Dual boot Win2k & Win2k

  y_not 06:43 24 Mar 2003

I seem to be doing more and more video editing and encoding using my little old self-built Duron 1200 system

With all the stuff going on in the background it seems to make sense to re-boot to a minimal system when encoding etc.

Is it as simple as putting the Win2k disk in (is the option there to dual boot?) and as for copyright...as the system would be running either one or the other Win2k I assume that I'm not breaching copyright if I install the same copy on both boot options (if thats possible)

Thanks in advance for the advice


  Lú-tzé 08:28 24 Mar 2003

You will need a second partition to install the second copy onto. When you put in the cd and boot it will give the option to upgrade a current version or do a full install (possibly called advanced). Choose the second and tell it the partition you want.

There should be no problems with it though - win2k is a fairly sensible OS and does as it is asked.

  Erco 13:49 27 Mar 2003

I use ME and want to Dual Boot with XP. But does'nt the new active partition need to be within the first 4 Gb of hard disk. If so will the first partition need to be around 2 Gb?

  Lú-tzé 15:43 27 Mar 2003

Erco - best to start a new thread, but to answer you, no.

You have winME on drive c, then can install XP onto another partition, say D.

click here for a guide to 9x and 2k - it will be the same thing for you - just ME and XP. If you do have queries, post a new thread as this one is ticked and people will ignore it.

  Erco 23:36 28 Mar 2003

Thanks Lú-tzé, Brian

  temp003 05:50 29 Mar 2003

I see this has been ticked already, so obviously satisfactorily answered.

Just to let you know, that's what I do. There are some programs which I only use occasionally, and I install them on my second copy of w2k. This also keeps my main w2k "lighter". As good as w2k is, too many programs still take their toll on the registry. An inherent problem with all Windows versions.


After you install the second copy, it will become the default OS when you boot up the computer and get the OS selection screen. Also, it has the same name as the 1st copy, i.e. both are called "Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional".

I suggest you change the name of at least one of them.

Boot into either copy of w2k, in My Computer, go to your C drive. See if you see the file boot.ini under C. If not, click Tools, Folder Options, view tab, and (1) tick "Show all hidden files and folders" (2) untick "Hide file extensions for all known file types" (3) untick "Hide protected operating system files". Click OK.

You should be able to see boot.ini. Double click it and it will open in Notepad.

Under the section [operating systems], you should see 2 lines. Both read something like this (assuming you installed both copies to the same primary hard disk):

multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(n)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect

where n=the partition number where you installed that particular copy of w2k.

For your original copy of w2k, the partition number should (normally) be partition(1). That's your old copy. This should (normally) be the second line now under [operating systems].

The path to your new copy should be the 1st line. If you've installed it to, say, the 3rd partition, it will read partition(3).

The words in the quotation marks are what appears on the OS selection screen when you boot up (It's called an identifier). Change the identifier to whatever you like. For example, change the identifier for your new copy to "Microsoft Windows 2000 Multimedia" /fastetect

You don't even have to call it Windows, but do leave the fastdetect parameter there.

If you want to change the default OS and timeout value, you can do that here as well (there's an easier way to do it, but since you're working on boot.ini, you might as well do it here).

To change the timeout value, change the line

timeout=30 to e.g.


The value should not be smaller than 5. I find that by the time the OS selection screen appears on the monitor, a couple of seconds will have elapsed.

Your default OS should now be the new copy. If you're happy with that, keep it that way. If you want to switch back to the old copy as the default OS, just change the partition number in the default line to partition(1), so that it reads:


Save the changes and exit Notepad. Next time you reboot the computer, you will see the changes.


Another incidental advantage for having another copy of w2k is backing up. When you're in Windows, a lot of system files, but particularly the registry, are in use and cannot be copied. That's why most backup programs have to do it from DOS.

When you have 2 copies of w2k (using w2k's native boot loader), if you want to back up the entire 1st copy on the C drive, just restart computer and boot into your 2nd copy. This means the system files and registry of the 1st copy of w2k (on C) are not in use. You can then simply copy the contents of C drive to wherever you like, from within Windows. This will include the registry of the 1st copy, which is stored in the C:\WINNT\system32\config folder

[The 2nd copy of w2k has its own separate registry in X:\WINNT\system32\config folder, where X is the drive letter for the 2nd copy.]

Or you can use Windows' own Backup program, which has its many limitations, but when you have 2 OS's, it's actually quite good. Use it to back up your C drive. It will automatically exclude copying things like temporary files and pagefile, which makes it quite quick. Do not back up the System State if you're doing it this way, because (1) the System State means the System State (such as registry) of the OS in use (2nd copy), which is not what you want; and (2) when you back up the entire C drive, the correct System State (including the registry) is already included.

If anything goes wrong with the 1st copy and you want to restore it to a healthy state, just boot into the 2nd copy (unless the boot files on C have been corrupted) and restore an earlier copy of C to its original location (replacing all files).

You can actually make a boot floppy which can boot you into the 2nd copy to provide for the occasion when the boot files on C have become corrupted. But I have given too much unasked-for "advice". So I'd better stop :o))

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