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Windows 8 consumer preview goes live, dual-boot recommended

Recently Microsoft launched the official Windows 8 Consumer Preview and we’ve noticed that many people are keen to try it out, however there are wrong and right ways of going about this, today we will show you our prefer method – dual-booting.

If you have a spare laptop which you don’t mind formatting, or you have an additional hard drive which you can use you don’t really need to follow our method of dual-booting, however if you’re planning to install the Windows 8 Consumer Preview on a desktop PC / laptop which only has one hard disk drive you’ll want to follow this guide closely.


Before setting up your dual-boot configuration you need a few things, firstly you need to head over to this page and check to see whether your PC meets the minimum requirements for the version of Windows 8 you want to install (pretty much all Windows Vista and Windows 7 computers should run it just fine). For the 32-bit version you need at least a 1GHz processor, 1GB or RAM and 16GB of free space, whilst the 64-bit version requires at least a 1GHz processor, 2GB of RAM and 20GB of free space. No-matter what version you choose to install you need a GPU which is DirectX 9 compliant or higher.

Once you’re sure that your computer is beefy enough to run Windows 8 you’ll need a second partition to install it on. Most laptops these days come with a single hard disk with two partitions, this second partition is essential for this particular dual-boot configuration. Luckily for me the Toshiba laptop which I’m using has just this, as you can see below there is a ‘C:’ and a ‘D:’, the ‘D’ drive is where I’ll be installing Windows 8, you should be doing the same. If you only have a ‘C’ drive you’ll have to setup a second partition manually, this is easy, but requires a partition tool such as Partition Magic or EASEUS Partition Master 9.1.0 – the latter can be downloaded here, realistically you should make the secondary partition at least 20GB in size, but I would recommend 30GB+.

Now that you are sure you meet the hardware requirements you must download the correct ISO file and burn it to disc. Downloads vary between 2.5GB and 3.3GB depending on the edition you choose, but all editions can be located here. You must also write down the following product key: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J – I took a photo of this with my smartphone to ensure I didn’t get it wrong. Once your download is complete (it may take some time) you need to burn the file to a blank DVD using a program like ImgBurn. Once complete shutdown your computer ensuring that the newly created disc is in the drive.


Installation time varies depending on your computer’s hardware, it took me about 25-35 minutes, but allow 1 hour just in case. The first thing you need to do is boot from the DVD (not into your current Windows installation), you may have to configure the BIOS to allow this or press a key such as ‘F8’, ‘F10’ or ‘F12’ to select you boot device – when you’ve done this correctly you should hear your DVD drive spinning rapidly and see text reading something like ‘Press any key to boot from CD or DVD…’, simple press a key on the keyboard and your PC will begin booting from the Windows 8 disc – you should then see a little image showing a fish blowing bubbles.

After some time you will see a screen asking you to choose the correct language, time, currency and keyboard setting – do this and then click next. The next screen allows you to choose from two options, you need to choose ‘Install Now’ – wait a few minutes and then you will have to enter the product key which you jotted down earlier – type this in carefully and click next when done, if it fails it means you’ve made an error. The code is: DNJXJ-7XBW8-2378T-X22TX-BKG7J.

You will then be asked to agree license terms, read these if you want and tick the box and click next to continue. The next step is the most important, you must choose ‘Custom Install’ not ‘Upgrade’ – select this and you will see a list of partitions where Windows 8 can be installed – you want to install it on the secondary partition which we spoke about earlier (D:). Select this partition and click next, the installation process will now begin and you’ll have to wait a while for files to be copied and features to be installed etc.

After some time your computer will restart and Windows 8 will begin, you’ll have to carry out some straight-forward setup and you’ll soon be seeing the beatiful Windows 8 UI – congratulations you’ve successfully dual-booted Windows 8 Consumer Preview.


From now on when you turn on your computer you’ll see a boot selection screen where you can choose between Windows 8 and the other operating system(s) you have installed (see below), you can also configure more advanced settings if you wish to do so. Hopefully this brief guide helped you successfully, if not please leave your comments below and we’ll do our best to help you.

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Written by Jamie Pert

Jamie has a background in computer repairs and maintenance along with network administration, he now enjoys utilizing the benefits of new technologies and enjoys writing about anything that brings new technology to the world.

He began writing for Product Reviews in mid 2009 and has since expanded his knowledge across a wide-base of devices, he is looking to get more hands-on experience with new devices to gain a better understanding of the latest and greatest technologies.

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