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 Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more) 
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Post Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
Hi guys, if you're still about!

Having finally sorted out the problems with XP on the desktop, I've had thoughts about first of all installing FreeDOS on the spare unpartiioned hard drive space. Then my Dad has finally relinquished claims to an older machine (AMD Athalon XP 1500+, 512MB RAM, ~20GB HDD split into two FAT32 partitions, Hercules 3D Prophet 400XT graphics card (~32MB?), etc.) currently with Win98 installed. So now I have two machines to play about with.

I understand having taken the MCDST course it is possible to boot WinXP and earlier versions of Windows or even DOS, and it's recommended you install each OS on a separate partition. Trouble is, normally you can only boot from an active partition of which you can only have one at the same time. FreeDOS also doesn't seem to like installing on NTFS partitions (obviously) and its version of FAT32 and Microsoft's don't seem to agree either (same for DR-DOS/OpenDOS) although I seem not to have had problems like this in the past. So my questions are:

1. Presuming I need some sort of third-party bootloader, can anyone recommend any that don't require you to install Linux as well? Do such exist?

2. If I do decide to install Linux alongside both DOS (of some sort) and Win98 on the old machine, all on separate partitions, will the Linux bootladers recognise both or only the one on the active aprtition?

3. How do you rate the possibility of loading FreeDOS on a standard Windows FAT32 partition?

4. If so, would you suggest the spare partition as best or load it on the Windows partition to save disk space? (I'm sure I've dual-booted DOS and WinXP from the same partition before?)

5. Or should I buy a second hard drive (or a bigger one?) (I suppose that would depend on whether it's overloading the power supply).

6. Or is Win98 capable of running all the old DOS programs well enough not to need FreeDOS?

Any thoughts people?


Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:47 pm
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Post Re: Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
Since I'm short on time and should really be asleep at this hour, I'll skip straight to #6 and say that Windows 98 should most likely do fine for running any DOS programs. If you have to you can always run the programs from within pure DOS, either by restarting in MS-DOS Mode, or hitting F8 and going to a command prompt before Windows ever loads.

I miss some of this old stuff, honestly... in some ways things were simpler back then. DOS and Windows 3.1 were what I first learned on, and I still have some weird nostalgic soft spot for the older stuff, even if there's not much I can do with it anymore. I still find myself using the keyboard for things whenever possible, be it through a command prompt, or keyboard shortcuts for manipulating programs without the mouse. Who needs a mouse, lol.

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Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:49 am
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Post Re: Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
I've started using DOSBox anytime I want to run an old DOS program. It works incredibly well for old games, etc. Give it a shot.

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Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:52 am
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Post Re: Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
Jay wrote:
I've started using DOSBox anytime I want to run an old DOS program. It works incredibly well for old games, etc. Give it a shot.


I have tried DOSBox but I'm not sure I really cared for it- a lot of faff trying to mouunt a particular directory as your hard drive, and so on. I am not too sure the version I used at the time worked too well with what I tried, but I'm sure the software has improved since then.

Besides, that isn't quite what I'm after- partly I'm after the challenge of trying to get as best I can a working system with DOS as well as simply playing all the old games (although to be fair, all I ever really do with it is play said games!) So whilst I might give DOSBox a try, I'm after trying to do the dual-boot thing as well, at least on the XP machine.

I think that is my main concern- to know how you dual-boot DOS (or earlier Windows) with an existing Windows, rather than Linux. If only out of curiosity, since the course didn't realy cover that well (IIRC).


Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:03 pm
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Post Re: Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
ZeroSky wrote:
Since I'm short on time and should really be asleep at this hour, I'll skip straight to #6 and say that Windows 98 should most likely do fine for running any DOS programs. If you have to you can always run the programs from within pure DOS, either by restarting in MS-DOS Mode, or hitting F8 and going to a command prompt before Windows ever loads.


I'll have to remember the F8 trick...

My real concern there was whether something I heard about some versions of Windows not being good at running DOS programs in extended memory mode, above the 640k limit, but I think that might have been WinMe, if at all, certainly not 98.

Quote:
I miss some of this old stuff, honestly... in some ways things were simpler back then. DOS and Windows 3.1 were what I first learned on, and I still have some weird nostalgic soft spot for the older stuff, even if there's not much I can do with it anymore. I still find myself using the keyboard for things whenever possible, be it through a command prompt, or keyboard shortcuts for manipulating programs without the mouse. Who needs a mouse, lol.


I suppose one is always nostalgic for what one grew up on. For me I have to say that was RISCOS, though perhaps those here west of the pond might not be familiar with it. I'd bet Win3.1 wasbetter with the keyboard shortcuts, as you can't seem to do nearly as much with the mouse as now (only one button seems to work) and that might be its one advantage over RISCOS, which required the mouse (unless you pressed F12 for a command prompt). Otherwise, I prefer RISCOS, as I think it was probably a much nicer system and had the advantages (and possible disadvantage in terms of upgrading) of loading from ROM in next to no time...

Certainly simpler times in many respects. No silly activations, WGA or 'My Documents' business...


Thu Aug 12, 2010 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
the_lyniezian wrote:
I understand having taken the MCDST course it is possible to boot WinXP and earlier versions of Windows or even DOS, and it's recommended you install each OS on a separate partition. Trouble is, normally you can only boot from an active partition of which you can only have one at the same time.


I have Windows 98SE and XP PRO on the same hard drive on an old Pentium II 400MHz PC. I installed Windows 98 first, then XP - XP created it's own boot menu which lets me choose to boot into Win98 (FAT32) or XP (NTFS) so yes they can happily co-exist on the same hard drive, no hacks required. Haven't tried Linux but a friend of mine did have Linux/Win 95 running on the same box using Linux's bootloader Lilo.

I would stay away from DOS/FREEDOS etc. unless you have a good vintage box to run it on (486DX or Pentium 133MHZ). Some old DOS games can't handle the speed or the memory the newer machines have. Try running Wing Commander or Lemmings.

the_lyniezian wrote:
I have tried DOSBox but I'm not sure I really cared for it- a lot of faff trying to mouunt a particular directory as your hard drive, and so on. I am not too sure the version I used at the time worked too well with what I tried, but I'm sure the software has improved since then.

If you are having trouble with DOSBOX then forget about setting up FreeDOS. Per-game CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT required ridiculous amounts of tweaking to get all drivers working with no conflicts. It didn't end there - the biggest obstacle was ensuring there was enough base memory available after all drivers were loaded. Yes, in the old days even with 16 MB you could still have a problem because DOS only used the first 640k - anything else was expanded/extended memory. LOADHIGH alleviated some memory problems but not all. As someone who started on DOS I can assure you that getting games to work in DOSBOX is much easier than on an actual vintage PC running DOS.

the_lyniezian wrote:
Besides, that isn't quite what I'm after- partly I'm after the challenge of trying to get as best I can a working system with DOS as well as simply playing all the old games (although to be fair, all I ever really do with it is play said games!) So whilst I might give DOSBox a try, I'm after trying to do the dual-boot thing as well, at least on the XP machine.


If it's a challenge you're after then go for the dual-boot method with Windows 98 since it also has DOS 7.0 built-in. For the best experience in DOS era gaming DOSBOX is the best. Period.


Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:36 pm
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Post Re: Dual-booting DOS and Win98/XP? (and more)
No Carrier wrote:
I have Windows 98SE and XP PRO on the same hard drive on an old Pentium II 400MHz PC. I installed Windows 98 first, then XP - XP created it's own boot menu which lets me choose to boot into Win98 (FAT32) or XP (NTFS) so yes they can happily co-exist on the same hard drive, no hacks required. Haven't tried Linux but a friend of mine did have Linux/Win 95 running on the same box using Linux's bootloader Lilo.


Well, at least I know it can be done one way, though I'd somehow like to have it working the other way round. Due to licensing issues I can't really run both Win98 and XP on the same machine- it's too expensive (and difficult to source) to buy a new copy of either, and it's too much bother trying to wipe my existing installs. I could of course try, provided I get the new machine a new DVD drive, and use the old machine as a Linux box.

Quote:
I would stay away from DOS/FREEDOS etc. unless you have a good vintage box to run it on (486DX or Pentium 133MHZ). Some old DOS games can't handle the speed or the memory the newer machines have. Try running Wing Commander or Lemmings.


I did try using an old 486 box bought off eBay, but broke it after it froze on me and I tried to turn it off and restart- won't boot anymore. (Tried playing an MPEG video file it couldn't handle!)

Maybe I could try finding another sometime, or a replacement motherboard if any are lurking round eBay- though old hardware might be tricky to put together even if I manage to find the bits!

There are programs which will artificially slow down a machine for some of those games, and yes, I've had the experience.

Quote:
If you are having trouble with DOSBOX then forget about setting up FreeDOS. Per-game CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT required ridiculous amounts of tweaking to get all drivers working with no conflicts. It didn't end there - the biggest obstacle was ensuring there was enough base memory available after all drivers were loaded. Yes, in the old days even with 16 MB you could still have a problem because DOS only used the first 640k - anything else was expanded/extended memory. LOADHIGH alleviated some memory problems but not all. As someone who started on DOS I can assure you that getting games to work in DOSBOX is much easier than on an actual vintage PC running DOS.


The only real driver trouble I've ever had was getting appropriate sound drivers for onboard ound on modern machines, so far as I know. I'm sure the FreeDOS memory managers have always worked for me in the past.

Fiddling about with the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files was admittedly a pain.

Quote:
If it's a challenge you're after then go for the dual-boot method with Windows 98 since it also has DOS 7.0 built-in. For the best experience in DOS era gaming DOSBOX is the best. Period.


Win98 isn't really that much of a challenge, seeing as it runs most of the Windows software around up to a point anyway, and so far as I know the driver business is sorted- not sure how that affects some DOS programs, mind. It would be useful for running DOS games and console apps better than XP, of course, though that's only half the 'point'.


Thu Aug 26, 2010 7:29 pm
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