How to dual boot Microsoft Windows 7 and 8

This article is about how I dual booted Microsoft Windows 7 and 8 on my Dell D630 laptop.

Other than the Nvidia chip problem in my Dell D630 laptop, the laptop spec is quite good, coupled with the fact that I am running the T7500 cpu. So I decided to perform a clean install of both Windows 7 and 8 on my laptop. You don’t need to do a clean install, and I will provide notes for those wishing to install Windows 8 alongside a pre-installed Windows 7 OS.

Disclaimer: You follow these instructions at your own risk, and always make sure you have a backup of your data.

Windows 7 Professional DVD

Windows 7 Professional DVD

I used the 32-bit versions of Windows 7 and 8, as I’ve had issues with the Nvidia drivers under 64-bit Windows.

Step 1 – Install Microsoft Windows 7

It is always best that you install the older operating system first, as this will help resolve some issues with boot managers. Newer operating systems often take into into account previous operating systems, whereas vice versa can cause problems.

Preparing the hard drive partition for Windows 7

Preparing the hard drive partition for Windows 7

During the Windows 7 install I didn’t use the whole available partition space, instead I assigned 40GB (40000MB) to a new partition, with a view to later giving Windows 8 the rest of the partition later on.

Creating a 40GB hard drive partition for Windows 7

Creating a 40GB hard drive partition for Windows 7

It is also worth noting the Windows 7 installer will also create a 100MB ‘system reserved’ partition. Once Windows was installed I ran ‘Windows Update’ quite a few times to make sure I had all the latest updates.

Prepare the hard drive for Windows 8

It might be the situation that you already had Windows 7 installed, and hadn’t left any unallocated / partition space for Windows 7. You might need to free up hard drive space, to create a second partition for Windows 8 on your current hard drive if there is enough room on the drive. Another option is to install a secondary hard drive in your computer. If you are going to free up space and create a new partition you can do the following:

  1. Right click on ‘Computer’ from the ‘Start’ menu.
  2. Select ‘Manage’.
  3. Then from the ‘Computer Management’ window select ‘Disk Management’.
  4. Select the partition to alter, right click and select ‘Shrink Volume…’.

However I didn’t need to do this as I had already provided enough space for a Microsoft Windows partition during the installation of Windows 7.

Step 2 – Install Microsoft Windows 8

Now that Windows 7 was already installed, it was time to install Windows 8. I placed the Windows 8 32-bit DVD into the drive and booted from the DVD.

During the initial questions I was presented with two options.

  1. Upgrade: Install Windows and keep files, settings, and applications.
  2. Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)

I choose the second option and then proceeded to the next window.

I chose the 'Install Windows only' option.

I chose the ‘Install Windows only’ option.

I now need to select the hard drive space to use. I didn’t want to select an existing partition, and instead selected the ‘Unallocated Space’ I had left for the partition. In this instance I was giving it 35.5GB.

Windows 8 used the unallocated space

Windows 8 used the unallocated space

When it has installed, you should see a simple boot menu, presenting you with the option to boot into either Windows 7 or 8.

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