Best way to Dual Boot Windows 7 Pro and Windows 10 Pro?

Though I have a fairly good understanding of how it's done, it has been a long while since I've needed set up a dual boot system. I'm finally going to switch my main Windows 7 Pro work machine over to Windows 10 Pro, so I'd like to get some advice on the best way to set up a dual boot scenario - which is the best software to use etc.

I dislike doing upgrades, so I want to do a fresh install of Win 10 Pro.

The System Specs of the machine I'm going to Install Windows 10 to (Courtesy of Speccy) is as follows:

Mainboard: Intel Corp DH67CL (LGA1155) AAG10212-208
BIOS: Intel Corp Version BLH6710H.86A.0119.2011.0523.1030
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-2600 CPU @3.40GHz
Chipset Model: Sandy Bridge
Installed Ram: 20.0 GB
Current Operating System: Windows 7 Professional - 64Bit SP1
System HDD: Samsung SSD 850 PRO 512G
Graphics: ATI AMD Radeon HD 5500 Series
Optical Drive: HL-DT-ST DVDRAM GH24NS90

I'm going to re-partition the Samsung SSD into 2 partitions so that I can work on the Win 10 Pro install when I have time, while I continue to work in Windows 7 Pro.

What do experts consider to be the best Dual Boot software to use for this purpose these days? Something that can be easily uninstalled once I decide that the transition is complete and I'm ready to kill the Windows 7 partition and then merge the two partitions together again?

Any gotcha's that I need to watch out for that I'm not aware of these days?

Some basic instructions and reasons for why you think one solution is the best etc. would also be appreciated.

Many thanks...

Andrew
LVL 18
Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Hi Andrew,
I've been using EasyBCD for many years to do dual (multiple, actually — it's not limited to two) booting:
http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/

It is free for personal, non-commercial use:
http://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/#comparison

It works very well. Here's a previous EE post of mine with some nice screenshots:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28943818/dual-boot-in-for-Windows-7-and-Windows-10.html#a41578882

Another way to go is to install W7 as a VM in W10, since you're going with W10 Pro, which includes Hyper-V. There are also third-party VM products, such as Oracle's VirtualBox and VMware Workstation Player. Regards, Joe
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Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
It's easy to do it.

First (if you have only one disk with WIndows 7) you must shrink it and create second partition.
If you already have 2 partitions and Windows 7 on first one you can start from here

If you need shrink (divide) partition, just go to Computer Management / disk management, right click on your C drive and select Shrink

Remember that for Windows 10 you must have minimum 100GB space or more.

Now you have 2 partitions so, download Windows 10 installation. Make Boot CD or flash drive and restart computer and boot it from your new prepared CD or USB Drive

This video can help you do it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApNeefM3pks

Next in setup screen you need to select Custom Install and select new created partition.

Windows 10 installator will automatically create multiboot option for you

Capture.JPG
Done.
Now you can use both systems.

If you decide to use Windows 10 in future and remove Windows 7, you can use EasyUS Partition Master to delete Windows 7 partition and Extend your Windows 10 partition using free space.

To edit your boot record and remove WIndows 7 from boot menu you can use BCDEDIT command.
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Tom,
Thank you for posting the detailed and well-illustrated information. I didn't realise Windows 10 had such a convenient dual boot feature so your answer was very much appreciated.

Joe,
Thank you for bringing EasyBCD to my attention and also for the link to your excellent previous post.

As I mentioned in my question, it's been quite some time since I've needed to do this (circa Windows 98 SE if memory serves) so I didn't know what third-party solutions were considered to be best these days. Any recommendation from yourself I personally hold with very high regard, so I will be checking EasyBCD out for myself very soon and will ping you with a link to a future question should I find anything with its use that I'm not too clear on.

Another way to go is to install W7 as a VM in W10, since you're going with W10 Pro, which includes Hyper-V. There are also third-party VM products, such as Oracle's VirtualBox and VMware Workstation Player.

I'm actually already doing that, both with another licensed copy of Windows 7 Pro and a licensed copy of Windows 10 Pro, though I choose to use Oracle's Virtual Box software rather than Microsoft's VMware solution, as I find Oracle's solution to be much more user-friendly and intuitive in use.

Indeed, I also have a few other Windows VM's configured and ready to use when I find cause for a trip back to memory lane :)

Oracle VirtualBox Manager Snapshot
My thanks to you both for your excellent responses. As I considered both responses to be equally valuable, I have split points equally.

Regards, Andrew
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Excellent advice and replies.

Sincere thanks to both of you.
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome, Andrew, and thanks to you for the thorough closing comment — always great to get feedback like that from askers.

W98
Windows 98?! Impressive! :)  Cheers, Joe
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Windows 98?! Impressive! :)

Haha.. I had a Windows 95 there as well until not too long ago, but removed it to reclaim some C: drive space :)
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Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
OK, time for me to come clean:
joeVM
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
Ahahahaha! I suspect we're so much alike, both you and I Joe :-)
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Tom CieslikIT EngineerCommented:
You are very welcome Andrew :)
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Andrew LeniartSenior EditorAuthor Commented:
@Tom Cieslik
Having now split my C drive into two partitions (I used EaseUS Partition Master 11.10 for that task as I already own it, rather than shrink the partition down as described in the video).

I can happily report that everything else worked precisely as you described Tom. The video you linked to was most helpful as I'm a visual person, so I very much enjoy and appreciate both screenshots and video's to learn from. Watching that short video gave me the confidence to go ahead and do it and as I installed on an SSD, it didn't take very long at all.

I gave Windows 10 200GB of space as I'll need to install all my programs and data to it before I can decommission my Windows 7 Pro installation, and because I also want to instal Linux on one of my other Internal Drives, I'll soon be installing Joe's suggestion of the EasyBCD utility as well.

I'll likely purchase the Pro version of EasyBCD once I confirm it suits me though as I make a point of owning a license for anything I use on a regular basis, even if it is free for personal use. Very reasonably priced so I figure why not have access to Support if I ever need it. Encourages the author to keep updating and improving it too :)

The only negative to all of this is that I've now used the one spare Windows 10 Pro Digital License I had, so the next one I need to get is going to be rather expensive! $399.00 AUD when I took a look. :)

Thanks again for your help Tom. Your help made the decision to just dive in and try very easy to make.

Andrew
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