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Dual-boot guide: how to install Windows 11 and Windows 10 on the same PC (in the best and easiest way)

windows 11 dual boot with windows 10

Would you like to try Windows 11 but don’t want to upgrade your computer without first getting familiar with the new Microsoft operating system? The solution is called dual-boot, a technique thanks to which we can install Windows 11 alongside Windows 10 or Windows 7 on the same PC. You will then be able to choose which operating system to use each time the computer starts! This is the quick guide to dual-booting with Windows 11, in which we will see how to achieve the result in the best, fastest and easiest way possible

 

The procedure below was tested by dual-booting Windows 11 with Windows 10, but is valid regardless of which version of Windows you are already using. This means that the steps are the same for dual-booting Windows 11 with Windows 7 or Windows 8 or earlier.

The end result is exactly what you expect: once you have completed the procedure described below, every time you turn on your PC you will be shown a simple menu from which to choose whether to start Windows 11 or Windows 10. It’s the magic of dual-booting!

How to Install Windows 11 Windows 10 Same PC (Best Easier Way)

The procedure is not difficult, but it is a bit complex. Specifically, you will need to perform the following steps:

  1. check the requirements and download the necessary
  2. backup: create a current disk image
  3. prepare the current operating system
  4. get the partition for Windows 11
  5. start the installation of Windows 11
  6. install Windows 11 on the new partition
  7. activate dual-boot


Below we will see each step in detail. Let’s begin!

ON THIS PAGE: Dual-boot guide: how to install Windows 11 and Windows 10 on the same PC (in the best and easiest way)

 

 

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Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 1: What do we need?


Since you will be installing Windows 11 alongside Windows 10, your PC must have at least 100GB of free space available. Of these, 60 GB will be dedicated to Windows 11, while you will leave the other 40 GB free, available to the operating system you already use.

Then you need the Windows 11 ISO image. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you can get it from here:

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The PC must then meet the minimum requirements to run Windows 11. If your PC does not meet them, you must modify the Windows 11 ISO image as described in this other study:

By doing this, you will be able to install Windows 11 on any computer.

Finally, you need to burn the Windows 11 ISO image to DVD, or prepare the USB stick.

Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 2: Backup!


By following this guide, you install Windows 11 alongside Windows 10. As a result, you shouldn’t lose any files – your current copy of Windows 10, with all documents and programs, will continue to work exactly as before.

But the conditional is a must, and something could go wrong: a click on the wrong button, a power failure, a failure of the hard disk or another stroke of bad luck are all possible events, which could compromise the procedure and make the PC is unusable. It is therefore HIGHLY recommended to prepare a backup in advance. Better still: you should create a disk image, in order to restore everything, down to the last bit !, to the current situation in case of malfunctions.

 

Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 3: Prepare Windows 10


Before even installing Windows 11 alongside Windows 10 we need to do some cleaning of the current operating system. Then turn on the PC as usual and arrive at the desktop of the current version of Windows.

Then close as many programs as possible, including antivirus, background utilities, peer-to-peer software, and so on. Yes, it’s a nuisance, but … yes, in this specific case it’s (very) important.

Now do some cleaning:

  1. uninstall the programs you no longer use.
  2. use the Windows 10 Disk Cleanup Tool
  3. clean the disk with CCleaner (or BleachBit or another similar alternative program)
Dual-boot guide: how to install Windows 11 Windows 10 same PC (best way easier) - dual-boot windows

If you are wondering why this is indicated, suffice it to say that the aim is to free up as much space as possible, but also to maximize the effectiveness of the defragmentation.

In fact, if the PC still mounts an old magnetic hard disk with spinning platters, and not a faster SSD, it is critical to carry out the defragmentation of the disk now: press the keyboard combination Win + R to invoke Run and launch the dfrgui command .exe to start Disk Defragmenter. Then use it to defragment the main hard drive. This takes some time, but is crucial for a successful dual-boot.

Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 4: Obtain the partition for Windows 11


After defragmentation is complete:

  • right-click the Start button
  • choose the Disk Management item


We will now use this utility to shrink the Windows 10 partition and free up a “slice” of disk for the new version. To do this, right-click on the main disk and select Shrink Volume …

Now enter in the only editable text field the amount of space to free, using the Megabyte as the unit of measurement. Typing 60000 frees up the 60 GB mentioned at the beginning

                Dual-Boot Guide: How to Install Windows 11 Windows 10 Same PC (Best Easier Way)

If you have plenty of disk space available, feel free to use 80000 (80GB) or even 120000 (120GB) without worry, but remember to leave at least 40GB for Windows 10 at least!

»Read also: Windows 11 Live CD / USB: ISO Direct Download and Full Guide (Updated: January 2022)

Confirm, wait a few moments and the new free “disk slice” (partition) will be shown in graphic form: it is the rectangle with the words Unallocated

Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 5: Start the Windows 11 installation


Now insert the Windows 11 DVD or connect the USB stick to the PC, then restart the PC.

The Windows 11 setup should appear automatically. If not, you have to change the boot order to boot from DVD or USB: our article “Starting a computer from CD-ROM or pendrive” offers detailed instructions for doing this ride

Dual-Boot Guide: How to Install Windows 11 Windows 10 Same PC (Best Easier Way)

As soon as you are able to boot your PC from DVD or USB, you will be prompted with the message Press any key to boot from CD-ROM or DVD-ROM …

Dual-boot guide: how to install Windows 11 Windows 10 same PC (best easier way) – press a key to boot from cd-rom or dvd-rom

As soon as you see this message, type any key on the keyboard and, a few moments later, you will find yourself in front of the screen for selecting the language, currency and keyboard layout

Dual-Boot Guide: How to Install Windows 11 Windows 10 Same PC (Best Easier Way)

From here on, advance through the installation, stopping at the “What Kind of Installation Do You Want to Perform” and try to read this article, because is essential to know  How Windows 11 Works.

In case you receive the error message It is not possible to run Windows 11 on this PC, it means that your computer does not meet the minimum requirements necessary to install Windows 11, but you have not correctly made the modification to the ISO image indicated at the beginning of the ‘item. You can get around the limitation as described here:

Once you reach the What type of installation do you want to perform? Screen, you must choose the second option: Custom: Install Windows only (advanced option)

 

Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 6: Where do you want to install Windows?


This will take you to the Where do you want to install Windows? Screen, which lists the partitions into which your computer’s hard drive is divided. Among these, note the one we got a moment ago: you can recognize it by its name, Unallocated Space, and by its size, which is roughly equal to the value you entered when you worked with the Disk Management utility in the previous steps.

Select it and continue by clicking Next.

This will start copying the files. I remind you that the PC will start several times, and each time the message Press any key to boot from CD-ROM or DVD-ROM will appear for a few seconds

 

You will always have to ignore this message, or the Windows 11 setup will start over from the beginning.

From here on, continue following the instructions of the wizard until you get to the Windows 11 desktop.

Dual-boot Windows 11, Step 7: Enable dual boot


Once we reach the Windows 11 desktop we need to enable the dual boot menu, which is the one that allows you to choose the operating system to use every time the PC is turned on. Proceed like this:

  1. right-click the Start button
  2. choose System
  3. follow the Advanced system settings link

 

Dual-boot guide: how to install Windows 11 Windows 10 same PC (best easier way) - press a key to boot from cd-rom or dvd-rom

From the screen that opened, click on the Settings button in the Startup and recovery section. From the dialog box that opened, first note the drop-down menu at the top: it is the one that allows you to choose the default operating system, that is, the one that must be loaded automatically if you do not choose anything within a few seconds from the dual boot menu:

  • choose Windows 10 if you have installed Windows 11 just to give it a try, but intend to continue using mainly Windows 10
  • choose Windows 11 if you intend to mainly use Microsoft’s new operating system, and have decided to keep Windows 10 only as a backup option, to be used only in case of problems


Immediately below, note the View OS List box – this is the option you need to turn on in order to view the dual-boot menu. Do it now!

Finally, on the right of this item you will find a numerical value, in seconds: it is the time you will have to explicitly choose one of the operating systems when starting the PC. After this time without any choice, the operating system you have chosen as default in the drop-down menu above will start. Confirm repeatedly and we’re done.

Welcome, dual-boot!


At this point, remember to extract the installation DVD or USB key, then restart your PC to admire the result. Each time it is turned on, the PC shows the screen that allows you to choose which operating system to boot. You can choose to your liking one or the other

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Note that the dual-boot made with Windows 11 and Windows 10 is much more advanced than what was seen on previous generations. In the past, the second operating system was installed on the D: partition, causing compatibility and management problems. Now, however, each of the two operating systems is installed on a separate partition, but still identified as C :, and it “sees” the other in the drive with the next identifier (D :, generally).

This setting is convenient because it allows you to access the same files from both environments, but it has a downside. If a malware enters while working in one of the two operating systems, it is possible that the other is also compromised (this is not always the case: the behavior is linked to the level of sophistication of the specific malware).

To drastically reduce the chances of this happening, it is sufficient to hide, from inside each of the two environments, the partition of the other.

By doing so, the two systems will remain more isolated but, obviously, it will not be possible to access each other’s documents. Enjoy Your Dual Boot !