instead select “Custom”, this then allows you to choose which partition you install Windows 8 to.

Obviously you don’t want to overwrite your Windows 7 installation on the C partition, instead you will be installing Windows 8 to the seperate partition which you created earlier. For our setup we chose “partition 3 data”, don’t worry it doesn’t overwrite the data on this drive unless you manually choose to do so under “drive options”.

Now the installation is pretty automated and once completed you will notice a boot selection screen when you start your laptop up – here you can boot into either Windows 7 or Windows 8, the first time you boot the Windows 8 Developer Preview you will have to carry out some basic setup, this won’t take long.

Below we have embedded a video showing you Windows 8 dual-booting with Windows 7 on our laptop – we hope the process went smoothly for you.

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  • psrulz

    really man you r a rockkkkkker..!

  • Krishantnisbet

    thx man u rock

  • Anonymous

    hi, I follow this guide and unable to get the dual boot. The only difference is, rather than using another partition on the same disk, i am using another harddrive. Is there a way to dual boot win8 with win7 while both sitting in different disks?

    • Malay

      same prob with me ? any solution ? windows boot manager doesn’t appear so everytime i need to go to BIOS settings and boot from there 

      • Dmistry

        how do u do tht?

  • And can i do it using windows xp?

  • Michael Farquhar

    I’ve set it up to dual boot and my Windows 7 partition is intact but I don’t get the option of which OS to boot into, it just jumps straight into Windows 8 before I even get to the screen that usually says “press F12 for boot selection menu”

    • Eric Selje

      Are you holding down the Option button when you start your Mac?

    • Eric Selje

      Are you holding down the Option button when you start your Mac?