I have never tried a pre-release/beta operating system before, but thought I'd give it a try on my home XP x86 machine. My office runs Win7 x64 on all production workstations, which I love, but just never had the money to upgrade my home OS. Since Win8 is going to be so cheap I thought I'd try it out.
So to start out I found this tutorial for dual-booting WinXP and Win8: How to dual boot Windows XP and Windows 8 | Teching It Easy: with Windows
I went to the MS Windows 8 website, and downloaded the ~2.5 GB Windows 8 x86 ISO file. I burned this ISO image to a DVD using Nero.
Next I downloaded and installed that EASEUS Partition Master program and shrunk my primary C drive from ~250 GB down to ~150 GB, and created another partition with drive letter F: for Windows 8. My D: drive is a separate physical 1TB drive for all my data files, and my E: drive is an external USB 1TB drive for backups. The C: partition resize and subsequent format of the 100GB of remaining space seemed to go off without a hitch. Booting back into XP, the F: drive showed as empty except for the hidden System Volume Information folder.
Then I restarted the machine with the Win8 DVD in the drive. After the Intel BIOS splash screen, I was presented with a black screen that read something like this:
Or something similar to that. The 1 and 2 had nothing listed beside them, and it asked me to choose one.
Choose boot option:
Unfortunately I'm at work right now so don't know what the exact wording was. I'm not sure why it didn't give me the usual "press any key to boot from CD". I do have the DVD drive set before the HDD in the boot device order in the BIOS. I didn't bring the DVD with me so I haven't checked yet to see if the ISO image was burned properly. Guess I need to do that this evening.