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Advice for C2D W98 (also 2K/XP) Build Planning


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Hi, appreciate some comments/input please guys n gals!

I have some C2D kit and want to use it for retro OS use (not just one). I suspect W98 will be the "harder" but wanted to check some plans before I do stuff to only have to re-do it for lack of planning

I have:
Gigabyte G33M-S2 (onboard RTL8111 LAN, USB) with 4Gb DDR2 Ram, a selection of CPUs inc Pentium Dual Core, Core2Duo, Core2Quad and Xeon 771 Quad ;-)
Geforce 7600 GS 256Mb single slot (also have a GT740 dual slot)
Soundblaster Live PCI

My intention is to install Win98, Win2K, XP on one FAT32 partition of a 240Gb SSD (probably 20Gb or so), plus Win10, AROS (an Amiga-like OS) and maybe a FAT32 sharing partition.

BIOS settings - I'd prefer to use AHCI (so Rloew's patch presumably). I want USB 2.0 enabled. Any gotchas?

So first question is around partitioning. I understand W98 has a 128Gb limit but does that matter if I use the first 20-30Gb for its partition? Also I assume due to having an SSD I need to format on a modern OS to ensure partition alignment (W10 or Linux - does it matter?)

Random question but does anyone know of a list of Win98 exclusive games or Win2K exclusives? Otherwise I might as well run those in XP.

I have a better GT740 spare which is supported in 2000/XP but what would the result in 98 or 98-DOS be - would that make those unusable or would they, like in some retro OS like Amithlon, use the VESA mode and would work and the overall speed boost would compensate for lack of proper drivers? I could fit the GT740 in main PCIE slot (blocks one PCI), SB in PCI and 7600GS in 4x PCIe Slot so have both on hand.

Bootloaders - all 3 on 1 partition does work (saw a nice YT video) and AROS installs GRUB, that would boot all OS. Any gotchas to worry about?

Installing 98 - any recommended process? I have spare IDE & SATA DVD drives, USB DVD & pen drives. My list of Rudy Loew's patches to apply is likely

● SATA support for Windows 9x
● >4GB RAM support for Windows 9x
● AHCI CD DOS Driver
● AHCI for Windows 9x
● PTCHCDFS - To correct displayed size of DVDs on Windows 9x
● >4GB file support for Windows 9x
● 48 bit LBA support for Windows 9x (HDD up to 2 TB)
● Windows Driver Model (WDM) API Extender

PLUS I will need LoneCrusader's INF files for the mobo

Given I'd like AHCI and more than 1Gb Ram etc so need patches what's the best process for installation? Format partition to FAT32 on modern machine (as earlier) and copy files to partition ready for install (but they how do I format it as DOS compatible to boot up before installing W98) or do i need a 2nd FAT32 partition?! Some advice as to best process would be great!

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Personally I wouldn't install 9x+2K+XP on a same partition. too many risks of conflicts.

Partitions are free, and you can have up to 4 primary ones or 3 primaries+1 Extended containing as much volumes as you want and - besides the whoie NT family of OS's has been originally designed to be installed to a volume inside extended.

Besides, creation of FAT32 volumes larger than 32 GB is not allowed by XP and later, and - strange as it might be - this artificial limitation has its reasons, as a too large cluster size, particularly on OS sytem volumes with thousands small files is not "efficient".

Yes, you should align partitions BUT additionally since you are planning to use FAT32 you should align the volumes, see:


Then you should decide how do you want drive letters to appear, there are two school of thoughts:


And finally you should decide which bootmanager you want to manage the multibooting (I am partial to grub4dos, but there are less powerful/flexible alternatives that may be good enough).


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THANKS.... This really helps with the partition planning. I wasn't aware you could install 2K/XP on non primary partitions but I now know so (I probably forgot, it was 20 odd years ago I last used 2000!). But the Primary partition is still the boot partition and your 2X or XP drive will be drive D or E then? Or can I hide 2k/XP etc from 98 and hide 98/XP from 2K etc? - Your post seems to say I can ;) 

 FYI, this guy reports no issues booting all 3 on same partition (although I take your point about partition sizes - didn't know, just assumed if 98 will be happy with C as 128Gb then 2k/XP will be)

I know AROS installs Grub so happy to use that. Grub can do all the hiding of other partitions yes?

In summary then is this feasible (install order same also)

Primary FAT32 (8Gb prob) with Win98, and boot files for 2K/XP/7/10? How big can I go?

Rest of SSD as Extended 

Vol for Sharing (100-odd GB) - FAT32 I guess

Vol for 2K (5GB)

Vol for XP (10GB)

Vol for 7 (30GB)

Vol for 10 (40GB)

Vol for AROS (8GB) which installs Grub - https://aros.sourceforge.io/documentation/users/installation.php#installing-aros-along-with-windows-r-dos-r 

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Well, you have to take a decision, then we will work on the details and possibilities.

As said, personally I have all my multiboot systems[1] with a defined drive letter that never changes no matter which of the OS is installed, as I find it easier this way to know at once which OS is currently running and avoid the risk of copying/overwriting the "wrong" file (in the sense of the "right" file on the "wrong" partition), but it is only a matter of preferences

You want grub4dos (which is not GRUB, i.e the thing that can be either GRUB legacy or GRUB2),


It has a number of additional features (some, many, of which you won't need), but essentially it has capabilities to directly chainload the various MS system loaders and/or bootmanagers AND it can be called/invoked by DOS AND there is not any real *need* to install it (which is a huge advantage).

If you use it, you can even have not *any* of the later system bootloaders/bootmanagers in the first primary partition, and have the booted system always have (say) the C:\ drive letter[2] (though I personally do not advise this, as the hiding/unhiding of partitions at each boot is anyway a complication, in case it would be better - on the systems that allow it (the NT ones) - to avoid the mounting of the volumes in the OS).

With a trick or two, logical volumes inside extended can be directly bootable.

8 GB is more than enough for DOS/WIn9x, and you would have 4 Kb cluster size that is just the "right" size (but on SSD you won't notice any practical advantage), but 16 GB would be fine as well, going over it , up to 32 Kb cluster size, i.e. 32 GB, it is bigger than that that becomes the  (not "real", only "common sense") limit:


[1] only for the record, the one I have that also has Win9x installed has it as well in a volume inside extended (but DOS remains in the primary, active partition, as it was made at the time with "traditional" methods) 

[2] this may be a little bit trickier at install time and it may depend on the number of disks installed, because of DOS and NT automatic letter assignment, particularly for 2K and XP but is doable.

Edited by jaclaz
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Before I forget, 7 and 10 MUST be installed on NTFS (they CANNOT be installed to FAT32, or - better - 7 can only be installed on FAT32 with some limitations, 10 possibly not at all :unsure:):


Win2k and XP CAN be installed on FAT32 (but installing them on NTFS would definitely be "better").

AND, in the case of logical volumes inside Extended partition, IF you use "plain" MB alignment you should NEVER (and I mean NEVER) use Disk Management from XP (and possibly also from 2k) to change ANYTHING in the partition tables:




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