How to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 – dual boot Windows 7 and 8

So, you can’t wait to test out Windows 8.  But, you really don’t want to get rid of your Windows 7 since everything works perfectly.  Why not have the best of both worlds?  Keep your Windows 7 and install Windows 8 on the same machine.  If you like Windows 8, then you can remove Windows 7.  By dual booting both operating systems, you can trial Windows 8 while still having your Windows 7 safety net.

Here’s how do you dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8:

  1. Create VHD (virtual hard disk) by pressing Win + R and type diskmgmt.msc and hit OK
  2. In the Disk Management box that appears, click Action->Create VHD
  3. Choose C:\Windows 8.vhd for your location and at least 20GB for your Virtual Hard disk size.  Choose fixed size for the best performance.
  4. Initialize disk by clicking on your newly created 20GB or higher disk, marked unknown, and select: Initialize Disk
  5. Keep default of MBR (Master Boot Record) and hit OK
  6. Highlight the disk/partition and select New Simple Volume.
  7. Accept defaults in new box, but change Volume Label to:  Windows 8.  Now you have a virtual hard drive acting like a hard drive so we can begin installing Windows 8.
  8. Go to Start->Menu->All Programs->Accessories->Windows Powershell and make sure to right-click on Windows PowerShell shortcut and Run as Administrator.
  9. In PowerShell DOS prompt, type: Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned  – type y to accept after.  Leave open for later.
  10. Download this MSDN script and save it to your C: drive, making sure not to put it into any subfolders
  11. Right-click the Install-Windows Image file you just downloaded and select Properties.  Click Unblock button on bottom right, click Apply and OK.
  12. Mount image by using Virtual Clone Drive or another utility you may have.  After Virtual Clone Drive finishes installing, right-click your Install-Windows image file->select Virtual CloneDrive->and Mount.
  13. Go back to your PowerShell window and type: CD C:\
  14. Type this command:  .\Install-WindowsImage.ps1 –WIM D:\Sources\Install.wim –Apply –Index 1 –Destination I:\ (I: should be replaced for the letter VHD Windows created for you in the above steps).  Hit enter.
  15. After PowerShell says done, open a separate command prompt by going to Start->Search and type: cmd.  Then, in the DOS box, type: bcdboot.exe I:\Windows (I: being the letter of your virtual drive above).
  16. When you boot Windows now, you’ll have the option of selecting Windows 8 or Windows 7.
  17. Most importantly, you want to ensure your files may be shared and accessible in both operating systems.  Boot into Windows 8 and go to: C:\Users\[Your User Name] and right click Contacts folder->Properties->Location tab->click Move button.  Leave this open for now.
  18. While this box is open, go to your Windows 7 Contacts Folder.  Same path as Windows 8, but in Windows 7.  Click on OK button and repeat this step for Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, My Documents, Links, My Music, My Pictures, and My Videos.

That’s it.  you didn’t need to be a Windows 8 expert, Windows 7 certified expert, or other Windows technician to have a dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 computer.  Enjoy!