Dual-boot win98/win2k

Posted on 2002-04-26
Last Modified: 2010-04-13
I'm planning on installing win2k on my win98 computer. I have two drives, one with partitions C:,D: and E: and another with one partition - F:. I would like to install win98 on D: and do a clean install of win2k on drive C:, formatting C: before installing.

My question is: If i format C:, will this cause any trouble with the rest om the partitions. I believe formating a partition removes the FAT and I fear that the system will be unable to read the files of the rest of the partitions or does every partition have its own FAT. I would be very grateful for any comments on this one.

Question by:cga1

Expert Comment

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Each partition on a disk has its own file system; therefore FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS can all live happily together in three different partitions on the same hard disk.

Effectively, partitioning a disk forces the Operating System to treat each partition as if it were a separate physical disk.

So reformatting your C: partition will have *no effect* on the other partitions.

Of course, if you were to start repartitioning using FDISK, then you *will* lose data - but only on the disk you are configuring.  Since you have two disks, you can repartition one without affecting the other.  A word of caution though - FDISK is not the easiest of programs to use, so it pays to go slowly and be absolutely certain about which hard disk you're working on.

Since you're already running WIN98, I'll assume that you have it installed on C: and that this is formatted under FAT32.

What I would suggest is:

Copy your WIN98 installation, plus data, (basically everything from the C: drive) onto your F: partition (the second Hard Disk).

Use FDISK to repartition your primary hard disk (the one with three partitions) with two partitions of about 5GB each (for your OS installations) and a third partition using up the remaining space.  Make sure you "enable large disk support" (YES by default)

- Format C: as FAT32
- Install WIN98 to C:

- Install Win2000 to D: (preferably formatted under NTFS, but beware that WIN98 won't be able to see this).

- Format E: as FAT32 (so both OS's can see the drive)

- Leave F: as it is (assuming it's FAT32)

This will give you two OS installed on C: and D:, and two data drives on E: and F:

There are no advantages to installing one or the other OS onto the C: drive, but IMHO doing it this way is the simplest.

Just my tuppenceworth!

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I agree with Old_Dog  in principal.
If due to size restrictions you want D; as win98 and C: as Win2K, then make sure you have a bootable win98 Startup diskette, and another one with your autoexec.bat, config.sys and especially the msdos.sys file.

When you format C:, you will need to restore these files for win98 to work correctly on D:.


MS suggestions for dual boot, and FAT limitations.;EN-US;q289283&GSSNB=1

I hope this helps !

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sysexpert- if he were to do this, how would he establish a boot.ini file?  He would need one to access either os, right?
The way I'm reading this- if he loads 98 0n D- then formats C, Im assuming that it will be the primary partition, and loads W2K on it.  W2K will start-up every time on reboot, and there will be no boot.ini file.  Even with the autoexec.bat, config.sys and msdos.sys on the C drive- how would he configure these to access both?

cqa1-  Im not real familiar with it, other than the imaging software, - you could try partition commander at  I'm not real big into spending money on config issues, but, in my biz- I have to determine how much it will cost in time, or cash, or both.  If its a partition size prob that you need W2K on the C drive-
 If yer just on your own though, and have the time- go with sysexpert.  We'll all learn something.
Good luck
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Oh well, I'm getting a little bit confused here. The reason I want to install w2k on C is that my current win98 is has been going for about four years now without a format and is, to say the least, acting a bit strange. I want to start fresh with a new os and a formatted C. I have a lot of data on the other partitions that I don't have the time (or for that matter the patience) to backup on CD:s. I'm also moving quiet a lot of files from the C to the other partitions for backup and also have to leave some space on them for win98 which I was planning to install on D.
As I understand, I won't be able to install win98 on D and then win2k on C. Is the only solution to repartition my C into two new partitions?

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I did not read throught other comment but I found a problem if you want to install win98 on D. I believe that your C drive is an primary partition and other drives (D,E,F) are logical partitions rely on an extended partition. Win98 installation simply wont let you install onto a logical partition which is impossible to become a active partition.

I dont know the reason why you chose D for Win98 but if it were me, I would format only C drive (with all data backup onto E and F), install Win98 onto  this clean partition and then install Win2K onto D. This still give a dual boot system with both OSes are clean installed.

For sharing data between the 2 OSes, I would leave E and F as FAT32 for data. For D you should consider to use NTFS since it is not only secure but also boost Win2K performance. Using NTFS will also help to hide W2K system partition from Win98 user.
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Accepted Solution

SysExpert earned 300 total points
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Actually, I think that win98 can be installed on any partiton, as long as C:\ is an active partiton.

The, io.sys and other files like msdod.sys are needed on C:\, and they point to the partiton where win98 is located.

I have multiboot on win95/98 on extended partitions without any problem.

It can not hurt to try.

1) backup all data, etc on C:\
2) Do the same for D:

3) format C:\, and boot from the win98 CD ( or run setup.exe from the win98 dir locally if you copied it to a loal hard rive ).

4) tell win98 to put the instalation on D:\windows.

5) When this is done, install win2k on C:.

You will then have a dual boot system.

I hope this helps !

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cqa1-  I just tried the above from sysexpert.  Works like a charm.  Should take care of your prob.

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