Will my disk configuration let me multiboot OSs?

A. With Windows NT 4.0 and 3.51, Microsoft recommends that you install a small (200MB) FAT partition at the beginning of your hard disk to assist in troubleshooting your NT installation (if the installation is on FAT). Thus, you have a dual-boot scenario for DOS and NT. These days, the system doesn't require (and Microsoft doesn't recommend) the DOS installation—thanks to Windows 2000 support for safe boot (F8) and the Recovery Console (RC). However, you might still want more than one OS on your machine for beta testing, software requirements, or hardware support. (With the Win2K and Windows 9x convergence in Windows XP and Windows 2002, the difference in application and hardware support should disappear, but you might still want a multiboot system in certain circumstances.)

Win2K introduces the dynamic disk, which removes the primary and extended partitions. However, dynamic disks introduce some compatibility issues. The table below summarizes the possibilities and supported OSs for the various disk types:

Disk configuration What's possible Supported OSs
Basic disk(s) With basic disks, the system supports all OSs. Each OS instance should be on a separate partition/logical drive. XP/Windows 2002, Win2K, NT 4.0/NT 3.51, Windows Me, Windows 9x, Win98SE, and DOS
Single dynamic disk With one dynamic disk, you can install one OS per partition if the partition has an underlying partition entry. XP/Windows 2002 and Win2K
Multiple dynamic disks With multiple dynamic disks, you can install one OS per physical dynamic disk if the partition has an underlying partition. XP/Windows 2002 and Win2K

If you have a mixture of disk types, each disk-type rule applies; thus, if you have one basic disk and one dynamic disk, you can install one OS per partition on the basic disk and one OS on the dynamic disk.

If you want to install XP and Win2K on one disk, it must be a basic disk.

TAGS: Windows 8
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