Linux as 3rd OS

I have Win98 installed and I will also be installing WinNT.  Is it possible to also install Linux as a third OS and thus making a "triple boot"?
Who is Participating?

Improve company productivity with a Business Account.Sign Up

Phiber0pTikConnect With a Mentor Commented:
To answer your question it is possible to install NT and linux on top of 98 to make a triple boot, but there are some things that you would need first.

1. How much disk space do you have? If you have enough for 3 OS's then you may need to get a program like Partition Magic to repartition your hard drive. Unless you just reformat you drives.

2.If you are keeping the current Win98 partition, What File System is it? FAT, FAT32? You should have your Win98 partition as FAT so that when you do get NT and Linux up and running you can use that Win98 FAT partition to transfer files or what ever between Windows98, NT and Linux. Linux can read and write to FAT partitions and so can win98 and NT.

Suggested partitions:
Win 98 -- FAT (first partition, C:\)
Win NT -- NTFS (second partition, D:\)
Linux -- Linux Native(you should split up your linux part of your hard drive to many other smaller partitions or you can have one big one, your preference)

Installation Procedure:
1. Format your FAT partition for Win98.
or if you choose to keep your old OS repartition your drive with a 3rd party patition tool.

2. Install Ms-DOS on that first partition.

3. Install Windows NT on your second partition. (NT should recognize your DOS OS and display it as and option in your NTLDR menu when you boot NT, you can check it in your BOOT.INI file on the NT partition).

4. Boot to MS-DOS.(select MS-DOS when you get to NT's Loader Menu) and install Windows 98.

NOTE: if keeping original Win98 then skip steps 2 and 4.

5. Now when you boot your Menu should read Windows NT, Windows NT (VGA) and MS Windows 98. if not then you can mod the BOOT.INI file within NT

6. Now you can boot off of a Linux CD or boot disk and install Linux last.

*NOTE: when you install Linux make certain that you install LILO on the first linux parition not on the MBR!!!!

7. Now you have to peel the bootsector from your Linux root partition. if /dev/hda1 as your root partition the comand is:
# dd if=/dev/hda1 of=/bootsect.lnx bs=512 count=1

8. Now you have to copy that file to a floppy with this command:
# mcopy /bootsect.lnx a:

9. Now you can boot to NT and copy that file to your NT system drive, d: or what ever you used for NT.

10. Now that you got that you have to tell NT that you got Linux and you wanna boot to it. first you have to take off the read-only attribute on the BOOT.INI file. second open that file in Wordpad or something and add this line to the end:

11. Change the attrib's back to read-only and reboot.

Now when you boot up you will see in the NTLDR menu 3 OS's

Win NT

Pretty simple ya, just tedious.
if you got any problems there are alot of Howto's out there to guide you in the MS winNT world and the Linux world.
Good Luck!

i have a triple boot winNT/win95/Linux.
Some other folks have more.
You combination is actually safter than mine, since somebody reported the win98 will grab FAT16 partition then convert it to FAT32 thus rendering it to non-recogizable to earlier win95. dogh

If I were you, I'd start with Linux. install Linux, manage boot with LILO, (The Linux installation can be all on logical partitions, provided that /boot is not beyond 1024 cylinder).
Use fdisk under Linux to make some more partitions(at least 1 primary partitions. I'd prefer win98 and winNT will have a primary partion each), mark some as FAT32 and some as NTFS. do 98/NT installation accordingly.
boot back to Linux with linux installation CD or boot/root diskette/CD, then edit /etc/lilo.conf to reflect the fact that win98, NT is in place now.
wsanchezAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your suggestion, jyu_88, but I like to keep this question open to other experts' comments.  I'll just choose which comment to accept as an answer.
Tim HolmanCommented:
If Win 98 is FAT32, you'll need to setup another partition. for NT.
If it's FAT16, you'll be able to install NT on top of it, without problems (hopefully) and end up with an NT boot loader that kicks off either Win 98 or NT.
You'll need another primary partition for Linux, and another extended one for the swapfile.
You can then install Linux on this new partition and use BOOTPART or similar to add it to the NT boot loader.
That's how I've got it setup at home, anyways.
This should be possible. I would advise to install first 98, then NT and Then Linux. Linux will install LILO, a bootloader, which can boot multiple OS's.

And I would use multiple partitions, so for every OS another partition. (maybe also multiple partitions for Linux also).

I don't know if you have multiple disks? If so ; try if Microsoft products want to boot from second (or higher) harddisk. I know that Linux can, but Win95 can't (so probably all microsoft product will look for the first harddisk for the OS).

Hope it helps.
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.