How-to install Windows 8 in dual boot on SSD HP desktop

Have been waiting until got the system settled, before writing a ‘how to.’ I really expected that installing an SSD drive with Windows 8 (8.1) – would be easier than this.

Instead of writing out the process, this time am going to list the procedure. To begin with, will post the specs of my machine:

HP Pavilion Desktop
AMD Athlon II Quad Core CPU
Kingston RAM 2x4gigs (installed by me)
ATI Graphics, Radeon HD 6450 (installed by me)
WD 500 gig HD
PNY 240 gig SSD (installed by me)
Dual boot Windows 7
Windows 8.1 (installed by me)
Motherboard: H-RS880-uATX (HP Aloe)
Bios: American Megatrends – ATI reports 2012, while Windows says 2010 version. The Bios was originally Phoenix.

Should mention that I believe HP did a remote flash of the Bios within about a year of owning the system. I did not flash it and it changed from Phoenix to American Megatrends all by itself. On top of that, HP offers no Bios updates for the Pavilion and don’t even have an original Bios download available. I ripped out all the HP bogware after realizing that they were remotely programming the machine. Now maybe American Megatrends IS Phoenix?…but whatever the case, definitely not normal for a Bios to change its start-up procedures all by itself.

  1.  unplug machine
  2.  remove side-panel
  3.  unscrew and remove hard drive bay
  4.  secure SSD drive into 3.5″ adapter (if you have one)
  5.  plug in power cord to SSD
  6.  plug in SATA cord
  7.  plug other end of SATA cord into motherboard SATA slot
  8. reseat hard drive bay (without screws)
  9. set machine upright
  10. plug power back in
  11. boot machine into Bios settings (F10)
  12. under “Advanced,” change controller-type from RAID to AHCI
  13. save settings and boot into Windows 7
  14. let Windows 7 recognize the new SSD drive and install AHCI drivers
  15. put Windows 8 install disc into DVD drive
  16. power down machine
  17. unplug machine
  18. put back on side to get to parts
  19. remove power cable and SATA cord from WD hard drive (one with Windows 7 on it)
  20.  set upright or leave on side for 8 install
  21.  now boot from the DVD drive and begin Windows 8 install
  22.  select “custom” and choose new SSD drive for install
  23.  let it run through Windows 8 install (note: helps to have LAN internet connection through install process)
  24. machine will reboot, go through set up of Windows 8
  25. install graphics drivers and other peripheral drivers if necessary (do NOT install optional AMD controller drivers offered through Windows update, they will crash your machine)
  26. remove Windows 8 install disc from DVD drive
  27. install Windows 8 important updates
  28. go to Windows store and install Windows 8.1
  29. shut down Windows 8.1 after install
  30. unplug machine
  31. re-plug in power and SATA cord to WD hard drive (Windows 7 drive)
  32. reseat hard drive bay and screw in place
  33. replace machine side-panel
  34. plug in/set machine upright
  35. check that both Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are functional (press “ESC” key during startup to select drive)
  36. boot into Windows 8.1
  37. use msconfig to select Safe boot
  38. restart and go into Bios settings (F10)
  39. under “Advanced,” set controller-type back to RAID
  40. save new Bios settings and restart
  41. boot into Windows 8.1 (now on safe mode) – let Windows install RAID drivers (to be sure are installed, check controller drivers under Device Manager)
  42. run msconfig and uncheck Safe boot
  43. restart and check again that Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 are functional with RAID SATA controller


There still seems to be a little too much fan activity, but after awhile you wonder if you are imagining things.  Since I’m not prepared to take the fans out and replace “thermal paste” or go through any of that, will be kind of a wait and see thing for me.  I think the problem has to do with Windows power settings, and that maybe Windows 8 was built with the default of a higher fan speed.  I am very sensitive to sound, so mostly drives me nuts to have to listen to anything that seems overworked or strained.

So ok, those are the steps, but I take no responsibility for individual results, and please be reminded that any tamperings with computer’s original build involves risks.  Also there are safety measures, such as anti-static wrist bands, etc.  Not something I do but many feel better safe than sorry.

The reason for removing Windows 7 drive before installing Windows 8, is to prevent Windows 8 from changing the boot.ini/grub on the Windows 7 drive.  UNLESS you would rather spend 2 extra minutes every boot cycle, selecting your operating system from Windows 8 pretty dual-boot screen.  and UNLESS you would rather have Windows 7 boot dependent on Windows 8 so that they all crash together (if you are so unfortunate).

I prefer to keep the two hard drive sections separate and independently operable – otherwise sort of defeats the purpose of having 2 operating systems on two drives in the first place.

You CAN leave the Bios in AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface) mode, and skip steps 36-43.  I chose to set the system back to RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks), since HP motherboard comes preinstalled with RAID controller.  As far as performance goes, I believe are going to get better response with RAID.   Also, the hyper-active fan seemed to calm down at least marginally with the change back to a RAID system.  (Or at least did until Windows 8.1 installed the RAID drivers. )

I am not an expert on Windows installations, learned everything by reading up on forums and other sites.  So self-taught with the help of the internet.  Am just an amateur, so if you have questions it will be faster for you to google them yourself than to ask me.  Also, once  again, TAKE ON THE TASK AND STEPS OUTLINED HERE AT YOUR OWN RISK.  Might add pictures later to help with the steps, but for now am going to call it good enough.  🙂

Oh, and the reason for changing to AHCI controller for the install in first place, is that Windows 8 would not install to the SSD while the controller was set to RAID.  That was an adventure in and of itself.  Can TRY installing it while set to RAID, but from what I read it was a pretty universal result to have it crash with a BSOD unless the Bios is set to AHCI or IDE.

Also, shouldn’t need to mention, but set your boot order in Bios as boot first with whichever OS you use the most.  Then to run your other OS, use “ESC” (boot menu) during startup and select the other drive.

And very last, for those who don’t know how to get to msconfig, open run dialog  (Windows key + R) – type in msconfig, hit enter and msconfig will show on your desktop.

Now why go through all this?  Well, for one thing the SSD is slotted as the drive of the future.  Has no moving parts, so the theory is that it will last longer and keep your data safer.  And I started using Windows 8 when it was still running in Beta version, got hooked with the immediate response and fluid feel of Metro.  Those who don’t like 8, all I can say is try it in dual screens.  That way you use one screen for the normal desktop, and the other for Metro.  But can also bounce it back and forth however you like.

Me and a friend joke about leaving Windows for good, and taking up only Linux.  But for the most part, I’m OK with Windows.  There are so many different hardware configurations, can’t blame it for spreading a little thin sometimes.  Will mention that I think there is a problem with .NET framework 4.5 and Windows 8.1.  I guess they switched to integrating .NET framework in with the OS, and I am just not getting the same response from explorer.  And that’s the regular explorer that you use with your file system, not internet explorer.  Similar result in Windows 7 when it installed Bing desktop without a by-your-leave.  So not sure what is going on there … just a heads up to MS if they happen to be listening in.  It doesn’t feel right, explorer isn’t responsive enough and even freezes for little to no reason at all.


2 Replies to “How-to install Windows 8 in dual boot on SSD HP desktop”

  1. E. You leave me gob smacked. All this seems sheer genius to me. I got a new phone yesterday and hearing it ring for the first tine was such a relief second only to the success of seeing that all my contacts have travelled over from the old phone without much trouble. Are you sure you couldn’t write sci fi?

    1. phones have really come a long way – used to be here you could wait for hours to get help at one of the phone stores, now if you walk in they all stand around bored and are actually happy to see you! things have change so much for the consumer doing the set-up and all that.

      mostly with me and ‘tinkering’ is a matter of budget and sure as heck not going to pay someone else for something i can just read-up on and learn to do. the whole adding parts to a computer is pretty simple, it just seems scary. and i’m well behind many who go the distance and build their own computers from the ground up…. 🙂

      keep telling myself one of these days will write the story to beat all stories, btw ……… as weird as am is a 93% chance would be Sci Fi 🙂 haha

Feedback always welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s