[HOWTO] Install Windows 10 and Keep the Windows You Have Now
The July 29th deadline for claiming your free upgrade to Windows 10 is approaching soon. But many people want to try Windows 10 while retaining the option to go back to their familiar older version (Windows 7 or 8.1). You may have heard about the 30-day “downgrade window" for Windows 10, but today you'll learn how to keep both the old and new versions indefinitely. Read on…
Dual Boot With Windows 10
In my recent article, The Windows 10 Secret Microsoft Won’t Tell You, I discussed one way to get your "digital entitlement" for Windows 10 before the July 29 deadline, and retain the option to install it at a later date.
But there is another method that allows you to run BOTH your current version of Windows and Windows 10. This method has been around a long time, and is a favorite of users who want to have more than one operating system installed on their computer.
A “dual-boot configuration” of your system allows you to choose which of several operating systems to load at boot (startup) time. When you reboot the computer, a menu appears before Windows starts loading and you pick which version of Windows to load. Like the “secret” method described in my other article, the dual-boot method lets you go back to your old operating system at any time in the future. There is no date on which you are stuck with Windows 10.
On the downside, note that this method will result in a Windows 10 installation that is not “activated” because it is not an upgrade of your existing version of Windows. You will not be able to personalize Windows 10, and a system tray icon will keep bugging you to activate Windows 10. But you’ll have both versions of Windows available for as long as you wish.
NOTE: There's one exception to the paragraph above. If you have an official Windows 10 install disk, you'll be able to create a fully functional, activated Windows 10 system. When I purchased a new Dell PC in May 2016, it came with Windows 7 pre-installed, but they also provided a Windows 10 disk, in the event that I wanted to upgrade or create a dual-boot configuration. You could also purchase a Windows 10 install disk if desired.
Create Your Dual-Boot Configuration
To install Windows 10 in a dual-boot configuration with your existing version of Windows. Just follow these steps:
- Open Control Panel from the Start Menu.
- Navigate to “System and Security” > “Create and format hard disk partitions”.
- Right click on the partition your Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 is installed on (usually the big C: partition).
- Click on “Shrink Volume”, then enter the amount of disk space by which you want to shrink the partition to make room for Windows 10’s partition. You need at least a 16 GB new volume for the 32-bit version of Windows 10, or at least 20 GB for the 64-bit version.
- Right-click on the new, empty volume you just created and click “Create Simple Volume.” Set the volume format to “NTFS.”
- Close Disk Management.
Congratulations! You now have a place to install Windows 10 without affecting the installation of your current version of Windows. Now, let’s create the media from which Windows 10 will be installed. (If you already have a Windows 10 install disk, skip this section.)
- Download the Media Creation Tool from this link: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=691209
- Open the Media Creation Tool you just downloaded.
- Click “Create installation media for another PC” and select the language and version of Windows 10 you want to install.
- You can create the installation media on a USB stick or in an ISO file. See my article Things You Can Do With ISO Files http://askbobrankin.com/iso_means_equal.html if you're not sure what an ISO file is.
- If you choose to save your Windows 10 installation media on a USB stick, insert a USB stick in a USB port, make sure "USB flash drive" is selected, and click Next. (All files on the USB stick will be erased.) Select the USB drive, and create your Windows 10 installation USB flash drive.
- If you choose to save your Windows 10 installation media as an ISO file, make sure "ISO file" is selected, and click Next. After Media Creation Tool creates the ISO file, you'll see a link to open the DVD burner, which will burn the ISO file onto the blank disc.
Reboot and Install Windows 10
You now have either a USB flash drive or a DVD from which your PC can boot and begin the Windows 10 installation process. The next step is to ensure that your PC will try to boot from the installation media just just created.
Here, I’m going to assume that Windows 7 is your current version; I’ve heard from very few readers who are using Windows 8.1. The following instructions pertain to Windows 7.
- Learn the keystroke that will enable your PC to select a boot device when starting up. On most computers, a message will briefly appear during startup advising you to "Press F12 to select boot device." But that key may be Esc, Del, F1, F2, or something other than F12. You may also need to press and hold the Power button along with the appropriate key. Consult your PC’s manual or online help.
- Shut down your PC and restart it, pressing the magic key and/or button. A menu will appear asking which device you want to boot from. Choose the one that contains your Windows 10 installation package (USB or DVD drive).
When the Windows 10 setup screen appears, set the language and edition of Windows you want to install. You can skip the “product key” screen if you are only test-driving Windows 10, or enter the key of your existing Windows installation. (Discover it using the Magical Jelly Bean Keyfinder utility.)
On the “Which type of installation do you want?” screen select “Custom: Install Windows only (advanced)”. Select the disk volume (partition) that you created to hold Windows 10 in the first procedure above.
Windows 10 will install itself on the volume you selected. Now, every time you restart your PC, a menu will appear asking which operating system you want to boot: Windows 7 or Windows 10.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 19 Jul 2016
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- [HOWTO] Install Windows 10 and Keep the Windows You Have Now (Posted: 19 Jul 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved