Dual booting Windows 2K and 2003 .NET Server

By acidosmosis
Jun 18, 2003
  1. Encouraged by my familys lack of knowledge and ability to really mess with things on my other PC I started to think about my options are as far as limiting person(s) in my house to only doing certain things on my computer -- which made me think about Servers ability to do this type of thing much easier. I started thinking that I do need to learn more about using Windows Server so for these two reasons I am going to dual boot Windows 2K with Windows 2003 Server.

    Surely I won't have any problem playing games on the LAN with 2003 Server, but does anyone know of any problems that I might encounter? This is the main reason I am keeping Windows 2K installed for the moment, just so I can test out Windows 2003 Server and see if I am going to have any issues with gaming. If not I will be removing Win2K and running 2003 Server only.
  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    The only problem you may encounter is that its wise to install later operating systems (like 2003 server) AFTER YOU HAVE INSTALLED Windows 2000 Server. The boot technology is usually upgraded between these kinds of things, to the extent that the 2000 bootloader will not handle 2003, etc, or NT4 will not handle 2000, etc. So remember that.

    Also, DON'T EVEN DREAM about installing both of these operating systems to the same partition.

    Beyond that... I guess all should be fine. Oh, but you did mention games....

    Server Operating Systems are generally not optimised for games. If you want to play games, etc better to have some kind of dual boot system with XP, and so forth.

    Because of my interest in operating systems, but also in the interests of compatibilty with games, I currently have many operating systems installed. Here is a list|:-

    Windows 98
    Windows XP
    Windows 2000 Advanced Server with Oracle, Exchange, etc.
    Windows 2003 server
    Red Hat linux 9 with Ximian Gnome 2
    Slackware 9.0

    And I could add more. If you want some advise on how to create something like this, and make it all work, I will be only too pleased to tell you.

    Its nice to have a HDDs dedicated for operating systems and HDDs dedicated for data in these cases, because if you want to make these kinds of complex operating system configs you have to be doing a lot of partitioning, formatting, etc.
  3. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    If I need to create another partition that won't be a problem.

    There isn't any extremely sensative data on my Windows 2000 machine so if I need to do some work on this machine that requires formatting or anything of that nature that won't be a problem.

    Right at the moment the only problem I can think of that I may have with dual booting is the fact that I have a 10 gig hard drive on this PC (this is my secondary machine).

    Ok so I assume that the first thing that I need to do is create another partition. For example purposes lets say this partition is G:\. I also have a Windows 2000 Server CD so I will install that first on the partition G:\ and during setup will select G:\ as drive for installation. After installing Windows 2000 Server I will insert the Windows 2003 .NET Server CD and upgrade Win2K Server.

    Sound like a plan? Think I will have any problems with this method?

    You mentioned if I dual boot Windows 2000 with Windows 2003 Server that I may have issues with the bootloader. How would you suggest I select which OS I want to boot at startup?

    BTW, thanks for the help, I appreciate it.
  4. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Is it the upgrade only version of Win 2003 Server?

    If not, you can boot from the CD (go into BIOS and select boot order to change), otherwise do something much like you have described.

    What I mean is, in order of installation :-

    Windows 2000, then
    Windows 2003 server.

    I mean, when building a multiboot system, try to install the operating systems in the order in which they were released. For example, I want to multiboot Windows 2003 server, Windows NT4, Windows XP and Windows 2000 and Windows 98. I would install these products onto my computer in the order, in historical terms, that they were released, thus:-

    Windows 98
    Windows NT4
    Windows 2000
    Windows XP
    Windows 2003 server

    So that the final effect is to have the latest builds of any boot loader files, such as NTDETECT.COM and so forth. Obviously, if you already have 2003 server installed and you install NT4, the NT4 will over-write the NTDETECT.COM installed by 2003! This would probably not effect booting of NT4, but might in the case of XP, or 2000 or 2003, etc. See? (There are ways around these problems by using recovery console tools.)

    Its better, if you are just beginning to play with differing multiboot configurations, to stick to this kind of model and don't generally mess with it.

    Its also very good to start keeping a copy of all of the files in your system's boot partition (usually c: )'s root directory, i.e. c:\ . This directory will contain a number of important files including bootsector images, bootloader binary programs and configuration files. Users of single OS systems don't really need to worry about these files anymore, but users of multi-boot systems still do. There is work on board to create a completely new BIOS that will make even this redundant, by having a multi-OS boot manager written into a future "BIOS".

    But, for now, we are stuck with juggling config files in locations like c:\ . Probably, judging from the relative simplicity of the system (only dual boot) that you are making up, you will probably find life just fine and sweet if you just install 2003 server last.

    Just, for the moment, realise why.
  5. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 1,350

    Oh, ok now that you have explained in a little more detail I understand what you are saying. It makes a lot of sense.

    I will probably start working on this tonight, but I'm not sure. I will let you know how it goes.

    Thanks again.
  6. cghcheng

    cghcheng TS Rookie

    How to recover from dual boot

    Unfortunately, i come across this problem now. At beginning i installed Win2K Pro in C:\ and Win Server 2003 in D:\, it's working fine. 2 days ago, i upgrade my Win2k Pro to WinXP Pro and found my Win Server 2003 cannot be booted. As Phantasm66 said that the NTDECTECT.COM may already be overwrote.

    Phantasm66, could you tell me what recovery console tools may i use to solve this? Thanks a lot.

    Anyone else have any suggestions?
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    you should be able to regenerate a boot sector, or master boot record with the following commands:


    If that does not work, backup boot.ini, then start a windows 2003 install by launching the setup from within another windows installation - but once the system reboots for the first time, to carry out the install of 2003, boot from a CD or boot disk and restore your old boot.ini, thereby stopping the reinstallation. The install program will have written a new 2003 boot environment, but not overwritten your old 2003 installation.

    Hope that made sense.
  8. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Incidently, its a VERY GOOD IDEA to backup the contents of c:\ periodically - just the files in the root directory. remember that some of then are hidden. you could then have restored them from your backup without so much messing around.
  9. cghcheng

    cghcheng TS Rookie

    Phantasm66, thanks a lot. I already solved this problem. As you said, I start the Win2003 installer and after first restart, I selected to enter the recovery console and execute "fixboot d:". That's all, and my Windows server 2003 comes back!
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Nice one! Glad to hear it!
  11. EGC

    EGC TS Rookie


    Sorry to bring this old post up...

    i've the same situation as Cheng's.

    I installed server 03 with loads of apps, and now i want to install winXP media centre as well....

    Is it a good idea to Ghost C:\ (where server03 is located) and then install WinXP at D:\ (or wherever else), and then recover the entire C:\ Drive

    and then change the boot.ini after the recovery?

    will this work?
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