Just the other day Windows 8 launched it's 'Consumer Preview', a mainstream user friendly beta of Windows 8. If you're not used to dual booting and/or installing multiple OS's on your computer you may be hesitant to try the preview, but hopefully this guide will straighten things up.
First, ensure you meet the minimum requirements. The specs are quite low and if you've purchased a computer within the last 5 years I can almost guarantee that this will run.
- 1 Gigahertz or faster processor
- 1 Gigabyte of RAM (32-bit), 2 Gigabyte (64-bit)
- 16 Gigabyte memory (32-bt) 20 Gigabyte (64-bit)
- A graphics Card with DX 9 support - cards bought with an XP, Vista or 7 system will support this
Run the downloaded file, Microsft's tool will show you which hardware elements of your setup will not function correctly in Windows 8 and then suggest where and when to get the new drivers.
If you follow through the instructions on the wizard you will overwrite your default Windows installation. This is not a problem because all your documents and programs will be saved. If you want to keep your existing OS, try partitioning your HDD with software such as Easus Partition Master or the built in Disk Management tool in Windows. To access the tool open Run (Win+r), then type in diskmgmt.msc.
When installing Windows 8 just select to install in the newly created partition, instead of your default drive letter.
This method involves putting the Windows installation onto a USB flash drive or DVD.
From the same download link as method one choose the ISO option - it's in the small print beneath the main download button.
If you're on Windows 7 or Vista, you can use the Windows ISO burner, for XP you'll need to try 3rd party software.
To burn the ISO, right click on the file and select 'Burn Disc Image'. Follow the on screen instructions and insert the storage when prompted. On your next boot, ensure that the storage (with the Windows 8 disc image on) is inserted into your PC. On your motherboard boot screen, if the setup doesn't launch automatically, you will be able to select to boot from DVD or USB. Select this and proceed through the installation instructions.
If neither of these methods work, feel free to drop a line in the comments below and I'll try my best to get you sorted. Also, as always, when tinkering with your PC, make sure to backup all your data first in case of an accidental data wipe.