While Windows 10 comes with major improvements over previous Windows versions, it still lacks in certain areas. This is why some users elect to stick to other versions of Windows, such as Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Some users prefer Windows 7 and 8 because many games are properly optimized for these operating systems, while others use them for their programming environments. That said, they might still want to enjoy the benefits of Windows 10 without giving up their main OS.

If you’re one such user, you’ll have to run two different versions of Windows on your PC. In most cases, one particular version runs as the default operating system, while in other cases, you’ll always see a boot menu where you have to choose which OS to boot with. If you don’t make a selection, Windows will pick the default OS itself when the wait time is over.

If you have a preferred OS that you use daily, you can easily set it as the default operating system. This way, you don’t have to monitor your system while it boots just to switch your operating system.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. If you’re still thinking about how to upgrade to Windows 10 without losing your current OS, this article will show you how to create a dual-boot system with Windows 10 and all the ways to change the dual-boot settings in Windows 10.

Let’s begin.

Creating a dual-boot system

Before you start the process, you have to create a partition (if you have only one disk drive) where Windows 10 will be installed. Make sure the size of the partition meets the disk space requirement for Windows 10, which is 16 GB for the 32-bit variant and 20 GB for the 64-bit variant.

If you’re on Windows 7 or Windows 8, you’ll be using the Disk Management Utility to create the partition for Windows 10. The steps below will show you what to do:

  1. On your keyboard, press the Windows logo and R buttons together to open the Run dialog box.
  2. Once the dialog box opens, type “diskmgmt.msc” (don’t add the quotes) into the text box, and then hit the Enter keyboard button.

On Windows 7, you can also open the Disk Management Utility by following these steps:

  • Open the Start menu. You can either click on Start or tap the Windows logo keyboard button.
  • In the Start menu, right-click on Computer and click on Manage.
  • You’ll see the Computer Management window. Switch to the Disk Management pane.
  1. Once the Disk Management tool opens, right-click your drive.
  2. Click on Shrink Volume in the context menu.
  3. After the system determines the amount of space left to shrink, you’ll see the Shrink dialog box for the drive.
  4. Now, you’ll have to enter the amount of space you want to shrink, which will serve as the size of the new partition you’re creating. Before you go ahead, please note the following:
  • You need to allow considerable free space on your existing disk.
  • You need to allow more disk space than what is required for Windows 10 on the new partition because you need to install applications and save files.
  • Having additional disk space allows the operating system to run smoothly.
  1. Click on the Shrink button after entering the size for the new partition.
  2. The shrunk drive space will now appear in the Disk Management window as unallocated space.
  3. Right-click on it and click on New Volume in the context menu.
  4. Enter the size for the new partition. It can be the same as the unallocated space.
  5. Assign the new drive a letter.
  6. Choose the name of the volume, choose a file system (most preferably NTFS), and then click on OK.
  7. Click Finish after reviewing your choices.

If you already have other partitions and they’re quite small, you can use the Disk Management tool to delete them and create a bigger partition.

Now that you’re done creating a new partition, let’s move on to installing Windows 10.

Installing Windows 10 alongside another OS

Go to the Microsoft website and download the Windows 10 ISO file. After downloading the file, burn it to a DVD or use it to make a bootable USB flash drive.

Once you’re done, head to the next guide. If you want to create a bootable USB but don’t know how, follow these steps:

  • You must have a USB flash drive with no less than 8 GB of free storage space or an adequate DVD if you want to burn the ISO file.
  • You should know whether the Windows version on your PC is 32-bit or 64-bit.

Follow the steps below to create bootable media:

  1. Go to the Microsoft website and download the Media Creation Tool.
  2. Navigate to your download folder or the directory where you saved the tool and run it.
  3. Click on the Accept button once the Terms and Conditions page appears.
  4. When the “What do you want to do?” screen opens, select the option that reads, “Create installation media for another PC”, and then click on the Next button at the bottom of the window.
  5. Select your preferred language and your system type (32-bit or 64-bit).
  6. Now, select the USB flash drive option if you wish to create a bootable USB and the ISO file option if you want to create an installation DVD.
  7. Choosing the USB flash drive option means you have to insert a USB flash drive with at least 8 GB of free storage space. Once you insert the drive, select it on the next screen and click on the Next button to allow the Media Creation tool to complete the process.

Going for the ISO file option means you have to burn the file to a blank DVD.

That’s it; your bootable media is now ready.

Here are the steps to follow to install Windows 10:

  1. Insert the installation DVD or connect the bootable USB that you created and restart your system.
  2. The computer will automatically boot into the installation environment for Windows 10.
  3. Go through the normal Windows 10 installation process of selecting your language and keyboard layout, and then click on the Install Now button.
  4. Agree to the license agreement terms.
  5. Under “Which type of installation do you want?”, click on the option that reads, “Custom: Install Windows only (Advanced)”.
  6. The “Where do you want to install Windows?” screen will now appear.
  7. Select the partition you created and click on Next.
  8. The installer will now complete the installation process.

Choosing the default operating system

You can now select between Windows 10 and your previous OS, whether Windows 8 or Windows 7, in the “Choose an operating system” window whenever you start your system.

You can easily change the default operating system and other settings when you tap “Change defaults or choose other options” on the “Choose an operating system” screen instead of selecting an OS.

Once you get to the Options screen, click on “Choose a default operating system”, then select one on the next screen. Keep in mind that you won’t get a confirmation message once you select any. Note that the operating system at the top is the default OS.

On the Options screen, you can change how long the “Choose an operating system” screen stays open before the default OS is automatically selected.

If your system has already booted into Windows 10, there are several ways to change the default OS.

Changing the default OS in the System Configuration dialog window

  1. Right-click on the Windows logo in the taskbar.
  2. In the Power user menu, click on Run.
  3. You can also press the Windows and R keyboard buttons together to open the Run dialog box.
  4. After Run opens, type “msconfig” (don’t add the quotes) into the text box and click on OK.
  5. Once you see the System Configuration dialog window, switch to the Boot tab.
  6. Next, select your preferred OS and click on the “Set as Default” button.
  7. You can also use the Timeout box to indicate the waiting time before the default OS loads.

Changing the boot defaults when dual-booting using Advanced Startup options in Windows 10

You can also directly boot to the Advanced Startup window by going through the Settings application. These steps will show you how:

  1. Right-click on the Windows logo in the taskbar.
  2. In the Power user menu, click on Run.
  3. You can also press the Windows and S keyboard buttons together to open the Settings application.
  4. On the home page of the Settings app, click on Update & Security.
  5. After the Update & Security icon opens, go to the left side of the window and click on Recovery.
  6. Navigate to the right pane and click on Restart Now under Advanced Startup.
  7. Your system will now boot to the “Choose an option” menu; click on “Use another operating system”.
  8. You’ll now be taken to the “Choose an operating system” screen, where you can make appropriate changes, as shown above.



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If you have any questions or want to share your thoughts, use the comments section right below this article.