[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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  • VG, could you make a tutorial for dual booting Windows 8 with older Windows version (e.g. Windows 7) on UEFI/Secure Boot enabled PC (Windows 8 preinstalled)?

  • i think i METHOD 1 is the solution to my problem....
    i have dual booted windows 7 and 8 and i really like the new metro boot loader, but i sometimes always pick windows 7.. i use it more often than windows 8 (most of my installed software is in win7 ) but then then recently after switched on my PC and chosen win7 on the metro loader, it restart and now i cannot continue to boot and got stocked on the BIOS splash screen...

    and now my PC is in the repair shop.... :'(

    VG can you please help me what to do wih my PC...

  • nice post...
    thanks for sharing...

  • i was installed Windows 8 and windows 7 in dual boot but later i deleted windows 8 partition, but now my pc is not booting even in windows 7.
    i tried bootrec.exe and bootsect.exe even i tried Hiren Boot CD but none was useful for me, please help me.
    will wondershare live boot cd help me to get out of this problem?

  • if you have a windows 7 install disc could try this.boot from disc as if you were installing it.should see option to repair computer on one of the windows that comes up during setup etc.(if i remember correctly will be under the install window)click on that to see if it fixes it.may have to run it a couple of times.good luck.

  • Just add another info. You can use tools name "iReboot". Try it, i have use it for more than years and no problem :D

  • how to install Windows 7 after the Windows 8
    because i have genuine windows s8 and want to install Windows 8

  • hey, you can use iReboot from EasyBCD
    Choose os to boot from before reboot

  • Here's a tricky one for you...

    Is there a way to instruct Windows 8 to do the following BEFORE logging off?

    - Restart
    - Boot into Windows 7

    The reason I ask is that I frequently access my machine remotely. I have Windows 8 on one drive and Windows 7 on the other. I would like to be able to work remotely in Windows 8 and, when necessary, reboot into Windows 7. If I try the options listed in this article, as soon as Windows goes to the boot options screen, my remote connection is lost. I can only reconnect after the computer restarts and, after the 5:00 timer I set, boots back into the default OS (Windows 8). Never, while working remotely, can I view the screen to instruct the system to boot into Windows 7. So am I doomed into having to exclusively use Windows 8 when working remotely, or is there some way to send the instruction to boot into Windows 7 BEFORE any action that will cause me to lose the remote connection?

  • VG

    ^^ You can set Windows 7 as default OS in boot loader. In this way, your system will always boot into Windows 7 as soon as you restart your system remotely.

  • Thank You!!!
    PS. lol WARNING! @ Picture 4!

  • Thank you. It has been really helpful. Thanks a lot

  • Microsoft has sabotaged all.
    they ruined the restart ("reboot" in baby talk) to the better OS
    so systems are forced to use their new cripple trick OS or die
    (read the evidence by customers here).
    Microsoft sabotaged the reinstallation of Windows 7,
    forcing people to buy more "copies".
    (this sabotage is illegal. Windows 7 has been issued for free. i got a copy.
    and millions of people around you
    use our money to buy their new "software", and toys and houses.
    they make us beg and pay, they get it for free).
    you do not need to restart to a functional OS,
    we need to sue and arrest the operators of industry. it can be done.
    - jams mcashan for the United States Senate

  • You sound more like an indian than a US senator. Sure, 'arrest' or whatever Microsoft, that'll fix the problem.

  • HOW i can dual boot my system
    i install 7 then windows 8
    started 8 works fine
    but when starts 7 it wont start but open advanced system recovery what i do

    please help me..................

  • In response to Ron's issue .... you missed one of the best/easiest solutions: MSCONFIG

    Both Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 (and I'm guessing 10 ... installing now) still have the MSCONFIG.EXE system configuration utility, which allows you to modify the boot and startup settings from within Windows.

    If you're in one OS and want to reboot to the other just fire up a Run box ( WindowsKey-R) and type msconfig

    under the Boot tab, it will tell you what is set as the default boot OS ( and your current OS, if you weren't aware)

    Pick the OS you want to reboot to, and click "Set as Default".
    - and viola, the system restarts in the desired OS without user interaction required.

  • Other OS for me means Linux, Solaris, Illumos distros if you are so smart explain this

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