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- Alex -

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Having multiple versions of Windows available can be helpful in many ways for home as well for business use. For example, you prefer working with Windows NT 4, but other family members prefer Windows 98 and Windows 95. Or maybe you mainly use Windows ME but you have a game that only runs in Windows 98. You could be a software engineer who needs to test some code in different operating systems. Perhaps you are a QA tester and need to put an application through its paces in several operating systems.

Whatever the reason may be, unless you have multiple PCs and plenty of desk space available to you, a computer with a multi-boot environment is the optimal setup. A PC with a multi-boot setup allows you to switch between different versions of Windows by simply restarting the PC and selecting the desired operating system. The instructions in this guide will show you how to take a machine with a blank hard drive, and turn it into an efficient multi-boot machine. You'll learn about:

  • Creating and managing multi-boot environments with System Commander 2000
  • Installing different versions of Windows operating systems
  • Creating and restoring images of partitions
  • Creating, deleting, moving, and resizing partitions
If the instructions seem a bit long, it is because they were written for detail and clarity and to cover almost any possible situation, and to help make the process as simple as possible.

What You Need

There are of course several ways of setting up a multi-boot system and making drive images. We'll leave it up to you what Windows versions you decide to multi-boot and what boot manager program you want to use. In our example, we started out with a collection of CDs and floppies for the following programs:

  • MS-DOS 6.22 Boot Disk
  • Windows 98 Boot Disk
  • Windows NT 4 Setup Disks
  • Windows 2000 Setup Disks
  • MS-DOS 6.22 Installation Disks
  • Windows 95 Installation CD
  • Windows 98 Installation CD
  • Windows ME Installation CD
  • Windows NT 4 Installation CD
  • Windows 2000 Installation CD
  • System Commander 2000 Installation CD -
  • Partition Magic 5.01 Rescue Floppy Disk -
  • Drive Image 3.02 Rescue Floppy Disk -
  • Current drivers for all hardware for all Operating System you plan to use!
  • Service Packs for Windows NT 4 and/or Windows 2000

This collection is a good start for a multi-boot toolkit.

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