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Posted: June 29, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Multibooting OSes is one of the most complicated things you can do to your computer on the software end of things. Most operating systems are designed with the idea in mind that they will be the operating system on the computer, and then add in multibooting support near the end just so they can say that they will play well with others. Not only that, but Microsoft operating systems donít even consider non-Microsoft OSes to be operating systems Ė and that makes it tough to multiboot the computer with another OS. It is possible, however, and in this guide I will show you how to go about doing that.
As you can tell from the title, in this guide I will be explaining the steps necessary to multiboot Windows 98, Windows 2000, and Linux Mandrake 7.0. What I didnít say is that we are going to do our utmost to forgo LILO wherever possible. We are going to do this by making the Windows 2000 boot menu the boot menu of choice for the computer. Yes, in the previous paragraph I said that Microsoftís OSes donít play fair with other companyís OSes, but that doesnít mean you canít force it to. The following things will be covered in this guide:
- Partitioning and Formatting your HD
- Installing Windows 98
- Setting up Windows 98 to be Dualbooted
- Installing Windows 2000
- Setting up Windows 2000 to be Multibooted
- Installing Linux
- Setting up Linux so LILO doesnít overwrite the MBR
- Adding Linux to the Windows 2000 Boot Manager
- Post-Installation Setup
Hard Drive Preparation
For the purposes of this guide I am going to assume that you are starting with a fresh, unpartitioned and unformatted hard drive. If you arenít, you are going to need to take extra steps to complete this guide. The easiest way would be to back up all of your data files and then repartition your hard drive as explained below. This will save you a bunch of aggravation.
Now, fdisk will not create Linux partitions, nor will it even recognize valid Linux partitions, so we will only be using fdisk for creating the Win9x and Win2k partitions on the hard drive. Before we continue, make sure that you have a hard drive that is at least 6 GB, preferably 8 or larger (particularly if you install a lot of games/applications) because we will be dedicating at least 1.5 GB to each of the operating systems (more for Linux). When you are in Fdisk, you will need to create two 1.5 GB FAT32 partitions for your Microsoft OSes. Once you have done this, you will need to reboot your computer. Then go ahead and format both of the partitions, reboot the computer again and start the Windows 98 installation. To boot and reboot your computer, you may need to use a Win9x boot disk.