Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
Install Dual-Boot of Windows Vista + 2000 + MS-DOS 7.10 on Windows Vista computer (Vista installed first)
Last reviewed: June 2013
This guide shows how to correctly and safely create a natural triple-boot of Windows Vista plus Windows 2000 and MS-DOS 7.10 on a computer with Windows Vista already installed. You can then run any of them by selecting one from a menu during bootup. No data loss will occur and a third-party boot utility is not used.
You need to shrink the Windows drive to make room for MS-DOS. While DOS 6.22 needs to be on the first physical partition of the first disk, DOS 7.10 can be on the first FAT32 Primary partition whcih can be located anywhere on the disk; non-FAT/32 partitions are ignored by DOS 7.10. Using a second disk for MS-DOS is not an option.
32 and 64-bit versions of Windows Vista were used in testing The operating systems added were: Windows 2000 Professional SP4 and MS-DOS 7.10. The computers used were (1) a 32-bit Dell Optiplex with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA hard disk, and (2) AMD Athlon 64-bit (2.4GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA hard disk.
Following these instructions correctly should always succeed. However, any change to your computer should not even be considered unless your have a rescue plan. This guide also contains that rescue plan - just in case!
This procedure is suitable for experienced computer users.
Important Installation Notes
Full Installation CD/DVDs. The Windows you are adding cannot be installed from Recovery or Repair CDs or DVDs provided by some OEMs. You need the full installation or setup version to install a Windows.
EasyBCD. The highly-acclaimed EasyBCD is a free editing utility that allows any user to easily edit the Windows 8, 7 or Vista boot menu (the BCD or Boot Configuration Data). Some settings, not used here, are very advanced. EasyBCD works in Windows 8, 7 and Vista, but also in Windows XP if you first install Microsoft's .NET 2.0 Framework.
Hidden Active Partition. Many Windows Vista users will have a small Primary disk partition(s) that's marked active and is hidden (but is visible under Disk Management in Windows Vista). This must be counted if you want to create a new Primary.
127 GB Partition Limitation in Windows 2K
Shrinking a Windows 8, 7 or Vista drive. You should use Shrink in Windows' Disk Management to resize the Windows partition. You can read Shrink the Windows 8. 7 or Vista Partition for instructions on completing this task successfully. Use the free GParted Live CD to gain disk space only if you must - read the page Use GParted to Resize the Windows 8, 7 or Vista Partition to learn how.
Formatting. All partitions should be created before you start installing any operating system (OS). The partition should be Formatted when installing that OS to ensure compatible file system versions. Avoid formatting Windows partitions with GParted or any other third-party partitioning utility.
Install Windows 2K and MS-DOS 7.10 when Windows Vista is installed first
Installing other operating systems on your Windows Vista computer may invalidate your warrantee.
It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated and you should have a properly working Windows.
Make your preparations
Make free space and create new partitions
This part is best completed BEFORE you start installing any other operating system.
The single 160 GB disk usually used in testing initially had: System Reserved (100 MB, Primary, Hidden, NTFS), Windows Vista (150 GB, Primary, NTFS). The Windows Vista drive was shrunk leaving about 40 GB Unallocated space at the end of the disk (to the right). After repartitioning it had: System Reserved (100 MB, Primary, Hidden, NTFS), Vista (110 GB, NTFS, Primary, NTFS), MS-DOS (2 GB, Primary, FAT32), 2K (6 GB, Logical, NTFS), Data (30 GB, Logical, NTFS).
The 127 GB partition limitation that afflicts Win98/Me/2K did not appear to be a problem with MS-DOS 7.10. The restriction in this triple-boot is creating a Primary partition for MS-DOS while keeping 2K within 127 GB from beginning of the hard disk.
Always note the size of each partition and also label each (this guide uses vsta, doos, w_2K).
Installing the Operating Systems in this Windows Vista Multi-Boot
These pages show how to install each operating system in this multi-boot and how to use EasyBCD with each.
You can install the OSs in any order you wish but you should have already created all appropriate partitions. Installing an older OS first is suggested as this facilitates its easier removal if you decide not to continue with it.
The Windows Vista boot menu will then boot MS-DOS 7.10, Windows 2000 and Windows Vista when selected.
Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.
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