Saturday, October 22, 2005

Friday, October 21, 2005

Multibooting in Windows XP Made Easy

Correct Installation Order is Essential

Charlie Russel wrote:
The order of installation is critical if you want a successful multiboot installation. In general terms, install non–Microsoft operating systems and earlier versions of the Windows operating system first. This would mean installing UNIX or Linux operating systems first; then Windows 95 or Windows 98 or Windows Me; then Windows NT; and finally, Windows 2000 and/or Windows XP. (In the unlikely event that you're installing MS–DOS, you can install that either before or after UNIX– or Linux–based operating systems, and generally I'd opt for before.) It's also important to understand that, without using a third–party product to help out, you can't install non-Microsoft operating systems, or Windows 95 and Windows 98 on the same computer, and that you can install only a single version of Windows95/98/Me. But you can install as many different versions of Windows NT and later versions of the Windows operating system as you have available logical drives, with the sole caveat that you must install all Windows NT versions before you install any Windows 2000 or Windows XP versions.

Let's take a typical installation. Our target computer must be able to boot into Windows 98, Windows NT 4 Workstation, Windows 2000 Professional, and Windows XP Professional. We have a 2–GB partition to hold our programs and the whole thing must fit on a single 10–GB hard drive. No problem. First, we partition the hard drive into two partitions: a 2–GB primary partition, and an 8-GB extended partition using FDisk. In the extended partition, we'll create four logical volumes—D, E, F and G—to hold our remaining operating systems and our programs.

After the disk is partitioned, format the primary partition using the FAT16 file system and install Windows 98 on it. So far so good. Now, format your D drive with FAT16 as well. Eventually, you'll install your programs on D drive.

Next, install Windows NT 4 Workstation. You will install this on any of the logical volumes not already used (either E drive, F drive or G drive) and choose NTFS as your file system. Leave D drive alone, because your applications go there where they're visible to all operating systems. When you install Windows NT, it recognizes that you already have Windows 98 on the computer. Then it automatically sets up for dual booting between Windows 98 and Windows NT by creating a boot.ini file, which creates a menu of available operating systems. After you have Windows NT 4 installed, immediately apply Service Pack 6, before you install Windows 2000.

Finally, install Windows 2000 and Windows XP, each in its own logical volume. Again, choose NTFS as the file system. As you install them, they are automatically added to the boot.ini file on your C drive, which lets you choose operating systems at start up.