Multi-Boot Madess

J_Wastrel used Ask the Experts™
Please help!

I've spent 4 days and nights on this now and I think its time to ask for help.

I'm attempting to run a triple (and possibly 4x) boot system on my machine. I have 3 hard drives.

The first drive has Windows 2000 installed (on a Fat 32 partition). At the end of this drive is a small Fat16 partition with the ntldr, boot.ini, ntdetect loaded up. This is the active partition.

The second drive I have is FAT32, one partition, Windows 98 installed.

The third drive (via an ULTRA ATA133 IDE controller) is partioned into 3 NTFS partitions, with Windows XP installed onto the first partition.

I want to be able to boot from either of these partitions - I thought this would be easy to setup with BootMagic, but I've abandoned this due to 6 reinstallations.

(BootMagic seems up to the job when you've only got Windows 98 and one NT system, but falls down with more than one NT system on the menu (eg 2000 & XP) - mentioned in very fine print in the manual by the way).

Anyway I'm using the standard NTLDR, boot.ini setup. Now I installed Windows 98 LAST, so the only things on the menu are Windows 2000 (drive 1) and Windows XP (drive 3). These work fine - I can pick and choose either one. The problems happen when I try and add Windows 98 to this menu. After much research, I found BOOTPART, and used this to try to add win98 to the menu. Problem is it doesn't load.  After selecting the Windows 98 option, the screen goes to

Bootpart 2.50
Loading new Partition
Bootsector from C.H. Hochstatter

And there it stops.  No drive access, nothing.

My questions are these-

1. When I run BOOTPART in order to add Windows 98 to the menu, WHERE do I run it from? My FAT16 boot partition? In a DOS window under Windows 98? Or Windows 2000? I've tried all three but to no avail...

2. My bootsect file in boot.ini - where should this reside and what should it be called for a Windows 98 entry? I've tried a number of filenames, but alas! no Joy.

3. Does the boot sector on my Windows 98 drive need modifying with BOOTPART REWRITEROOT:C: - I've done this already, but again - no Windows 98.

4. Does anyone know if bootpart supports Windows 98 and what the switches are?

When this one is fixed I'll finally be able to sleep...

Many many thanks in advance -

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You need to read the MS knowledgebase article Q217210 found at  You should install your Win 98 first then your Win 2K then your Win XP.  An exerpt:

You can configure your computer to start Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, and either Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me. However, you cannot configure a computer to multiple boot any combination of Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me because Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me use the same boot file. Therefore, multiple booting Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me at the same time is not supported.

You should install Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me before you install Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP to prevent the Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me Setup program from replacing the Windows XP, Windows 2000, or Windows NT boot sector with its own boot sector. Because a Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me boot sector identifies the partition as a FAT16 or FAT32 partition, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows XP can no longer access NTFS volumes. To install Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me first, use the installation procedures that are provided with Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me.


Thanks ocon827679, but I've seen/read this article and I already know that reinstalling all three again might help -

But this is really a bootpart question - the idea of bootpart is to be able to add stuff to the NT loader screen.

I've also reinstalled XP, hoping it might pick up on the win98 OS installed, but nothing changed...


One more thing ocon827679 - when I installed win 98 I unplugged all my other drives - there was no way it could have rewritten the boot sectors on my XP / NT installations.

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I see your point.  Have you looked at these sites?  There's lots on Linux here, but you can extrapolate.  The xperts site is quite informative.


Well I managed to fix it.

I emailed the guy who wrote BOOTPART and he very kindly gave me a suggestion - that I swap my drives around. I had Windows 2k and the tiny Fat16 partition on Drive C: and Windows 98 on Drive D: (FAT32). They guy said to just swap the drives around.

I did that and - guess what - still not working - but I thought then that the problem might be in BOOTPART - everything else about the programs worked well - rewriting boot sectors, automatically editing BOOT.ini, but the Bootsector it wrote just didn't work. So... using Bootpart I rewrote my c: drives (Now FAT32 Windows 98) boot sector with BOOTPART WIN98 BOOT:C:

I then used another utility called SAVEBOOT.BAT to copy this to a file called bootsect.w98 - I then used XP recovery disk to fix the boot sector (using the FIXBOOT command), and made the windows 98 menu item c:\"windows 98" in boot.ini - defaults to looking for my Bootsect.dos in c:\

Anyway - IT all worked -

Needless to say, my Win2k partition (which I used PartitionMagic to move around, format, resize etc) decided it wasn't going to boot anymore, even when all other drives were unplugged. After a fresh reinstall - its all good though.

Moral of the Story -

I can't really recommend Partitionmagic, or BootMagic (version 8.0). They promise a lot, but every partition they seemed to stuff up.

I'm sticking to FDISK...

Thanks to Gilles Vollant for helping me too. :)
As you're sorted, this is a bit superfluous - but just mention a boot manager called boot-us ( - its free for personal use and allows you to have your windows operating systems independent of each other (as long as all on primary partitions). It has functions for hiding (even from NT/2k/XP) partitions - so you can ensure your boot sector files go on same partition as operating system.

I've found using it produces a much more stable system than using the NT/2k/XP boot loader.

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