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Dual boot directory

By fredericklee ยท 12 replies
Apr 14, 2002
  1. OK,
    Let me tell you step by step what problems I encounter.

    1) I have 2 hdd. I created 2 partitions on the first hdd ( 1 primary partition( C: ) and the other is ext( D: ) ) - .

    2) I created 4 partition on the 2nd hdd (all in ext partition( E: ), ( F: ), ( G: ), ( H: ). )

    3) Now I install win 98se on D: (I select other directory and change C:/WINDOWS/ to D:/WINDOWS/. And everything is fine.

    4) Next I install win xp in C:. Every thing works fine.

    5) I decided to install linux red hat, and when I read again what Phantasm66 written in the post 'how to dual boot xp and linux. This is what it is written.
    6) I know that I have made a mistake to partition my 2nd hdd in 4 logical drives in ext partition. Then I decide to repartition my 2nd hdd. 1 in primary and the other 3 in ext. when I do this, my 1st hd drives letters change to C: and E:, and my 2nd hd drives letters are D:, F:, G:, H:.

    7) Now I try to start win 98, it could not start and there is a message saying that there is no windows file in D:. So now I try to start win xp and it boot up smoothly.

    8) Now in win xp, I open up windows explorer in see that win xp files is in C: and win 98 files in D:. So I try to boot up win 98 again but still fail.

    9) Now in win xp, I copy all the file in D: to E: and I try to boot up win 98 again and this time it works. Now I notice that when I am in win xp, the files of win xp is in C: and the files of win 98 is in E:.
    And when I am in win 98, C: remain the same but win 98 files is in D:. ( Something is wrong with the drives letter of win 98 files). All the rest of the drive is empty except for C: which contains win xp.

    What is wrong with win 98? Can I change the drive letter of win 98 from D: to E: or is there other things that can be done to have the same drive letter indictated in the 2 OS. Can I still install red hat with this problem on my PC?

    Sorry for the long discription of my problem. Trying to tell you in detail how this problem arise.
  2. lokem

    lokem TS Rookie Posts: 672

    Although I don't know the solution to yer problem, it's actually ok to install Linux on your previous partition config. Just wipe off any of E, F, G or H partitions during the Linux installation and install it there (that is if you don't have any data).

    Right now, you can try to revert back to your old config and see if things turn out right. I think it's possible for WinXP and Win98 to exist on the same drive, if you specify the installation directory correctly. And yes, you can still install RedHat with this problem. Just make sure you don't overwrite the MBR and create a boot disk just to be safe.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    DOS recognizes partitions so that primary hdd's 1st primary FAT partition is C:, secondary hdd's 1st primary FAT partition becomes D:, then the rest will follow - I'm not sure in which order.
    I'm not aware of anything you can do about it in Win98, but in XP, it's possible to change drive letters with Disk Administrator (or was is Administration, whatever). It shouldn't affect non-M$ operating systems in any way.
  4. fredericklee

    fredericklee TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 34

    Does that mean that, I cannot change the drive letter to match equally between the 2 OS, meaning both OS having win xp on C: and win 98 on either D:, or E:

    If I cannot change them, then when I install red hat, which directory should I choose? :confused: Cos, win 98 files is in D: when I boot up using win98, and win 98 files is in E: when I boot up using win xp.:dead:
  5. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    No, you can change Win98 partition in XP to show up as D:. With Disk Administrator, change D: to a free drive letter, say, Z:, then E: to D:, and Z: to E:.
    Unix-based operating systems like Linux don't use drive letters at all. You'll just create a new Linux partition which will be /. Other partitions can be made, too, like /usr &c.
  6. Garou

    Garou TS Rookie

    This is how I would set up the triple boot (having done it successfully several times).

    First, if you have Partition Magic, things will be alot easier, if you do not, you will need to utilize the Linux Partition Utility to partition the First Drive with two Primary partitions (been a while, so the information is very fuzzy, plus I now use Partition Magic). The first Primary partition on the first HD is going to be NTFS (runs better than FAT32), the second, will be FAT32 (for Win9x)(NOTE: Make this the Active Partition temporarily).

    You will need to install Win9x, Change the Active Partition to the NTFS Partition, then install WinXP. Now, download BOOTPART from


    You will need BOOTPART to get into Linux. Install Linux if you did not have to use the Partition Utility.

    Oh, final note, the way the drives letters are assigned is as follows:

    Primary partition on the Primary Master HD
    Primary partition on the Primary Secondary HD
    Primary partition on the Secondary Master HD
    Primary partition on the Secondary Secondary HD
    Then following the above pattern, all other partitions are given a drive letter, starting with the Primary Master HD

    Good Luck.
  7. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    Starting with a blank hard drive, this is how I would have done it:

    1. Create small FAT32 primary partition at start of drive, which will be c: drive. Install Windows 9x there.

    2. Create extended partition to fill rest of disk, but don't create any logical drives yet.

    3. Boot from Windows XP CD and create a logical drive within the extended partition. Make it big enough for XP but leave enough unpartitioned space for Linux and the swap file.

    4. Finally, install Linux, creating a swap file and a linux / ext2fs partition filling the rest of the disk space.

    You wind up with this:

    1.FAT32. Active marked primary partition. Windows 9x.
    --------------------extended partition begins--------------------
    2.NTFS. Logical Drive. Windows XP.
    3.EXT2. Logical Drive. Linux /.
    4.Linux swap. Logical drive. Linux swap.
    --------------------extended partition end-----------------------

    This method has never failed for me once!

    Obviously everyone is different, but I use this method both at home and at work and there is never any problems....

    All of this can be done with just the installation media of the 3 operating systems, and a windows 98 boot disk. No third party tools or linux dos utils are required (i.e. fips, etc...)

    For what its worth, I would be thinking about backing up all important data to another media, wiping everything, and then starting again and doing something a bit more like what I have posted above. Maybe use your 2nd disk for data only....
  8. fredericklee

    fredericklee TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 34

    Thanks Phantasm66,

    Just to sumarize what you have said.

    I have a 15G hdd as my master drive. First I delete all the partitions that I have on this hdd, then using a win 98 startup disk, go into fdisk to create a primary partition(will 3G be enough to install win98?). Make this partition active. After that install win98 on it.

    After installing win98, Boot from Windows XP CD and create a logical drive( 50%) within the extended partition. After that install win xp right?

    Finally I will boot from red hat cd and install red hat using the steps that you post at "dual install win xp with red hat" right?

  9. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    By jove, I think you have it!! ;)

    ...yes, but when you create an extended partition you could create a logical drive for Windows XP if you wanted, reboot and format it and then boot from the Windows XP CD and then install, but you might as well create the extended partition, hit escape afterwards when it prompts to create a logical drive, reboot and then boot from Windows XP CD. Just nit picking in my case, but I like to always create a partition for an operating system with its own tools or installation process - its just good practice.

    Just remember to leave unpartitioned blank space before booting from the Linux CD. Create any partitions for linux (/ and swap) from disk druid (in RedHat) or disk drake (mandrake). Don't create any partitions for Linux in fdisk, disk administrator, or anything like that. You could use something like Partition Magic but you might as well just use Linux's installation process as I said.

    This all seems a bit of a struggle the first couple of times, but after a while you will realise just how totally easy all of this is, and you will laugh at how you once were mystified by it.
  10. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

    If you are using a 15GB hard drive for your 3 operating systems, I recommend something like this:

    3GB Windows ME.
    6GB Windows XP.
    1GB Windows swap (assuming you have 512 MB; your swap partition should be 2x your RAM, but anything extra you might have left due to less than 512MB RAM into the linux partition.)
    5GB Linux /

    You will be fine with the above.

    I then recommend using the 2nd disk, for data, games, mp3s, etc. If you want to access it with read and write access in all operating systems, then format it with FAT32.

    Oh, and if you can be bothered, then a dedicated seperate NTFS partition for the Windows XP swap file can be cool as well. Since there will be only one file on the partition, pagefile.sys, the partition never gets fragmented. Page file fragmentation is a significant cause of poor performance.

    Once you get a bit more confident with this kind of thing, you can start to be a bit of a smart *** like I have been with the disk partitioning on "Helix", my second workstation:


    The third partition on the first disk and the first partition on the second are Linux ext2 partitions. The second partition on the second disk is a linux swap partition, shared by RedHat Linux and Mandrake Linux.

    As you can see, if you put a bit of thought into it, there is no limit to the number of operating systems that you can start to add, hard disk space provided. Here, on Helix, I have 5 operating systems.

    I have spread these over 2 drives, because there are older drives inherited from "Scorpio" my main machine. But with a sufficiently big hard drive, and a modern BIOS that doesn't have any kind of limitations as regards certain boot constraints, you could have 1 HDD with lots of operating systems on it.

    The three you have listed (Windows 9x, Windows XP, Linux) are my usual mix for insuring that you have compatibility with just about anything that you will want to do. Additional operating systems that you might want to add include:

    A server operating system, like Windows 2000 Server.
    Another distribution of Linux, or another *IX like FreeBSD.
    A small "rescue" installation of Windows 2000 or XP, that just has drivers, etc, for connecting to the net to ask for advice or checking things or for partitioning, testing, etc, in the event of a serious fault or when something you have tried to do has gone horribly wrong.

    If you can get hold of drive image, once you have installed your operating systems you could make images of them onto a large FAT32 formatted drive for the purposes of restoration in the event of a driver or software going wrong, file corruption, etc....

    Using this model, its possible to never have to go through the headache of reinstalling an OS when something goes wrong.... Something that I hate :evil: doing on my main 2 machines at least....
  11. fredericklee

    fredericklee TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 34

    Thanks Phantasm66

    Will try out this method maybe in a couple of days time (very busy:( ). I will post back if I have succeeded in triple booting my system.:)
  12. fredericklee

    fredericklee TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 34

    HI Phantasm66

    I'm back. I have succeeded installing win 98, win xp and red hat, but when I boot red hat using the boot disk, this task fail to start "Bringing up interface eth0". The rest of the task was successfully start up. I would like to know if you could help me with this problem?

    After I login as root, I could not find "startx". I only got 3 icons on my desktop, and they are root home, start here and trash.

    can you please help me with these 2 problems.

  13. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +7

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