An interesting thing happened on the way to the forum
Yesterday I finally decided I'd had enough of Windows 8 dominating my laptop, restored my Windows 7 image and got my laptop back to its (and my) familiar and soothing Windows 7 habits.
Next step, install Windows 8 for dual boot on my desktop. I've been dual booting Windows 7 Home Premium and Windows 7 Ultimate for nearly two years, now. I booted from my Windows 8 DVD partition (works much more quickly than using the actual DVD) and proceeded to perform a clean install of Windows 8 in the partition soon to be formerly occupied by Windows 7 Home Premium.
I chose Keep Nothing, pointed the installer to the Windows 7 Home Premium partition and selected Format. The Windows 7 Home Premium partition was a 60GB partition, second on that particular hard drive, and immediately following it is a 100GB partition for Program Files. Now is when the fun started happening.
The Windows 8 format utility somehow split the Home Premium and Program Files partitions. When all was said and done, I had 40GB of free space in front of the 60GB Windows 8 partition, and 60GB of free space after. My 100GB Program Files partition was gone, split asunder and lying fallow as unallocated space. Windows 8 booted and ran just fine, but all my Program Files for my Windows Ultimate dual boot were missing in action.
Of course, I have a recent TeraByte Image For Windows drive image of that Program Files partition, but it isn't in two pieces. So I used Image For Windows to make a fresh image of the Windows 8 partition, then deleted it using BootIt Bare Metal, leaving me with a bit over 160GB of unallocated space. From there I created the original partitioning scheme with BootIt BM, restored Windows 8 where I intended for it to be in the first place, and am finishing up the restoration of my Program Files partition using Image For DOS as I type this on my laptop.
Now for the most interesting tidbit. I have BootIt Bare Metal installed on an 8MB partition on one of my hard drives, and I use it as a boot manager. When installing Windows, Windows takes over the boot process. Once Windows is installed, I just slip the BootIt BM CD in the drive, boot to the CD and reactivate BootIt BM. It takes over the boot process once more. Occaisionally, a bit of tweaking is involved, but it's never complicated.
I had recently downloaded the latest update (free for licensed users) for BIBM, v1.13. V1.12 works with Windows 8, but v1.13 mentions Windows 8 specifically - and there is a warning for all dual booters. If "Fastboot" is left enabled in Windows 8, it will likely interfere with one's partitions, and can even make a system unbootable. I'm thinking that may well be what happened to me.
The exact wording specific for BootIt Bare Metal is as follows:
"Warning to Windows 8 Users
You must disable the Fast startup option or you risk corruption of your partitions and data. This option can be disabled by viewing the Windows 8 partition's properties in Partition Work and clicking the Disable Fast Start button. For more details see the View partition properties section of the BootIt User Manual."
This may or may not apply to other partitioning tools, but I think it's definitely worth looking into for those who dual boot or intend to.
Before I made an image of Windows 8, I made sure to disable "Fastboot". I'll see how things work out, and post any applicable updates.