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PC911 > How-To > Windows > Dual-booting Windows 9x and Windows 2000

- PokPok, Alex -

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The majority of Windows users usually have only one version of Windows installed on their PC, but it is possible to have multiple versions of Windows installed and switch back and forth. This process is called dual-booting. The reason for setting up a dual-boot environment could be if you prefer one version of Windows for some things, but prefer another version of Windows for other things. For example, you might prefer using Windows 2000 (W2K) for working, word processing, e-mail, etc., but prefer Windows 98 for playing games. Another reason could be compatibility issues. You might not be able to run certain applications in W2K, or might not have a driver for a certain piece of hardware for one of your OS's. Or maybe you'd like to poke around W2K, but are not ready to make the commitment yet and want to keep your existing Windows 98 installation. Whatever your reason is, you can have the best of both worlds and you'll be astounded at how simple and easy it is to configure a dual boot system. Microsoft may be criticized for many things, but one thing they got right is how they've set up W2K to dual boot with any of their consumer oriented operating systems. It's a cinch to do.

Before you get started

Before you do anything, back up your data. Copy anything you cannot afford to lose to some form of safe removable media. With the extremely low cost of either recordable CDs or tape there is no reason not to do this. We recommend reviewing our backup article for information on how and what to back up.

W2K comes with a plethora of drivers for all kinds of hardware. But the list is not necessarily complete. If you have a really old and outdated piece of equipment, or something brand-spanking new that came on the market right around the same time or after W2K was released, W2K will not have drivers for it and you need to supply your own. Make a list of devices and hardware used in or with your PC, and visit the Microsoft Windows 2000 Compatibility web site to check the hardware compatibility list and/or download the W2K Readiness Analyzer Tool to scan your system for compatibility. After that, visit each manufacturer's web site to make sure that W2K drivers are available. But don't expect everybody to have drivers ready right away. A lot of manufacturers didn't release drivers until a few weeks or even months after W2K became available. And you might not find a driver at all for some older legacy products because the manufacturer decided not to support the device in W2K.
Tip: For some devices, Windows NT 4.0 drivers might work as a temporary solution.

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