Software & Apps Linux How to Dual Boot Windows 8.1 and Elementary OS Elementary works well as a second OS to install with Windows By Gary Newell Writer Gary Newell was a freelance contributor, application developer, and software tester with 20+ years in IT, working on Linux, UNIX, and Windows. our editorial process Gary Newell Updated March 24, 2020 Linux Switching from Windows Tweet Share Email The process to dual-boot Windows and Elementary OS is much like the process for other major distributions. These instructions apply to Elementary OS 5.1 and Microsoft Windows 8.1 and 10. Prerequisites Before you get started, you should: Back up your computerPrepare your hard drive for installing Elementary OS — to dual boot, you must segregate some drive space from Windows. We recommend 20 GB, minimum.Create a bootable Elementary OS USB drive How to Boot Into Elementary OS With Elementary OS on a USB drive, plug the drive into your computer. Follow your computer's procedure for booting to USB. How to Boot From a USB Flash Drive How to Connect to the Internet If you are using an Ethernet cable directly plugged into your router then you should automatically connect to the internet. If you are connecting wirelessly, click the network icon in the top right corner and choose your wireless network. Enter the security key. Connecting is useful because the installer pulls relevant application and security updates since the original disc image released to the market. How to Run the Installer On the desktop, double-click the Install Elementary OS icon. That icon launches a wizard that offers a graphical walk-through of the configuration process. Follow the screens. Need more precise instructions for installing Linux? Check out How to Install Linux for more context. Options of note: On the Prerequisite screen, we recommend you leave Install Third Party Software selected. If you de-select it, your machine will more closely hew to free-and-open-source principles, but at the price of losing some proprietary codecs for multimedia playback and for managing network adapters.On the Installation Options screen, select Install Alongside Windows. This setting allows for more granular partitioning of the hard drive. Drive Configuration When you re-sized a Windows partition to make space for Linux, you should have left at least 20 GB. When the Elementary installer reaches the partitioning-setup screens, select the space left over from that earlier process. Boot Manager In most cases, the default settings correctly install the boot manager. Older computers used BIOS but newer machines use EFI, which manages boot volumes differently. If you cannot see Elementary OS after you boot, check out How to Get Ubuntu to Boot Before Windows — the process is identical for Elementary.