Dual boot Win­dows

If you want to run dif­fer­ent ver­sions of Win­dows on the same PC, MAR­TYN CASSERLY shows you how to dual boot the OS

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

For most peo­ple, run­ning one op­er­at­ing sys­tem on their PC or lap­top is enough, but in some in­stances it can come in handy to have two sep­a­rate ver­sions on a PC. This may be due to spe­cific soft­ware that only works with an older re­lease of Win­dows, or maybe you want to com­pare the dif­fer­ences be­tween Win­dows 7 and 10 be­fore

com­mit­ting to an up­grade. Thank­fully, the OS is de­signed with dual boot­ing in mind.

You can cre­ate a dual-boot sys­tem from pretty much any ver­sion of Win­dows, but here we will add Win­dows 10 to a PC run­ning Win­dows 7.

Sys­tem re­quire­ments

You’ll need a copy of Win­dows to install, and this should be burned onto a CD or writ­ten to a USB stick. Mi­crosoft pro­vides a down­load­able ver­sion of Win­dows 10 on its site, al­though you’ll still need a prod­uct key to ac­ti­vate it if you intend to use the op­er­at­ing sys­tem long term. For­tu­nately, the days of deal­ing with an ‘ISO’ file are over: when you down­load Win­dows 10 us­ing Mi­crosoft’s Me­dia Cre­ation Tool, the process is au­to­matic. That means you’ll end up with a USB stick that your com­puter can boot from.

As you’re in­stalling an op­er­at­ing sys­tem we rec­om­mend you do a full backup of your data, as there’s no guar­an­tee some­thing won’t go wrong and you wouldn’t want to lose pre­cious files. Here are the ba­sic steps be­fore we get to the de­tails:

Step 1: Install a new hard drive, or cre­ate a new par­ti­tion on the existing one us­ing the Win­dows Disk Man­age­ment Util­ity. Step 2: Plug in the USB stick con­tain­ing the new ver­sion of Win­dows, then re­boot the PC. Step 3: Install Win­dows 10, be­ing sure to select the Cus­tom op­tion.

Step 4: Select the newly cre­ated par­ti­tion or the other hard disk as the des­ti­na­tion for Win­dows 10. Then click Next to install the op­er­at­ing sys­tem.

Install a sec­ond copy of Win­dows

If you have a new hard drive (or SSD) or a spare one, you can use this to install the sec­ond copy of Win­dows. If you don’t have one, or you can’t install a sec­ond be­cause you have a lap­tops, you’ll need to use your existing hard drive and par­ti­tion it.

Cre­ate a new par­ti­tion

If you need to install a sec­ond ver­sion of Win­dows on the same hard drive as the first, make space on it. This can be tricky if you’re run­ning low on stor­age, as Win­dows 10 ide­ally re­quires around 20- to 25GB – we rec­om­mend at least 50GB.

Here’s how to find and delete large files tak­ing up space. Once you’ve backed up any files that are im­por­tant you’ll need to go to the Win­dows Disk Man­age­ment util­ity. To do so hold down the Win­dows key and press R. This opens a box, into which you type

diskmgmt.msc and press en­ter. You’ll now see a list of the par­ti­tions on your hard drive. Select the pri­mary par­ti­tion, usu­ally called (C:), and then right-click and select Shrink Vol­ume.

Now you’ll see an­other win­dow that shows you the size of the par­ti­tion, and asks you to En­ter the amount of space to shrink in MB. To cre­ate a 25GB par­ti­tion you’ll need to en­ter 25000, then click Shrink. This will mod­ify the par­ti­tion, al­low­ing you the space you need to install Win­dows 10.

Install Win­dows 10

Place the pre­vi­ously cre­ated CD or USB ver­sion of Win­dows 10 into your PC and re­boot the ma­chine. You should be taken straight to the in­stal­la­tion process, but if your ma­chine goes back to your nor­mal op­er­at­ing sys­tem straight away you’ll need to ad­just the boot se­quence in your BIOS.

When the install se­quence starts you’ll need to select the Cus­tom op­tion. This opens up a panel that asks you Where do you want to install Win­dows? From the pre­sented op­tions select the one en­ti­tled Unal­lo­cated Space, which should be 25GB. Click Ap­ply and once Win­dows has cre­ated the par­ti­tion click Next.

Now the in­stal­la­tion process should go through as nor­mal, and when you re­boot your ma­chine you will have the op­tion to choose be­tween the two op­er­at­ing sys­tems. The bonus is that as dif­fer­ent ver­sions of Win­dows still use the same file sys­tem, you’ll be able to ac­cess your files from ei­ther OS.

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