In a couple of prior posts I talked about how to install the Windows 8 Release Preview from a USB stick and how to create a bootable VHD for the Windows 8 Release Preview. But, what if you need to install Windows 7 on the machine where you installed Windows 8? Well, believe it or not, I had to because I’m testing out some recording equipment and the drivers fail to install on Windows 8.
The first thing I did was to create a bootable USB stick to install Windows 7 from using the Windows 7 USB/DVD download tool from the Microsoft Store Online.
Next, I shutdown my Acer Iconia tablet, plugged in the USB stick, and pressed the power and Windows buttons so I could get into the BIOS and boot from the USB stick, just like I had done to install Windows 8. The only problem was that I couldn’t get into the BIOS. The tablet would boot into Windows 8, instantly.
After doing a little digging I found out that the secret to Windows 8 ridiculously fast boot time is due to a feature called Fast Startup. Here’s a description of the feature:
Fast startup is a setting that helps your PC start up faster after shutdown. Windows does this by saving system info to a file upon shutdown. When you start your PC again, Windows uses that system info to resume your PC instead of restart it
*The fast startup setting doesn’t apply to Restart. You need to shut down and then start your PC again for fast startup to take effect.
*Fast startup is turend on by default in Windows.
If you want to read more about Windows 8 fast boot time, I recommend this article by Steven Sinofsky.
So, to get to the BIOS I needed to disable the Fast Startup feature. Here’s how I did it.
Open the Control Panel and select Hardware and Sound
Under Power Options click Change what the power buttons do
Click Change settings that are currently unavailable
Scroll down and uncheck the checkbox labeled Turn on fast startup (recommended)
Click Save changes
After following the steps above, powering down the device, inserting the USB stick, and powering on the device holding down the power button and Windows key, I was able to get into the BIOS, boot from the USB stick, and install Windows 7.