Again in the endeavor to make this site useful to Web developers, I present the following experiences in making an Intel/AMD multi-boot different OSes and file systems.
I plan to revise this article extensively as time goes on and I learn more.
Anyway to explain what my goal is: I want to have machine that can boot either Windows 9x (95, 98 or ME) in FAT32, NT (NT 4, 2000, XP) in NTFS or Linux in ext3. This is so I can run things in one enviroment or another without compromising anything, so I can develop web stuff on Apache, sendmail, IIS, SQL Server 2000 and so on, so I test browsers and services in a variety of environments and mean it.
So through some Web research and trial and error, I’ve arrived at a laborious way to make my machines multi-boot with different file systems:
- Before doing anything, back up all your data!
- Then wipe the file table of your hard drive clean. If you don’t know how to do this, you shouldn’t waste your time with this article.
- Next, follow Adam’s dual booting instructions very closely and very carefully. I don’t yet fully understand all the ins and outs of this method but it works so I ain’t messing with it. Perhaps when I figure out the whys and wherefores I will propose shortcuts.
- After reaching the end of the previous step, you should have a machine that dual boots 9x in FAT32 and NT in NTFS. Ideally your drive should should several partitions left over for storage and for the linux installation that’s to come.
- Upgrade the 9x system to the most recent version you have probably 98 or ME. Do this now because it might be difficult to do later other systems are crystallized.
- Upgrade the NT system to the latest version you have for the same reasons. It will probably a pain to fix your boot loader after upgrading your Win2k system partition to XP. Do it now before installing Linux.
- Once you’ve got everything upgraded and stable on your 9x and NT partitions, then install the latest version of Linux (Preferably with ext3 as a file system and GRUB as a bootloader.). I used Red Hat 7.2, but I am a green horn. Maybe I’ll graduate to Slackware or compile my own later.
- I still haven’t figured out how to assign a swap partition for Linux using this process. I am still experimenting. I’ll send postcards when I get there.