Dual-boot x86 and x64 Windows

Can you configure a machine to dual-boot x86 or x64 Windows? Sure, if you use suitable hardware (like AMD64) and install the platforms properly. Specifically, you should do the following:

  1. Create three partitions: a small one for the boot files, and one each for 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows (you don’t need the separate boot partition but it’s the best way to go).
  2. Install 32-bit Windows first into its own partition, then install 64-bit Windows into its own partition.

Now you’ve got a useful test machine that dual-boots into x86 or x64 Windows, which is great for application testing.


Mitch Tulloch is lead author for the Windows Vista Resource Kit from Microsoft Press, which is THE book for IT pros who want to deploy, maintain and support Windows Vista in mid- and large-sized network environments. Mitch is also the author of Introducing Windows Server 2008, the first book from Microsoft Press about the exciting new server platform. For more information on these and other books written by Mitch, see www.mtit.com.

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