Question Dual-boot Windows 98/XP on old system, XP is on Drive D ?

Cyber_Akuma

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I want to setup an old laptop to dual-boot Windows 98 and XP for retro games. I know I am going to make many mistakes setting this up so I created a 32GB disk image for PCem and am using that to practice how I would go about doing it.

I had no problem using FDISK and FORMAT to partition 16GB of that disk image into a FAT32 partition and then installed Windws98 and some aftermarket update/patch packs successfully.

I then used the other half to create a 16GB NTFS partition for Windows XP.

It's MOSTLY going smoothly for now... at least on the emulated system. However, one oddity that caught my eye is that WindowsXP mounts it's partition as Drive D instead of Drive C.

I thought that Windows auto-assigns whatever partition it boots from as C and then gives the next available letters to any other partitions it auto-mounts, so that on Windows 98 I would just see a Drive C (since no NTFS support) but on Windows XP I would see it's own partition as drive C and 98's partition as Drive D.

This has caused using XP to be a bit of a mess. Some applications understand to install to D's Program Files or Windows folder or Root, etc. But some seem to assume your Windows drive will always be C and install to that, messing with the 98 install.

Is there any way to make XP mount it's partition as C?
 

Cyber_Akuma

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Yes, a lot of it has to do with the DOS/NT difference. I remember several of my older games when I got my first XP system would not work on it, or even flat out say "This software will not run on NT systems". Plus, I also want to use it to run DOS games, XP does not have a pure DOS mode you can boot into.
 

Cyber_Akuma

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Yes, and it's hardly reliable. If anything PCem and 86Box are far more reliable than that.

But that's not what I am asking, I am asking about drive letter assignments when you dualboot 98 and xp.
 

Cyber_Akuma

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But if I were to use a small DOS partition wouldn't that still mount that partition as C? Not even sure how I would go about using grub to do that, especially in a way where installing all those updates would not wipe it and in a way where it would not mount it's partition as C and on old hardware.
 
Apr 14, 2022
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I don't understand what you want to achieve . I have a windows 98 and xp running games now You would want windows 98 to be on drive c and xp to be on drive d to dual boot properly
Then of course you would custom install all the games in a directory folder you created in advance. I partitioned a drive E and made a directory called games then I make a subfolder called ex (civ 4 ) then I custom install and chose my empty civ 4 folder and install the game there . The system recognizes the cd players as the install point to play the games . You must learn how to chose a directory during the install. In the end this is a much easier solution to your issue . The rest would be complicated for nothing**** adding more info have a folder called 98 games in win 98 and a folder called xp games in win xp load the game in the system you want to use . Both windows will ask you which directory you want if you chose custom install .
 
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I came across a long winded post on Stack Exchange on how to get a dual booted Windows 98 and XP system running: https://retrocomputing.stackexchange.com/a/2470

To poke at some of the other comments I saw here since I dabbled in this sort of thing (I built a Windows 98 machine a few years ago and an XP machine as my COVID lockdown project)

Why not use DOSBox?
DOBox's emulation features are limited once you get past say the early 90s. Especially if you want to run hardware accelerated 3D on Windows. There's a fork of DOSBox called DOSBox-X that adds emulation for more hardware, including Voodoo support, but I haven't messed around with it.

Doesn't Windows 98 software run fine on Windows XP?
Not every software does. Some software may not run at all if it's adamant about being installed on Windows 9x as it sees Windows XP as Windows NT. LGR builds computers specifically for an era because some of the games he wants to play don't run properly even on a system a few years ahead of what the game was designed for (P.O.D. is one he always refers to with this problem).

The reason why I built a Windows 98 PC is because there was one game I wanted to play that had anti-piracy mechanism in it related to the CD drive. It ran on Windows 10 (surprisingly) but the anti-piracy mechanism kicked in. It ran on Windows XP, but also failed to last long. So I decided to put together something that'd be what you'd find in a computer from the era then lo-and-behold, it worked.
 
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