Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of MS-DOS 7.10 (FAT32) on Windows 8 computer (Win8 installed first)
Last reviewed: July 2013
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural dual-boot of Windows 8 and MS-DOS 7.10 on a computer with Windows 8 already installed. You can then run either of those OSs by selecting one from a menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
You need to shrink the Windows drive to make room for MS-DOS. While DOS 6.22 needs to be on the first physical partition of the first disk, DOS 7.10 can be on the first FAT32 Primary partition which can be located anywhere on the disk; non-FAT/32 partitions are ignored by DOS 7.10. Using a second disk for MS-DOS is not an option.
A 64-bit version of Windows 8.1 on NTFS was used in testing. MS-DOS 7.10 on FAT32 was added. The computer used was a 64-bit Dell Studio XPS 8100 (2.93 GHz), Core i7, 8 GB RAM DDR3, 2x1 TB SATA hard disks in RAID 0 as 1.6 TB & 60 GB
Following these instructions correctly should always succeed. However, any change to your computer should not even be considered unless you have a rescue plan. This guide also contains that rescue plan - just in case!
This procedure is suitable for experienced computer users.
Warning: Do not install MS-DOS on new computers that came with pre-installed Windows 8 - those computers use the new GPT partition table on which MS-DOS cannot run. Read How to Check if the hard disk drive is using GPT or MBR
Important Installation Notes
Hidden Active Partition. Many Windows 8 users will have at least one small Primary disk partition(s) that's hidden (but is visible under Disk Management in Windows 8). This must be counted if you want to create a new Primary.
ATA Mode. Many users will have a SATA hard disk and that's not a problem in itself. However these users may need to set the BIOS to ATA mode (vs AHCI) for DOS usage. This possible problem was not encountered during tests with SATA.
EasyBCD. The highly-acclaimed EasyBCD is a free editing utility that allows any user to easily edit the Windows 8/7/Vista boot menu (the BCD or Boot Configuration Data). EasyBCD works in Windows 8, 7 and Vista, but also in Windows XP if you first install Microsoft's .NET 2.0 Framework.
Details: Install MS-DOS 7.10 when Windows 8 is installed first
Installing other operating systems on your Windows 8 computer may invalidate your warrantee.
It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated and you should have a properly working Windows.
Make your preparations
Make free space and create new partitions
MS-DOS 7.10 must be installed on a Primary partition on the first hard disk or first RAID 0 disk.
The Windows 8 drive is shrunk leaving some Unallocated space at the end of the first hard disk (to the right). A new Primary partition is then created in Unallocated and Formatted with FAT32. If you need a fourth Primary partition, read Create a Fourth Primary partition - but remember, having four Primaries means you cannot have any further partitions on that hard disk!
The 127 GB hard disk limitation that afflicts Win98/Me/2K is not a problem with MS-DOS 7.10. Also, the Active marker is unaffected by installing MS-DOS 7.10 so Windows 8 will still continue to boot normally.
Next Install MS-DOS 7.10 in this Windows 8 Dual-Boot
The link below shows how to install MS-DOS 710 in this dual-boot and how to use EasyBCD with it.
The Windows 8 boot menu will then boot MS-DOS 7.10 or Windows 8 when selected.
Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.
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