How To Dual Boot Windows 10 & Earlier Versions Of Windows

Do you want to dual boot Windows 10? Part of my job as a system administrator, technology expert, PC Technician is to try out new stuff. Of course, it’s difficult for me when I have a setup that works well and I don’t want to mess with it. One of the tasks of trying out new stuff like pre-release programs or the latest OS or operating system is setting up and reconfiguring things. The Windows 10 Preview Program is the best example of this. I was excited to try out the new model, but I only had one working system at the time and I don’t want to replace my Windows 7 installation. So the one thing I need to do is the dual boot of course!

How To Set Up Windows 10 Dual Boot System

 Dual Boot Windows

Dual boot is a configuration set up where you have more than two operating systems (OS) installed on your PC. If you would rather not replace your recent model of Windows with say Windows 10, you can also use or set up a dual boot configuration. All you need to do is the creation of partition or availability of a free hard disk ready where you can install it.

The advantages of setting up a dual boot configuration on a hard disk or physical partition are a Virtual Machine. It includes full access to the hardware, which includes graphics, memory, and input/output performance of the local disk. Also, you get the ability to experience all the amazing features of the OS that are not accessible in a virtual environment. The biggest advantage is, you don’t lose other Windows installation and you can reboot into it at any time. It’s best for a test run or a transition while migrating from an older Windows version.

Consider Few Things Before Starting

After making significant modifications to your PC like an upgrade or dual boot, it is always recommended you backup your PC prior to installing the latest version of Windows.

Also, you create a system image that is a full backup of your system which you can easily and instantly recover to its real state.

Creating a Partition

Creating a Partition

We displayed you how to create a simple logical partition in Windows for setting a dual-boot configuration. If you’re executing Windows 8 or later, hit Windows key + X > Disk Management. In case, if your system is executing Windows XP and it’s capable, then you are good to go. In Windows XP as the partitioning tools are quite primitive. Personally, I use a third-party solution known as Easeus Partition Master Home Edition. It’s free to download and is easy to use, in addition to being non-destructive.

Step 1:

After you have it installed, choose Go to the main screen.

Step 2:

Then choose the drive you like to resize in the partition window.

Step 3:

Choose the amount of disk space to install Windows 10.

Step 4:

Tap the Apply for the modification you just made and complete the verification text that follows.

Your PC will restart a few times and modifications will be made to the partition layout, this process is hands-free, so you don’t need any interaction.

Dynamic Volume Error Message


“Windows cannot be installed to this hard disk space. This partition contains one or more dynamic volumes that are not supported for installation”

You must be careful what you are doing if you are facing this error message. Last year I encountered this error when I was setting up partitions in Windows 10 anticipation. I tried both existing or shrinking partition and using a third party partitioning tool. I made the system not able to boot. Luckily, I had a system image.

The problem is with the partitioning scheme of the drive. After using a PC where the manufacturer has many partitions, for example:

  • C: Local Disk
  • E: Recovery
  • F: Tools
  • H: System
  • G: Other partition

One of these given partitions will need to be sacrificed just to facilitate shrinking Local Disk C:\ where Windows is installed in order to create a logical volume with enough disk space to serve Windows 10.

As long as you don’t sacrifice System, Local Disk (C:\), and Recovery, you can easily shrink Drive C: and create enough storage to dual boot. Here is an example:

I have a partition layout having 5 separate partitions. One of these partitions turned out to be irrelevant, in this case, the Tools partition which turns out to be empty or blank. As long as you don’t disturb the PC partition, Local disk, and recovery partitions, everything must be ok.

Right-tap the Tools partition and then tap Delete Volume.

Now the volume will appear as Unallocated. The other step is to combine that unallocated free space with the left side partition. All you need to do is to right-tap the volume and then tap the ‘Extend Volume’ option on the contextual menu. You can then tap ‘Yes’ when the warning appears.

A wizard will begin and article through the steps to merge or combine back the unassigned space with your PC partition.

Also, the wizard provides a simple technique to combine the unallocated space. When you have chosen the space, tap Next, at the end of the wizard, you will then view the amount assigned or allocated.

You can then move ahead and shrink C:\ Local disk to make enough storage for Windows 10 installation.

Selecting Your Windows 10 Edition

If you are using Windows 10 32-bit, you can then assign 16 GB or 20 GB if you using the 64-bit variant. Another important factor is disk space for apps, drivers, page files, accumulation of data over time, so you must consider these factors. My personal recommendation is to choose a minimum of 60 to 100 GB of space for testing Windows 10.

Install & Prepare Windows 10 RTM ISO Media From Microsoft

If you want to evaluate Windows 10, you can install a free 90-day trial copy here.

Remember that, you won’t be able to move from the Windows 10 Enterprise trial version to a commercial edition like Windows 10 Home or Pro. If you already have ISO media for these editions, you can then use it.

For UEFI Based PCs

UEFI Based PCs

If your PC is UEFI based, these are normally PCs that come pre-loaded with Windows 8 or later, you want to make the ISO file for these configurations or you will then encounter an error message during setup. The thumb drive wants to be formatted as FAT32 and then use the GPT partitioning scheme. To do this, you want to use Rufus, a small tool you can download or install for free.

Once you have installed Rufus:

Step 1:

All you need to do is to launch it

Step 2:

Choose the ISO Image

Step 3:

You can then point to the Windows 10 ISO file

Step 4:

Check off Create a bootable disk using

Step 5:

Choose GPT partitioning for EUFI firmware as the Partition scheme

Step 6:

Select FAT32 NOT NTFS as the File system

Step 7:

Remember your USB thumb drive is in the Device list box

Step 8:

Tap to Start.

How To Initiate The Installation

The following instructions describe the standard way to begin the installation, especially when you are dual booting a 64-bit variant of Windows 10 with a 32-bit version of Windows. An alternative way is to initiate the installation from within a running Windows version and choose the partition where you want to install Windows 10.

Step 1:

Initially load your BIOS options to boot from a DVD or thumb drive.

Step 2:

After you reach this screen, tap Custom install Windows only (advanced).

Step 3:

Choose the partition tap Next and wait while Windows installs.

Start Installation From A Running Windows Version

Remember that, it only works for Windows 7 or 8/8.1.

If you execute the normal setup routine from within an executing model of Windows, Windows 10 setup doesn’t provide an option to perform a custom install. A quick method for this is to launch this classic setup routine. After putting your Windows 10 installation media, simply browse it:

Step 1:

Head over to the Sources folder.

Step 2:

Then double-tap the Setup.exe file

Step 3:

There are many files listed with the setup in the name, so don’t forget to choose one with the only setup.

Step 4:

Then move through the installation process.

After you’ve set up Windows 10 on your PC, each time you initiate your PC, you will be given the option to select which OS you want to Start.


That’s all about dual boot Windows 10. If you have any queries and issues related to this guide then let us know in the comments section below.

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