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    Windows2000: Multiple Boot Option


Since larger hard drives are the norm these days, it gives us the opportunity to take advantage of one of Windows 2000's lesser-known features...   its ability to automatically setup and manage a multiple Windows version environment. A simple dual-boot scenario, where you have Keep Windows95/98 or NT while adding a Windows 2000 installation is a great way to get started with Windows 2000. Setting this up is easy too, just follow the Graphical Setup steps and it will happen automatically.

Windows 2000 can go further down this road too. If you use Windows NT 4.0's dual-boot with Win95/98 features, Windows 2000's graphical setup can configure a three-way multiple-boot configuration. Again, it happens automatically. You can even start the process with Windows95/98 running, if you want. It is recommended that you install each Windows version to its own physical or logical disk drive (partition).

Managing Multiple Boot
Once multiple-boot is configured, you manage it with a simple set of controls. Each time you start your PC, you make a menu selection that specifies the version of Windows you want to run. Since one of your Windows versions is the default setting, if after a certain amount of time you don't make a selection, the default Windows loads automatically. The two settings you get are, you guessed it, which Windows version is the default, and the number of seconds before the boot menu times out and loads your default. You'll find both settings on the same dialog (a little bit more deeply buried than they were in NT). 

  • First right-click My Computer and choose Properties

  • Then click the Advanced tab, and the "Startup and Recovery" button. 

  • Make your selections from the Default Operating System drop-down, and the "Display the list of operating systems for X seconds" box, which shows 30 seconds by default. 

I recommend choosing 10 or 15 seconds to shorten boot times. Besides, you're either watching for the boot menu or you aren't. 

If you wind up choosing any Windows other than Windows 2000 to be your default, changing the default Windows later on takes a bit more effort. You'll have to be vigilant while your system boots and then select the Windows 2000 option to boot to Windows 2000. Once there, you make the change on the "Startup and Recovery" dialog.

Removing Win95/98 Dual Boot
What if you decide to ditch your dual-boot option with an older version of Windows in favor of just having Windows 2000? Actually, this is easier than you might think. All you need do is edit the BOOT.INI file in the root folder of the bootable partition on your system (usually drive C:). You'll need to remove the Read-only attribute for the file. Do that by right-clicking it in an Explorer window and choosing Properties. When you're done editing the file, turn Read-only back on.

To remove Windows 98 from the boot menu, just remove this line from BOOT.INI:

{boot drive letter}:\="Microsoft Windows"

Once that's accomplished, the system should boot directly to Windows 2000 without giving you any option to boot Windows 95 or 98.

 

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