Win NT


Thread Starter

R A Peterson

Recently I was assigned a nice new laptop computer, a Dell Insprion, PIII 450 Mhz. A nice puter. However, it was loaded with Win NT on it.

The lastest projects I have been handed involve some software that will not even install in a DOS window on this machine.

I have asked around and been told that it is a major pain to do a dual boot system with Win NT already installed as it requires removing Win NT then installing Win 95/98 then reinstalling Win NT. This would be quite painful.

Is there an easier way short of buying another hard drive?

Anthony Kerstens

A typical problem with automation engineers who must use old PLC programming software, but still use up-to-date SCADA packages.

Just reformat the hard drive with MSDOS, partitioning it into two logical drives.
Install MSDOS on the "C:" partition, then run the NT install. It's not such a pain,
but make sure you have 3 or 4 blank pre-formatted floppies.

To install NT, you might also check into whether you're laptop has an option to boot from the CD. If it does, it could boot with the NT CD installation process. Just follow the prompts, and when you're done remember to disable the boot
from CD.

Anthony Kerstens P.Eng.

Davis Gentry

I have never found any reliable way other than just what you say - format the drive, load your other OS, then load NT last of all. My laptop is dual boot Win98 and NT 4.0, and my home machine is

Good luck.

Davis Gentry
Controls Project Engineer
Carpenter Company

David Gwinup

It is commonly said that to implement a dual boot partition (NT/95-8) you have to install 95/98 first and then NT. This is not necessarily true, but this is conventional wisdom because installing in the reverse order is more difficult.

To get a dual boot with 95/98 after NT has been installed is possible but you have to modify the disk using a disk editor so that the disk will be
bootable into 95/98. Otherwise, you'll still only be able to boot into NT. Unfortunately, I do not have the instructions, but I can at least tell you that it is possible.

A very good search site is where you might be able to find instructions for creating the dual boot partition. Microsoft's web site may have some information in the tech info library about creating dual boot partitions as well.
Yeah... this is getting to be a common problem. We have it too. The easiest way is to have a second PC that is loaded with Win95, and use that for legacy programs. I am suspecting that my next home PC will be an NT system for the opposite reason... more and more new controls software
(iFIX, in my case) is only designed for NT. There will doubtless be others, especially as we get into the PC control era.

Paul T

> Is there an easier way short of buying another hard drive?

Yes there is an easier way. You need to a special software package to repartition your hard drive. I recommend Partition Magic from PowerQuest
( With Partition Magic create a Dos partition for your C: drive. You can then format the new C: drive partition as a dos FAT partition and install dos on it. You will then need to repair the NT installation.

Once you get NT running again. You will need another utility to go through the NT registry and INI files to change all the existing references to the C: drive to the D: drive because that is where NT is now. Alternatively you may be able to reassign drive letters in NT under the Disk administrator to change the NT drive from D: back to C:

Hope this helps.

Bradley G. Hite
Intertech Inc.
mailto:[email protected]
ICQ# is 38746036
Teaching Practical Skills For a Technological World
Linuxers do a lot of dual booting, trawl round thier sites and you will find a lot of info about dual booting NT.

BTW, the lightweight Linux bootloader LILO can boot NT and DOS, and does not actually require Linux to be used. It can be installed from a floppy based distro such as tombscript. Being very small it does not require a seperate partion (as do many other alternative bootloaders).

An alternative product is vmware, which allows you to run multiple OS's such as DOS, NT, OS2, Linux etc at the same time (flick between the environments with a keystroke, which is often far more useful. You cannot use vmware with any sort of RTOS or RTOS extension.
On a laptop ? Yes if you can find a " field " swapable HD that work every time !
A more permanent fix is to install a dual-boot :
1. Your will need some drive space for fat16 ; then backup ERD , and also create a NT boot floppy .
2. do a search @ ms for dual boot , you will find a few links of details howto .
3. And NO , you will not loose your data or need remove NT , IF and only IF you process carefully, understand step by step , and backup , backup , backup .

I did it a few times a year , all without a hiccup ! ask us more when you ready !

Loc Pham , IBM/ SSD Div. ; IT Specialist

Walters Curt L Contr AEDC/SVT

Your problem may not be NT, but the absence of any FAT file system which would prevent some DOS programs from running. You may have a NTFS partition only or you may be trying to load into the NTFS partition instead of the FAT area.

Kimble Grafton Mobile Gas Service Corp.

I've had the same problem before. There may be two ways to handle this. First make a DOS bootable floppy disc so that you can access the hardrive where you want the apps to reside. This should allow you to install the apps into a non-NTSF partician. to actually run them under WinNT, add the following line to your config.nt file located in the winnt\system32 directory:


Then restart your computer. NOTE: This is for WinNT version 4.0.

You may have to modify some of the properties of the EXE file (or shortcut), such as run Maximized instead of in a Window.

I use the DOS bootable disc to speed up my time "in the field" without having to bootup NT. I also made some BAT files on the floppy to execute
the apps with only a few key strokes.

Good luck.


Warren Postma

That depends on whether your NT partitions are NTFS or FAT. It's possible to install Windows 98 and then get NT booting again. You might search for this on or

The easier way is to use powerquest's Partition Magic to resize your C drive as a smaller entity, then create an extended partition, and create a logical DOS drive inside it. Then use powerquest's Boot Manager to create a multiple-boot system. You can install windows 98 on a secondary partition [it will still look like C to windows 98 since the ntfs partition is invisible].

Warren Postma
This would be quite painful.

Have you looked at System Commander? It is supposed to make booting several operating systems easy.


The slickest way to do this is to run VM ware on top of Linux. You still have to reinstall NT, Win9x, etc. but after that, vmware manages the interaction and makes everybody play nice. For my part, after I loaded Linux I'd stop. But, if
you have to support MS environments that like to conflict with each other, running each in a virtual machine allows you to use them simultaneously and as a big plus, if one crashes, it doesn't take down the whole machine. You can also have redundant NT partitions so when one takes the big dive, you can boot up another. If I really had to depend on NT or Win9x for anything, this would be the only way I would do it. You can use multiple hard drives but, chances are, the backup drive won't have what you really wanted to save.

Hope this helps

Curt Wuollet,.
Wide Open Technologies
Those are not DOS windows, they are the implementation of a psuedo DOS interface which NT supports. Since NT is not built on top of DOS, you cannot even do a minimum boot to get a DOS prompt on an NT machine. You will also find that NT does not support the USB ports that are likely
included with your laptop. Although this may not seem like a big deal, I am seeing more and more peripherals which use USB. My co-workers and I have seen other problems with NT on laptops which we have attributed to its intolerence to the power management systems common in portable computers. Go dual boot. Even if it takes two days to configure. It will be worth it when you are out in the field and don't have the luxury to choose. Best of Luck. JFE

Jim English
Coactive Networks, Inc.
4000 Bridgeway, Suite 303
Sausalito, CA 94965
[email protected]

Darold Woodward

For you and the others who have sent in inquiries with similar problems I would seriously consider the following:

What is the primary goal of the operating system on your laptop?
1) Dealing with legacy software and hardware (95/98/...)
2) 24/7 continuos up-time (NT/2000/...)

While we all want our laptops to be as realiable as possible, most of us fit into the first category. I do realize that there are some situations that may force you to use NT, but we typically use the 95/98 family of OSs on laptops in order to do #1. Among other things, NT has a layer of abstraction between hardware and the OS that many old DOS apps simply won't tollerate.

I personally had a dual boot system set up for over a year and hated it. The NTFS drive could not be viewed from 95 so I had to do all file storage on the 95 drive so that it could always find it. After SP4 or 5 rendered my NT partition
unable to run and be stable, I gave up and reformated the NT partition as a DOS drive and have gone that way ever since.

IMHO, you will spend a lot less money by buying a cheap machine for leagacy stuff with 98 and use NT or 2000 on a separate machine. An engineer costs about $100/hr or more if you add salary, benefits, etc. or look at the cost of replacing his hourly work with someone else. That means that if you spend more than 2 days (16 hours = $1600) over the lifetime of the machine with the
engineer trying to make it work that you could have just bought a cheap laptop for the other OS and called it good.

The second drive is clever, but you'll be forever trying to keep data files available (like Word, etc.) in both OSs.

Darold Woodward PE
SEL Inc.
[email protected]

Johan Bengtsson

Just because you use NT you don't have to use NTFS

/Johan Bengtsson

P&L, the Academy of Automation
Box 252, S-281 23 H{ssleholm SWEDEN
Tel: +46 451 49 460, Fax: +46 451 89 833
E-mail: [email protected]