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Next Install Win98/Me in this Windows Vista Dual-Boot

Last reviewed: July 2011

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Now Install Win98/Me and Dual-Boot with the installed Windows Vista

First the partition currently marked as Active is identified (1stActDrv). Then Windows 98/Me is installed on the w_9x/Me Primary partition. After installation, 1stActDrv is marked Active again and Windows Vista is booted. EasyBCD 2.1 is then run in Windows Vista to enter a Win98/Me boot-option into the Windows Vista boot loader menu. That's it!

  1. Backup important data.
    In Windows Vista, open Disk Management (right-click Computer, select Manage, click Disk Management). .
    • Note which drive is marked as Active. If you have a System Reserved drive then that's the Active drive. Otherwise it's likely to be the vsta drive. Let's refer to that Active drive as 1stActDrv.
  2. Reboot and install Win98/Me on w_Me (it's the only available FAT32 Primary partition on the first disk)
    • Click Continue for cautions SU0015 and/or SU0012
    • If an error occurs during installation reboots, see below to fix System.ini and maybe Large Disks
      (64-bit users need to reboot an extra few times to look for driver compatibility - use the On/Off button).
    • Only Win9x/Me boots when the installation is complete.

    Next we make Windows Vista bootable again.
  3. Make 1stActDrv Active again - it's the drive that was originally marked Active
    • In Win98/Me, open a MS-DOS Prompt, type Fdisk, enter Y for both large disk support and NTFS partitions.
    • Select option 2, and enter the correct Partition number. Exit Fdisk and the MS-DOS Prompt
      - read Make Partition Active if partition identification is a problem.
    Restart computer. Windows Vista will bootup normally when the correct partition is marked Active.
    Now we use EasyBCD 2.1 to add a Win9x/Me boot option to the Windows Vista boot loader menu.
  4. With Windows Vista booted
    Install/Run EasyBCD 2.1 (click Yes for "User Account Control").
    • Select Add New Entry in the left pane.
    • Select the Windows tab in the upper right pane.
      • In Type, select Windows 95/98/ME in the drop-down.
      • In Name, enter a name like "Windows Millennium" or "Win98SE".
      • In Drive, you'll see it is "Automatically configured". That's correct.
      • Click the Add Entry button in the same pane.
    • Optionally, you can now modify the timeout of the boot loader menu
      - click the Edit Boot Menu (left pane) and set the Boot default OS after to about 5 seconds.
    • Exit EasyBCD.
  5. Restart computer. Both Windows Vista and Windows 98/Me are bootable from the Windows Vista boot loader menu.

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Fix System.ini Memory Problem in Windows 98/Me

Earlier Windows versions were not designed to cope with the large amounts of memory (RAM) used today and this may prevent a successful installation. You may overcome this problem by limiting the amount of RAM Win98/Me will try to use.

If the Win98/Me installation fails to continue normally after the first reboot, you should edit System.ini from DOS (or use your own method to edit System.ini).

  1. Edit C:\Windows\System.ini where C:\Windows is the Win98/Me directory.
    • Locate the bottom of the 386Enh section of System.ini.
      • Enter the following line at the bottom of the 386Enh section.
        (that 20000 is a hexadecimal number and equals 512 MB of RAM).
    • Locate the VCACHE section of System.ini (or create [VCACHE] if it's not there).
      • Enter the following line at the bottom of the VCache section.
        (that 262144 is bytes and equals 256 MB).
    • Save System.ini, and Exit
  2. Reboot and select Normal startup when asked.

The Win98/Me installation should now continue normally and Win98/Me should run without error.

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Fix Large Hard Disk Problem on Some Computers

One report suggests that Win98/SE may boot only to Safe Mode (accessed by pressing F8 key during bootup). If you encounter this you may need a 48-bit LBA fix for Win98/SE. The possible solutions include a BIOS update, or a Windows file update, or a Registry fix, or a new PCI controller card, or third-party software. You already are using a large disk with Vista so a BIOS update should be unnecessary, and a costly(?) new PCI card or software can be avoided.

One option is to update the esdi_506.pdr file in the \windows\system\iosubsys folder (where \windows is the Win9x/Me installation folder). You need the correct version, so boot to Safe Mode in Win9x/Me, right-click that file in Windows Explorer, and look in the Version tab. Microsoft released an updated Esdi_506.pdr driver for Win98 and Win98SE which should fix this problem. Remember, you do need the correct update version.

Another option is to implement a Registry fix as suggested in feedback from Rich K (not tested by THPC but it's logical and worked well for him). Rich created the following xxx.REG file and imported it (right-click it and select Merge) into the Win98SE Registry. You should first locate the hdc Key in your Registry and Export it for possible use later, AND alter the hdc\000x in the following example to conform with your own findings. This is the .reg created by Rich for his own hard disk using Win98SE and merged while in Safe Mode:

----------- Copy below this line, make the changes, then save as 98lbafix.reg -----------






----------- Copy above this line, make your changes, and save as 98lbafix.reg -----------

----------- To install this fix, you right-click the 98lbafix.reg file, and click Merge -----------
----------- To uninstall this fix, open Regedit, click Registry and click Import ..... -----------

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