2 OS

  linguina 01:47 19 Feb 2003

Hello everyone. Silly question. What is the benefit of having two OS on the same machine?


  temp003 03:06 19 Feb 2003

I'm only talking about Windows here. Not everyone wants or needs 2 OS's, but in appropriate circumstances, this overcomes hardware or software compatibility problems.

For example, you want the new functions and stability of XP, but you have a game or program that doesn't run (or doesn't run well) in XP, or you have a scanner that doesn't have an XP driver. You keep your old OS like 98 to continue to use the old software/hardware/peripheral.

Or you keep the old OS as a temporary measure until you're sure XP works.

The other incidental advantage of having 2 OS's, IF you use the inbuilt dual boot functionality of NT, win2k or xp (i.e. you only have one active partition), is the relative convenience of backing up either OS.

When you're in one OS, the system files (except perhaps the page file - which doesn't need to be backed up anyway) and more important, the registry, of the other OS are not in use. The other "OS" becomes just a collection of files and folders. Since the other OS partition is not hidden from view (because there's only one active partition), you can back up the other OS/partition quickly and easily without having to go into DOS. Restoration is the same.

I use win2k, and have my main working copy on C. I have a second copy (a "bare" win2k, no programs - but you can configure it the way you like) on a separate partition. I boot into my 2nd copy to back up the entire C partition. This way, all the system files and registry files of my main win2k are copied automatically. I also make a floppy which can boot me into the 2nd copy of win2k in case the boot files on C get corrupted.

I just use MS Backup for this purpose. It doesn't copy useless files like temporary folders and the big page file, or the hiberation file, if any, but has its other limitations (like, restoration depends on you being able to boot into Windows - which is a big disadvantage). But there's no reason why you can't combine your favourite backup software with this method to avoid going into DOS, if that's possible with the software.

As I said, it's an incidental advantage if you re going to have a dual boot anyway. Whether it's worth installing a 2nd copy of an OS (taking up all that space and time) just to back up the main one is quite a different question. I've done it but I'm sure it's not for everyone.

  Audeal 04:56 19 Feb 2003

Is it possible to have three operating systems on one machine. I know you can have two, but is it possible to have three. eg. windows 98se, windows 2000 and windows XP.

  Kryten 05:23 19 Feb 2003

You can have as many as you like. I read somewhere, a person had installed every single Operating System available on One Computer, but I cannot remember where.

  temp003 05:47 19 Feb 2003


2k and xp support multiple boot configurations. I don't know if there's any theoretical restriction on the number, but certainly 3 is possible. For a combination of 98, 2k and XP, the easiest way is to install 98 first, then 2k, then xp. 2k will configure the boot options with 98, and then xp will see the existing OS's, and configure the triple boot. You can also have more than one copy of 2k or XP.


You may be referring to the HyperOS which has been much talked about. The number is only limited by the drive letters available according to the ad. You can read the threads posted by flecc on HyperOS, and the combination of his own SpeedOS and HyperOS, the Strewth.

  Audeal 01:25 20 Feb 2003

Thanks Kryten and temp003. The reason I asked, and linguina might take note of this, is because I wish to upgrade to windows XP but I am using 98se at the present. My Printer and scanner are not compatible with XP (no drivers available) so I do not want to go out and spend a small fortune on new equipment which I can't afford at present, so I would like to keep 98se. The other problem is that my Video Capture Card is not compatible with XP, but it is with win2000. Hence the third OS. I have so much data stored on 98se that I do not want to loose it all. I did upgrade to 2000 but went back to 98se for this reason. So If I upgrade to XP then I can faze 98se out over a period of time and gradually transfer all that I can save onto XP.

  linguina 01:09 21 Feb 2003

Thank you for clarifying me few points.
Can I also ask what's the difference between FAT32 and NTFS and why is the second better than the first? Can I also have 2-3 OS with a different file systems on the same machine?


  temp003 02:27 21 Feb 2003

98 an ME cannot operate on NTFS file system. You'll have to use FAT32 for those. 2000 and XP can work on both.

If you're dual booting with 98/ME, better stick to FAT32. On the same computer, an NTFS partition can read a FAT32 partition, but not vice versa. So if you have XP on NTFS, when you boot into 98, you won't be able to access your XP partition or any other NTFS partition.

Theoretically it is possible for your C partition on FAT32 (for 98/ME), and XP on another NTFS partition, but not recommended.

2000 and XP (especially XP Pro, not so much with XP Home) come with certain security features which are only available on NTFS. NTFS also offers fast disk compression and decompression if you're short of disk space. NTFS is also supposed to be more efficient when the partition is over (I think) 32GB. None of this should discourage you from dual booting on FAT32 partitions, if a dual boot is what you need.

Also, you can convert FAT32 file system to NTFS (without loss of data) when you no longer need 98/ME. Conversion from NTFS to FAT32 is not possible (at least not with Microsoft's own utilities) without re-formatting the FAT32 partition.

  linguina 16:23 21 Feb 2003

You mentioned 32gb hdds... I read somewhere that FAT32 was created to work with hdd smaller than 32gb. I have 2 maxtor of 40gb each and win98sec and it seems running fine, where is the limitation then?

Finally. What I would like to do is to have win98 on my first hdd and winxp on the second. The problem is I'm going to buy a new graphic card (radeon 9700 pro or geforce fx ultra when it comes out) and I know that the first one doesn't support win98 (I don't know about the second one).
Does that mean that I won't be able to boot in to 98 with the new card or that the card will only display default/basic settings?

  temp003 04:06 22 Feb 2003

I think the maximum capacity for both FAT32 and NTFS is 2TB. 32GB partition size is just a figure Microsoft says beyond which NTFS is supposed to operate more efficiently than FAT32, whatever that means. FAT32 has no problem with partitions over 32GB, as your experience shows.

What may be relevant to you is that the XP Setup process (installation of XP from the CD) cannot format a partition larger than 32GB in FAT32. (This is just a quirky MS thing.) The installation process can format a larger partition in NTFS. Moreover, after the installation of XP, you can still format another partition in FAT32 larger than 32GB using XP's Disk Manager.

So if you're going to have a FAT32 partition for XP which is larger than 32GB, format the partition with fdisk first, because you can't do it during XP Setup. Use fdisk to create a primary partition on the 2nd hdd (for XP), but make sure the active partition remains the 98 partition on the 1st hdd. Then format the partition. After that, you can boot from the XP CD to select the newly formatted partition to install XP into.

But it's probably a better idea to have smaller partitions (quicker to defrag, separate partitions for data, backup, that sort of thing). If the XP partition is smaller than 32GB, just boot from the XP CD, follow the prompts to create partition (or reformat an existing partition as the case may be) for the installation of XP. Remember to choose FAT32.

As to the graphics card, the Radeon 9700 Pro will work on 98. Although the ATI site says the supported OS's are XP, 2000 and ME, this is only because of Microsoft's WHQL policy (whereby MS certifies hardware drivers compatibility for Windows). MS stopped certifying drivers for 98 and NT after July 2002. The Radeon 9700 came after July, so ATI could not get a certified driver for 98. But ATI has said that 98 is in fact supported and will use the ME drivers.

This makes sense as a lot of gamers still love 98 and not supporting that system will just take away a large chuck of a graphics card's customer base.

So the Radeon should boot up all right, as long as it is also compatible with your existing motherboard. Please make sure, things like the slot and voltage. I should think the fx when it comes out should also work with 98. Again make sure it's compatible with your board. I've read that the fx will require a higher than usual voltage and will take up the space of an adjacent PCI slot. I'm not really familiar with graphics cards, so do your own work - that hasn't stopped me from ranting on about them, though :o)

  temp003 04:28 22 Feb 2003

Just saw your other thread, in which you were in very good and experienced hands, and your questions well answered. I have a +8hours time difference with England, so always a bit slow.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

OnePlus 5 review

Alice Saey's mesmerising animation for Dutch singer Mark Lotterman

iPad Pro 10.5in (2017) review

Comment booster votre iPhone ?