How to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 8

Please note this article references a pre-release version of Windows 8, but the same principles apply to the final release of Windows 8.

Users of Microsoft’s 10 year old desktop operating system Windows XP might be interested in what comes next. With the free availability of the Windows 8 consumer preview, this is an opportunity to try it out and see if it might be something you will be willing to upgrade to. Of course, if you want to test it out, the best way to do it is by installing it on a partition. This will allow both Windows XP and Windows 8 CP to co-exist on the same computer. Also, you need to make sure your system meets the minimum requirements to run Windows 8. See below:

Windows 8 Consumer Preview system requirements:

  • 1 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver

One new element to Windows 8 is the requirement that Metro style applications have a minimum of 1024×768 screen resolution, and 1366×768 for the snap feature. If you attempt to launch a Metro style app with less than this resolution (e.g. 800×600, 1024×600) you will receive an error message.

Creating the partition

If your system is capable, then you are good to go. Before we do that though, we need to set aside some disk space for Windows 8, because the partitioning tools in Windows XP are quite primitive, I personally use Easeus Partition Manager to setup the partition. It’s a free download and is very easy to use, in addition to being non-destructive.

So, the first thing you need to do is download Easeus at the following link

Easeus Partition Master Home Edition –


Proceed to install Ease us:

Dual 1

Click Next, follow the easy on screen instructions.

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When the installation is complete, click Finish

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Click Go to main screen

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Select the drive you want to resize in the partition window

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Drag the knob until you have a desired amount of disk space to install Windows 8, then release it. In the above screenshot I have allocated 19 GBs of disk space.

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Click apply to apply the changes you just made.

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Click Yes

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Click Yes

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Your computer will restart a few times and changes will be made to the partition layout, this process is hands free, so no interaction is required.

Installing Windows 8

After the partition is created, you will be booted to the Windows XP desktop. You cannot do a custom install of Windows 8 from within Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7. You will have to boot from the Windows 8 DVD. If you are using the Web Installer, make sure you use the option to create a bootable Windows 8 DVD using the .ISO file or bootable thumb drive.

After inserting the Windows 8 disc, restart your computer and boot from the DVD.

To learn how to change your BIOS options to boot from the DVD drive, see the following tutorial:

How To Load BIOS and Change Boot Configuration :

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Once your computer is set to boot from the DVD, you should see this option.

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The Windows 8 logo will appear on screen, this might be here for a while, as long as your see the indicater, everything should be ok.

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You should now arrive at this screen, select your time and currency format then click Next.

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Click Install Now

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Wait while setup starts up

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Enter your product key when prompted.  The product key should have been available to you when you downloaded the .ISO file for Windows 8. Click Next

You will need to use the prodcuct key listed on the ISO Download Page here

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Accept the End User License agreement and click Next

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Click Custom install Windows only (advanced)

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Select the partition you created for it then click Next. You have the option of Formatting the drive and creating additional partition’s if you wish. Click Drive Options.

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-51-51

Wait while Windows 8 installs. Installation time can vary depending on the speed of your disk, processor and the amount of installed memory.

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-51-55

After the installation is complete, click Restart now or wait on Windows 8 to do it.

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-52-16

Windows 8 will boot for the first time, a series of action will take place such as:

  • Setup is updating your registry

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-52-37

Windows 8 will prompt you to choose the operating system you want to boot into. Select Windows 8 of course, since we are not finished configuring it.

Additional task to complete include:

  • Getting devices ready

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-53-05

Additional task to complete include:

  • Getting system ready
  • Restarting PC

After the restart is complete, you will see the following screen:

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-54-03

Click Windows 8 to enter the Out of box experience. The OOBE will allow you to configure Windows 8 with a user name, setup a Microsoft Account and personalize your Windows Experience.

Out of Box Experience

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-45-32

Select your Windows color

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-45-53

Click Use express settings

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-46-05

Setup an account name and password then click Finish

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-46-11

Wait while your settings are finalized.

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-46-18

logging into Windows 8 for the first time.

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-46-50

You are now running Windows 8.

When you want to boot into Windows XP, click ‘Earlier version of Windows’ on the boot manager.

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-10-54-03


If you plan on using Windows XP more often than Windows 8, you can let Windows XP be the default option everytime you boot Windows, this will avoid the need to restart Windows 8 when you click on the option above. The reason why this occurs is because the new boot manager is actually a fully booted Windows 8 environment. To change this option, do the following:

In Windows 8, open More Settings

To do this, go to the start screen

Start typing: view Advanced System Settings

Click Settings

Click view Advanced System Settings
Under Advance tab > Start up and Recovery, click Settings
Under System Startup, click in the Default Operating System: list box
Select Earlier versions of Windows
Change the ‘Time to display list of operating systems’ to 90 seconds

Windows XP Professional-2012-03-04-11-58-38

Everytime you shutdown and boot up select ‘Earlier version of Windows’ and you will be booted into Windows XP directly.


Filed under 8 Journal, Windows 8

58 responses to “How to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 8

  1. Pingback: How to dual boot Windows Vista/7 and Windows 8 | Teching It Easy: with Windows

  2. Roman

    Hi. I have a problem after I pasted the activation key, I get some error, and the computer doing restart and start recovery of the old system.

  3. ara

    I have installed windows 8 I want a dual boot with windows 8 and windows xp.i have windows.old would I do it??

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  5. PatrickGSR94

    I used the EASEUS program to shrink my primary C: drive to make room for another partition. That all went fine, partition formatted and everything. But when I put in the Win8 DVD made from the ISO and boot up with it, I only get a black screen with a #1 and #2 option, both are blank (just the numbers) and then below that it says to choose a boot option or something like that. Any idea why that might be happening?

  6. Pingback: 20 Plus Tips to Get Started with Windows 8 | Teching It Easy: with Windows

  7. I was wondering the way yo do it…thanks for giving me the good way to go =)!

  8. Mick

    Thank you for this clear guide.

  9. Pingback: Win8 alongside XP

  10. Dave

    Will this still work with the final release of Windows 8, or was this functionality limited to the preview release?

      • Richard M

        Are you sure? Have you actually done this? Other
        forums claim this is possible only if you purchase the
        full Windows 8 version, not the Upgrade offer for
        $39.99. They say that the Upgrade version cancels
        your prior OS product key at Microsoft’s end. You need two full purchase price licenses to wind up
        with a dual boot system without your prior Os
        being overwritten or invalidated by the Upgrade
        installation. Can anyone clarify this situation?

      • You are correct, you will need the full version OEM System Builder license in order to install Windows 8 on a blank partition.
        There are no full retail versions of Windows 8. If you need a full version, you will need to purchase the Windows 8 Pro OEM from New Egg. This requires a custom clean install.
        Windows 8 Pro
        64 Bit (OEM)
        Windows 8 Pro
        32 Bit (OEM)
        Windows 8
        64 Bit (OEM)
        Windows 8
        32 Bit (OEM)

  11. Oscar Guida

    No me esta funcionando el correo de ntread del Office 2017 con Windows 8

  12. Curtis Luffman

    Created a partition as descibed , all went well. Attempted to boot from CD and all I get is a blue screen of WIN 8 with the 4 tiles

  13. Curtis Luffman

    Ref comment above, should have said “black” screen with 4 “blue” tile

  14. Curtis

    Created a partition as stated above, all went well, now when I attempt to boot from CD all I get is a black screen and the 4 blue tile of Win 8

  15. manego

    I have a peculiar situation on my pc now. I already partitioned the disk and installed windows Vista on a partition and windows Xp on another, starting with a text menu that let me choose the OS to start with.
    I’d like to upgrade Windows Vista to WIndows 8 leaving me the option to boot in xp. Do you know if this should works simply upgrading Vista to 8?

    • Yes, it will work, Windows 8 will add an entry to its new graphical boot manager called ‘Earlier version of Windows’ allowing you to boot into Windows XP.

      • manego

        Thank you very much, i’ll try soon, after a full backup, just in case 😉

      • manego

        Everything worked just fine. Thank you

      • schulzk

        Hi, nice description.

        Is there an way to add a boot for XP afterwards? Background: I installed Win 8 on a new disk while the former system disk was unplugged. Now I plugged in this disk and would like to add a boot of XP System residing on that disk?

  16. Reid

    I just bought a HP 2000 Notebook with Windows 8 on it. I need to load autocad release 14 on it and it is not working . It has worked on Windows XP. Something about 32 bit & 64 bit is problem with this version of autocad. What do you think? Thanks!

  17. Guillemette

    Very good and I wonder: can you do the reverse… ie: install XP in a Windows 8 computer so as to be able to install older software?

  18. curioso

    What if I eliminate Win 8. Will I have a problem booting to WinXP? How do I regain the space used by Win 8?

  19. Stappjno

    I’m trying to do it the other way. Win8 is already installed on a new machine. Now i want to add winXP. Can I install XP to another partition? How can I modify the boot options of Win8 without starting it?

  20. Tim

    Alas, I found your page 1 day too late!
    I set up a dual boot system, with 2 disks, both on XP. Then upgraded one of them to Windows8.
    Now, Windows8 is the only working system! But I can see that the XP installation looks intact on the C: drive.
    Any idea how I can recover it?

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  22. Hans

    Can I still open and use the files from programs I am using on a Windows 8 computer if I transfer them back to my other Windows 7 Computers?

  23. WhatsInAName

    Best manual on the net! Excellent!!!

  24. I think you should mention that one MUST chkdsk and defragment the original Windows XP partition prior to resizing. Otherwise Easeus might start its work, then show an error in the midst, and kill the partition.

  25. Pingback: Time For a New Desktop » WhiteEagle's Aerie

  26. manthepost

    will this same guide work for me if im allready using windows 8 and want to put xp on here to dual boot ?

  27. shou

    thats ok..but i install win8 on win i lost xp boot option.only 8 runs on my to get back my xp

  28. karthik

    i have installed windows 8 first what can i do

  29. Pingback: How to prepare your PC to test Windows 8.1 Preview | Teching It Easy: with Windows

  30. I every time spent my half an hour to read this web site’s content everyday along with a cup of coffee.

  31. Zuhaa Qureshe

    Clean Installation Win8pro On New hhd
    Want to install XP now on separate Partition?
    And root is supported on win8?
    PS very nice guide I faced similar problem with win vista and 7

  32. Barclay

    Okay, for me it´s not working. I have; 500 GB HD; with XP, and Later on, I made a Linux (Mint) on it (400:100). Now, i use GParted, to reduce the size of the Win Partition, so i got 100GB free (in the Middle). I did all steps u recommand, but i can´t install, cause he is telling me… There is a MBR- can´t install windows. I try to do the step from XP (Upgrade), but i can´t do it seperatly (it will destroy my XP) – so… what can i do???

  33. Hredoy

    without participen i can use win8?

  34. Hello,

    Thanks for the beautiful guidance

    Need one favour could you please Explain how to install windows xp on windows 8

    Example i have a laptop which has win 8 with two partition i want to instal win xp and make it dual boot..

    Hence i request your guidance

    Rahul Sharma

  35. I have XP in C driver and i wants 8 in E driver which is empty.without EASEUS is possible?

  36. Bob Friendship

    Adacosta, you are the TOP MAN! Thanks for your clear and concise help with this issue! Best wishes, Bobbus, UK.

  37. krishnakishore

    in dual os which os is to be insalled first in pc bcoz windows xp is lower version than windows 8 so i need a help to install dual boot in my pc

    • If the computer came preinstalled with Windows 8, your only option to use Windows XP is in a Virtual Machine.

      If its an older computer, its best you have Windows XP installed first.

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  39. raj

    i have a laptop with window 8 installed .. now i want double boot it with window xp . can any body give me some idea how to proceed . it have 3 partition with 3 drive .

  40. Frank

    When I boot using the Win 8 DVD, it boots into Windows XP.

  41. Frank

    I tried this, but booting from the USB booted into the existing Win XP.

  42. Nilesh Prajapat

    Thank you Guruji

  43. Vernon

    adacosta, what if I have created a 46GB empty partition in my XP Pro drive and named it Windows 10. Will I be able to install and run Windows 10 into that partition and then get back into XP? I recommend Classic Shell for my 8.1 laptop and there is a newer “beta” verison of Classic Shell for Windows 10. I believe it is Classic Shell 4.2.0 rather than the 4.1.0 of the Classic Shell that works in Windows 8.1 Makes the desktop look and you have control again like it was in Windows XP.

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