Dual-boot Windows 10 and Windows 7 or 8,8.1 for Testing

So I’ve already had some people try to install or rather upgrade their existing Windows 7 or Windows 8/8.1 Operating system to Windows 10 only to find that things didn’t go as planned.

They upgraded their existing Windows 7 or 8/8.1 system to Windows 10 and found out that it didn’t support some of their hardware drivers or applications. Then after going through the pain staking process of upgrading their system and the trial and error only to finally uninstall Windows 10. Some have mentioned they’d like to use Windows 10 and test it before they go through the trial and error period, but only have one computer, or they don’t want to ruin the current install, especially in production. We’ll as I mentioned in my last blog post it is the dual-boot process to the rescue.

Some things you’ll need are the install.wim from the Windows 10 Media and the Windows 10 ADK if you are currently using Windows 7. Windows 8/8.1 already have the DISM support you need for this process.

Step 1. Create a vhd in disk manager (this is from Windows 7 disk manager). Also do a quick format of the disk when created.

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Make sure to remember where the vhd is stored, if you have the disk space you can use the fixed option.

Step 2. Install the Deployment tools option from the Windows 10 ADK, sadly the DISM command built into Windows 7 does not support the apply-image option. If you are using Windows 8/8.1 then you do not need to install the Windows 10 ADK.

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Step 3. Goto an administrative command prompt and apply the install.wim image into the vhd you just created with this DISM command. When you created the vhd in disk manager pay attention the drive letter that gets assigned and where you have located the install.wim from the Windows 10 media.

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Dism /apply-image /imagefile:D:\path\install.wim /index:1 /applydir:L:\

/Imagefile = Path to Windows 10 Media install.wim

/applydir = Drive letter assigned to vhd in disk manager

Remember if you have Windows 8/8.1 the built in DISM command supports this process if you have Windows 7 you installed the Windows 10 ADK and launched it from your start menu.

More on the DISM command here.

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Step 4. After applying the wim image into the vhd you are ready to boot into it by applying the boot files with this command.

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Bcdboot L:\windows 

The Drive letter you use is the same one that was applied to the vhd when you created it in Step 1

More on the bcdboot command here.

Step 5.  After rebooting your computer you will be presented with a dual boot option. This will default to your new Windows 10 vhd. When booting onto the vhd it will go through a new install which will now be a fresh install to test your applications and hardware on.

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