Batch files

We’re all done with the System Properties dialog, so close that out. Now we have to set up a way to get the boot info into the boot.ini file when we want to swap the OS. To do this, we’ll use batch files to overwrite the boot.ini file. A batch file (*.bat) is simply a list of commands to be carried out by the operating system when called upon. They make life a little easier by allowing the user to group numerous or repetitious commands in one easy to use file.

  1. Open the text editor again and enter the following lines:attrib -r -h -s boot.ini
    copy boot98.ini boot.ini
    attrib +r +h +s boot.ini


  2. Save it as (File / Save as..) WIN98.bat in the same directory as your boot.ini files.

    In this batch file, we are telling the system to remove the attributes that are set to the boot.ini file so we can alter it. The -r removes the Read-only flag, -h removes the Hidden flag and the -s removes the System file flag. copy command (used as copy [source file] [destination file]) will copy the contents of the boot98.ini file into the boot.ini file, overwriting it completely. Finally, the second attrib resets the file attribute flags to their defaults. We do this so we don’t accidentally delete or alter the boot.ini unless we intend to.


  3. Create another text file and enter:attrib -r -h -s boot.ini
    copy boot2000.ini boot.ini
    attrib +r +h +s boot.ini


  4. Save it as (File / Save as..) WIN2000.bat in the same directory as the WIN98.bat file.Ok, so we’ve backed up our boot.ini file, right? If not, go do it now, because we’re now ready to test the batch files.

    The following sequence should be done without any rebooting in between. If for some reason you find your batch files not working properly, make sure you copy the boot.bak back to boot.ini before your next power down or rebooting.


  5. Run (double-click) WIN98.bat to verify it works. You should now see a quick DOS window emerge and disappear. Open the boot.ini file and it will have the Windows 98 boot sequence available. 
  6. Run (double-click) WIN2000.bat to verify it works. Again, you should see a quick DOS window emerge and disappear. Open the boot.ini file and it will have the Windows 2000 boot sequence available.
    Sample run of WIN2000.bat

Shortcuts – Win2K

So now we can toggle between OSs by selecting the appropriate batch file. Let’s make life even easier and create some shortcuts.

  1. Right-click Win98.bat and select Send to -> Desktop. 
  2. Repeat with Win2000.bat
Sample run of WIN2000.bat

There should be two ugly batch icons on your desktop (little gear in the middle). I renamed mine (Right-click -> Rename -> 98 and 2000 appropriately. Go a little further and change the icons to something else if you’d like (Right-click -> Properties -> Change Icon). I chose the following icons:

The last thing I did in Win2K was to drag the 98 and 2000 icons to the Start button and drop them, adding them to the top of the Start menu. I then deleted the ones from the desktop. This is of course optional, I just like having a fairly clean desktop, and this allows you to run the toggle via shortcut keys. If you do opt for the Start menu option, try this sequence:

CTRL + ESC, 9, or CTRL + ESC, 2. As long as these are the only “9” & “2” shortcuts in your start menu, you should see the batch files run.

Reboot to Win98

Ok, so we’re all set up to toggle within Win2K. Time to boot into Win98 and do the shortcuts from there. Go ahead and click the Win98 shortcut you’ve made to set the default to Win98. Reboot the computer. As my coffee is cold and I don’t have to worry about being at the terminal to select Win98, I’m going to go reheat my drink and finish this in Win98.

Shortcuts – Win98

From Win98, we are going to make shortcuts just like we did in Win2K. The steps are almost the same, so let’s get going.

  1. Go to your C:\ drive again (assuming that’s where your new boot files are) and we should see:Boot.ini; Boot98.ini; Boot2000.ini; Win98.bat; Win2000.bat


  2. Just like in Win2000, right click the Win98.bat file and select Send to -> Desktop. 
  3. Repeat with Win2000.batClose the C:\ window and go to the desktop. The Win2000 and Win98 shortcuts that are here need a little more care than the ones created in 2000


  4. Right-click the Win2000 shortcut and select Properties / Program. 
  5. Place a check in the Close On Exit box. We really shouldn’t care what size the DOS windows is run in, so Normal Window is fine. A cleaner approach would be Minimized, but that’s at your discretion and that can be changed under the Screen tab.


  6. While we’re here let’s change the less than sightly MS DOS icon. Choose Change icon to select a new icon. To keep things looking alike, I browsed over to the Win2000 Shell32.dll file (D:\WINNT\SYSTEM32\Shell32.dll, yours may vary). Just search for SHELL32.DLL under your WINNT directory and select the same icons I used in 2000.


  7. Hit Apply and then Ok when you’re done. Repeat for the Win98 shortcut and again, as in Win2K, you can drag the Win98 and Win2000 shortcuts to the Start button and drop them, adding them to the top of the Start menu if you like. If so, just deleted the ones from the desktop.


Now you have a set of toggles in both OSs and can change your boot sequence from within either OS. To change the default OS, simply double-click the appropriate shortcut and reboot. If you keep Win98 for gaming, it’s as simple as clicking the Win2000 shortcut when you’re done with your game, and the next time you boot, you’ll be in Win2K. Hopefully this will make switching back and forth a little easier for everyone.

Rabbi Bob

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