Installing Windows 11 and Windows 10 together on the same computer is a good option for users who want to continue using Windows 11 as their primary system, but also want to try out the new features that are coming from Microsoft’s latest development.
The Redmond firm promised many improvements and new features for Windows 11. Some have arrived, others are on the way and the rest… we’ll see. After a couple of months of use, most comments point to the fact that Microsoft has remained halfway, that is, has produced a Windows 10.5. It supports much of the legacy of the giant Windows ecosystem and has brought a breath of fresh air in visuals and user interface. But it’s essentially the same as what we already know: the Windows 10 base, some Windows 10X components, and all of it “tuned” for the occasion.
Without Â “revolutionaryÂ” new features, with the increase in minimum hardware requirements as a sword of Damocles for when Microsoft wants to apply them and with the expected bugs (some gross as the SSD performance) most users continue and will continue to use Windows 10 for quite some time. The final version of Windows 10 21H2 has just been released and although it doesnâ¤?t include the announced new features, it has achieved the necessary stability that we users were asking for. Its technical support will last until October 2025 and, well, itâ¤?s not going to be around for a long time, there is time to jump to a Windows 11 which has a lot of development left to do.
Windows 11 and Windows 10
Windows 11 can update for free computers with valid licenses of Windows 10 or can be installed directly from scratch using the ISO images that Microsoft offers. But what if you want to try it without having to give up your copy of Windows 10 that you will continue to use as before?
Dual boot systems are perfect for this. You can install two (or more) operating systems on the same computer without them interfering with each other and with the ability to boot the one you prefer in a quick and easy way. We have seen it in previous guides for installing Windows and Linux on the same computer and it is the same type of process that we are going to detail.
For the example, we start with a laptop with Windows 10 installed that meets the hardware requirements of Windows 11, but really you know that could be installed on almost any computer. Without further delay and once the backup of files and data that we always recommend in case something goes wrong, we start.
Creating disk space
Our laptop only has one storage drive installed (a PCIe SSD in this case) and the Windows 10 installation takes up the entire disk. If your computer has additional drives (as is common on desktops), you can skip this step and let’s go ahead and create space for installing Windows 11:
- Press the hotkey shortcut “Win + R” to access the run function (you can do it the same way by right clicking the mouse on the start button) and type diskmgmt.msc to open the Disk Management tool.Â
- You will see several partitions, the recovery partition or others. We want to act on the main partition, in the example the C: called SYSTEM.
- Right-click on the main partition and select reduce volume.
- In the dialog box that will appear select the amount of space to reduce which will be the share size for Windows 11. We select 80 GB for the example:
Here each user will have to select the space they want to reduce depending on their availability and usage focus. In our case, we will continue to use Windows 10 as the primary and Windows 11 will only be used for testing. If we had a second storage drive available (like on the desktop) we would use that one.
- Although we could do this later during the installation of Windows 11, since we are in the disk manager we leave the partition ready.
- To do this, in the space that we have reduced we click on the right mouse button and create a new simple volume.Â Assign the following drive letter and format (quick option) the partition that in the next step we will use to install Windows 11.
Downloading the Windows 11 ISO
If you follow us you must know it by heart. Microsoft has made it easy by offering the ISO image of the system without having to use their media creator (it’s about time). Although the image can be mounted from Windows 10, we prefer to do it with the usual method of create USB installation media. Step by step:
- Access the Windows 11 download portal.
- Click on the Download Windows 11 disk image (ISO) button.
- Select language and you will get the download link to get the Â “Win11_Spanish_x64v1.isoÂ” image
- Download Rufus or use your favorite application to create the media.
- Use a flash drive with at least 8 Gbytes of capacity and create the media.
Restart your computer and make sure to boot to the newly created media. All computers have special keys programmed for accessing UEFI/BIOS or the computer’s internal boot menu. They are activated by pressing the corresponding key during the hardware testing phase that happens when you boot your personal computer. If you don’t remember yours, you can review this practice.
Installing Windows 11
Installing the new Microsoft operating system is trivial and is done in the same way as Windows 10:
- You boot with the USB media created in the previous step and select language
- Choose your custom installation type
- When it asks you where you want to install select the share we prepared for Windows 11
- Select the edition. Remember that you will need to have a license to activate it.
Not much else. The rest of the account creation and privacy screens are the ones you already know. On an SSD with a new generation laptop the system installs in six minutes.
Managing the boot
On the first boot you will already see the menu to choose between Windows 11 and Windows 10. And this will happen every time you restart your computer. The screen is self-explanatory, just start one or the other:
In Windows, these dual-boot systems can be customized to change the default operating system.
- Press the hot keys Â “Windows + IÂ” to enter the Configuration tool.
- Go to System > About > Advanced System Settings > Startup and Recovery > Settings.
- In the drop-down menu you can select the default operating system to boot by default, the time the menu will be displayed and the recovery options when needed.
During reboot, the system will offer you the option to choose one of them. If you do not select any of them, it will automatically boot the default operating system.Â As you will have seen, this is a simple and powerful method to implement, since you will allows you to have Windows 11 and Windows 10 installed on the same computertogether, but not mixed, and with a boot menu that lets you start one or the other in seconds.
And if you want to try some GNU/Linux distribution alongside Windows, you can use exactly the same method whether you are using Windows 10 or Windows 11. Actually, you can do all kinds of combinations (even macOS under hackintosh). You just have to have free storage space to add partitions and take care of the installation order. If you use Linux, this should always be the last operating system to install so that the GRUB multiboot loader is the one that manages the startup of one or the other.