How To Dual Boot Windows XP And Windows 8

A few weeks ago, we published a detailed tutorial on how to dual boot Windows 8 and Windows 7. Just like Vista and Windows 7 users, Windows XP users may also like to install Windows 8 in dual boot with XP.

Windows 8 logo

Just doing a simple search on Google or Bing reveals that installing Windows 8 in dual boot with Windows XP is not as easy as it sounds. Users are reporting that the Windows 8 boot loader simply ignores the XP boot entry during installation. The result is you don’t get Windows XP entry in dual boot menu. So, if you are trying to install Windows 8 in dual boot with XP, make sure that you follow the every step given below to install and run Windows 8 in dual boot with Windows XP.

NOTE: We assume that your PC is running Windows XP and is bootable.

Step 1: As you are here to install Windows 8 on a separate partition, you first need to create a new partition or format an existing partition. We suggest a partition with minimum 20 GB free space (see Windows 8 system requirements).

To create a new partition you may need to use third-party tools such as the Partition Wizard (free). On the other hand, you can also simply format an existing drive (after moving your data) to make space for Windows 8. To format an existing partition, open My Computer, right-click on the drive that you want to format and select Format option to open Drive Properties. Here, select File System as NTFS and then click Format button to quickly format the drive.

Step 2: Once you are done with the new partition for Windows 8 installation, the next step is to download Windows 8 ISO from Microsoft. You can use these direct links to download your Windows 8 ISO. Both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 8 versions are available at the download page. But if you are not sure which version of Windows 8 to download, we suggest you download 32-bit (x86) Windows 8.

Step 3: The next step is to create a bootable media. If your PC supports booting from USB drive, you can follow our step-by-step install Windows 8 from USB guide to create a bootable Windows 8 USB. You can also check out list of free software to create bootable Windows 8 USB.


You can use Nero or any other burning software to burn the ISO file onto a DVD to create a Windows 8 bootable DVD.

Step 4: Insert your Windows 8 DVD into optical drive or connect Windows 8 USB drive to your PC, make necessary changes to the BIOS to boot from USB or DVD and restart your PC. If you have connected a bootable USB, the setup should begin automatically. And if you have used a bootable DVD, you may need to press any key when you see Press any key to continue message.

Step 5: From here on, follow our Windows 8 installation procedure (step-by-step guide) to complete Windows 8 installation on your system. Once done, reboot your PC and make sure that you get Earlier version of Windows option in the boot menu. If you can’t see your Windows XP entry (Earlier version of Windows entry) in the boot menu, follow the next step to add Windows XP entry to the boot loader.

Step 6: Reboot your PC and boot into Windows 8. Open Run dialog box, type sysdm.cpl and hit enter key to open System Properties dialog. Switch to Advanced tab, and click Settings button under Startup and Recovery section. Here, select Earlier version of Windows as default operating system. Click Ok and then Apply button.

Dual Boot Windows 8 And XP Step6

Dual Boot Windows 8 And XP Step5

Dual Boot Windows 8 And XP

You are done! You have successfully added Windows XP boot entry to the boot loader. Reboot your PC to see Earlier version of Windows (Windows XP) entry in the boot menu. Good luck!

NOTE: The only downside of this method is that the graphical boot menu of Windows 8 disappears after you set Windows XP as default OS.



  1. Gary says

    If your downloading 8 into your new partition double the space. Be patient. Lose some hair, sleep. Worked great for awhile. Uninstalled some junk downloaded w/ “free” image burner, now ntldr error. As soon as chkdsk /R is done, we will attack from 8 as above. Sounds promising.
    Q: Are computers really labor saving devices?
    Thanks, Gary

  2. Ali Ahmed says

    i have windows 8 installed on i5 system and want to install windows xp in dual boot mode, help please

  3. jujuju says

    MultiBoot XP con Windows-8-Vista-Seven para trabajar con dos o más sistemas operativos:
    ejecute en CMD con derechos de administrador el siguiente comando en Windows-Vista-Seven-Eigth y reinicias inmediatamente el Computador:
    “bcdedit /set {bootmgr} default {ntldr}”

    y adicionalmente en XP debe crear un archivo de nombre “Boot.BAK” con el Block de Notas, lo debes guardar en la partición que contenga el XP al ladito de los archivos “NTLDR, NDETECT, IO, HIBERFIL, BOOTMGR, AUTOEXEC, PAGEFILE” y le escribe el siguiente texto teniendo en cuenta los sistemas operativos que poseas instalados, por ejemplo para Windows Vista con XP:

    ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
    ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition” /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows Vista Home Edition” /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT


  4. ME says

    Thanks for the article, I will be putting it to use.
    I am planning on installing Windows 8 as dual boot on a machine with 32-bit XP installed. The computer has an i5 Intel processor, so certainly supports 64-bit.

    Can I install Windows 8 64-bit as a dual boot with Windows XP 32-bit?

    Thank you for your answer.

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