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Windows 7: Need to dual boot Win 7 and 8 but HDD already has 4 primary partitions

02 Sep 2013   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
Need to dual boot Win 7 and 8 but HDD already has 4 primary partitions

Hi everyone,

I have Windows 7 Pro 64-bit installed on my Acer V3-571G and I've decided that I want to install Windows 8 on a separate partition and setup the system for dual booting. My problem as the title states is that 4 primary partitions already exist on this HDD. The recovery partition and the system reserved are 2 of it. The C drive is where my current OS is installed and the F drive is where I have my movies, files, games etc stored. My plan was to reallocate some of the space of the F drive to a new partition which is where I'll install windows 8. But I can't create a 5th primary drive.
I thought about changing the F drive to a logical drive but I'm not sure whether that will destroy the files stored in it and I don't currently have another medium to backup up my data to. Plus I heard that an OS can't boot from those so now I'm at lost. I've attached a picture of the disk management to help you all. I also have Paragon Hard Disk Manager if that helps.


Attached Thumbnails
Need to dual boot Win 7 and 8 but HDD already has 4 primary partitions-new-picture-1-.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Sep 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello mate, as a start have a look through the Method Two of the tutorial linked below for some ideas.

The second tutorial may also be a help.

Partition / Extended : Logical Drives

System Reserved : Multi Boot from Logical Partitions
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Sep 2013   #3
Microsoft MVP


Easiest would be to use PW in Method Two of the first tutorial Barefoot linked above to convert F to Logical,.

Then either use Disk Mgmt to Shrink F from the right by as much as you want for Win8 to add another Logical partition there, or if you want Win8 closer to the left side to get faster reads-writes use PW boot CD to Resize F from the left.

The boot the Win8 installer to install to the new Logical partition you created, which should configure the Dual Boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

03 Sep 2013   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

So let me get this straight, I need to use PW to convert the F drive from Primary to Logical first, and then shrink F by as much as I need for my Windows 8 installation. I just have a few questions regarding that. When converting to a Logical drive, is the data already stored safe or does the process destroy what's present? As I said, I don't currently have a medium to transfer the F partition contents elsewhere (I have a 1 TB external drive but its 85% used and there isn't enough space for the F partition contents)

Also, since I'll be dual booting, you all suggest that the System Reserved partition be around 200MB to be on the safe side and avoid any problems. Can I use the PW tool to shrink the C volume and reallocate that space to the System Reserved partition after converting the F drive to a Logical one?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2013   #5
Microsoft MVP


Conversion to Logical using PW has never resulted in data loss that Ive seen, but your data should always be backed up anyway. If not then I'd shrink F using Disk Mgmt which won't fail while all others can except PW CD which I would only use if you absolutely want Win8 to the left of F.

I would not mess with SysResrved. Just leave it be til we see how it configures the dual boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2013   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

I haven't quite got a grasp over this left/right side of the partition scenario. If I shrink the volume from the right, does that mean that my Windows 8 would be installed further from the beginning of the HDD? And that would lead to lower read/write speeds? Is the slowdown noticeable or it wouldn't matter; this is the first time I hear about this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Sep 2013   #7
Microsoft MVP


The performance difference is very minute.

But if you have no backup for your data on F then I would shrink it with Disk mgmt which is safest.

If you can back up your data (which should be done anyway since the HD could die at any time) then I'd shrink it from the left using PW CD, or just delete F and create two new Logical partitions there using Barefoot's tutorial.

Keep in mind that the Acer factory preinstall is an inferior install of Windows 7 so the best choice of all would be to follow the steps in Clean Reinstall OEM booting the Windows 7 installer to delete all partitions, create three new ones (ignoring the Sys Reserved partition) format and install Windows 7 first, then Win8. But that's more of a goal, if you value having the best possible install of Windows 7 instead of the worst.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2013   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

So I went ahead with the safest method, converted the F partition to a Logical partition using PW and then I shrunk it using Disk Management. Windows 8 installed on the newly created partition without a hitch and is running quite smoothly; much faster than Windows 7 too when I first got it I must say.

I'm just curious about the dual-boot menu though. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't the menu be presented right after BIOS load screen? I ask because in my case, Windows 8 appears to load first and only then I'm presented with a choice of which OS to boot into.
Choosing windows 8 continues loading into the OS but choosing windows 7 restarts the laptop which then begins booting into Windows 7.

And thanks for the suggestion regarding the recovery partition. I'll look into that sometime later. Is there a guide on how to replace an OEM recovery partition with a custom windows 7 installation to avoid all the bloatware? (One that doesn't require deleting all the partitions i.e. simply to replace the OEM partition with my own version of it)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2013   #9
Microsoft MVP


Yes, that is the way Win8 configures the Dual Boot. For all that you get the nice Metro Dual Boot menu. You can get it more streamlined moving the System boot files to Windows 7 then adding Win8 using EasyBCD, but I'd not bother.

I just gave a link in my last post for how to get a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7, even specifying to delete all partitions during steps 7/8 of Clean Install Windows 7, create three new ones to Install Windows 7 to first one (ignoring 100mb System partition), Win8 to second one, then reimporting your backed-up data to the third.

It explains in the tutorial how to save a Windows 7 backup image externally after its all set up and running perfectly, to use in place of Reinstall. You can include Win8 in the image. This is more practical than an onboard Recovery Partition which is lost if the HD fails.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2013   #10



Attached Thumbnails
Need to dual boot Win 7 and 8 but HDD already has 4 primary partitions-disk-partition.png  
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Need to dual boot Win 7 and 8 but HDD already has 4 primary partitions

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