As long as you pay attention to a few basic but important rules, this will be very easy to set up.

  • The C: partition on your hard drive can be either FAT16 or FAT32. W2K can recognize FAT16, FAT32 and NTFS.
  • If you want to be able to share files between the two operating systems, you can use FAT16 or FAT32. If you convert a partition that contains data that you wish to access from both Windows 9x and W2K to NTFS, Windows 9x will not recognize it.
  • Install Windows 9x first, W2K second. This is the easiest way because W2K will recognize the existing Windows 9x installation, and modify its built-in boot menu accordingly to give you the choice of booting either Windows 9x or W2K.
  • Install each OS into its own partition. This will avoid confusion between the two and unexpected behavior, as well as help you stay organized and distinguish clearly between the two operating systems.

Windows 9x before W2K

Now that you know what to pay attention to, it’s time to get started and install Windows 98 first. If you already have Windows installed you can skip this paragraph. However, if you would like to upgrade or start over fresh, with a clean installation of Windows 9x before installing W2K in a dual boot configuration, read on. For Windows 9x users the drill for a clean installation is to use the boot floppy disk provided with your Windows CD to format your C: partition, reboot, switch to your CD-ROM and run the Windows setup program. To upgrade all you need to do is drop the CD-ROM in the tray while in Windows and follow the prompts. If you are not completely confident in your ability to clean install Windows, refer to our Windows Clean Install article for more information.

Before you proceed to the next step, make sure that your installation of Windows 9x is stable and healthy; run Scandisk in Thorough mode followed by Defrag. Spend a little time looking around and running programs. Install any major updates whether security or reliability related. It’s a good idea to use the OS for a few days to make sure everything has settled down after the initial installation.

Setting up W2K for dual-boot step-by-step

Once you have Windows 9x installed and running properly, it is time to install W2K. Boot into Windows 9x and insert the W2K CD. If the setup screen does not appear automatically, go to Start/Run and type X:\setup where X: is the letter of your CD-ROM drive. Click OK to start W2K setup. You now might see a window popping up, asking you if you want to upgrade your current version of Windows. Since you want to set up a dual-boot configuration and preserve your existing Windows 9x installation, it is important that you answer No. Now you’ll see the actual setup screen. Click on Install Windows 2000 to begin.

The first screen of the W2K setup wizard will ask you whether you want to upgrade to W2K (no, since you want to set up a dual-boot configuration) or install a new copy of W2K. Choose the second option and click Next.

After accepting the license agreement, you’ll see a screen with three buttons. The middle one, called Advanced Options, is the important one. Click it. In the resulting dialog box, be sure to check the box next to I want to choose the installation partition during Setup. This will allow you to put W2K into its own partition a bit later in the text based portion of setup. Click OK, then Next to proceed. W2K setup checks your computer, copies some files, then reboots your machine. If you watch the screen carefully during the reboot process, you might catch a glimpse of the startup menu you’ll use in the future to dual-boot.

The next part of the setup looks kinda ugly, but don’t worry, it’s not a blue screen of death, that’s the way it’s supposed to look. After hitting Enter to start the actual setup process, you’ll be presented with a screen displaying the existing partitions on your hard drive. Here you need to select a partition OTHER than the one where Windows 9x is currently installed as the installation location for W2K. Highlight the appropriate partition and hit Enter.

The next screen will ask you about the file system for your W2K partition. Remember that Windows 9x cannot read NTFS, therefore you should choose to keep it as FAT16 or FAT32 if there is any chance that you might need to access data on this partition from Windows 9x.

After checking your drives, W2K setup will copy more files and then reboot your machine. The most important part of the setup that enables your dual-boot configuration is now behind you. W2K setup will now continue with the last portion of the process which is GUI based. In this portion your hardware will be detected and installed. Simply follow the prompts to complete the installation.

Be patient as this part can take quite a while to complete. The W2K installation can take quite a bit longer than a Windows 9x installation.


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