Windows 8 - Dual Boot Windows 8 Beta, Consumer Preview, Release Preview / Candidate and RTM with Windows XP
How to protect your existing installation of Windows XP and evaluate Windows 8 over the coming months.
Talk about an odd couple, one operating system while still king of the hill is nearing the end of Microsoft’s support lifecycle while the other hasn’t even been released for sale to the public yet.
You can expect that there will be at least 1 Windows 8 beta / Consumer Preview, a Release Preview / Candidate and the final release to manufacturing (RTM).
One word of caution: The best approach for evaluating Windows 8 is to install it on a separate drive with the data cable disconnected from your Windows XP drive or if possible on a separate computer that contains nothing of value in the way of applications or data that you rely on from day to day.
But if you must, dual booting with an image and data backup strategy for Windows XP will provide a layer of protection. Keep in mind nothing is ever perfect and recoveries can and do fail on rare occasions.
The object is not to loose you Windows XP operating system, to quickly recover XP should the installation of Windows 8 fail, to be able to easily remove the Windows 8 consumer preview and install the release candidate and finally if you so choose to do so, dual boot the released version (RTM) of Windows 8 with your existing version of Windows XP.
Image Backups: The key to preserving your investment in Windows XP. I’ll show you what you need to know in order to survive any catastrophes that may occur by providing a detailed look at backup strategies, recovery procedures and how to install Windows 8 alongside Windows XP to create a dual boot computer that can be used and reused over the coming moths and various betas, previews, release previews / candidates and the final released product.
Document backups: Obviously you will continue to use Windows XP while evaluating Windows 8. This means you will day by day continuously add more data files (Documents, Photos, Music, Etc) when using XP. It’s not practical to create a new image backup each day, but there is a convenient utility named SyncToy which can make quick work of backing up your data files to an external USB drive. More about using SyncToy later in this article.