Change the default OS on a dual boot system

I have Windows 7 RC1 installed as well as Windows Vista. Up until a few minute ago I had been frantically hitting F8 every morning when I turned my pc on to stop it booting into Windows 7.

Windows 7 seems like a great system but I haven't installed all my programs and made a commitment to it. Plus I need to get a new sound card for it.

To change the default operating system is quite easy these days (if i recall correctly back in the day you would have had to edit a boot.ini file by hand and hope you got the syntax right)

This guide is for Windows Vista.

  1. Open up the "System" panel using one of these methods
    1. Click start, right click on your Computer link and choose Properties
    2. Press the Start + Break key combination (the top right key which also says Pause)
    3. Click start, choose control panel, and type system in the top right search box
  2. Click Advanced system settings in the Tasks menu down the left hand side
  3. Click the Advanced tab
  4. Click the Settings button in Startup and Recovery
  5. Use the drop down "Default operating system" to choose your OS.
  6. Click OK on all the windows until you are back to System dialog.

And that's all there is to booting up cleanly in your preferred OS.

Bonus tip

In case you didn't go ooh and aah when I mentioned the Start + Break key combo earlier then I recommend you try it now. When I sit down at a new pc to fix it for somebody its normally the first thing I use to see if the spec (processor and ram) meets the OS requirements. Its useful in more scenarios than that though such as getting networking info and getting a clickable device manager link up really fast.

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