[ct-user] Procedure to boot "Real" DOS on a Windows XP computer

kd4d at comcast.net kd4d at comcast.net
Fri Nov 12 21:37:37 EST 2004

Good day, all:

Thanks to everyone who looked at and made comments on my
dual-boot procedure for Windows XP and DOS.  So far, three
people have successfully managed to dual-boot XP and DOS,
one was not able to because of his disk layout (not the fault
of the procedure), and two people with Sony Vaio laptops are
going to try a different boot CD and the same procedure.

I spent some effort figuring out how to do this so I can 
continue to use my "beloved" TRLog DOS program on new
computers.  I've done this to four of my computers and just
did it to one of a friend of mine's computers this evening.

I have incorporated the comments I have received into an updated
version of the procedure.  This will get you to a "C:>" prompt
and a basic DOS installation on your hard disk.  When you
turn on the computer, it will ask you to press "2" to boot
Windows XP and press "3" to boot DOS.

I still need discussions of autoexec.bat files, config.sys,
files, and which executable DOS files you need to run CT and
TR.  I'll have to write that up, but this procedure will get
DOS and XP booting on your computer without damaging
the XP installation.  Help writing any of this up would be
greatly appreciated.

If you are interested, I'll e-mail you the procedure and 
even provide answers to questions via e-mail.

>From the FAQ at the beginning of the procedure:

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
1.   Why don't you just use the official Microsoft procedure for dual-booting Windows XP and DOS?

The Microsoft procedure works fine.  However, it requires destroying the existing Windows XP installation, installing DOS, and then reinstalling Windows XP.  The computers I am dealing with have Windows XP pre-installed and I am not willing to destroy the existing installation.  My procedure allows adding DOS without affecting the Windows XP installation.

2.  Why don't you just use a commercial package to re-partition the disk and dual boot?

I used to use Partition Magic for this.  However, Partition Magic 8.02 did not successfully resized most of the NTFS partitions I tested it with so I sent it back.  Also, Partition Magic's license agreement required buying a separate license for each computer I wanted to dual boot.  The open source tools I am using, including ntfsresize, qtParted, and the GAG boot loader, are stable and widely used by people who want to dual-boot Linux and Windows XP and are available free.

I have no experience with other commercial packages.

3.   How can I try this without having to download a large rescue CD image?

The procedure calls for downloading a free bootable Linux System Rescue CD.  This is over 100 MegaBytes.  It turns out that a group at www.linuxcd.org sells copies of the CD for under $4.00 including shipping.  You can order the CD from them if you would rather not mess with downloading it.  There are similar 
resellers in Europe.  You want the “System Rescue CD  0.2.15  i386.”

4.  The System Rescue CD uses Linux?  Won’t I have to install Linux on my hard disk too?

No.  The System Rescue CD is a bootable CD.  You just insert it in the CD-Drive and reboot.  It runs strictly from the CD and memory and does not need the hard drive at all.  You won't even know it's Linux...just type in "run_qtparted" and go from there.

There is a whole family of what are called "Linux Live" CD's that run strictly from CD.  They allow you to run Linux without touching the hard disk AT ALL in ANY WAY.  BTW, you can do the same thing with  DOS...run it without touching the hard drive at all.  :-)

The only OS's the hard drive will contain are Windows XP and DOS.

5.  My computer already dual boots Windows and another operating system (perhaps Windows XP and Windows 98).  Should I use this procedure?

Probably not.  If your computer is currently configured to dual boot and is meeting your needs, there is no advantage to re-partitioning your disk drive using this procedure.

Also, DOS requires a PRIMARY disk partition.  There can only be three or four of these on a disk.  Laptops often have a “maintenance” partition as the first primary partition and WindowsXP as the second primary partition.  If you have another operating system, you may not be able to create a primary partition for DOS.

This has been invaluable to me in guest operating and keeping computers
around to run logging programs.


Mark, KD4D

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