How-To Geek

The Best Articles for Creating a Dual-Boot PC or Tablet

If you like to use multiple operating systems but don’t have extra computers to spare, we at How-To Geek have can help you set up your computer or tablet to run more than one operating system.

Windows 7 and 8

Windows_8_Windows_7_163x107If you want to try Windows 8 and either don’t have a spare computer or don’t have the hardware for running virtualization software, you can dual boot Windows 7 and Windows 8 on the same machine. The following articles show you how to do this using partitions and using VHDs.

Windows 7 and Older Windows Versions

windows-vista-logo-100x71If you’re using Windows 7 and you also want to use Windows Vista or XP, you can dual boot Windows 7 with Vista or XP. The following articles show you how without having to use virtualization software.

Windows and Linux

Linux_Mint_logoHave you wanted to use Linux but need to use Windows also? You can install Linux on your Windows computer and use both operating systems. The following articles show you how to run Ubuntu with Windows 7 and how to install Linux Mint on a computer running Windows 8.

Tablet Operating Systems

android_logo_100In addition to setting up a PC to dual boot different operating systems, you can also set up some tablets with two operating systems. The following articles show you how to set up a Galaxy Tab to run Honeycomb and Ubuntu and how to install Android on your HP Touchpad with the default webOS.

Modify Dual-Booting Systems

choosing_default_osOnce you set up your PC to dual boot different operating systems, the following articles show you how to change the which operating system is selected by default in various dual boot scenarios and how to remove Windows 8 from a dual boot setup. There’s also an article showing you how to reinstall the Ubuntu Grub bootloader if it has gotten wiped out by Windows.

Happy Dual-Booting!

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.

  • Published 01/7/12

Comments (18)

  1. Doc

    How’s about a little something for those of us who wish to dual boot a Nook Color/Tab without the warranty-shredding rooting? Something like a DIY N2A card?

  2. dOob

    What about a windows / hackintosh dual boot?
    I always wanted to try that, but the articles I found years ago were too confusing for me.
    Any good one?

  3. eyem with dOob

    dOob is right. I have an alienware mx15 and would LOVe to get hackintosh on it

  4. M Henri Day

    The article on setting Windows as the default OS when running an Ubuntu-Windows dual boot dates from 2007, and thus the instructions relate to earlier versions of GRUB than the current GRUB 2, to which /boot/grub/menu.lst no longer applies. The command «sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst» named in the article should thus be changed to «sudo gedit /etc/default/grub». Note that one has to run «update-grub» after modifying the «GRUB_DEFAULT=0» line in the /etc/default/grub file in order to update the GRUB 2 booting sequence to the desired configuration….


  5. Ken

    There are plenty sites to get mac dual booting but if you don’t understand the how to’s you are fighting a loosing battle.

  6. morris

    Dear Ken,
    I am interested as to why you went to the trouble of posting your message. Can you please explain why you responded.

    Apart from stating there are ways of doing something, while omitting to give even one of the ways of doing it or how one might find a way, and suggesting that if one does not understand the instructions then one “is fighting a losing battle”, which to say the least is bordering on the derogatory, you have been useless.

    For a start, if you know the answer to a question either answer it or shut up.

    Secondly, most instructions these days are written by people who do not have a good command of English. I am assuming that English is both your and my first language. My observation is that most instructions, whether for the operation of a washing machine, for driving a car, or for using computer software is extremely difficult to follow, let alone understand.

    Perhaps you have been irritated by what you believe is the low level of knowledge of the enquirer? If this is the case then I have to admit to having the same response to people when they talk about things with which I am knowledgeable and familiar. But we forget that there are times when we are all in the role of a teacher. Progress comes through patience and successfully passing information on to others.

  7. PagosaDon

    For those of you wanting to dual boot Windows & Linux, Ubuntu and Mint (my favorite) make it very easy to install in the Windows environment. You can even install Ubuntu in a Windows directory to try the dual booting. If you don’t like it just go to the installation directory and run WUBI to remove Ubuntu and restore your system to Windows single boot in under ten seconds! This can also be done with Mint but requires a distro w/o CODECS. Therefore if you plan on just trying out Linux, use Ubuntu. Neither the Ubuntu or Mint install requires any knowledge of the GRand Unified Boot loader (GRUB). Be careful though, you may never want to go back;-)

  8. Paul Silvan

    What about triple boot, ie Win7, Linux Mint and Win XP all on the same machine? Too much to ask for?

  9. squirrle

    Dual boot windows 7 on an ubuntu system?

  10. johny

    hi there maybe u can put tutorial to install snow leopard os on windows laptop

  11. Hector

    I have recently dual and triple booted with Win XP/Linux Mint/Linux OS.

    I had an extra PC that was formerly my kids and went about for the sole purpose of a multi-boot box. If I may break it down into 3 easy steps.

    Using Mint:

    1)Boot to the “LIVE” cd
    2)Click on the “INSTALL” icon
    3)Walk away and come back to finalize your configuration.

    Personally I hate it myself when some people say “yeah, it’s easy just do this and this…” without details. The reality is that sometimes it’s just that easy.

  12. Lisa Wang

    I tried mint-xp a few weeks ago,made a dedicated partition for mint. installation went successful,but then everytime i boot,it would be straight to xp,and said it need disk checking.

    tried to change default os,but it didn’t show mint,instead it listed xp and xp(tuneup utilities blablablarecovery)

    if it really unsuccessful,i’d like to liberate the 10gb i gave to mint and restore it to ntfs.

    i refrain from using restore point because i had changed so much,including taking 10gb from c for making new partition for mint.

    any advice?

  13. Airidh

    @Lisa, I’m guessing here, because you don’t give an awful lot of information, but here is one possibility:

    I’m assuming you had XP already installed and are trying to add mint. Recent releases of mint use GRUB2 to boot. If, on installation, you opted to install GRUB2 in the linux (mint) partition, XP or your boot manager may not recognise it. I had this problem. There seem to be two possible solutions:

    1. If you have a mint Live CD, or any other linux live CD, I believe you can use it to install lilo in the linux partition, as boot manager, instead of GRUB2; and XP or whatever will probably recognise it. This option does not affect your XP installation, so is worth a try. (I haven’t tried it.:-( ).

    If this still doesn’t work try GAG free boot manager. It can be used from a CD or even a floppy(!), doesn’t have to be installed, doesn’t affect your HD. GAG won’t recognise GRUB2 either, but should know about lilo.

    2. What I did, and it’s simpler: capitulate and opt to put GRUB2 in the MBR (sda). This is pretty well irreversible, well, difficult to reverse, but it should pick up XP and give you a dual boot. mint will be the default, but if you don’t like that, you can edit GRUB2 to default to XP (that has been gone into elsewhere, or you can google for istructions).

    WHATEVER YOU DECIDE, MAKE SURE THAT YOU CAN RECOVER FROM IT IF NECESSARY!!!! I made an Acronis image file before I started, so that I could make as many mistakes as I liked and just roll it back, however, it went well, so I didn’t need it.

    Hope this helps. Of course I may have got the wrong idea about what you are trying to do ….

  14. Simon Savage

    I have Vista and XP installed dual boot and wanted to get to know Ubuntu as getting pissed off with Microsoft bringing out Vista, Windows 7 and Now Windows 8. Tried to install Ubuntu but it didn’t work as Either a virtual ” installed within Windows” or installed on one of my four partitions. Just wouldn’t have it? I suppose I could get rid of XP, but my game don’t seem to like Vista. As for Windows I use Creative suit loads so need at least one Windows installation. I must admit I find the Linux partition table very confusing. It dosnt seem to show the partitions accurately by either size or name and being completely new to Linux I’m complete idiot?

  15. Airidh


    Simon’s post just reminded me of something: I assumed (perhaps wrongly) that you had XP installed in the first partition. If this is not the case, my option 2 gets more complicated. I had a lot of trial and error until I found that my pre-installed Windows was actually in the 2nd partition – the recovery partition was first – and I had to remove the recovery partition and shift Windows into the first. I didn’t mention that because it didn’t occur with my XP machine, which didn’t have a recovery partition; it was my Vista laptop that had the problem.

    @Simon: on the above Vista-pre-installed laptop, linux did not report the partitions correctly. I think this was because of the recovery partition which confused it – I have installed linux dual-booting on a number of machines, and there are loads of surprises.

    I have, however, installed Ubuntu in a virtual machine (Virtual Box) on the Vista laptop, but I think it was after I got rid of the recovery partition. Didn’t like VB so got rid of it and installed linux natively, but it did work.

    You say you are new to linux; well, I’m no linux guru, more a dabbler in operating systems! but if youi want to discuss, I’m happy. I should add perhaps that I’m a retired IT professional (mainframes), and since then have installed and used WIndows from 3.1 to W7, and a number of linuxes, always dual-booting.

    Best of luck!

  16. Lisa


    I suspected it was GRUB too, as many posts i read at forums mentioned it, but i got little to none comprehensible explanation about that(the GRUB loader). I didn’t get the option to install the GRUB loader, or the lilo you said. If you can tell how to do it, it’ll be very helpful.

    Yeah, i forgot to say that my default OS is XP and i’m trying to get it dual booting with mint.

    As for XP is installed at the first partition or not, that’s a good advice. I don’t remember whether my PC has a recovery partition or not. Gotta check it out.

    Thanks for your help!

  17. Airidh

    @Lisa, no, I don’t know how to replace Grub2 with lilo – I took the easy option – but I aim to find out. At the moment I am googling “how to replace grub with lilo”, and the resulting suggestions look interesting, especially one entitled “Bootloader showdown – get to know grub and lilo”.

    Obviously I’ll report back, but …. two minds might be better than one?

  18. jeff

    i have a mint machine. i need to use windows 7. i want to install 7 and remove mint altogether. all the forums show the reverse.

    please help.


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