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Dual booting Windows 9x/Millennium and Windows 2000 (Page 1/5)

Posted: April 15, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan


Dual booting (also known as duel booting, but that is another story...) is something of an evil necessity in this dreadful world. While many of us yearn for the stable, compatible, easy to use, and fast operating system that would exist if this were a perfect world, we choose which factors are most important to us and pick our operating system based on that assessment. However, there is another option – dual booting. Dual booting is the process of installing two operating systems on a computer (true phreaks will multi-boot, which means that they have 3 or more OSes on their computer).

In this article, I will be explaining the process of dual booting Windows 9x/Millennium and Windows 2000. These are the two pre-eminent operating systems of the day, and both (obviously) are from Microsoft. Windows 98 (and very soon Millennium) is the current consumer OS being produced by Microsoft, and Windows 2000 is its business oriented OS (and the successor of Windows NT 4.0 – as a matter of fact, Win2k was originally called NT5).

Who Needs to Dual Boot Anyway?

For a long time, the Windows 9x code base had the compatibility to run your favorite applications, and the Windows NT code base had the speed and stability needed to be considered reliable. With the coming of Windows 2000, however, this line is beginning to become less and less defined, as it adds many of the usability features of the 9x code base to itself. As a matter of fact, I would wholeheartedly recommend any intermediate to advanced computer user move to Win2k.

There is only one compatibility issue that Win2k has yet to fully conquer - game compatibility. While about 90% of your favorite games will run in Win2k (some require special tweaking, but you can usually get them up and running), the 10% that don’t are really annoying. As such, it is necessary for any and all gamers that want to be able to play their games ‘out of the box’ (if such a game exists…). Non-gamers, however, unless they are hopeless beginners, have no reason to not use Win2k exclusively. Your games of solitaire will in no way be affected by the move, and you can preserve most of your system settings by installing over your old Win9x installation.

To boil that all down for you, everyone should be using Win2k unless they are computer illiterate. And only gamers (and possibly users of some very old, archaic software that they just can’t live without) really ‘need’ to dual boot. About half of the tricks to get that 90% of games to install and run on Win2k have to be done in Win9x, and the other 10% of games makes the extra HD wastage worth it.

Before Starting

Actually, this should be read as “Before Even Considering the Move to Win2k at All” but because that is too long for a headline, I went for something more simple (besides, it keeps me consistent with the Win9x/NT dual boot guide). Anyhow, before migrating even partially over to Win2k you should check out Microsoft’s info on the subject [], the up to date hardware compatibility list [], and their Technet site devoted to the subject []. If your hardware isn’t listed, you may still be able to upgrade – check out your hardware manufacturers' web pages for more information.

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