Adding win98 dual boot to XP

January 16, 2006 at 09:45:11
Specs: Windows XP, Athlon64, 1GB RAM
I have Windows XP (serv pack 2) already installed on my machine and I want to ADD a primary partition with Win98 on it so I can install and run IE5.

I have one hard drive.

Everything I've read so far says a XP/Win98 dual boot setup is possible, BUT Win98 must be installed first, and then XP.

Is there some way around this? Can I somehow install Win98 on a new primary partition without wrecking my XP?


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January 16, 2006 at 10:57:15
Yes it can be done - easiest way is with a 3rd party boot manager (do a google & you'll come up with a load).

"I know that I'm mad, I've always been mad"

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January 16, 2006 at 11:13:13
If WinXP was installed as NTFS, it can't be done...Win98 can only "see" FAT32.

This space for rent

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January 16, 2006 at 11:28:27
You eant to install Win 98 for the mere reason of running IE5, correct?


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January 16, 2006 at 11:31:13
If you add a primary partition, it is no problem. Just be sure that the added partition is after the XP partition. As john says a third party boot manager would be easyest. One not hard to use is GAG

Do not make the partition for 98 as an extended volume, as Jam posted, can't be done , if XP is NTFS.

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January 16, 2006 at 13:50:30
Thank you all for your replies.

I'm already using 3 of my 4 allowed primary partitions and need them all. The 4th I was planning to make for Win98SE. It looks like GAG doesn't need its own partition though so maybe that will work out okay.

My concern, though, is that Microsoft and others say to install win98 FIRST on its partition and only then install XP on another partition, otherwise Win98 will overwrite my XP when it's installed. I have no desire to delete and reinstall my XP. I don't see how GAG resolves this issue. What am I missing?

Yes, the whole reason for doing all this is to install and run IE5, for web development. If there's some way of doing this without the hassle of putting in another OS, then please let me know how.


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January 16, 2006 at 14:13:59
From mesich's site;

Install Win98 After WinXp This procedure assumes that Windows XP is installed on drive C: No support is offered for other drive letters.
Drive C: must be FAT16 or FAT32 to be able to install Windows 98/Me after XP is already installed. The 98/Me installation routine cannot write to an NTFS partition.

If your C: drive is not FAT or FAT32, you CANNOT complete this procedure. You will need a 3rd party boot manager. Randish is a good tool for this.

You must have a second hard disk or partition formatted for FAT16/32 in order to be able to install Windows 98/Me. Installing 98/Me to the same partition as Windows XP is NOT RECOMMENDED!

It's recommended that you use a Windows 98/Me Startup disk for this procedure. If you don't have one, you can download one here. You should ensure that DEBUG.EXE is on your Startup disk. The download above does contain DEBUG.EXE. You can also download DEBUG.EXE from here if needed.

Installing Windows 98

1. Use a Win98/Me Startup disk (with CD support) to boot your computer.

2. Insert your Win98/Me CD into the CD Rom drive.

3. At the A:> prompt type X:\Win98\Setup.exe
(for Win98) or X:\Win9x\Setup.exe (for Win Me)
where X: is your CD-ROM drive.

4. Proceed with the install. When prompted for the install location, you'll see C:\Windows.000. Choose Other directory and change this to the drive you wish to install 98/Me to and name the folder Windows (or something else if you prefer).

5. Complete the Win98/Me install. Allow the computer to boot into Win98/Me.

Repairing the Windows XP Boot Loader

1. Create a Win98/Me Startup Disk

2. Create a Notepad file with the following entries, exactly as shown:

L 100 2 0 1

3. Save the file to the Win98/Me Startup Disk as READ.SCR

4. Boot the computer with the Win98/Me Startup Disk and at the A: prompt type

Steps 1 - 4 create the BOOTSECT.DOS file needed to boot Win98/Me. For your convenience, you can download READ.SCR here. I suggest you use right click and Save As. You may need to use the ATTRIB C:\BOOTSECT.DOS -S -H -R command if BOOTSECT.DOS already exists and you get an error when trying to recreate it.

5. Configure your computer to boot from the CD drive. This is done in the BIOS, or your computer may offer the option at startup if it detects a bootable CD. Consult your computer's manual for more information. If your computer does not support booting from CD-Rom, you should also be able to boot with a 98/Me Startup disk, and run WINNT.EXE from the I386 folder of your XP CD.

6. Insert your XP CD and boot from it.

7. You'll see some files being copied, then you'll be presented with a choice of installing or repairing an existing installation. Choose Repair.

8. You'll be asked which XP installation you want to log into. Enter 1. There is usually only one installation.

9. You'll be prompted for the Administrator password. For Home, the default password is blank, so just hit Enter. For Pro, enter the same password you did during setup for the Administrator account (this is not the same as the password for an Admin level account. It must be the Administrator account password).

10. At the C:\Windows> prompt, type FIXBOOT. You'll be prompted to confirm. Do so.

11. When FIXBOOT is finished, remove the XP CD and type EXIT and the machine will reboot.

Reconfigure your computer to boot from the hard drive if necessary.

You will now get the XP Boot loader with your choice of operating systems.

Send your questions, comments about this Web page to

Best Regards and Wishes,
Mesich and The Count

It's a good day when you learn something

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January 16, 2006 at 14:24:51
From the GAG notes:

- Hides the primary partitions which allows the user to have instaled more than one DOS and/or Windows in the same hard disk.


To install 98, hide the other three primary partitions and make the fourth active. Then install normally. GDISK can be used to hide the primarys (if you don't have GDISK, it is on the MADBOOT floppy) or possibly GAG can handle this.


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January 16, 2006 at 15:01:50
GAG does install on the first track of hdd if selected. (MBR)

The memthod you will need to use depends on the file type of prior partitions ie:NTFS or FAT32, and if FAT32 does the 98 need to see them ? Do you have any other hdd installed ?

Is XP the only other OS and is it on the first partition ?

One can use XP bootloader if the first 2 sentenses on Dan Penny's post are met. Will have to change one read.scr command, if all partitions are FAT32.
{L 100 2 0 1} points to drive D: you will need {L 100 4 0 1} F: " I think".

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January 17, 2006 at 03:35:44
A possible concern is having 98 be in the first 1024 cylinders. I would move the XP partition up and install the 98 partition as the first partition and also install the boot loader there.

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January 17, 2006 at 05:11:28
I think that with '98SE the 1024 issue was resolved. I used to flag up that isssue in the past and others (here and elsewhere) more into '98 than I advised the issue had been resolved...?

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January 17, 2006 at 05:27:54
Hi Dan Penny,

"4. Boot the computer with the Win98/Me Startup Disk and at the A: prompt type

It seems you'd need to:

debug < read.scr

for it to actually do anything.


I tried to look at Mesich's site for clarification and got "account suspended".

If at first you don't succeed, you're about average.


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January 17, 2006 at 06:10:44
'not going to add more info re' ways to go about it to what you've already received - all good/valid info... but one point to clarify in your initial post...

M$ advice about installing '9x first...

(Presuming no add-in boot util involved) If XP = fat32 then '98 can go in second (to it's own partition etc.). It will "not" erase XP - i.e. "... otherwise Win98 will overwrite my XP when it's installed...." (unless you're careless/unlucky...) but it will overwrite the XP mbr (if that Primary is the active Primary at time '98 goes in...) and thus disable access to XP. You recover access to it via various paths - and fixmbr is a part of some of them...

Unlike NT/W2K, the repair (fixboot) routine in XP does not create a bootsct.dos for '9x (this is a necesary file which allows '9x to boot via the XP boot-loader...).

As a by the way... NT/W2K repair routine can significantly simplify the whole dual-boot journey with '9x, as it will automatically create the bootsect.dos for you and complete the dual/multi-boot...

But back to XP/'9x: You either create the bootsect.dos as per the Doug Knox method or at least one other way (and this other way also restores the mbr to XP version in the process). In Doug's process you have to run fixmbr separately...

If '98 goes in to its own Primary (which set as active) then all other primary partitions will (ought to) remain intact... How you subsequently gain the dual/multi-boot aspect then depends on which approach you prefer. The various angles have already been discussed above...

Incidentally what file format is your XP Primary; is it the first Primary on the drive; also what are formats of the other primaries? If by chance XP is fat32 then life is really quite simple..

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January 22, 2006 at 16:08:13
Thanks again for all your replies. Unfortunately I've become suddenly swamped with disrelated work and have to let this whole project slide for a week or so. Then I can (hopefully) sit down and study what all's been said here.

But I did want to mention that my first primary is for some reason Drive D: (FAT 32), a recovery drive that came with the machine (eMachines) that I never mess with.

My 2nd primary is C: and comtains my XP, format NTFS. I'm not sure I can or want to change it and lose whatever advantage having NTFS gives me.

My 3rd primary is an extended partition containing several virtual drives, all NTFS.

I'd be using Partition Magic 8 to do my partitioning, reformatting, etc.


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