How to: Dual Boot Windows 7 or Windows 8 with Windows 10 Installed First

Technical Level : Intermediate

Summary
We previously looked at how to install Windows 10 with older versions of Windows. In previous scenarios, the older version of Windows is installed first. Can you install an older version of Windows, if Windows 10 is installed first? The answer is yes. There are some perquisite tasks required; such as ensuring the system is compatible with the older version of Windows first. Also, newer computers come with certain security mechanisms built in, disabling them will be required to facilitate the older version of Windows. Dual booting is more convenient, since you don't have to delete Windows 10, while still maintaining a legacy version of Windows for compatibility purposes.
Details

Before we begin, I strongly recommend you backup your new computer with Windows 10 before carrying out these procedures.

Make sure the computer you plan to install the older version of Windows on has supported hardware drivers. If you are planning to install Windows 7 or Windows 8, check the download section of the manufacturers website to see if they have native drivers for your model.

Important Drivers you should download and save in advance

When you perform a new install or upgrade, you should download the latest software drivers from the manufacturers website for your computer model. Important drivers include: Chipset, Video, Audio and Network (Ethernet/Wireless). For laptops, make sure you download the latest Touch Pad drivers. There are other drivers you will probably need, but you can often download these through Windows Update after have a working Internet connection setup.

How to find and download drivers from the manufacturers website:

Drivers can normally be found in the Support section from the manufacturers website where you will find a Software and Drivers sub-section. The method to find it will vary depending on the brand. You can go to your favorite search engine then enter the following query "model and make drivers download' example: 'hp 8460p drivers download'. This will often provide a direct link.

Learn more - references Windows 10, but the same principles  work for finding Windows 7 or Windows 8 drivers:

How to: Install and Update drivers in Windows 10

Have Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install media ready.

If you plan to dual boot, you should have a full version copy of Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. If you don't, you will need to purchase a full version license. If you have a genuine product key, you can download a copy from the Microsoft Software Download website.

Review the following article for instructions if you have problems downloading Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 install media:

http://www.ghacks.net/2016/02/17/download-windows-7-and-8-1-iso-images-from-microsoft/

Prepare the install media

Depending on the type of computer you have, an optical drive might not be available, which means, you will need to prepare a bootable copy using a USB thumb drive. This is ideal for newer 64 bit computers that come preinstalled with Windows 10. Rufus is the best solution to use:

If your computer is UEFI based, these are normally systems that come pre-loaded with Windows 8 or later, you will need to prepare the ISO file for such a configuration or you will receive an error message during setup. The thumbdrive needs to be formatted as FAT32 and use the GPT partitioning scheme. To do this, you need to use Rufus, a small tool you can download for free.

 

Rufus - credit: Pete Batard/Akeo

After you have installed Rufus:

  • Launch it
  • Select ISO Image
  • Point to the Windows 10 ISO file
  • Check off Create a bootable disk using
  • Select GPT partitioning for EUFI firmware as the Partition scheme
  • Choose FAT32 NOT NTFS as the File system
  • Make sure your USB thumbdrive in the Device list box
  • Click Start
  • Close when complete

Disable Secure Boot

Secure Boot as a part of the wave of Windows 8 devices provided enhanced security; using a security signature built into the computer firmware. This ensure that malware was not able to easily compromise a system. Older versions of Windows such as Windows 7 do not support this technology. Also, for Windows 8.1, it must be disabled.

Review the following article for more details about disabling both UEFI Boot and Secure Boot:

http://www.groovypost.com/howto/downgrade-windows-10-to-windows-7-windows-81/2/

Prepare Partition where Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be installed

You will need to set aside some space where Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 will be installed. Considerations for the operating system, applications, software updates and personal files must be taken into account. If you plan to keep around the older version of Windows long term, then the bigger the better. I personally recommend a minimum 60 GBs.

Press Windows key + X then click Disk Management

Select the system partition where Windows 10 is currently installed. Right click it then click Shrink.

Enter the amount of space you would like to allocate to Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, then click Shrink. The more, the better.

An unallocated partition will now be available. Right click it then click New Simple Volume

This will start the New Simple Volume wizard, which will let you format, assign a drive letter and label the volume.

Once your partition is prepared, you are now ready to install Windows 7 or Windows 8.1. Insert or connect your install media. If setup does not start automatically, click Start > File Explorer > This PC. Double click the install media to begin setup.

Click Yes when prompted.

Click Install Now

Click Custom (advanced)

Select the partition we created earlier then click Next.

Wait while Windows install files are copied.

After restarting, Windows will boot into setup.

Windows setup will continue copying files then restart again.

A boot entry will be added for the older version of Windows. You will notice an entry is also available for Windows 10. This will allow you to easily choose, which version of Windows you would like start when you turn on your computer.

Complete Out of Box Experience

You will need to complete the Out of Box Experience which includes creating an account/password, machine name, join an available wireless network, adjust time zone.

After you have completed setup, proceed to install recommended drivers downloaded in advance:

Chipset, Video, Audio and Network (Ethernet/Wireless). 

Also run Windows Update and also ensure you have an Antivirus utility installed and updated immediate.

That's it, when you ready to boot into your OS a choice, you can easily do so.

Resources:

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You have published a duplicate of my Wiki article, How to dual boot Windows 10 and Windows 7  please remove yours !
Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

I could say the same, also, my article looks into certain nuances. I started the installation from within Windows 10, you didn't. The articles specifically focuses on a new computer preinstalled with Windows 10.

November 29th 2015

How to use Microsoft's Tech Bench web site to download an official Windows 10 ISO file, create installation media and activate Windows 10 - Yours

I published an article with instructions how to do the same as far back July 29th 2015:

How to download official Windows 10 ISO files 

What about this one:

January 2015:

How to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 10 Preview - Yours

I published an article as far back as November 2014:

How to dual boot Windows 10 and older versions of Windows

This is also a duplicate of my other wiki's

How to get the Windows 10 Free upgrade  - Yours

See:

How to: install Windows 10 from within Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 using Windows Update

and

Frequently Asked Questions: Windows 10

also:

How to uninstall the Windows 10 preview and restore your previous version of Windows - Yours

Did that as far back as January 8th 2015:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-to-reinstall-or-restore-your-original-windows/b6649955-f8d3-4c0c-94ca-e4a5b5e06c60

So, should I request that they be removed too or co-exist?

Seriously, stop making this a competition.

Best,
Andre
Windows Insider MVP
MVP-Windows and Devices for IT
twitter/adacosta
groovypost.com

How to uninstall the Windows 10 preview and restore your previous version of Windows - Yours

Did that as far back as January 8th 2015:

http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/insider/wiki/insider_wintp-insider_install/how-to-reinstall-or-restore-your-original-windows/b6649955-f8d3-4c0c-94ca-e4a5b5e06c60

Reply: Mine covers using the “Restore previous version” / Roll Back feature, yours only covers re-installing earlier versions of Windows from scratch/ Clean install.

January 2015:

How to dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 10 Preview - Yours

I published an article as far back as November 2014:

How to dual boot Windows 10 and older versions of Windows

Reply: My article is specific to Windows 7 and not other versions of Windows which may or may not have a System partition / BCD store.

I could say the same, also, my article looks into certain nuances. I started the installation from within Windows 10, you didn't. The articles specifically focuses on a new computer preinstalled with Windows 10.

Reply: My article was created within Windows 10, no prior version of Windows was installed.

Never be afraid to ask. This forum has some of the best people in the world available to help.

Semantics and you are still making this a competition.

You indicated nuances, I indicated nuances. Either way, I think you would end up loosing a lot of articles.

So out of respect for each others work, could we just refrain from this?

Best,
Andre
Windows Insider MVP
MVP-Windows and Devices for IT
twitter/adacosta
groovypost.com

I installed Windows 7 after installing windows 10. Now, how do i remove windows 7 while keeping windows 10. The windows 10 boot manager was replaced by that of windows 7. 

I also have a bootable windows 10 USB.

Press Windows key + X > Control Panel

Open Backup and Restore (Windows 7)

Click create system repair disc then follow the on screen instructions

Deleting the Windows 7 partition

Press Windows key + X

Click Disk Management

Right click the Windows 7 partition, then click Delete

Right click the system drive where Windows 10 is installed.

click the ‘Extend Volume’ option on the contextual menu, click ‘Yes’ when the warning appears.

 

A wizard will now begin that will guide through the steps to merge back the unallocated space with your system partition.

 

The wizard provides a simple procedure to merge back the unallocated space with the system drive. Once you have selected the space, click Next, at the end of the wizard, you will see the amount allocated.

Restart your computer and check if Windows 10 boots. If it does, but you still see the classic boot manager, when you arrive at the desktop, press Windows key + R, type: msconfig then hit Enter.

Go to the Boot tab

Set the default OS then choose the time out to 0

Best,
Andre
Windows Insider MVP
MVP-Windows and Devices for IT
twitter/adacosta
groovypost.com

I agree you & J W Stuart ought be friends, not competitors. 

But his removal of Win 7 was better...

(a) Boot to Win 10.

(b) In MSConfig, Boot tab, select & set the Win 10 OS to be the default, if necessary.

(c) In MSConfig, Boot tab, select & delete the Win 7 boot entry.

     [Not sure, possibly this also would accomplish (b).]

(d) In Disk Management, delete the Win 7 partition.

(e) In Disk Management, extend Win 10 into the newly unallocated space.

Pretty neat how easy it is to undo a dual boot when the OS to remove was the 2nd one to be installed. The 2nd one has its recovery environment with it, instead of it being a separate partition.

If it were Win 10 to be removed, the above would do it (switching Win 10 with Win 7 in the instructions). However, you're left with Win 10's useless recovery partition. I'd want to delete that, put Win 7's recovery tools into that space, & use ReagentC to point Win 7 to it.

________________________
PCR
I followed these instructions but receive a message (after the simple volume wizard) telling me that the new partition will be dynamic and as such will prevent the launch of any other operating system. Where do I go from here?

(1) When you say "after the simple volume wizard", do you mean the wizard had completed? Or did you get the message before it completed?

(2) Let us see your partitions in Disk Management.

(a) Use the separators in the Header row & the boarder lines to make it readable.

(b) Let us also see a picture of the top set to "disk list" using the View menu.

Use the Snipping Tool (ask Cortana) to make pictures. Use the Insert Image icon above your post to insert them.

________________________
PCR

I am attaching a series of images which should answer your questions above. Sorry they are joined together I have not done this before

I only want to run Win 7 and Flight Simulator in this partition as it does not run on Win 10 hence 12GB. As you can see the message appears at the end of the wizard.

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Last updated July 11, 2020 Views 59,645 Applies to: