Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux

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Boot from a bootable CD or DVD

Some computers let you press F12 to select where you want to boot from. This is a very usefull option for some users. It appears early in bootup and lasts for only a few second so stay alter!

"Press any key to boot from CD"

Some computers may automatically offer the option to boot from CD if they detect a bootable CD in the CD-ROM drive. If so, when you start the computer with a bootable CD in the CD-ROM drive, you'll see the message Press any key to boot from CD. When this message is displayed, quickly press any key (for example, the SPACEBAR). Setup will begin.

Note: Pay close attention during bootup, because it's very easy to miss this message. If your current OS starts or you get a boot error, you'll know that you missed the opportunity to boot from CD. Restart your computer and try again.

If no CD boot message appears, check the BIOS:

It may be that your computer is set to check for a bootable hard disk before it can check in the CD-ROM drive. You can set your computer to boot from CD by using the setup program for your computer's BIOS (basic input/output system).

  • When you first start the computer, look for a short message telling you which key to press for setup. For example, some computers will have this message: Press DELETE to enter setup.

    If graphics appear early in startup, pressing ESC often makes the graphics disappear so that you can see the correct key for entering BIOS setup.

    If your computer doesn't give you such a BIOS setup message, try pressing these commonly used keys during startup:

    • DELETE
    • F1
    • F2
    • F3, then F2
    • F10
    • CTRL+ALT+S

  • When you see the BIOS setup message, quickly press the indicated key. You will enter a DOS-like program that consists of one or more screens. BIOS programs vary widely, but look for an option called "Boot order" or something similar. You probably won't be able to use the mouse while in this program, but should be able to use Tabs, Up/Down, Page Up and Page Down keys. Read on-screen for instructions.
  • Set the boot order to boot from CD before booting from the hard drive. The hard drive may be referred to as IDE0, or similar.
  • Note: A CD boot option is not available on older computers.

If a CD boot option is not available in BIOS:

You still have further options:
You can use Setup Disks (floppies) for XP/2K/NT, or you can use a Win98 (or later) boot disk/Startup Disk.

Win98+ Startup Disk/Boot Disk to run Setup & Recovery Console
If all else fails, you can run XP/2K's Setup after booting from your Win98+ Startup Disk.
For best performance proceed as follows:
1. Copy your Win9x's smartdrv.exe (45 KB) from C:\WINDOWS to your Startup Disk.
    Copy your Win9x's (22 KB) from C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND to your Startup Disk.
2. Cold boot with your Win9x Startup Disk inserted.
3. Note the letter of your CD-ROM drive (if it's stated on-screen)
4. Type in, and press [Enter] after, each of the following (where Z is your CD drive letter)
    cd i386
Files will be copied, the computer will reboot, and Setup will start.
You can then press R to enter the Recovery Console
press [Enter] to install, and then select either a Repair or a New Installation.

2K/NT Setup Boot Disks: (4 floppies for 2K, or 3 for NT)
To create Setup Disks:
   Use [CD letter]:\Bootdisk\MAKEBT32 from 2K/NT to create Setup Disks
          (you can use [CD]:\i386\WINNT32 from 2K/NT to run Setup).
   Use [CD letter]:\Bootdisk\MAKEBOOT from a non-2K/NT system (such as Win9x) to create Setup Disks
          (you can use [CD]:\i386\WINNT from a non-2K/NT to run Setup).
When created, insert the first floppy and reboot. Follow the on-screen prompts.

XP Setup Disks (6 floppies, 4 MB download)
The XP Setup Disks can be created from under any Windows version. They cannot be created from true MS-DOS. You will still need the XP installation CD to finish Setup. You cannot upgrade from a Windows XP startup disk.
   Read the Microsoft page How to obtain Windows XP Setup boot disks.
   It provides free downloads that create setup boot floppies for all versions of Windows XP.
   Each download is specific to each XP version (Home/Pro; original/SP1/SP2).
When created, insert the first floppy and reboot. Follow the on-screen prompts.

Dual-Booters: Access the XP/2K CD from a different OS:
It may be that you can still boot one Windows of a failed dual-boot. For example, XP may no longer boot but the computer now boots straight to Win9x. Your aim here is to fix the PC's system partition (C:) using the Recovery Console.
In this case you can bootup to Win9x and open Windows Explorer. Confirm that NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM are on C:. Now note the location/name of the XP installation folder and then run Setup.exe from XP's CD. The options available will be more limited than if you booted up directly from the CD, and may vary depending on current circumstances.

1. Select Install Windows XP
    Select New Installation (Advanced)
    Select I accept this agreement
    Enter the 25-character Product Key
2. Select Advanced Options on the Select Options screen (don't miss this step!)
    Enter XP's location/name in To this folder on my hard disk
    Select Primary language and region ...
3. Let computer reboot without interference when files have been copied.
    You are now at the Setup screen
4. Skip to 5 if you wish to enter the Recovery Console to repair the PC's system partition.
    Otherwise, press [Enter] to install, and then select either a Repair or a New Installation.
    Finished (5. & 6. relate to Recovery Console usage only).

5. Press R to load the Recovery Console
      Enter 1 for Which Windows installation ... (presuming there's only one)
      Press [Enter] for Admin. Password (it's blank by default)
6. With the Recovery Console now open, type in these commands, pressing [Enter} after each:
    MAP (and identify the letter allocated to Harddisk0Partition1 - it's usually C:)
    FIXBOOT C: (where C is the letter identified by MAP) - enter Y to agree
    BOOTCFG /REBUILD (to rebuild Boot.ini)
      Press Y to accept a XP installation
        Enter Windows XP Home for Enter Load Identifier:
        Enter /fastdetect for Enter Operating System Load Options:
    EXIT (to exit and reboot to XP/2K)
    (Note the space before the C: and before the /REBUILD)

If you used the Recovery Console as above, some tidying-up is now required.
Edit Boot.ini and change the Timeout value of 5 to a more reasonable 10 to 30 (seconds).
Some users may have a double entry for XP in the [operating systems] section of Boot.ini - one line can be removed.
Also locate and delete these now useless folders (340 MB): $WIN_NT$.~BT and $WIN_NT$.~LS

Finally, ALWAYS create a Rescue Boot Disk when all is well. You may be glad some day!

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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.

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