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I have windows 7 now, and I would like to upgrade to the consumer preview of windows 8 (not fresh install).

However, I want to be able to revert to what I have now (windows 7) should issues occur. I do not need this to be a simple option (like a dual boot or similar) I am OK if it takes a few hours to make the change.

I do not have enough space to clone my HD as it is now, and then upgrade.

Is there a way to save just the operating system files of windows 7 to a separate partition, and have the rest of the files remain unduplicated?

My current idea (which I am not sure will work).

My current setup is to have all of my files, programs, etc on the C: partition. I would create a new partition (D:) that will move all of my (non-OS) data to, and then create hardlinks to it on the C: partition. I would then clone the C: partition (which would now be around 25GB or so) and store it as a new partition (E:). Afterwards, I would upgrade partitions C: or E:.

Does this make sense? Will it work? Is there a vastly easier way to do it? If this way is the way to do it (something I doubt very much) what would be the best way to create the hardlinks?

Summary: I am trying to have the minimal amount of information backed up so that I can overwrite windows 8, and get back windows 7.

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The first thing you must ask yourself, is can you risk this going belly up and losing both your windows 7 and windows 8 install? –  Darth Android Jun 19 '12 at 23:25
    
Couldn't you do a VHD install? It would likely make it a lot easier, and you wouldn't need to muck about with repartitioning. I'd post an answer but i haven't done it yet. There's also a way to do a USB boot, but i do not have this tested with the RP yet –  Journeyman Geek Jun 19 '12 at 23:25
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You should make a backup of your important files before considering upgrading your system. In fact you should consider to backup even without upgrading. –  Baarn Jun 19 '12 at 23:26
    
@DarthAndroid, No, but I think the risk of hardware damage is zero, and the risk that I don't copy everything is also zero (assuming I upgrade from E: –  soandos Jun 19 '12 at 23:36
    
@JourneymanGeek, I want to be able to use the GPU, not sure if that is possible with what you are suggesting. Additionally, I want all the programs that I have now on windows 7 to be installed, etc –  soandos Jun 19 '12 at 23:37

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

While you can upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 you can't uninstall Windows 8.

From http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/faq

Can I uninstall Windows 8 Release Preview?

No. To go back to your previous version of Windows, you'll need to reinstall it from the recovery or installation media that came with your PC; typically DVD media. If you don’t have recovery media you might be able to create it from a recovery partition on your PC using software provided by your PC manufacturer. Check the support section of your PC manufacturer’s website for more information. After you install Windows 8, you won’t be able to use the recovery partition on your PC to go back to your previous version of Windows.

Additionally there is no guarantee you will be able to upgrade the Consumer Preview to the final Windows 8 version. It might work but I would not count on it.

I would recommend using a virtual machine to test out Windows 8 rather than upgrading an existing working Windows 7 install.

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You mention Customer Preview instead of Release Preview. –  Ramhound Jun 20 '12 at 17:04
    
The original question mentions consumer preview. I think the concepts are the same. MS typically allows upgrades but not uninstall on OSes. They also in the past have had preview or beta releases that were not upgradable to the final release. –  Brad Patton Jun 20 '12 at 17:17
    
I am talking about "reinstalling" windows 7 in a minimal way. This is certainly possible, merely difficult. I say so in the summary. Hows this address my question? –  soandos Jun 20 '12 at 17:44
    
Your question is about a reversable upgrade to Windows 8 and that just not possible. You could do a reinstall of Windows 7 after you get done with Windows 8 but you will have to also reinstall your programs and drivers (they won't just show up). –  Brad Patton Jun 20 '12 at 17:49

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