Dual Booting Windows 9x and Windows 2000

Dual Booting
Windows 2000 and Windows 95/98

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With the recent popularization of Windows 2000, RedHat Linux and to a certain extent BeOS, and with more and more people working from home environments, dual and multi-boot systems have become commonplace. With the release of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 earlier this year, this trend has gained considerable momentum, especially given the relative ease with which Windows 95 or 98 can be dual booted, and more significantly because key differences between the two operating system types makes having both on the same system advantageous.

When Windows 2000 was released, we viewed it as the finest Windows release yet, but with a few reservations. While most of the weaknesses that plagued Windows NT had finally been eliminated, such as support for the latest hardware technologies, it still had a flaw that would prevent it from migrating to the desktops of the home and casual user. Microsoft’s newest operating system lacked the familiarity of Windows 95/98 and its game playing compatibility, unless of course you’re playing the latest versions of Quake III or Unreal Tournament. Over recent months, Microsoft has made great strides in improving compatibility issues, and not just for game play. They have released several compatibility updates that help immensely.

If you have a reasonable understanding of the Windows environment and are not an avid gamer, we wholeheartedly recommend that you try Windows 2000, or at least consider Windows XL when it’s released during the end of 2001. If, on the other hand, you want to have both the compatibility of Windows 95 or 98 for some of your older games, as well as the stability and speed of Windows 2000, then dual or multi-booting is for you.

Unfortunately building a dual or multi-boot system involves a little more than the mere installation two or more operating systems. This particular segment of dual-booting will provide you with a few different approaches to dual booting Windows 2000 and Windows 95/98. Throughout these various examples, there are a few basic presumptions that we have made:

  • You have created two separate partitions on your hard drive, or you have two separate hard drives, on which to install the operating systems.
  • You have both your original Windows 95/98 and 2000 CD-ROM disks.
  • You are familiar with the hardware make up of your computer.
  • You have a reasonable understanding of how to install an operating system.
  • You have assembled all of the necessary drivers for your hardware items, including updated drivers for Windows 2000. (This is a necessity that should not be overlooked!)

The Basics
Both Windows 95/98 and Windows 2000 must each be installed onto a separate drive partition or hard drive on your system. If you have only one hard drive with only one partition, you will have to remove the existing partition and then re-partition the drive before proceeding. You can do this by using FDISK or with a third-party utility such as Partition Magic.

Caution: If you decided to use FDISK, everything pertaining to hard drive preparation must be done within MS-DOS, and you cannot mix applications. If you start with FDISK and MS-DOS, stick with it. If you choose to use Partition Magic from PowerQuest, use it and do not combine operations with FDISK or any other utility. Partitioning a drive cannot be done from within the Windows operating system. By partitioning a drive you will destroy all data on the hard drive.

All retail versions of the Microsoft’s Windows CD-ROMs are bootable, upgrade versions are not. If you have the retail versions and you plan on booting to the CD-ROM, make sure that your motherboards BIOS settings are set to read from your CD-ROM first, and then your hard drive. To verify your settings, boot into your systems BIOS setup and then select the Bios Features Setup. If you set your BIOS to boot to the CD-ROM first, remember to change it back to boot to the hard drive first after the first operating system is installed.

Some of Microsoft’s OEM Windows CD-ROMs were bootable, and others were not, therefore you should take this into consideration before proceeding and test them first. In addition, if your version of Windows 95/98 or Windows 2000 is on a CD-ROM disk provided by the manufacturer, you may not be able to install just the operating system without all of the manufacturers add-ins.

If your CD-ROM is not bootable, you must use a boot disk. If you do not have a boot disk, you can create your own in several ways:

  1. If your computer has Windows 98 already installed, then go into Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and create a Windows Startup Disk.
  2. You can also download a Windows Startup disk from this site by clicking Download a Startup Disk
  3. You can use Floppy Disk Manager 2.1 (fully functional 30-day trial) and a DOS 6.22 Boot Disk. If you must use a boot disk, then make sure that your BIOS is configured to read your floppy drive first.

Before You Begin
Or before you go jumping off into never-never land and start removing partitions and the like, make certain that you understand exactly what it is we are trying to do here. Although we provide most of the steps for you to perform, there are some that we presume you are aware of and will do on your own. If you don’t understand each of the steps in the process, and you’re still adamant about dual booting your system, find a friend or acquaintance that has some experience doing this, and have them sit with you while you perform the steps.

A Must Do!
If you already have an operating system installed, make certain that you back up all vital data that you may have before installing a second operating system, or use Partition Magic or any other utility to partition or re-partition your hard drive. Once partitions are removed the data within the partition goes with it. It can be recovered, but the cost to do so if often prohibitive. Things can and do go wrong!

Back To The Basics
Of all of the Windows versions, Windows 95, Windows 95OSR2, Windows 98, Windows 98 Second Edition and the Windows Millennium Edition, Windows 95 is the most difficult to work with when creating a dual or multi-boot system. If you do decide to dual boot Windows 95, keep in mind that your primary drive or partition must use the FAT16 file system.

When installing Windows 2000, you have the option of using either the FAT32 or NTFS file system. The preferred file system for Windows 2000 is NTFS, however it is not compatible with and Windows 9x version. This means that you will be unable to access any files on an NTFS drive or partition when running any version of Windows 9x. Although there is no such limitation with Windows 2000, we recommend formatting everything as FAT32.

Allow Enough Time to do What Must Be Done
Set aside as much time as possible to create your dual or multi-boot system. Remember, if this is your first attempt at something like this, the last thing you will want is to be interrupted. It’s extremely difficult to stop the process and then come back to it. Equally important, it takes a minimum of 45 to 60 minutes just to install an operating system, depending on the speed of your computer, and since you are installing everything necessary for dual-booting, it will take you at least twice as long since you are installing two operating systems. You must also allow time for you to download any updates you need from Microsoft as well as install your other software.

As a closing note before getting on with putting all of this together, every computer is different to a certain extent, and it is not our intent of cover every conceivable hardware configuration. We leave that to you. While we have tested these procedures, we will not be held  responsible for any problems or data loss you may encounter as the result of your use of this information. Again, if you are not confident that you can resolve any issue that may arise, we recommend that you not attempt any of the examples or scenarios presented here.

Working with Windows 2000
Whether you already have Windows 2000 installed and are adding one of the Windows 9x operating systems, or you intend to add Windows 2000, there are a few things you should do. If Windows 2000 is already up and running, then create your Emergency Repair Disk, Create a Set of Windows Install Disks and Backup Your Boot Files. If you have one of the Windows 9x operating systems running, then as soon as you have Windows 2000 up and running, perform the same tasks without delay. You’ll be glad you did.

Emergency Repair Disk:

  1. Click Start, Programs, Accessories then System Tools.
  2. Select Backup.
  3. In the backup utility, select the Emergency Repair Disk option. You will need a 1.44” floppy disk for this, and you should update this disk every week or so.

Backup Your Boot Files:

  1. Format a new floppy disk.
  2. Copy ntdetect.com, ntldr and boot.ini to the floppy. Note: These files are hidden, so you may need to change your view settings to find them. This can be done from any folder window by selecting Tools, Options, View. Uncheck “Do not show hidden files and folders”, as well as “Hide protected operating system files”. These files will be located in the root of you boot drive (e.g. at C:\ ).

Build a Streaming Installation of Windows 2000
If you have the room, such as an additional partition (third) or an extra partition on a second drive, you can build a streaming installation that will allow you to install Windows 2000 along with Service Pack 1. This will also allow you to correct a problem with updating the Recovery Console. You can read more about this here.

Modifying your Boot Options:
You can customize the length of time the boot loader will be displayed by going into Windows 2000’s Advanced System Properties by clicking Control Panel, System Advanced Startup and Recovery. There, you can manually edit the boot.ini file. By editing the boot.ini, you also have the opportunity to decide which operating system your computer will default to when the timer on the boot loader runs out.

Installation Examples:

Installing Windows 98 and Windows 2000
This is the easiest and safest of all of the possibilities as it allows you to start with a fresh installation of both operating systems. Although you are starting from scratch, it is the fastest method.

Installing Windows 2000 After Windows 98
Given the intuitive nature of Windows 2000 and its ability to recognize the existence of another operating system, this is yet another easy method to achieve your dual-boot goal. The only thing you need to be careful of is to make sure you choose to install Windows 2000 instead of upgrading the existing operating system to Windows 2000.

Installing Windows 98 After Windows 2000
This is the most difficult of the examples. Given the small numbers of Windows 2000 based machines in homes and offices, this is most likely the avenue that will be taken by those wanting to dual-boot their computers. There are a number of potential pitfalls, so you’ll need to follow the procedures carefully. This is where you will learn why backing up your boot files is important.

Installing Both Windows 98 and Windows 2000
This, by far, is the easiest of the methods to dual-boot your system between Windows 98 and Windows 2000 as you’re able to start from the beginning without the inherent fear of losing existing data.

Here are the easy to follow steps:

  1. You will need either two partitions on a single hard drive (creating a drive “C” and “D”) or two separate hard drives, which are drives “C” and “D” as well.
  2. You will need to format both partitions or both drives, whichever you have chosen to do. In order to enable you to access files on either partition or drive, make sure you create the partitions and format them for the FAT32 file system.
  3. Next, you will have to either boot to a Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk and select “With CD-ROM Drive Support” and then install Windows 98, or (if you computer supports it) boot to the Windows 98 CD-ROM disk. Keep in mind though, booting to the Windows 98 CD will not work with the upgrade version. Now install Windows 98 on your primary drive partition or primary drive (C:\) if you’re using two drives.
  4. Now setup Windows 98 completely, including any special drivers and downloads from Microsoft. Make certain that Windows 98 is completely usable and free from errors. Taking the time for this now will shorten the time to correct minor problems later.
  5. Now, while in Windows 98, insert the Windows 2000 CD and simply follow the instructions to install it. You need to be aware that you will be asked whether you want to update Windows 98 to Windows 2000. Select No and proceed to install Windows 2000 on your second drive partition (D:\) or second physical drive, as the case may be. Also keep in mind that you do not want to convert the existing FAT32 file system to NTFS when asked by the installation program.
  6. Once Windows 2000 is up and running, you should now have the Widows 2000 boot loader appear whenever you boot up your computer.  You can select whichever operating system you want to use at that time. Now is the time to add in any special drivers for hardware devices that need them, as well as any Microsoft Updates.
  7. The final step is adding any third-party software programs. Remember though, you must install these twice, once for each operating system. You cannot share an installation no matter what anyone says to the contrary. A failure is inevitable if you do!

Installing Windows 2000 After Windows 98
It doesn’t get any easier than this, presuming that you have a second partition of your hard drive. However, given the very low cost of hard drives today, if you don’t have a second partition on your present hard drive, you can add a second drive and still achieve the same results.

  1. Make sure that your second drive or drive partition, (D:\), has been formatted.
  2. Make sure that you have made a Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk.
  3. Backup any vital information on your system that you cannot afford to lose. Although we have done this numerous times, problems do happen, and usually at the most inappropriate moments.
  4. Now setup Windows 98 completely, including any special drivers and downloads from Microsoft. Make certain that Windows 98 is completely usable and free from errors. Taking the time for this now will shorten the time to correct minor problems later.
  5. Now, while in Windows 98, insert the Windows 2000 CD and simply follow the instructions to install it. You need to be aware that you will be asked whether you want to update Windows 98 to Windows 2000. Select No and proceed to install Windows 2000 on your second drive partition (D:\) or second physical drive, as the case may be. Also keep in mind that you do not want to convert the existing FAT32 file system to NTFS when asked by the installation program.
  6. Once Windows 2000 is up and running, you should now have the Widows 2000 boot loader appear whenever you boot up your computer.  You can select whichever operating system you want to use at that time. Now is the time to add in any special drivers for hardware devices that need them, as well as any Microsoft Updates.
  7. The final step is adding any third-party software programs. Remember though, you must install these twice, once for each operating system. You cannot share an installation no matter what anyone says to the contrary. A failure is inevitable if you do!

Installing Windows 98 After Windows 2000
This is the most complex of all of the choices you can make, and the most difficult to achieve. Our first caution to you is to backup all of your important files.

Some considerations before you start:

  • Windows 98 must be on the first primary partition of your first physical hard drive (e.g. drive “C”). The only way that Windows 98 can be installed on any other partition or drive is through the use of a third-party boot manager such as System Commander or BootMagic from PowerQuest, and we recommend the latter.
  • If Windows 2000 already exists on your computer, it will have to be moved to any other partition other than drive “C”, such as drive “D”. In order to accomplish this, you will need to do either of three things:
  1. You will need to use a third-party partitioning utility that will enable you to divide your present drive into two partitions, leaving Windows 2000 on the second, or “D” partition. This, however, has its own inherent problems as the Windows 2000 Registry believes it is on your “C” partition, not “D”.
  2. The second option is to add a second hard drive and make it the primary hard drive, drive “C”. This, however, does not alleviate the problem mentioned immediately above.
  3. The final option is to start a fresh installation by removing Windows 2000, create two partitions and then install Windows 98 and then Windows 2000 as mentioned in the preceding example.
  • Regardless of what you choose to do, make sure you have an Emergency Recovery Disk for Windows 2000, a complete set of installation floppy disks and you have backed up your necessary files.
  • The Installation Procedure
    Be certain to create an Emergency Repair Disk (ERD) under Windows 2000. Do not skip this step, as you Must have an ERD if this is to work.

    Note: This presumes that you have either (1) Created a second partition and Windows 2000 is on drive “D”, or (2) you have added a new primary hard drive “C” and your former drive “C” is now drive “D”, or (3) you have removed your old Windows 2000 installation, divided your hard drive into two partitions and re-installed Windows 2000 to drive “D”.

    1. Boot your system to the Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk with CD-ROM support.
    2. Insert your Windows 98 CD-ROM disk into the drive.
    3. At the DOS prompt, start the installation by typing X:\Setup, replacing “X” with the drive letter for your CD-ROM drive. Take care to install Windows 98 onto your primary drive partition (C:\), installing the operating system as you normally would.
    4. Once you are done with the Windows 98 installation, you will find that you can no longer access the Windows 2000 boot loader, and as such, cannot get into Windows 2000. This problem is resolved with the use of your Windows 2000 Emergency Repair Disk. If you ignored our warnings and didn’t make one, you must do this the hard way, by using the Windows 2000 setup disks. You did make those right?
    5. If you computer allows you to boot to a CD-ROM, then set the system BIOS to boot to your CD-ROM drive first and then insert your Windows 2000 CD. Boot to the Windows 2000 CD-ROM and at the appropriate screen, choose “Repair a Windows 2000 Installation”.
    6. If your BIOS doesn’t permit you to boot to the CD-ROM drive, then boot into Windows 98. Now insert the Windows 2000 CD-ROM disk. As the install process begins you will be given the opportunity to select “Repair a Windows 2000 Installation by Using the Emergency Repair Process”.

      You will then be able to decide between two repair methods, one of which is for the Manual Repair. Uncheck the Verify Windows 2000 System Files before proceeding. Insert your Emergency Repair Disk when asked to do so, and then press Enter. Upon reboot, you should have the ability to choose between either your Windows 2000 or Windows 98 operating systems once again.

    What’s next?
    The instructions we have provided above are easy to follow and require very little technical knowledge. If you are unsure about using such utilities as FDISK or have questions about using FDISK to partition drives, you can visit the Technical Support area of this Website for a detailed step-by-step explanation of its use. If you have followed the instructions closely, you should now have a dual-boot system up and ready to go and you’re ready to take a break. When you come back to your system, that will be a great opportunity personalize both of your new operating systems by taking advantage of some of the tweaks and performance issues we have elsewhere on this Web site.

    What if you have to uninstall an operating system?
    Although we hope you will not have the need to uninstall either of the operating systems, should you decide that you need to uninstall either one, uninstall and then re-install one or the other, or you merely decide that you no longer require two operating systems, it is useful to know how to return to a single operating system.

    Uninstalling Windows 2000
    Before you begin removing or uninstalling anything, make sure that you backup all of the important data you may need from your Windows 2000 partition to another partition or hard drive. If you followed our instructions, you are using a FAT32 file system, therefore reboot into Windows 98 and format your secondary partition or hard drive.

    If, on the other hand, you ignored our suggestion and you are using the NTFS file system, you will need to do the following:

    1. Reboot computer with your Windows 2000 CD or the ERD disk.
    2. Select “Repair a Windows 2000 Installation, then Repair a Windows 2000 Installation by Using the Recovery Console”.
    3. Next, select the number of the Windows 2000 installation you would like to repair, and type in the password of your administrator account. At the command prompt, type in: format [drive:] /fs:fat32 (and touch the enter key) Replace [drive:] with the letter of the partition or drive on which Windows 2000 was installed. Again, if you followed our instructions, this should be “D:”.
    4. Next, boot your computer using any boot disk that will get you into DOS. Use your Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk that you made earlier.
    5. At the C:\ prompt, simply type in fidsk /mbr (and touch the enter key).

      Be absolutely certain that your system is virus free before doing this! If you have a virus in your boot sector when you do this, there is a very good possibility that you will lose all of your data.

    6. Reboot your computer and it will automatically begin loading Windows 98. You can now delete the Windows 2000 files, ntdetect.com, ntldr, and boot.ini, located in the root of your drive (C:\).

    Uninstalling Windows 98

    To uninstall Windows 98 from your dual-boot system, follow these steps:

    1. Copy ntdetect.com, ntldr, and boot.ini from the root (C:\) of your primary boot partition to a floppy disk before proceeding.
    2. Make sure that you backup any important files that you may need from your Windows 98 installation.
    3. Reboot your system into MS-into DOS using your Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk. At the DOS prompt, type: format c: (and touch the enter key) You will be informed that formatting will remove everything from the partition or drive and asked to confirm this choice. Confirm the choice and proceed with the format.
    4. Once the format has completed, copy the ntdetect.com, ntldr, and boot.ini back to the primary partition from your floppy disk, and then reboot your system.
    5. Once your system restarts, one of two things will occur:
      • Your boot loader will come on screen and give you the option of selecting Windows 2000 or Windows 98, or
      • You will see an error that something isn’t loading.
    6. If the boot loader comes up, simply log into Windows 2000 and and edit the boot.ini file and remove the option of booting into Windows 98 by deleting the line of text that represents the appropriate operating system, usually C:\ = “Microsoft Windows 98”).
    7. On the other hand, if you see the error message, reboot with the Windows 2000 CD in your drive. Select to Repair a Windows 2000 Installation, followed by Repair a Windows 2000 Installation by Using the Recovery Console. Select the number of the Windows 2000 installation you would like to repair, and type in the password of your administrator account. At the prompt, type fixboot followed by exit to restart your computer. Now you should see the boot loader when you restart the system. Now you will want to remove the option to boot into Windows 98.

    If a Boot Failure Persists
    Generally, if you have followed all of the instructions provided you shouldn’t experience a failure to boot into the appropriate operating system. However, sometime things don’t necessarily go as planned, “Murphy’s Law”. The following two solutions normally work in the case of Windows 98 and Windows 2000. Obviously, there’s no guarantees with anything, but they do work on most systems.

    For Windows 98:

    1. Insert your Windows 98 Startup Boot Disk into the floppy drive and boot the system to it.
    2. At the DOS prompt C:\> type fidsk /mbr (and touch the enter key)
    3. Now remove the floppy and restart your computer normally.

    Under Windows 2000:

    1. If your BIOS supports CD-ROM booting, restart your system with the Windows 2000 CD in your drive. If your BIOS does not support booting to a CD-ROM drive, (or you are using an upgrade CD) use the Emergency Repair Disk you created earlier to perform the same function.
    2. Select to Repair a Windows 2000 Installation, followed by Repair a Windows 2000 Installation by Using the Recovery Console.
    3. Now select the number of the Windows 2000 installation you would like to repair, and type in your administrator  password.
    4. At the command prompt type: fixboot followed by exit
    5. Now restart your computer normally (make sure you change the BIOS to boot to the correct drive). You should now see the Windows 2000 boot loader.

      Note: The fixboot solution will work only if you have the ntdetect.com, ntldr and boot.ini files on your boot partition. As we noted earlier, these must be saved to a floppy during the creation of a dual-boot scenario.

    Conclusions
    We know there is much to read and digest here, but if you follow the information carefully and print this page, then you should have little or no problems duplicating what we have done. Obviously we wouldn’t recommend this to anyone with no real experience with computer operating systems, however if you understand each of the terms used here and what they mean, then you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

    Anytime you prepare a document such as this one, there is a conversion element to be concerned with, and that is the conversion of the actual practice to a set of guidelines to be followed. We work hard at insuring that we include all of the necessary steps, and we even use the guides afterwards to replicate a practice, but even then something can be missed. If you find that we need to include a missing step, or elaborate on one, please let us know.

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