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Multi-booting Win98SE, Win2k, Mandrake

Related Resources:

Booting Linux with the Win 2k Boot Loader
Linux + NT-Loader mini-HOWTO

Revision / Modified: Sep. 14, 2001 / Feb. 01, 2002
Author: Scott Hanak


So you wish to install Win98SE, Win2000 Pro, and Mandrake 8.0, all on one hard drive. Well, this is how you do it.


  • If you want to boot an existing Mandrake system from the Win2k boot loader, just skip steps 1-4 and 5.7.
  • This description also applies to Windows XP.
  • You have to repeat steps 5.2 - 5.5 every time you change your kernel.)

The steps:

  1. Install Win98SE (Personally, I used 3GB of 15GB)(note: this is your primary DOS partition ('drive C')).

  2. Just to save your sanity, I recommend using 'fdisk' and create an extended partition (for the rest of the drive) and create a 3GB logical drive.
    Otherwise, when you install Win2000 your boot partition will be something other than 'D:'.

  3. Install Win2000 (all you need is the upgrade version). Install it in the 'D:' drive formatted NTFS. Yes I know you can use Fat32; however, I don't recommend it so Win98SE can't screw up Win2000.

  4. Install Mandrake. If you wish to have any more Fat32 partitions, this is the place to do it. Use Mandrake's partition utility and add them (mount to '/mnt/win_[x]').
    Couple of notes:
    The 'create boot disk' during installation is broken. The created disk does not work.
    A partition suggestion:

    • 7MB /boot
    • 256MB swap
    • 200MB /var
    • auto allocate the rest with /usr

    Choose 'lilo' (graphical or text) and put it on 'hda' (we'll fix the NT boot loader later).

  5. Login to Linux and create the boot disk (do this NOW).
    Fix LILO:

    1. As 'root', edit '/etc/lilo.conf': the first line of lilo.conf readsboot=hda, change the 'hda' to where ever the '/boot' partition is located (find out with mount).

    2. Run lilo

    3. Make a copy of the new boot sector with
      dd if=/dev/hda[x] bs=512 count=1 of=linux.lnx
      Note: 'hda[x]' is whatever the '/boot' partition is.

    4. Copy linux.lnx to the windows 'C: drive'
      cp linux.lnx /mnt/windows_c

    5. Modify the 'boot.ini' on the 'C: drive' by appending a line for Mandrake pointing to the location of the copied LILO boot sector:

      [boot loader]
      [operating systems]
      multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Pro" /fastdetect
      C:\= "Microsoft Windows 98se"
      C:\Linux.lnx="Mandrake 8.0"

    6. Reboot.

    7. Login to Win98SE. Open a command line window and run:
      fdisk /mbr
      to restore the Windows boot sector.

Enjoy your tri-boot system.

Mandrake Linux user Kevin prefers another way:

I've noticed there have been a lot of articles on multi-booting. They all seem to revolve around editing files, or using a boot floppy.
My problem is that my floppy drive broke, and I'm lazy. I wanted a simple fix. What I did was install Linux first. Then I installed Win XP on another partition. After doing so only Win XP is recognized. To get GRUB to take over I used the 'Update' feature on the Mandrake 8.1 disk, and made the boot loader overwrite the master boot record. Resulting in a multi-boot system.

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