Let’s assume you have Windows 2000 as the only OS installed with only 1 partition existing on your hard drive (10GB), and that partition occupies all of your hard drive. Insert the System Commander 7 (SC7) disk while you are booted into Windows 2000. If it doesn’t auto start, browse to the setup file on the SC7 CD and double-click it. Select “Install Products” from the menu, then select install System Commander. Click NEXT after you read the EULA, and insert your serial number. Click NEXT and it will install, click NEXT again. If you want to download the update to SC7 you don’t have to create the boot disks at this time. The update install is identical to the above steps, and it will create updated disks for you. Otherwise, have 2 disks ready and labeled “SC7 Boot Utility Disk #1″ and “SC7 Restart Disk #2″, and insert the disks when prompted. Click FINISH to exit the wizard. Reboot your computer to see the SC7 boot menu. If you chose to install the update, you can also download “skins” to give the boot menu up to 5 different looks. V-Com has very good instructions on how to install these .vui files on their site. Select your existing OS and boot into it.
Now SC7 is installed and ready to assist you in installing more OSes. SC7 likes to use floppies in the setup of an OS, so you will need a startup disk for your specific OS, and have your floppy drive set to boot first in your BIOS. Click on the OS links for instructions on creating bootable floppies for XP & 2000 from Microsoft. Or you can create 95/98/ME startup disks on any 95/98/ME computer. If you don’t want to bother with floppies, just make sure you can boot to your CD drive in the BIOS.
Installing the second OS
I will be installing Windows ME (ME) as my second OS, although it doesn’t really matter what order you install any OS with SC7. Reboot the computer, when you get to the SC7 boot menu, click on the OS Wizard button, read the message, and click OK. SC7 will analyze your system at this time. Read the message, then click NEXT, select the New Installation option and click NEXT. Select which type of OS you are installing, in this case Windows (any type). Select the Windows version you wish to install, in this case Windows ME, (all of your favorites are there including 3.1!)and click NEXT. Select the Regular (with boot diskette) option, and click NEXT.
This next set of steps will guide you through where you are actually going to install Windows ME. If you have more than one physical hard drive on your system, you can select which one to use on the left drop down menu. Or if you have only one physical hard drive, this option will be grayed out. On the right side, you can select the partition size to use. I entered 2.5 GB for my size. This will be the size of my Windows ME partition. SC7 will create this as a PRIMARY partition. You can have up to 4 PRIMARY partitions on one hard drive with System Commander 7. The 2.5 GB partition will be created using free space on my original partition. My original partition is now going to be 7.5 GB vs. the original 10 GB. Click NEXT when you have made your selections. SC7 will now create the partition and hide your old partition so the new OS can be installed. This can take a little time, depending on the hard drive size, not the partition size. On a 100 GB drive, it took nearly 2 hours to create a 10GB partition. This is because as it creates the new partition, it has to move all of your existing data. In rare occurrences, this can cause problems with data corruption and incorrect copying, which is why you should always back up your data before partitioning your hard drive no matter what program you use! Reboot the computer when prompted, and have the ME startup disk ready to stick in the drive when prompted.
The new OS installs the regular way, just follow the manufacturers instructions. You will be installing in the active partition (C:), the other partition is hidden, so this will install just like a single OS installation. Don’t panic when you don’t see the SC7 boot menu when setup restarts, it will be re-activated as soon as the new OS is installed.
The PCMech.com weekly newsletter has been running strong for over 8 years. Sign up to get tech news, updates and exclusive content - right in your inbox. Also get (several) free gifts.