DetailPage-MSS-KB

Microsoft small business knowledge base

Article ID: 306559 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 5.0

This article was previously published under Q306559

On This Page

Summary

This article explains how to set up Windows XP as a multiple-boot system with the following operating systems:
  • Microsoft Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows NT 4.0, and Microsoft Windows NT 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows 95 Operating System Release 2 (OSR2), Microsoft Windows 98, and Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (Me)
  • MS-DOS or Microsoft Windows 3.x
You can install more than one operating system on your computer and choose which operating system you want to use every time you start your computer. This is often called a dual-boot or multiple-boot configuration (see the glossary at the end of this article for definitions of unfamiliar terminology).

Disk Volumes and Disk Format

Note that Encrypting File System (EFS) is not available in the Windows XP Home Edition.

Reformatting and Repairing the Hard Disk

You may need to reformat and repartition your hard disk if:
  • You have only one volume.

    You have to install each operating system on a separate volume of your computer so that each installation can retain its own files and configuration information.
  • The boot partition is not formatted with the correct file system:
    • If you want to create a multiple-boot system by using MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me, you have to format the system partition by using FAT16 or FAT32 because the operating system cannot start if the system partition is NTFS.
    • If you want to create a multiple-boot system by using Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me along with Microsoft Windows XP, you have to format the boot partition by using FAT16 because Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me do not support the NTFS file system.
    • If you want to install Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me with Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP, you can format the boot partition by using FAT16 because Windows NT 4.0 does not support the FAT32 file system.
    • If you want to create a multiple-boot system using Windows 98 or Windows Me with Windows 2000, or Windows XP, you can format the boot partition by using FAT32.

      Note If you format a Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000, or Windows XP volume with any file system other than NTFS, you will lose all NTFS-specific features. This includes some Windows XP features such as file system security, Encrypting File System (EFS) settings, disk quotas, and Remote Storage. Likewise, Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows Me do not recognize an NTFS partition and identify it as unknown. Therefore, if you format a Windows 98 or Windows Me partition as FAT, and a Windows XP partition as NTFS, any files on the NTFS partition will not be available or visible if you try to access them while running Windows 98 or Windows Me.

Supported File Systems

The following table lists the supported file systems for Microsoft operating systems:
   Operating system   Supported file systems
   -----------------------------------------

   MS-DOS             FAT
   Windows 3.1        FAT
   Windows NT         FAT, NTFS
   Windows 95         FAT
   Windows 95 OSR2    FAT, FAT32
   Windows 98         FAT, FAT32
   Windows Me         FAT, FAT32
   Windows 2000       FAT, FAT32, NTFS
   Windows XP         FAT, FAT32, NTFS
				

Precautions

Before creating a multiple-boot configuration with Windows XP and another operating system, review the following precautions:
  • Before attempting to create a multiple-boot system, be sure to back up your current system and all data files.
  • Each operating system must be installed on a separate volume. Microsoft does not support installing multiple operating systems on the same volume.
  • If you have only one volume on your computer, you have to reformat and repartition your hard disk to contain multiple volumes before you begin creating a multiple-boot configuration, unless you are simply installing another copy of Windows XP.
  • Do not install Windows XP on a compressed drive that was not compressed using the NTFS compression utility.
  • You have to use a different computer name for each operating system if the computer is on a Windows 2000 or Windows XP secure domain.
  • Install the operating systems in the following order:
    1. MS-DOS
    2. Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me
    3. Windows NT
    4. Windows 2000
    5. Windows XP

To Create a Multiple-Boot System with Windows XP and MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me

Note You can only install a single instance of Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me in a multiple-boot configuration. You cannot configure a computer to multiple-boot Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me because each of these platforms use the same boot file. For example, you can use Windows 95, Windows 2000, and Windows XP, but you cannot use Windows 95, Windows 98, and Windows XP.

You have to install Windows XP only after installing MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me to prevent these operating systems from overwriting the Windows XP boot sector and the Windows XP startup files.

To create a multiple-boot system with Windows XP and MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me:
  1. Ensure that your hard disk is formatted with the correct file system.
  2. Install the multiple operating systems into separate volumes, in the following order: MS-DOS; Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me; and then Windows XP.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • If you want a multiple-boot system with MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me along with Windows XP, install MS-DOS, Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me, and then install Windows XP.
    • If you want a dual-boot system with Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me, along with Windows XP, you should install either Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me, and then install Windows XP.
    Install each operating system according to the standard installation procedure.

To Create a Multiple-Boot System with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP

Using a multiple-boot system with both Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP is not recommended as a long-term solution. The NTFS update in Service Pack 5 (SP5) for Windows NT 4.0 is provided only to help you evaluate and upgrade to Windows XP.

To create a multiple-boot system with Windows NT 4.0 and Windows XP:
  1. Ensure that your hard disk is formatted with the correct file system.
  2. Install Windows NT 4.0 and apply SP5, and then install Windows XP to a separate volume. Install each operating system according to the standard installation procedure.
Note If you intend to install more than one operating system consisting of some combination of Windows NT 4.0, with either Windows 2000, or Windows XP as the only installed operating systems, you must ensure that you have installed SP5 for Windows NT 4.0. Windows XP automatically upgrades any NTFS partitions that it finds on your system to the version of NTFS that is used in Windows 2000 and Windows XP. However, Windows NT 4.0 requires SP5 to read and write files on a volume that is formatted with the version of NTFS used in Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Installing Programs on More Than One Operating System

If you are installing programs on more than one operating system, you have to treat each operating system as a separate entity. Any programs and drivers that you want to use must be installed under each operating system under which you want to use it. For example, if you want to use Microsoft Word on the same computer under both Windows 98 and Windows XP, you have to start Windows 98 and install Microsoft Word, and then, you have to restart your computer under Windows XP and reinstall Microsoft Word.

Note Windows 95 or Windows 98 might reconfigure hardware settings the first time you use them, which may cause configuration problems when you start Windows XP.

Specifying the Default Operating System for Startup

If you have more than one operating system on your computer, you can set the operating system that you want to use as the default one for when you start your computer:
  • Click Start, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  • On the Advanced tab, under Startup and Recovery, click Settings.
  • Under System startup, in the Default operating system list, click the operating system that you want to start when you turn on or restart your computer.
  • Select the Display list of operating systems for check box, and then type the number of seconds for which you want the list displayed before the default operating system starts automatically.

    To manually edit the boot options file, click Edit. Microsoft strongly recommends that you do not modify the boot options file (Boot.ini), because doing so may render your computer unusable.

Troubleshooting

  • When you start Microsoft Internet Explorer, Explorer may quit and you may receive an error message that is similar to the following:
    iexplore caused an Invalid Page Fault in module kernel32.dll
    This error may occur if you install multiple operating systems on a single volume.

    To resolve this issue, install each operating system on a separate volume.
  • You cannot configure your computer to start both Windows 95 and Windows 98 (or Windows Me).

    You cannot configure a computer to multiple boot Windows 95 and Windows 98 (or Windows Me) because these platforms use the same boot file. Therefore, multiple booting Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me at the same time is not supported.
  • When you start your computer, the boot menu does not appear and you are unable to start Windows XP.

    This issue may occur if you install Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows Me after you install Windows XP.

    To resolve this issue, repair, or reinstall Windows XP.



Glossary



Boot Partition
The boot partition contains the Windows operating system and its support files. The boot partition can be, but does not have to be, the same as the system partition. There will be one, and only one, system partition, but there will be one boot partition for each operating system in a multi-boot system.

Note On dynamic disks, this is known as the boot volume.

For more information about disk storage in Windows XP, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
314343  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314343/ ) Basic Storage Versus Dynamic Storage in Windows XP
See also: System Partition, Volume



Dual-Boot
A computer configuration that can start two different operating systems.
See also: Multiple-Boot



Extended Partition
Extended partitions were developed in response to the need for more than four partitions per disk drive. An extended partition can itself contain multiple partitions and this extends the number of partitions possible on a single drive. An extended partition is a container for logical drives that are formatted and assigned drive letters. The introduction of extended partitions was driven by increasing capacities of new disk drives.



FAT (File Allocation Table)
A file system that is used by MS-DOS and other Windows-based operating systems to organize and manage files. The file allocation table (FAT) is a data structure that Windows creates when you format a volume by using the FAT or FAT32 file systems. Windows stores information about each file in the FAT so that it can retrieve the file later.
See also: FAT32, File System, NTFS File System



FAT32
A derivative of the FAT file system. FAT32 supports smaller cluster sizes and larger volumes than FAT, which results in more efficient space allocation on FAT32 volumes.
See also: File Allocation Table (FAT), NTFS File System, Volume



File System
In an operating system, the file system is the overall structure in which files are named, stored, and organized. NTFS, FAT, and FAT32 are types of file systems.
See also: NTFS File System, FAT, FAT32



Logical Partition
Logical partitions are those partitions contained within an extended partition. In terms of use they are no different than a non-extended primary partition. The number of logical drives that may be created in extended partition is limited by the number of available drive letters and the amount of hard drive space available for creating drives.



Multiple-Boot
A computer configuration that can start two different operating systems.
See also: Dual-Boot



NTFS File System
An advanced file system that provides performance, security (i.e.,file and folder permissions), reliability, and advanced features that are not found in any version of FAT. For example, NTFS guarantees volume consistency by using standard transaction logging and recovery techniques. If a system fails, NTFS uses its log file and checkpoint information to restore the consistency of the file system. In Windows 2000 and Windows XP, NTFS also provides advanced features such as encryption, Reparse points, Sparse files, USN Journal, and disk quotas.
See also: FAT32, File Allocation Table (FAT), File System



Primary Partition
A partition that is used to start an operating system. Primary partitions are partitions that take up one of the four primary partition slots in the disk drive's partition table. You can also use primary partitions that do not contain the operating system.



System Partition
The system partition refers to the disk volume that contains the hardware-specific files that are needed to start Windows, such as Ntldr, Boot.ini, and Ntdetect.com. The system partition can be, but does not have to be, the same volume as the boot partition.

Note On dynamic disks, this is known as the system volume.

See also: Boot Partition, Volume



Volume
A volume is an area of storage on a hard disk that is either a primary partition or a logical drive in an extended partition.A volume is formatted by using a file system, such as FAT or NTFS, and has a drive letter assigned to it. You can view the contents of a volume by clicking its icon in Windows Explorer or in My Computer. A single hard disk can have multiple volumes, and volumes can also span multiple disks.
See also: File Allocation Table (FAT), NTFS File System





Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Keywords: 
kbenv kbhowtomaster KB306559
Share
Additional support options
Ask The Microsoft Small Business Support Community
Contact Microsoft Small Business Support
Find Microsoft Small Business Support Certified Partner
Find a Microsoft Store For In-Person Small Business Support