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How to dual boot Windows 11 and Windows 10

With a dual-boot system, you can install Windows 11 on a PC running Windows 10. This allows you to test out the new operating system from Microsoft without having to uninstall the existing operating system.

Setting up a Windows dual-boot system is pretty easy. All you need is a Windows 11-compatible system, an ISO image, enough storage space, and a few minutes. Consider the two ways to dual boot Windows 11 with Windows 10 in the article below.

Prerequisites for dual booting Windows 11 with Windows 10

You need a little preparation before you can dual-boot Windows 11. First of all, you must have a computer that can run Windows 11. This is easier said than done, because the system requirements to run Windows 11 are a little higher than what people expected.

If your computer is capable of running Windows 11, download the ISO file and make a bootable USB. Mounting ISO image files can be done if you don’t have a USB.

On a Windows 10 computer, where may Windows 11 be installed?

To install Windows 11, you can create a new partition on the device and shrink an existing volume. You can follow the instructions in the article to shrink, format, and create a new partition.

Method 1: Boot from within Windows 10 and Windows 11

You can install Windows 11 by running the setup.exe file directly from the Windows Source folder. This is useful if you don’t have a bootable USB. This method involves many steps, so follow what is necessary in your case.

Step 1: Shrink volume or partition

First, shrink the current partition to create another partition large enough for the Windows 11 installation. To do this, press Win + R to open Run. Next, type diskmgmt.msc and click OK to open the Disk Management tool.

Open Disk Management tool
Open Disk Management tool

In the Disk section, right-click any drive with enough free space and select Shrink Volume.

Select Shrink Volume
Select Shrink Volume

In the dialog box that appears, enter the amount of space to shrink in MB and click Shrink. For example, if your current volume has 153122MB (150GB) of free space, enter 70000 in the Shrink field. It will shrink your current volume down to 80GB, and the remaining 70GB will show up as unallocated space.

Step 2: Create a new volume

To create a new volume, right-click on the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume.

Select New Simple Volume
Select New Simple Volume

In the New Simple Volume Wizard window, click Next. Then, enter the size for the new volume and click Next. Make sure you allocate enough space to install Windows 11.

Select the Assign the following drive letter option, and click Next.

Select the Assign the following drive letter
Select the Assign the following drive letter

Next, check Format this volume with the following settings and select the following:

  • File System – NTFS
  • Allocation unit size – Default
  • Volume Label – Windows 11

Labeling the volume will make it easier to recognize the drive during installation. Also, select the option Perform a quick format. Finally, click Finish to create a new partition.

Step 3: Install Windows 11 with Windows 10

Connect the Windows 11 bootable USB to the PC. If you don’t have a bootable USB, mount the Windows 11 ISO image.

To do this, right-click on the ISO image and select Mount. After you have mounted the image, it will appear as a new drive on This PC.

Next, open the USB boot or mounted ISO in File Explorer. Then, open the Sources folder and run the setup.exe file. Click Yes when prompted by UAC (User Account Control).

Click Yes
Click Yes

In the Windows Setup screen, select No thanks to continue. Next, accept the applicable license notices and terms, and then click Next.

Click Next
Click Next

Select the Custom option: Install Windows only (advanced). In the Where do you want to install Windows screen, select the Windows 11 volume and click Next.

Windows 11 will now begin to install. This process can take some time, and longer on traditional hard drives.

During the installation, your PC will reboot and display Windows Boot Manager. Here, select the first Windows 10/11 Setup option to continue with the setup.

Once the setup is done, restart your PC and you should see a dual boot option in Boot Manager.

Method 2: Dual boot Windows 11 with Windows 10 using the boot drive at startup

You can use the boot drive to install Windows 11 at boot if you’d want. The following is the procedure.

First, shrink a volume on the drive using method 1’s step 1 to make unallocated space. Go ahead and start the installation of Windows 11 once you have enough free space.

1. Turn off the PC and connect the USB boot.

2. While restarting the PC, start pressing F12 to access the Boot menu.

Access the Boot menu
Access the Boot menu

3. Select the Windows 11 boot drive as the boot device in Boot Manager.

4. In the Setup window, select the language and other options, and then click OK.

5. Next, click Install Now and accept the terms of the license.

6. Select the Custom: Install Windows only option.

Select the Custom: Install Windows only option
Select the Custom: Install Windows only option

7. In the Where do you want to install Windows screen, select Unallocated space partition and click Next.

Windows 11 will start installing on your selected partition. Follow the setup steps to complete the installation. Once installed, your device will automatically set Windows 11 as the default operating system.

How to choose the default operating system to boot between Windows 10 and 11

On a dual-boot system, you can alter the default operating system from Startup and Recovery. This is the procedure.

Choose the default operating system to boot
Choose the default operating system to boot

1. Press Win + I to open Settings.

2. Go to System and in the left pane, open About tab.

3. Click Advanced System Settings under Related Settings in the right pane.

4. In the Startup and Recovery section, click Settings.

5. Click the Default operating system drop-down menu and select your preferred operating system.

6. Set the Time to display list of operating systems and Time to display recovery options when needed options to 30 seconds each.

7. Click OK to save the changes and restart the PC.

You will be prompted to select your preferred operating system to boot from when the system reboots. The default operating system will launch automatically if none are chosen. When rebooting, if dual boot choices are still not visible, try disabling Fast Startup.

You will be prompted to select your preferred operating system to boot from when the system reboots. The default operating system will launch automatically if none are chosen. When rebooting, if dual boot choices are still not visible, try disabling Fast Startup.

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