Would you like to install two operating systems on your PC but are afraid of combining disasters? Do not worry about it. Although many think that it is an operation reserved for IT experts, I can assure you that installing two different operating systems on one PC (for example, Windows 10 and Windows 8.x, or Windows 10 and Ubuntu) is relatively straightforward. The important thing is to create partitions on the disk that we have adequate measures for the operating systems to be installed and correctly configure the boot loader.

The bootloader, if you've never heard of it, is the software that provides instructions on what to load during the PC's boot phase, that is, the operating system. But now let's not get too lost in the conversation and discover together how to install two operating systems On the same PC I assure you that this is a much less complex operation than you imagine.

If you want to install two copies of Windows on your PC, one copy of Windows combined with a Linux distribution or one copy of Windows and one copy of macOS (in case you have one Mac), below you will find all the answers to your questions. I wish you a good read and lots of fun!

Preliminary operations

  • Backup of data - To install several operating systems on the same PC, you must change the disk partitions. This operation is safe and does not necessarily imply data loss, however, before starting, I recommend that you make a backup of all your files and copy them to an external drive (for example, a HDD laptop or a flash drive USB).
  • configuration BIOS /UEFI - If your PC is recent enough and uses UEFI instead of the older BIOS, you may need to adjust some settings of the latter before installing a new operating system. For example, to install a version of Windows earlier than 8 or a Linux distribution, you must be able to disable Safe start (a function that prevents the starting of operating systems without a specific digital signature) and / or enables the mode Legacy bios (which emulates the old BIOS). Also, regardless of the use of UEFI or BIOS, you may have to change the order of boot devices, giving priority to the CD / DVD drive or USB ports. Didn't you understand much? Don't worry, you'll find everything explained in much more detail in my tutorial on how to enter BIOS / UEFI.

Change disk partitions

Ready to start work? Perfect, let's get started! As I just mentioned, the first step you need to take to install two operating systems on the same PC, divide the HDD (mechanical or SSD that is) creating a partition capable of housing the second operating system that you want to install on the latter. To help you with this task, you can use the excellent free MiniTool Partition Wizard Home. Therefore, connected to its official website, click on the button Local download placed next to the wording Edition participation to download it to your PC.

Once the download is complete, double-click it to open the software installation package (eg. pwfree91.exe ) and click first yes and then siguiente five times in a row install y finished to complete the configuration.

Now you can start MiniTool Partition Wizard Home by double-clicking its icon on the Windows desktop and pressing the button Launch application present on your home screen. Once the operation is complete, you are ready to start!

To create a new partition on your hard drive, you must first shrink the main system partition and remove the space that will be used to install the new operating system. Then select the entry for the system partition (eg. C: ) from the main window of MiniTool Partition Wizard Home and click on the button Move / Resize present in the program toolbar to start the resizing procedure for the selected partition.

In the window that opens, use the text field Partition size to specify the new dimensions to be assigned to the system partition (that is, the current value minus what you want to use on the partition to install the new operating system on) and click first good and then apply (top left) e yes to apply the changes. If you are asked to reboot the system, accept and wait for the partition to automatically resize when the PC is turned on again.

As for the dimensions to be assigned to the new partition (and therefore subtracted from the system), use these minimum reference values.

  • 25-30 GB for Windows 10, Windows 8.x, Windows 7 and Vista.
  • 15-20 GB guidance on Windows XP and Ubuntu (in the latter case, you will also have to create an additional swap partition as large as the one RAM installed on your PC).

Once Windows has restarted, open it again MiniTool Partition Wizard Home through its icon on the desktop and, in the window that opens, select the unallocated space obtained by resizing the system partition ( *: ) by right clicking.

Then click on the item crear present in the menu that appears and, in the window that opens, type the name you want to assign to the partition in the field Partition label and click first good and then apply (top left) e yes to create the partition on which to install your second operating system. Field File System leave it on NTFS if you want to install Windows or configure it in EXT4 if you want to install Linux.

note: If you are using a recent version of Windows (from Vista onwards), you can also partition the disk using the "standard" disk management utility present in the operating system. I explained how to do it in my guide on how to partition hard drive however I still recommend using MiniTool Partition Wizard Home which seems a bit more intuitive to me.

Also, you should know that Ubuntu includes a partition management tool that allows you to support Linux with Windows without partitioning the disk beforehand. I told you this in great detail in my tutorial on how to install Ubuntu from USB.

How to install the second operating system

Once the partition is created, all you have to do is install your second operating system on your PC. First, however, if you have not already done so, obtain or create the media for the latter installation. Here are some tutorials that may be helpful in this regard.

  • How download Windows 10 - in which I explained how to download Windows 10 and how to create a DVD or USB flash drive for the installation of the latter.
  • How to download Windows 8 - in which I explained how to download Windows 8.x and how to create an installation media for the latter.
  • How to download Windows 7 - within which you will discover how to download Windows 7 and how to create installation media for this version of the Microsoft operating system.
  • How download windows xp and how to install XP from USB - in these two tutorials I explained how to download Windows XP and how to copy it to a pen drive.
  • How to install Ubuntu USB - in this guide I explained how to download Ubuntu, how to copy it to a USB stick and how to install it on PC.

Once you install the operating system on your PC, you can take action! Then insert the floppy disk or the USB memory for the installation of the operating system in the PC, start from the latter and follow the wizard to install Windows or Linux by selecting the destination disk partition that you created before. Below are some of my tutorials specifically dedicated to installing the various operating systems.

Configure bootloader

When the installation of the new operating system is complete, you will surely have discovered it How to install two operating systems on the same PCbut you may face some problems with the boot loader. For example, if you have installed a previous version of Windows than you already had (for example, Windows 7 after Windows 10 or Windows 8.x), the latter will start automatically when the PC is turned on, without allowing you to choose which system to start operational from time to time.

To solve this problem, you can use the program EasyBCD (free in its basic version) that rebuilds the bootloader and allows you to add the entries related to all the operating systems installed on the PC. Then connect to this web page, Click the button record, write your name and email address in the form proposed to you and press the button Download to download EasyBCD on your PC.

The download is completely open, by double clicking on it, the file you just downloaded (eg. EasyBCD xx.exe ) and, in the window that opens, click first on yes and then siguiente, I agree again siguiente, install y finished to complete the installation process and start EasyBCD.

In the window that opens, select the language Italian from the menu to choose the language and click Ir y good to access the main screen of EasyBCD.

At this point, click on the button Add a new entry Located in the left sidebar, select the operating system to add to the bootloader (eg. Windows Vista/8/7/10 ) and click on the button Add entry to confirm the operation

When the operation is complete, click on the button Change start menu Located in the left sidebar, select the operating system to be used as the default option in the boot loader and press the button Save setting To save the changes.

Perfect! Now all you have to do is restart your PC and try the new bootloader, which will allow you to choose the operating system that will start each time you turn on the PC.

How to install two operating systems on a Mac

If you use a Mac and you want to create a dual boot system with Windows and macOS you can trust Field of training.

If you've never heard of it, Boot Camp is a feature included in macOS that allows you to install Windows on a Mac partition and choose each time you turn on the PC to start the operating system. It is very convenient and automatically provides all the necessary drivers for Windows to work on the Mac.

To use Boot Camp you just need enough free disk space and a Windows installation media. Disk partitioning and driver download are done automatically during the Boot Camp initial setup procedure.

If you want to know more about the whole procedure, open Boot Camp Assistant on your Mac and use it by following the instructions I gave you in my tutorial on how to install Windows on Mac.