Advice Needed, Reformatting HD - Multiple OS Boot

(mthoenes) #1

I would appreciate guidance (links, etc…) on how to partition my hard drive and set it up for booting Win 2000, Win 95, and possibly Linux as well.

My computer started crashing on me and I decided it is time to backup and reformat it properly. The Trick is, I am not sure what to do with it after I type FDISK

Here is are the specs,
1.2 GHZ Athlon, 512 MB DDR Ram, 40 GB 7200 rpm HD, Geforce2 Ultra 64 MB Video, CDRW drive and DVD Drive, Firewire card.

This system is used primarily for Blender and Blender related video editing. But of course the Kids want to run thier games on it as well, hence the Win 95, since many of thier older games aren’t win 2000 compatable.

I have Win 2000 Prof. CD and Win 95 CD, I have not selected a Linux OS but thought I should begin to jump into that world as well.

(Hexa-dB) #2

I use System Commander from V-Com to do this.
It’s a bit tricky to set up but it has an excellent installation/configuration guide with plenty of example setups.
I currently have Win98(Internet and Graphics), Win98(Music making only), Debian Linux (Trying things out at the moment…).
It even gives a nice GUI Boot Menu :smiley:

It’s not free unfortunately, but I thought if it’s going to be in charge my whole PC then it’s worth spending a few £ :wink: (or $60 US to be precise)

There are alternatives, for example you can configure the Linux boot loader LILO to provide a boot menu…

(mthoenes) #3

Thanks Hexa-dB, Had not heard of System Commander - I’ll take a look

I have also heard of an app called Partition Magic. Is buying a partitioning app the best way to go or can this be done easily without a special application? (anyone?)

(IMProvisar) #4

Personally, I haven’t done much dual booting. Infact, the last time I did, I think it was Win 3.11 and OS/2 Warp… may have been Win95 and OS/2. Not sure, but I think the loader came with OS/2.

I’ve actually never used LILO, so I can’t tell you how good it is for 3 OS’s. I do know that a few Mandrake releases come with Boot Magic (same company as Partition Magic, I think it’s Quarterdeck, but not sure). If you can find one of those, it’s probably $30-50, which would be cheaper than the other loader mentioned, and you’d get any other addys that come with the distro (the one I got had 4 e-books in PDF, I think Linux in 24hrs and GIMP in 24hrs from Sams, RH6.0 Unleashed from Que I think, and another one or two).

I did a little looking on the web, I guess LILO will boot as many different OS’s as you want. Here is a setup from a guy running 4 OS’s, Linux, Win95, Minix (hehe, got that on disk with a textbook), and FreeBSD.

More reading, Boot Magic has been discontinued as a stand alone product, and is now included in Partition Magic 8. Win 2k and Win 95 are both supported, but not Linux. Of course, that’s just for tech support help, it is designed to work with Linux, as well as work with Linux Ext3 partiotions. Listed at $70USD, though you still may be able to find retail Linux distros with Boot Magic or even Partition and Boot Magic bundled in.

As Hexa-db mentioned, I took a glance at System Commander. They claim support of any PC OS. Of course, any should work, I would imagine this means you get tech support for setting it up with any OS, but I would ask. It does come with a partition manager as well, and with the same approximate cost ($70USD physical, 10 bucks less for download only), it seems about neck-and-neck with the Partition Magic 8 package.

The only big advangage of Partition Magic I can see off hand is what looks to be a powerful backup utility… it includes their DataKeeper product. While I couldn’t find any in-depth information, they do say it can monitor your file activity in the background and automatically backup files, including multiple versions of the same file. I would imagine the backups are saved to a backup partition or spare HDD, but they may support devices like tape and zip drives. Also, it doesn’t say, but it likely only supports Win OS’s (as in works with, not tech support).

My best advice though, see if you can do it with LILO. Then if you like some of the more advanced features of one of these other two, get 'em. But one other thing, I’d suggest going to WinXP if your computer is up to the specs. I’ve used every Windows from 3.1 to XP except NT (but including 2k), and XP is by far better than any of the others. More stable, and better looking, and I haven’t found a single app yet that runs under Win95 and not WinXP, though I have had to set “Compatability Mode” on one or two. To do this, go to the .exe in question, left-click and select properties. Switch to the “Compatability” tab, and you have a few options. One, you can set it to attempt to emulate previous windows versions (options are Win95, Win98/ME, Win2k, and WinNT). You can also disable the visual themes, in case an older program doesn’t like the new look and feel (I don’t use this, however, because I use WindowBlinds from StarDock, and I can do it there, too.).

Hope this all helps,

(~ox{) #5

I have window$ 98, redhat 7.3 linux, and Mandrake 8.1 on my box and they work well. May I recommend that you do a little homework at and before you start. It will help you go a long way to start clean. I have used partition magic 5.0 but now feel very comfortable formating with the open source software available with the various distributions. I do not consider myself adept at computers at all but have enjoyed the use of Linux since redhat 5.3. One thing I have learned - do your homework! I have found the answers to every problem I have encountered but it takes work for this feeble old mind of mine to get it down pat. Also, (which deals almost strictly with linux stuff) is a fountain of info. Also, to break into the linux community I joined the “Basic Linux Training” course. It is fantastic and they are really a great bunch of people. I’m not on many lists but I have been on that one for 3 years.

hope that helps in some way

(vetzeen) #6

I have a linux redhat 7.2 installed with win2k and 98 on my other PC workhorse. (I never got them updated and i refuse to connect it to the web. ;))

Heres what i did to make it work after a few mishalps.

  1. make partitions for win2k, 98, linux and it’s swap drive. Make other partitions if u need. I didnt use NTFS, just FAT32.

  2. i made an install of win2k and win98 so it dual boot. I did this first so that lilio works properly.

  3. Then and only then did i install linux, so it becomes the first one to load on the system. Lilio will actually load first and, you will be given a choice between what os you would like.

Dual boots are always a pain to setup and keep up with, and if not for the absolute need of working with multiple os, I would suggest to stick to one OS and maintain it to keep it running as smooth as silk. It is always better to have one system that is always updated, managed, and kept at tip top condition than a whole lot of OS’s that are full of security holes and bugs due to lack of time to manage them. That’s my experience anyway.

Goodluck with your system setup.

(~ox{) #7

one little trick I’ve learned is to also create a seperate /home partiton for the linux side. Any upgrading can be done without interfereing with your personal files. So when create your partitions make one for / and one for /home using the disk druid when installing linux.

(IngieBee) #8

Before you do anything!!!

Get a cd burner and backup your stuff, back up back up back up.

My 3 cents :wink:

(PowerMacG4) #9

When I had a Windows box I use this setup:
Install 2 HDs
Use bigger one for Windows, you can always access window drive from linux.
Install Windows first HD first.
Install Linux on second HD
use Lilo or GRUB for boot loader
Make sure windows HD is FAT32, make it easier to access files from linux, i.e. .blends. If you want to install Win2K and want to use NTFS then make a second partition for FAT32.
I’m a firm believer in the two HD method. Plus it helps with reinstalling issues.

(Dinklebrow) #10

1.2 GHZ Athlon, 512 MB DDR Ram, 40 GB 7200 rpm HD, Geforce2 Ultra 64 MB Video, CDRW drive and DVD Drive, Firewire card.

1.Back up your data.
2. Create your partitions
Win9x (C:) --> 8-10 GB
Win2k (D:) --> 10-20 GB
empty partition --> 10 GB or whatever is left
You can use partition magic or FDisk to create the partititons

  1. Install Win9x on C:
  2. Install Win2k on D:
  3. Install Linux last on the empty partition.

(~ox{) #11

I’m with you. I use two hd’s also

(mthoenes) #12

Thanks for all the feedback…

I’ve almost completed backup of data to CD’s…

I’ll check out the newbie links and lilo

probably go with Mandrake 9 (Downloaded the disk images yesterday)

Partition first, then install Win2k on FAT32

Then install Linux

And so on and so on… My brain is a little overloaded at the moment.

I like the 2 drive idea as well…already spent my computer fund for the month - 2nd hard drive goes on Christmas List.

(Timothy) #13

make a primary partition onwhich you will install windows 98,… make sure that it’s the first partition on the disk.
Install win98 and make a 2nd logical partition for win2000,… install win2000 then simply install mandrake 9 and it will most likely detect the other 2 parittions and add them to lilo for you.

(S68) #14

Mi 2 cents tooo…

my setup:

1 - Primary partition NTFS, NT 4.0, 1 Gb, Only Windows Sysyem
2 - Primary partition /boot for linux, 100M or so
3 - Extended partition
3.1 - NTFS Windows Programs
3.2 - NTFS Windows DATA
3.3 - NTFS 1Gb partition for SWAP FILE, and TEMP directoris (so they don’t mess up other partitions)

Second disk

1 - Primary partition / for linux
2 - Extended partition
2.1 /home for Linux
2.2 swap for Linux

Boot loader, NT loader


(Timonides) #15

As far as I know, lilo can handle as many OS’s as you like…

Split your HD into as many partitions as you like (prefereably with partition magic…) and then install the Windows first and linux afterwards…

Just bare in mind that in that case you’ll have to take into account the 1024 cylinder limitation issue…

That means that in case you want to be able to boot linux your /root partition must be placed below the 1024 cylinder of your HD.

A convenient workaround is to create a small partition (15 MB should be sufficient…) below the 1024 cylinder and during linux installation to place a /boot partition over there… That way you can place /root anywhere you want in the HD…

I hope this will help a little bit more…


(cohort) #16

If you are going to use win2k in there somewhere, use the NT bootloader that comes with it in the MBR. Install lilo to the linux partition only. There are more details here: