How to Dual Boot Windows 10 Preview with Windows 7 or 8

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Dual Boot Windows 10

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 10 operating system promises a number of interesting features, including a revamped Start menu with live tiles, the ability to create virtual desktops and the ability to run any app in its own window. If you want to test the operating the preview build, you can install it over your existing Windows 7 or 8 environment or run it in a virtual machine within your current OS. However, if you want to get the best of both worlds: a Windows 10 test environment that has full access to all of your hardware and doesn't erase your current operating system, you'll want to dual boot. Here's how to install Windows 10 Preview on its own partition so you can choose between your current operating system (Windows 7, 8 or 8.1) and Windows 10 every time you start your PC.

Before you begin, you'll need to make sure that you have at least 20GB  of free storage space on your internal drives. You'll also need a USB drive that's at least 4GB.

1. Download the Windows 10 preview ISO file from preview.windows.com. Once you're on the site, you will need to hit the Get Started button, click Join Now, sign in with your account and accept the terms and conditions.  You'll then click the Install technical preview link and look for the correct ISO file (you may have to click a link that says "Get the ISO files" first).

pick ISO

For most modern PCs, you'll want 64-bit Windows 10. However, if you are running this on an Atom-based tablet or a very old computer that has less than 4GB of RAM, you should go with 32-bit.

2. Download and install the Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool. Don't be fooled by the name; this software will burn the Windows 10 installer to a USB stick so you can use it like a bootable DVD.

3. Insert a USB Flash drive that's at least 4GB into your PC. Make sure there's no data on it that you need to keep, because the burning process will erase it. 

 4. Launch Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool.

5. Select the ISO file by hitting the Browse button and then click Next.Select ISO File

6. Click USB device. If you have an optical drive, with a blank disc you could choose DVD instead, but for most people, USB is easier.

Click USB device

7. Select the USB drive and click Begin copying.Click Begin copying

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8. Click Erase USB Device and click OK to confirm if prompted.Click Erase USB Device

The tool will then take a few minutes to copy files to the USB drive.Creating bootable USB drive

If you already have a free partition available for Windows 10, you can skip ahead to step 18.

9. Navigate to the disk management tool on your PC. To get there in either Windows 7 or 8 / 8.1, go to the desktop control panel, click Administrative tools, select Computer Management, hit Storage and then select Disk Management.

Disk management

10. Right click on your C Drive and select Shrink Volume in the bottom window pane. 

 Shrink volume

11. Enter the amount to shrink in MB, which will be the size of your Windows 10 drive. We recommend 20GB (20,000 MB) at minimum, with 40 or more GB if you plan to install apps. Click Shrink. A block of unallocated space roughly equal to the amount you shrunk appears.

 

Amount to Shrink12. Right click on the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume.

 New Simple Volume

13. Click Next.

 Next

14. Click Next again, leaving the simple volume set to use all the available space.

 Click Next

15. Click Next to assign a drive letter. It doesn't matter which letter you choose.

 Click Next

16. Select "Do not format this volume" and click Next.

 Select do not format

17. Click Finish.

 Click Finish

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18. Boot off of your USB drive. You may need to hit a special key such as F11 or F12 as soon as your computer starts in order to select your boot device. 

 19. Click Next, leaving the language, time and keyboard settings intact.

 Click Next

20. Click Install Now.Click Install now

21. Accept the license terms and click Next.Accept terms

22.  Select Custom install.Select Custom Install

23. Select the partition you just created, which may be marked as "unallocated space." Click Next.

Select partition

Windows will take a few minutes to copy files.Windows copying files

 After a few minutes, the system will restart and display a boot menu.

24. Select Windows Technical Preview. If you have Windows 7, the menu will work the same way but display as ASCII text rather than a graphical interface.

 Windows Technical Preview

This system will copy more files and then reboot again.

25. Select Windows Technical Preview a second time, after the system reboots.

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 26. Click "Use express settings."

 Click use express settings

 27. Sign in to your Microsoft account or create a new one.log in to Microsoft Account

28. Verify your account by entering your email address and then inputting the code that Microsoft emails to you.

Enter your email

 

Enter your code

29. Select "Set this up as a new PC instead" so you can experience a fresh, default install of Windows 10. Click Next.

 Set this up as a new PC instead

 30. Click Next to enable OneDrive.Click Next

Windows will take a few minutes finalizing your settings. Then you'll see the desktop and you're done.

Next time you boot your PC, you'll be presented with the same boot menu and given the choice of starting your old version of Windows or Windows 10 Preview. 

 

Author Bio
Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of Laptopmag.com since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director on
Add a comment
12 comments
  • DAVID Says:

    Nope! I have EUFI system. So It only boots to the EUFI drive.

  • mati ben avi Says:

    can xp with 4gb apgraded to w10?

  • Sebastian Says:

    When I start my PC, I'm being taken directly to Windows 10, instead of being able to choose between Windows 7 and Windows 10.

  • Charles Says:

    No matter what i do, windows 10 will not install from boot from usb. I am on surface pro 2, i have made a partition of 48gb just for wind 10, i have disables secure boot and TPM, with no luck. I can boot other things,(gparted) but will not boot windows 10 installer. Is there another way to install it on the set partition? if i try regular install it doesn't give me choice of drive, just goes on to main drive, over 8.1

  • Ujjwal Says:

    The size of available shrink space in my C drive is less than 20000 MB.
    Can I shrink any other drive?
    please help.

  • Mark Says:

    Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 3 does not allow one to shrink the C partition. Very unfortunate.

  • Per Kristen Fredlund Says:

    Avram, fine article but you forgot to mention that installing the windows 10 preview will not work on a partition of a dynamic disk. Use some utility to convert to basic disk first. Then you can proceed with the install. Please update the article as this can save some people valuable time :)

  • tumaru Says:

    I have 155 gb free space but can only shrink my drive 202 mb. My drive has 0% fragmentation according to windows.

  • Alexandros Says:

    I forgot to to tell you will windows 10 preview read my files from the other disc?

  • Alexandros Says:

    Hi there and thanks for the info on this article. I have 2 questions. I will apreciate if you respond. If i install windows with the way you show on the article will my files get damaged? I have back up them but i really want to know that. Also please will i be able to boot up my windows 8.1 back? And after the trial expires on April i should buy them to unlock them? Thanks again.

  • mahdiameri Says:

    thank you is very good Only Best

  • Thiago Says:

    Everything went fine except the dual boot menu didnt show up. Tried EasyBCD and got "cannot verify digital signature" of winload.exe when I select Windows 10. What can I have done wrong?

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