Dual Booting Windows 2000 and Windows XP (Whistler)

Dual Booting
Windows 2000 and Windows XP

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If you have read our initial Dual and Multi-boot Guidelines, you are already aware that a computer can be configured to allow you select between two or more operating systems each time your computer starts. As an example, we have demonstrated how you can set up Windows NT 4.0 right along With Windows 2000 or Windows 98. You can even set up a server to run Windows® 2000 Server most of the time while providing for it to run Windows NT® Server 4.0 in order to support older applications. With either dual or multi-booting, you can easily select which operating system to run or specify a default operating system if no selection is made during the boot process.

One of the major considerations before actually building your dual or multi-boot scenario are the tradeoffs that you will encounter:

  • Each operating system uses valuable disk space, and file system compatibility can be complex if you want to run Windows 2000 on one partition and Windows NT Server 4.0 (or an earlier operating system) on another partition.
  • Dynamic disk formatting introduced in Windows 2000 will not work with earlier operating systems.

Dual and Multi-boot capabilities are a valuable in that they provide you with both single-machine flexibility to run earlier operating systems, as well as allowing you to test and experience the advantages found in other operating systems without risking your present setup. In this case, we will be dual-booting Windows 2000 along with the Beta release of Windows XP, currently codenamed “Whistler”. With Windows 2000 and Windows XP, it’s no longer necessary to maintain multiple operating systems as a safeguard against problems with starting the computer. With Windows 2000 and Windows XP, you have other options for system recovery. As an example, if you have a problem with a newly-installed device driver, you can use safe mode, in which case the operating system restarts with default settings and the minimum number of drivers. You can then roll-back to the earlier driver.

In addition to showing you how easy it is to develop this dual-boot scenario, we will also provide you with some simple guidelines for dual-booting these two operating systems, along with an overview of some specific disk requirements. We will also revisit multi-boot issues for running Windows 2000 with earlier operating systems including Windows NT 4.0, Windows 9x, and MS-DOS®, and you will find a checklist summary for each.

Does Your Disk Support Multi-boot?

These are the hard drive configurations that support more than one operating system.

Basic disk or disks While you can install multiple operating systems, including Windows NT 4.0 and earlier operating systems, on a basic disk, each operating system must be on a separate partition or logical drive on that disk. A partition or logical drive is a section of the disk that functions as a separate unit. Different partitions often have different drive letters, for example, C: and D:.
Single dynamic disk with one partition You can install only one operating system.
Multiple dynamic disks Each dynamic disk can contain one installation of Windows 2000 or Windows XP (Whistler). No other operating systems can start from a dynamic disk.
Master boot record (MBR) disk on an Itanium-based computer You cannot start operating systems from an MBR disk on an Itanium based computer. You must use a GPT disk for this purpose.
GUID partition table (GPT) disk on an Itanium-based computer You can install one or more operating systems on a GPT disk on an Itanium based computer. The guidelines in this table for basic and dynamic disks apply to GPT disks on Itanium based computers. If you are an early adopter of Itanium based computers, you should review your hardware documentation for further details.

Computers Containing Multiple Windows 2000 or Windows XP Partitions
Before installing Windows 2000 and Windows XP on the same machine, you must prepare your system with different partitions, a process that divides a hard disk into separate sections that can be formatted for use by a file system. Partitions typically have different drive letters such as C or D. You can learn more about partitioning disks here.

Only one Operating System per partition
Although some people have been able to temporarily install two operating systems on a single partition, there is little question that one or the other will fail in a relatively short period of time. It’s important to install each operating system on its own partition and then install any additional applications separately for each operating system on their respective partitions. Even though a secondary application, such as Word, may be used with each of the dual or multi-boot operating systems, install it on each partition. Placing each operating system in a separate partition ensures that it will not overwrite crucial files used by the other operating system, and following the same pattern with secondary applications will afford the same integrity.

Install Latest Operating System Last
In the case of Windows 2000 and Windows XP, if you are building a dual or multi-boot system, and you’re going to install any other operating systems, such as Windows 95/98, the Millennium Edition or Windows NT 4.0, you should install the most recent operating system last. As an example, install any other operating system and then install Windows 2000 or Windows XP. In the dual-boot scenario mentioned here, you should install Windows 2000 and then install Windows XP. Keep in mind that both Windows 2000 and Windows XP are dual and multi-boot aware.

Unique Computer Names
You can set up a server so that it has multiple installations of Windows 2000 (using any Windows 2000 product) or Windows XP (or any Whistler product) on multiple partitions. However, you must use a different computer name for each installation if the computer participates in a Windows 2000 domain. This is because a unique security identifier (SID) is used for each installation of Windows 2000 on a domain, the computer name for each installation must be unique, even for multiple installations on the same computer.

Multiple Operating Systems and the Encrypting File System
If you set up a server so that it contains Windows 2000 Server and Whistler Server, or multiple Whistler Server partitions, and you want to use the encrypting file system (EFS), you must take certain precautionary steps. These steps will make encrypted files readable between the different installations. One such approach is to ensure that all the installations are in the same domain and that the user of these installations has a roaming profile. Another approach is to export the user’s file encryption certificate and associated private key from one installation and import it into the other installations.

If you would like more information, see the following Help topics:

Checklist Summary
The following guidelines were developed to assist you in configuring a computer with Windows 2000 and Windows XP or Whistler Server:

  • Install each operating system on a separate drive or disk partition.
  • Install Windows XP or Whistler Server after you have installed Windows 2000 (or any other OS).
  • When you perform a new installation of Windows 2000 Server or Whistler Server (as opposed to an upgrade), by default, the installation is placed on a partition on which no other operating system is located. You can, however, specify a different partition during Setup.
  • If installing Whistler on a partition, you can choose any product in the Whistler product family. For example, you could install Whistler Server in one location and Whistler Advanced Server in another.
  • Don’t install Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Whistler on a compressed drive unless the drive was compressed with the NTFS file system compression feature.
  • On any partition where you perform a new installation of Windows 2000, Windows XP, or Whistler (as opposed to an upgrade), you will need to re-install any programs, such as word processing or e-mail software, after Setup is complete.
  • Install the programs used by each operating system on the partition with that system. If you want your programs to run with multiple operating systems, you need to install separate copies of the programs in each of the operating system partitions.
  • If the computer is on a Windows 2000 or Whistler domain, each installation of Windows 2000 , Windows XP or Whistler on that computer must have a different computer name.

Computers Containing Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 or Windows XP

Setting up a computer to run Windows 2000 or Windows XP, as well as an earlier operating system such as Windows NT Server 4.0, requires addressing compatibility issues among different file systems: NTFS, FAT, and FAT32.

Although NTFS is the recommended file system because it supports important features, such as the Active Directory™ service and domain-based security, using NTFS as the only file system on a computer that contains both Windows XP, (or Whistler Server) and Windows NT is not recommended. On these computers, at least one FAT partition containing the Windows NT 4.0 operating system ensures that when started with Windows NT 4.0, the computer will have access to needed files. In addition, if Windows NT is not installed on the system partition, which is almost always the first partition on the disk, it is recommended that the system partition also be formatted with FAT. This is because earlier operating systems, sands one exception, can’t access a partition if it uses the latest version of NTFS. The one exception is Windows NT version 4.0 with Service Pack 4 or later, which enables it to access partitions formatted with the latest version of NTFS, although with some limitations.

Even the latest Service Pack does not provide access to files using the new features in NTFS. Windows NT 4.0 cannot access files that have been stored using NTFS features that did not exist when Windows NT 4.0 was released. For example, a file that uses the new encryption feature won’t be readable when the computer is started with Windows NT 4.0 Workstation, Windows NT Server 4.0 or Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition, which were released before the encryption feature existed.

For more information see the following Help topic:

  • Choosing between NTFS, FAT, and FAT32

Note: If you set up a computer so that it starts with Windows NT 3.51 or earlier on a FAT partition, and Windows 2000 Server on an NTFS partition, when that computer starts with Windows NT 3.51, the NTFS partition will not be visible.

Checklist Summary
To configure a computer containing Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 or Windows XP, review the following guidelines:

  • Using NTFS as the only file system on a computer containing both Windows 2000 and Windows NT is not recommended.
  • Make sure Windows NT 4.0 has been updated with the latest released Service Pack available for download before installing Windows 2000.
  • Install each operating system on a separate drive or disk partition.
  • When you perform a new installation of Windows 2000 Server (as opposed to an upgrade), by default, the installation is placed on a partition on which no other operating system is located. You can specify a different partition during Setup.
  • Don’t install Windows 2000 on a compressed drive unless the drive was compressed with the NTFS file system compression feature.
  • On any partition where you perform a new installation of Windows 2000 (as opposed to an upgrade), you will need to re-install any programs, such as word processing or email software, after Setup is complete.
  • Install the programs used by each operating system on the partition with that system. If you want your programs to run with multiple operating systems, you need to install separate copies of the programs in each of the operating system partitions.
  • If the computer is on a Windows NT or Windows 2000 domain, each installation of Windows NT 4.0 Server or Windows 2000 Server on that computer must have a different computer name.

Computers Containing MS-DOS or Windows 9x and Windows 2000

As we note above, you need to address file system compatibility to ensure that any multi-booting configuration you use with these earlier operating systems, in conjunction with Windows 2000, maintains file separation. Remember to install the latest operating system last, otherwise important files may be overwritten. The multi-booting configurations that we describe below for earlier operating systems also apply to Windows XP as well as Whistler Server. Therefore, when multi-booting with earlier operating systems you can substitute all references to Windows 2000 with Windows XP or Whistler Server.

Checklist Summary
To configure a computer containing Windows 2000 and Windows 9x or MS-DOS, review the following guidelines:

On computers that contain MS-DOS and Windows 2000:

  • MS-DOS must be installed on a basic disk on a partition formatted with FAT. If MS-DOS is not installed on the system partition, which is almost always the first partition on the disk, the system partition must also be formatted with FAT.
  • Windows 2000 must be installed last. Otherwise important files needed for starting Windows 2000 may be overwritten, thereby preventing you from completing the installation, or booting the operating system after the installation.

On computers that contain Windows 95 and Windows 2000:

  • As in the situation above, Windows 95 must be installed on a basic disk on a partition formatted with FAT. (For Windows 95 OSR2, FAT32 may be used.) If Windows 95 is not installed on the system partition, normally the first partition on the disk, the system partition must also be formatted with FAT (or FAT32 for Windows 95 OSR2).
  • Compressed DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes will not be available while you are running Windows 2000. It is not necessary to uncompress DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes that you will access only with Windows 95.
  • Windows 2000 must be installed last!

On computers that contain Windows 98 (or Windows ME) and Windows 2000:

  • As in the cases above, Windows 98 or Windows Millennium Edition (ME) must be installed on a basic disk on a partition formatted with FAT or FAT32. If Windows 98 or Windows ME is not installed on the system partition, normally the first partition on the disk, the system partition must also be formatted with FAT or FAT32.
  • Compressed DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes won’t be available while you are running Windows 2000. It is not necessary to uncompress DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volumes that you will access only with Windows 98.
  • Windows 2000 must be installed last!

Notice: Windows® 95, Windows® 98, Windows® NT, Windows® 2000 and
Microsoft® Office are registered trademarks or trademarks of the Microsoft Corporation.

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