How to Set the Default OS on a Windows Dual-Boot Computer

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If you have multiple versions of Windows on your PC and you prefer one over the others, you can make that preferred operating system (OS) the default so it always automatically loads. We’ll show you how to do that.

Keep in mind that this guide only works if you have installed multiple Windows operating systems on your PC. If you have a Windows and Linux dual-boot system, check out our GRUB2 guide to learn how to set the default OS in your case.

RELATED: How to Configure the GRUB2 Boot Loader’s Settings

To set the default OS on a dual-boot system, Windows 10 offers two ways. Both work the same and you can proceed with either.

Table of Contents

Set the Default OS From System Properties on Windows 10

One way to select an OS as the default in Windows 10 is by using the System Properties window.

To use this method, first, open the “Run” box by pressing Windows+R.

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In the “Run” box, type the following and press Enter:

SystemPropertiesAdvanced

Type "SystemPropertiesAdvanced" in "Run" and press Enter.

Windows 10 will open a “System Properties” window. In this window, under the “Startup and Recovery” section, click the “Settings” button.

Click "Settings" in the "Startup and Recovery" section on the "System Properties" window.

On the “Startup and Recovery” window that opens, click the “Default Operating System” drop-down menu and select the OS that you want to make the default.

Then, at the bottom of the “Startup and Recovery” window, click “OK.”

Tip: To make Windows load your default OS faster, reduce the time duration in the “Time to Display List of Operating Systems” box.

Select the default OS from the "Default Operating System" drop-down menu on the "Startup and Recovery" window.

On the “System Properties” window, at the bottom, click “OK” to close the window.

Click "OK" on the "System Properties" window.

And that’s all. Your selected OS is now the default OS on your PC. Windows will automatically load this OS when you turn on your computer.

RELATED: What Exactly Happens When You Turn On Your Computer?

Set the Default OS From System Configuration on Windows 10

Another way to set the default OS in Windows 10 is by using the System Configuration tool.

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To use it, first, open the “Start” menu and search for “System Configuration”. Then click the tool in the search results.

Find and click "System Configuration" in the "Start" menu.

On the “System Configuration” window, at the top, click the “Boot” tab.

Click the "Boot" tab on the "System Configuration" window.

In the “Boot” tab, from the large white box at the top, select the OS that you want to make the default. Then, beneath the white box, click “Set as Default.”

This “Boot” tab is also where you can boot your PC in safe mode.

Select an OS and click "Set as Default" in the "Boot" tab on the "System Configuration" window.

Next to your selected OS, a “Default OS” label will appear. This indicates your default OS was successfully set.

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Save your changes by clicking “Apply” and then “OK” at the bottom of the “System Configuration” window.

Click "Apply" followed by "OK" on the "System Configuration" window.

You’ll see a prompt asking to reboot your PC. You don’t have to immediately if you need to save open files and close any running programs. In this case, click the “Exit Without Restart” option in the prompt.

If you’re okay with restarting your PC, select the “Restart” option instead.

Select "Exit Without Restart" or "Restart" in the "System Configuration" prompt.

You’re all set. Windows now knows your default operating system, and it will load that on all your future boot-ups. Very handy!


Now that a default OS is set, check out our guide on how to set the default apps on your Windows 10 PC.

RELATED: How to Set Your Default Apps in Windows 10

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