Robert from Arizona writes:
A MS tech said that using a dual startup with two hard drives, one with Windows 7 and the other with Windows 8 would cause the computer to become unstable, have you had information that bears that out. Some websites say that it can be done. Thanks
I think, in most cases, a dual boot with Windows 7 and Windows 8 is possible. It would depend on the hardware and specifications on your system, but it can be done. In fact, I currently am running a dual boot system of Windows 7 and Windows 8 on my Worldstart computer right now.
There are two options to set up a dual boot computer – using two separate hard drives, or using partitioned hard drives. Windows 8 requires at least 20 GB, but I would plan on 30-50 GB in any partition or hard drive you plan to use. If you are partitioning you would need to plan on saving at least that much. You can find the process for partitioning in this article, which also discusses dual booting with Windows 7 and Windows 8 developer preview. In my case, I have a partitioned hard drive. As you can see from the image below, I have a drive C:, titled New Volume, and a drive D:, title OS. Windows 7 is on the OS partition, and Windows 8 is on the New Volume. I primarily use Windows 8.
Using two different hard drives functions in pretty much the same way. There may be a few different settings you will need to change when using two hard drives when installing. However, in either set up, when you boot up, you will get an option to choose which OS you would like to load into.
An important thing to remember when installing a dual boot system is to be certain you start with installing the older system first, then install the newer OS. The newer OS will update any files needed. If you try to go from new to old, the system may load at all, as the older system may corrupt the newer files. You should also be sure to backup any files you have before setting up the dual boot.
Finally, take note that dual boot only allows you to run one of the operating systems at a time. In order to switch to the other OS, you have to completely restart the computer and boot into the other version. If you are looking to run two operating systems simultaneously, you would want to look into virtualization.