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Next Install MS-DOS 7.10 in this Windows 8 Dual-Boot

Last reviewed: July 2013

Warning: Do you have the first page? It contains all the essential preparations you need before you can continue here. If you do not already have that page then select it here

Now Install MS-DOS 7.10 and Dual-Boot with the installed Windows 8

Installing MS-DOS 7.10 on the previously prepared FAT32 Primary partition on the first hard disk does not make any changes to Windows 8 which will continue to boot normally- the NTFS drives are totally ignored.

If you don't have a floppy drive, download win98se_bootdisk.iso and use Windows 8 to create the MS-DOS 7.10 bootable CD (in Windows Explorer, right-click the win98se_bootdisk.iso file and select Burn disk image). It pretends it's a floppy!

  1. Bootup from a Win98SE boot floppy or from a Win98SE or MS-DOS 7.10 bootable CD/Flash drive.
    • At the Prompt, type these commands and press Enter after each. Note the space before each /A.
      DIR C: /A    to prove C is the correct drive
      SYS C:    to create MS-DOS 7.10 boot sector and boot files on C:
      DIR C: /A    to show the new boot files on C:
      - sys c: creates a DOS boot sector for the doos partition and installs a very basic MS-DOS 7.10.
    • Remove the floppy or CD/Flash drive.
  2. Restart computer (CTRL-ALT-Del). Windows 8 will bootup normally (the Active flag has not been moved).
    Next use EasyBCD to add the MS-DOS 7.10 boot option to the Windows boot loader menu.
  3. With Windows 8 booted,
    Install/Run EasyBCD (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 drop-down, select Windows 95/98/ME (not MS-DOS 6.x).
      • In Name, rename "Microsoft Windows 9x" to MS-DOS 710.
      • In Drive, you'll see it is "Automatically determined". That's correct.
      • Click the Add Entry button in the same pane.
      • Optional: 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.
        Optional: You can also change the OS to boot by default. Click Save settings when finished.
    • Exit EasyBCD.
    Restart computer. See if MS-DOS 7.10 will boot from the boot menu.
  4. Skip this part if MS-DOS 7.10 does start from the boot menu.
    If DOS does not boot, you should copy MS-DOS boot files to the Active drive.
    • In Win8, press Win+X keys > Disk Management and identify the Active drive on the correct hard disk.
      If this Active drive has no drive letter, then add one (right-click the drive > Change drive letters and ... > Add)
    • In Windows Explorer, make hidden files and folders on your computer visible to you (read how).
    • Copy Io.sys from root of the DOS drive to root of the Active drive.
    • Remove that new drive letter now if you added one. Also undo the 'hidden' changes you made.

    Note: An alternative method is to use EasyBCD to copy the Windows 8 boot files and Boot folder to the DOS drive and then make the DOS drive the Active boot drive (click BCD Backup/Repair, select Change boot drive and click Perform Action, select the drive letter currently allocated to the doos drive, click OK).

    Restart computer. Both Windows 8 and MS-DOS 7.10 should now boot from the boot loader menu.

  5. Add the rest of the MS-DOS 7.10 files at your leisure using the same file versions.
    Add/Edit Config.sys, Autoexec.bat, and perhaps Msdos.sys, to suit your own requirements.

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Repair Windows 8 Boot Menu and Startup

Users will have noticed that the above creates a plain boot menu. This is perfectly fine but some would prefer the Win8 graphical menu which also has additional options. This simple procedure will return that graphical boot menu:

  1. Boot to Windows 8.
  2. Hold down both the Win and X keys and then press the A key (to open an elevated Command Prompt).
  3. Run this command at the prompt:
    bcdboot c:\windows
    where C is the letter allocated to your Windows 8 (change the C if necessary).
  4. Reboot. The Windows 8 GUI boot menu is back!

Windows 8 is the default boot. You can alter this in Change defaults or change other options on the GUI menu.

If you ever need to do a fuller repair of the Windows 8 startup, you should do the following:

  1. Bootup from your Windows 8 DVD to the first screen ("Windows Setup").
  2. Hold down the Shift key and tap F10 (to open a Command Prompt).
    Type in these commands and press Entry after each (note the space after each BOOTREC):
    bootrec /fixmbr    - to update the Master Boot Record - just in case!
    bootrec /fixboot    - to recreate the Win8 Boot Sector of the system partition
    bootrec /rebuildbcd    - to rebuild the BCD data & boot menu or just add a compatible Windows to the menu
  3. Exit the installation now and reboot.

Note: The Bootrec command has not been tested on the newer (U)EFI / GPT systems.

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