Windows 7 and Windows 8 Dual Boot - How to change the “Default” Operating System to Windows 7 October 22nd, 2012
After installing Windows 8 it becomes the default operating system that loads if you take no action and wait for the 30 second timeout to expire. Here is how you can change it so that Windows 7 is the default.
You can change which version of Windows your computer will boot to by clicking on ‘Change defaults or choose other options’.
Then click on ‘Choose a default operating system’. Note: Initially the current default is set to Windows 8 and you will be changing it to Windows 7.
Next click on ‘Windows 7’
Next click on the Back button / arrow to return to the previous screen. Windows 7 will now be at the top of the list.
You can click on either Windows 7 or Windows 8 at this point, but each time you reboot or start the computer the Windows 7 style boot menu is displayed and it (Windows 7) will be highlighted and is the default OS. If you do not make a selection after 30 seconds Windows 7 will load.
To change back from the traditional boot menu to the Windows 8 graphical boot menu run ‘msconfig’, click on the ‘Boot’ tab, click on the Windows 8 entry and then click the ‘Set as default’ button, then ‘OK’. Now reboot the computer.
Note: You will notice very quickly that when choosing to boot to Windows 8, Windows 8 loads almost immediately when using the default Windows 8 style boot menu. However if you select Windows 7 from that very same menu, the computer actually performs a “warm” reboot, the BIOS splash screen is displayed and then Windows 7 loads, resulting in long wait for Windows 7 to load.
This suggests that the Windows 8 boot menu is displayed “after” a part of Windows 8 has already loaded, thus requiring a reboot to flush out the Windows 8 code and load Windows 7 from scratch. This also implies that Windows 8 does not utilize the BCD (Boot Configuration Data store which is located in the System partition) in the same manner as Windows 7, Vista or XP does in a Dual Boot arrangement.