Let’s assume you have a 10GB hard drive, split into 2 equal partition sizes. Let’s also assume you have Windows 2000 installed as the only OS on your computer, and the other partition (primary) is formatted to the FAT32 file system. This tutorial will cover installing Windows 98SE as the second OS, but the following steps should work with just about any OS you choose.
Download XOSL.zip from their website. Unzip the files, and save them to a floppy disk (if you have no floppy drive, you can accomplish the same thing by burning the files to a CD. Just make sure you have your computer set to boot from the CD-ROM).
Restart your computer with any Windows 98 or ME startup disk. Once you are at the command prompt, insert the XOSL floppy you created in step 1.
Type a:/cd xosl. Once you are at the xosl directory, type “install”. This will take you to the setup screen for XOSL. Installation of the program is pretty straight forward. Just follow the directions on your screen. At the end of the install, reboot your computer.
Upon boot up, you will be presented with the XOSL boot manager screen. Choose SETUP, then click the ADD button. Select your existing OS, in this case it is described as HD0 (1st hard drive)/ primary (partition)/ Microsoft FAT32 (file system)/ 5000 (partition size in MB)/ Windows 2000 (or whatever you happened to have named your drive). Type in the “Boot Item Name”, I typed “Windows 2000″. Click APPLY, then CLOSE. Your OS now appears in the boot menu. Click BOOT to boot into your existing OS. Your installation of XOSL is now complete.
Adding A Second OS
Reboot your computer to the XOSL boot screen. Click SETUP, and select HIDING. Select your existing OS, check the HIDE box, then click APPLY, and CLOSE. Although the partition is now “hidden”, it can still be booted into. However, we want another OS! So reboot with either your second OS’s boot floppy, or CD.
Install the next OS as you normally do. For Windows , when you get to the step that asks you where you want it installed, select C: (or “active”). Remember, the other partition is hidden, so as far as Windows is concerned, there are no other Operating Systems on your computer.
- After the installation of 98SE, XOSL needs to be reinstalled. That is because Windows 98SE setup has overwritten the other Master Boot Record (using the “restore” option will not work for this OS installation). Reboot your computer with the 98SE startup disk. Repeat step 3 of the XOSL install instructions. Reboot. XOSL is reinstalled and at this point you can repeat step 4 of the XOSL install instructions. Don’t forget to select your newly installed OS, as well as your old one. Make sure to “unhide” them as well. You can now boot into either OS.
The XOSL website is informative, and you can learn a lot about partitions, master boot records, etc. I suggest you take the time to read it. They even have links to a free partition manager.
The downside of XOSL, is that you pretty much need Partition Magic if you want to add OSes at a later time. So you have to factor in the cost of that program if you are going to use XOSL. And it’s instructions aren’t nearly as easy to understand as SC7. System Commander 7 has many powerful disk tools already included. Eliminating the cost of a separate partition manager and partition resizer.
Enjoy your multi-booting experience. After a couple of weeks multi-booting, you will wonder how you ever got along without it.
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