I have Windows 98 installed on C: with FAT32, how do I install NT?

A. Windows 2000 can read FAT32 with no problems and so installing Windows 2000 on a machine whose active partition (C:) is FAT32 requires no special steps.

Windows NT cannot read FAT32 and so special steps are necessary:

  1. Create a primary partition at the beginning of the drive - Win98 has to install into the first partition for this to work (see notes below).
  2. Mark this partition Active, install Win98 then convert the partition to FAT32. If you don't convert to FAT32, NT will try to install its loader files into this first partition. If this happens, you won't be able to convert Win98 to FAT32 later on because NT won't be able to boot.
  3. Start the NT installation and use setup to create a new partition after the Win98 partition. NT will give you a message something like, "NT needs to temporarily disable the other OS before the installation can continue". All this does is change the active partition to the new NT partition. This is actually want you want so it is OK.
  4. Install NT and convert the partition to NFTS.
  5. Using "Disk Administrator", change the active partition to the Win98 partition. You may find NT actually alters the boot.ini file to point to the 98 partition, making NT unbootable so check the file and edit if necessary before shutting down.
  6. Boot into Win98 and using DEBUG.EXE, execute the following debug script:
    L 100 2 0 1
    n bootsect.f32
    Click here to view image
  7. Copy the bootsect.f32 to a floppy disk which is created in your current directory
    C:\> copy bootsect.f32 a:
  8. Use FDISK to set the active partition back to the NT partition
  9. Boot to NT and copy the bootsect.f32 file into the root of C:
  10. Add the following line to the end of the C:\BOOT.INI file. You will need to remove the system and readonly attributes:
    C:\>attrib c:\boot.ini -r -s
    The line to be added is:
    c:\bootsect.f32="Windows 98"
    Now set the permissions back on boot.ini
    C:\>attrib c:\boot.ini +r +s
  11. Reboot NT and you should now have an option for "Windows 98"

It would also be possible to take a copy of the Windows 98 boot sector by using DiskProbe (from the resource kit) and saving the first sector of the partition to a file.

Some people have reported problems and an alternate approach is possible as defined by Paul Franzes

"I installed WINNT4 first with NTFS.then I rebooted with a Win98 bootfloppy. Created a partition using FDISK. Made the win98 partition active. Rebooted ,formatted & installed windows98 in the fat32 partition. ran the debug & copied the file to a floppy. Then went again to FDISK and made the NTFS partition active. Booted to winnt & copied the file to c:\ and edited the boot.ini accordingly."

You may find that putting the Win98 partition at the END of the disk works better, because of Windows NT's 2GB boot code boundary.

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