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How to Dual-Boot Windows 9X/Me and 2000 Pro
last updated: 6/10/01

Introduction.  The purpose of this article is to provide step-by-step procedures for installing both Windows 9X/Me and Windows 2000 Pro on the same hard disk drive so that either operating system can be selected from a menu when the computer first starts/boots-up.  Actually, a computer can be configured to boot Windows 2000, Windows NT, either Windows 95 or Windows 98, and MS-DOS.  It cannot be configured to boot multiple versions of Windows 9X (Windows 95, 98, 98 SE, and Me) because they use the same boot file; however, there are third party utilities which can do it.  Install MS-DOS first, to multiple boot Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 95 or Windows 98, with MS-DOS.  This article will show how to dual-boot Windows 98, 98 SE, or Me with Windows 2000 Professional.  Multiple-boot configurations with Windows NT and Windows 95, etc. are implemented in a similar fashion.

Step-by-Step Instructions.

1.  See our How to Install the Windows 98 Upgrade on a New Hard Disk Drive, How to Install Windows Me, and How to Build a Computer with an AMD Socket A Athlon or Duron Processor: Part 8 - Prepare the Hard disk Drive and Part 9 - Install Windows and Motherboard Drivers for instructions on partitioning a hard disk drive and installing Windows.

2.  Partition your hard disk so that you have a separate partition for each operating system.  Or, partition your drive so it has one partition for Windows 9X, SE, or Me (we'll call it Win 9X from now on) and enough free space (unpartitioned space) for the installation of Windows 2000 (we'll call it Win 2K for short).

Windows Me was already installed on my 30 GByte drive.  It had two partitions and 4 GBytes of free space.  I installed Win 2K into the free space.  The Win 2K installation partitioned and formatted the free space.  This will be described later in this article.

If you are going to do this procedure with a disk drive that already has data on it, I strongly recommend that you back-up your data.  I didn't.  Proceed at your own risk.

3.  Install  Win 9X first.  If you install it after installing Win 2K it  will overwrite the C:\BOOT.INI file you will not be able to dual-boot.

4.  Boot to Win 9X.

5.  Insert the Win 2K CD in your CD-ROM drive.

6.  It should autostart and display the following message:

This CD-ROM contains a newer versions of Windows than the one you are presently using.  Would you like to upgrade to Windows 2000?

7.  Click Yes (we will not actually upgrade Win 9X).

8.  This may result in the following error:

The option to upgrade will not be available at this time because Setup was unable to load the file
The system cannot find the file specified.

Ignore the error and click OK.

9.  This will produce the following message:

Welcome to the Windows 2000 Setup Wizard....

What do you want to do?

o  Upgrade...
o  Install a new copy of Windows 2000 (Clean Install) ...

Select the second choice and click Next.

Next >

Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.