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Method #2: Use a second hard disk to install Win9x/Me
on a Windows XP or 2000 that uses the NTFS file system

Last reviewed: July 2005

You can install Windows Me, 98SE, 98, 95 on a XP, 2K, NT PC that already uses only the NTFS file system. You can then select either Windows from a Boot Menu during bootup. No third-party boot utility is used here.

The method described here (Method #2) requires the addition of another hard disk. This additional disk must use a FAT or FAT32 file system for the Win9x. Many users have a hard disk from a previous PC that still contains a bootable Win9x - this disk can be used, retaining that Win9x exactly as it was previously (including all its software, e-mail, passwords, etc).

If you prefer to use a single hard disk, please go to this page (Method #1).

It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated on this page.

Summary of procedure: (Advanced users)
The XP/2K hard disk (NTFS) is removed and another hard disk (FAT/32) is installed as the Primary Master (with an Active C: drive). Win9x is installed on the FAT/32 disk. An image of the Win9x boot sector is now saved to C:\Bootsect.dat, and XP/2K boot files are copied to C:. The XP/2K disk is now reconnected, but NOT as Primary Master. The XP/2K's Recovery Console is then used to create an XP/2K boot sector on the Win9x disk, and a new Boot.ini is also created there. Finally, a Win9x line is added to the new Boot.ini. Finished.

End Result:
When booted to Win9x, the first FAT32 partition will be the C: drive (as is normal). All Win9x software will function in the normal manner. The NTFS partition(s) will be ignored by Win9x and will not be visible.

When booted to XP/2K, the drive letter (C:) originally allocated to the NTFS boot partition will be retained even though that partition is not on the first disk. This is ideal as all installed software will continue to run correctly. The Win9x partition (FAT/32) will be visible and will be allocated the next available drive letter, sometimes after the CD letter(s). This is not a problem as Win9x software will not be run from XP/2K.

If, for some unknown reason, the procedure does not work, you can easily return to your present configuration. Just remove the added hard disk and replace it with your XP/2K disk as the Primary Master. It will boot as originally, provided you have not yet renamed or deleted the XP/2K boot files on that disk (or you can return them to that NTFS partition).

You will also have a Rescue Boot Disk that will let you boot XP/2K when its disk is returned as Primary Master (even if boot files have been removed from that hard disk).

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Procedure: Install Win9x on XP/2K (NTFS) system (two disks)

The additional hard disk, FAT32 or FAT, is made the Primary Master with an Active C: partition.
If required, the additional hard disk can contain an existing bootable Win9x.

  1. Requirements:
    • Installation CD for XP/2K.
    • Installation CD for Win9x if installing it.
    • Win98/Me boot disk or Startup Disk.
    • Blank floppy to create a Rescue Boot Disk for XP/2K.

    First make your preparations (the Win9x hard disk will be referred to as W9xHD)
  2. Boot XP/2K.
    • Look for a Bootsect.dos (Hidden) file on the first partition. If found, you must rename/delete it.
    • Rename C: to XPHD (right-click on C: in Windows Explorer).
    • Note of the size of the partition(s) - for easier identification.
    • Create a Rescue Boot Disk for XP/2K - this is ESSENTIAL
      (it's a backup of vital XP/2K boot files. It's also your failsafe if a mistake is made!).
    • Download THPC's (7 KB, freeware). Unzip it to a Win9x boot disk
      (its text file, Btsect.txt (6 KB), describes the DOS files that must be on the floppy)
      (it will be used to create an image, Bootsect.dos, of the Win9x boot sector).
  3. Reboot, and enter the BIOS/CMOS/Setup (the bootup screen will tell which key to press).
    Make CD-ROM the first choice in the boot order (or read how to Boot from a bootable CD).
    Remove the XP/2K disk and create a bootable Win9x FAT/32 system on W9xHD
  4. Disconnect the XP hard disk (or disable it in BIOS/CMOS if that option is available).
  5. Connect the W9xHD hard disk as Primary Master (the Master on the Primary IDE cable).
  6. Skip this step if W9xHD contains a bootable Win9x that you wish to keep
    (but first reboot, and check that the Win9x boots normally).
    • Boot from a Win9x boot disk (with CD support).
      (make sure the Primary partition is marked Active - use Fdisk).
    • Format the Primary partition (W9xHD disk).
    • Reboot (essential) from the Win9x boot disk.
    • Run A:\SYS C: and press [Enter].
    • Install Win9x - using [CD letter]:\Win9x\setup /is is best.
  7. Boot Win9x.
    • Rename the C: drive to W9xdrv (right-click on C: in Windows Explorer).
    • Note of the size of the partition(s) - for easier identification.
    • Copy these XP boot files from Rescue Boot Disk to root of W9xdrv (C: drive)
      Ntldr, (and Arcldr.exe, Arcsetup.exe, Ntbootdd.sys, if present).
    • Create an empty folder named THISDRV on W9xdrv (C:) (it's used later to confirm identification).
  8. Boot from the Win9x boot disk containing Btsect.bat.
    Run A:\Btsect.bat to create Bootsect.dos on W9xdrv (C:)   (you don't need the SYS C: option)
    (optionally, copy this Bootsect.dos to your Rescue Boot Disk - for safe keeping!).
    Now reconnect the XP/2K disk, but NOT as Primary Master, and then
    use FIXBOOT to make an XP/2K boot sector on W9xdrv (which still has a Win9x boot sector).
    Windows XP/2K may see our new W9xdrv as E: or F: or . . .. FIXBOOT must use that letter.
  9. Reconnect the XP disk, preferable as Secondary Master. W9xHD must remain as Primary Master
    (remember to change the jumper on the XP/2K hard disk if making it a Slave).
  10. Boot from the XP/2K CD or Setup disks (or read how to Boot from a bootable CD).
    Press R (and then C for Win2K) to enter the Recovery Console.
    Log on to the XP/2K installation.
    At the prompt, type in each of these commands, and press [Enter} after each:
        Identify the drive letters allocated to partitions, and partition sizes.
    DIR C:
        Look for the THISDRV folder and/or the Bootsect.dos file.
        If found now, then that C is the drive letter you need to use with FIXBOOT.
        If not found, try DIR D:, then DIR E:, then DIR F:, etc, until the correct drive letter is located.
        Change Z to the drive letter you located (the partition containing THISDRV & Bootsect.dos)
        (example: FIXBOOT E:) (note the space before the E:)
        This command replaces the Win9x Boot Sector on W9xdrv with a XP/2K Boot Sector.
        This builds a new Boot.ini on W9xdrv (note the space before the /)
        Accept the XP/2K it finds (it's not designed to locate any Win9x).
        Enter Windows XP for Identifier (or Windows 2000 if appropriate).
        Enter /fastdetect for OS Load Options.
    Windows XP/2K will bootup (you can ignore any Found new hardware notification).
  11. Edit Boot.ini on W9xdrv (on the partition containing the THISDRV folder and Bootsect.dos). Add the following line to that Boot.ini's [Operating Systems] section, and Save it back to W9xdrv.
    C:\="Windows 9x"

    Finished. Either Windows will now boot from the Boot Menu.

• Enter the BIOS/CMOS and make the boot order the standard: Floppy, first HD, CD-ROM
• Always create a new Rescue Boot Disk when a new dual-boot is successful!
• If it was previously installed, uninstall the Recovery Console, and then reinstall it (recommended).
• Do not rename (or delete!) the XP/2K boot files that still exist on the NTFS partition until you are sure everything is satisfactory and you wish to retain the new dual-boot in the long term.
• If you ever wish to use the W9xHD again as a stand-alone Win9x hard disk, you must (a) make it the Primary Master, (b) boot from a Win9x boot disk, and (c) run A:\SYS C: to recreate a Win9x boot sector. It will then boot normally to Win9x. The SYS command is the Win9x equivalent of XP/2K's Fixboot.

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rdisk()partition() in Boot.ini's ARC path

These define the location where that Windows XP/2K/NT's folders/files are installed i.e. the OS boot partition. Each line must be a complete line (no Word Wrap), and must be exactly correct! Otherwise you are likely to get 'Hall.dll', or other error, indication the Windows can not be found. The Bootcfg /rebuild command normally handles a Boot.ini creation quite efficiently. Occasionally user intervention is required or preferred.

rdisk() refers to physical hard disks. It starts counting from 0. Therefore rdisk(1) refers to a second disk.
Every hard disk counts if it exists, not just disks with OSs installed.
The Primary Master hard disk is always rdisk(0).
If a Primary Slave exists, it has priority over any Secondary disk(s).
If a Secondary Master exists, it has priority over a Secondary Slave.

                PrimaryMaster   PrimarySlave   SecondaryMaster   SecondarySlave
1 disk  ->      rdisk(0)
2 disks ->      rdisk(0)        rdisk(1)
2 disks ->      rdisk(0)                       rdisk(1)
2 disks ->      rdisk(0)                                         rdisk(1)
3 disks ->      rdisk(0)        rdisk(1)       rdisk(2)
3 disks ->      rdisk(0)        rdisk(1)                         rdisk(2)
3 disks ->      rdisk(0)                       rdisk(1)          rdisk(2)
4 disks ->      rdisk(0)        rdisk(1)       rdisk(2)          rdisk(3)

A number is allocated to each partition in the order they occur on the hard disk specified by rdisk(). It starts counting from 1, and Primary partitions on that disk are counted first.. Therefore partition(2) is the second partition on the disk.

rdisk(0)partition(1) refers to the first hard disk and its first partition.
rdisk(1)partition(3) refers to the second hard disk and its third partition.

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Default Boot and Boot Delay

Specifying the Default Windows to Boot, and the Boot Menu delay (the Timeout):
When you have established a dual-boot, you'll want to set which OS boots by default.
You can set the default OS (and the timeout) via Control Panel.

  1. Boot to Windows XP/2K.
  2. Go to Start > Control Panel > System > Advanced tab (or Properties)
  3. Under Startup and Recovery, click Settings (or look for these settings).
  4. Under System startup, in the Default operating system list, click the OS that you want to start when you turn on, or restart, your computer.
  5. Also select the Display list of operating systems for check box, and then type the number of seconds for which you want the list displayed before the default OS starts automatically.

You can also manually edit the boot options file (click Edit). Be careful of typing errors if modifying the boot options file (Boot.ini), because doing so may make your computer unusable.

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

Copyright © LarryM 1998-2015