[Tip] 5 Easy Ways to Switch from Windows 8 and Later to Other Installed OS in Dual Boot Environment

UPDATE: This tutorial will also work in Windows 8.1 and later.

We have mentioned in many articles that Microsoft's new OS Windows 8 comes with a new redesigned boot loader (aka boot manager or boot menu screen). Its different from the classic boot loader present in previous Windows versions such as Windows XP or Windows 7. Windows 8 boot loader comes with a new GUI to switch between OS, to customize boot options, to access safe mode and other advanced settings.

But there is one problem in this new boot loader. In previous Windows versions, the boot loader was used to show immediately right after the default BIOS screen so that users can select the OS to use. But in Windows 8, the new boot loader is shown after the boot screen when Windows 8 booting process is finished. It increases the waiting time if you don't want to boot into Windows 8 but want to use the other OS installed in your computer system. In such scenario, you'll need to first wait for Windows 8 to finish the boot process and when it shows the boot loader, then you'll be able to select the other installed OS. Once you select the other OS, Windows 8 will restart your computer again and upon reboot, you'll be able to boot into other installed OS.

This behavior might become very frustrating if you frequently switch between Windows 8 and other installed Windows versions. Today in this article, we are going to share a few easy and quick ways which will help you in switching between Windows 8 and other installed OS quickly and easily if you have a dual boot computer system.

So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial:

Method 1: Disable New Boot Loader in Windows 8

If you find the new boot loader problematic, you can disable it permanently. Once you disable it, you'll get Windows Vista or Windows 7 style classic boot loader which will be shown right after the BIOS screen and you'll be able to select desired OS to use without first booting into Windows 8.

Following tutorial will help you in disabling the new boot loader in Windows 8:

How to Disable New Boot Loader and Bring Back Windows 7 Style Boot Loader in Windows 8?

Method 2: Use Advanced Startup Options to Quickly Switch to Other OS in Windows 8

Did you know Windows 8 comes with a new advanced startup feature which helps you in quickly accessing boot options such as use another installed OS, etc? We have already told you about this feature in following topic:

How to Access and Use Windows 8 Metro Boot Loader and Advanced Boot Options?

If you are currently logged in Windows 8 and want to switch to other installed OS, with the help of this feature you'll not need to boot into Windows 8 again to select the other OS. You can directly restart your system into other OS.

1. Move your mouse cursor to top-right corner of screen to access Charms Bar. Alternatively, you can access it by pressing Win+C keys together.

2. Now click on Settings and then click on "Change PC settings" option.


3. It'll open PC setting screen. Then,

For Windows 8 Users: Click on General tab.

For Windows 8.1 Users: Click on "Update and recovery" and then "Recovery" tab.

Now in right-side section scroll down to bottom and click on "Restart now" button given in Advanced startup section.


4. That's it. It'll take a few seconds and will show you a new screen containing various boot options. Click on "Use another operating system" option and then you'll be able to select the other installed OS to use.


As soon as you click on the other OS entry, your computer will restart and upon reboot it'll directly boot into other OS instead of booting into Windows 8.

Method 3: Another Quick Way to Use Advanced Startup Screen to Switch to Other OS

If you don't want to go to PC settings screen to access advanced startup feature, you can directly access it using following way:

1. Move your mouse cursor to top-right corner of screen to access Charms Bar. Alternatively, you can access it by pressing Win+C keys together.

2. Now click on Settings and then click on Power button. It'll show boot options such as restart, shut down, hibernate, etc.

3. Now press and hold SHIFT key and click on Restart option.


4. That's it. Similar to method 2, it'll show you a new screen having various boot options where you can click on "Use another operating system" option to restart your computer directly into other installed OS.

Method 4: Using DOS Command

Microsoft has introduced a new parameter for built-in shutdown command in Windows 8. This new parameter is /o which works in conjunction with /r parameter which is used to restart the system.

So you can execute following command in Command Prompt to access new boot options screen to select other installed OS:

shutdown.exe /r /o

Now you can select the other OS to use similar to previous methods. If you want, you can create a shortcut for this command and place it on Desktop or pin it to Taskbar or Start Screen for quick and easier access.

Method 5: Using Shortcut in Desktop Context Menu

You can also add a direct shortcut to access advanced startup screen in Desktop context menu (right-click menu). In this way, you'll only need to right-click on Desktop and then you can click on the option to access boot options screen.


Check out following tutorial to add this and other power options in Desktop context menu:

Add Restart, Shut Down and Other Power Options in Desktop Context Menu of Windows 8

So these were the quick and easy ways to switch to other installed OS without starting Windows 8 again in a dual-boot environment. We have told about most of them in previous topics but this separate topic should help some Windows 8 users...

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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