Programs for Multi-Booting
BootIt, 471KB, $29.95
BootIt is partition and multi-boot manager with a powerful, sophisticated, and simple to use set of tools for partitioning, imaging, and booting your computer. It combines the features of several standalone products costing hundreds of dollars more.
The partitioning tools include fast non-destructive resizing, converting, creating, formatting, copying, moving, and deleting of partitions. The imaging feature allows you to create a compressed image of a partition, which you can quickly restore at a later time.
The included PDISK utility allows you to manage your partitions and has the ability to shrink a primary FAT, FAT32, or NTFS partition without any loss of data.
A complete set of multi-boot functions such as booting any partition on any hard drive, booting from the CD ROM drive, booting multiple operating systems from a single partition, and more is included with BootIt. Includes Install and Uninstall
There's a 30-day trial version.
Operating Systems Supported: MS-DOS, Win 3.1x, Win95, Win98/SE, WinMe, WinNT 3.x, WinNT 4.x, Windows2000, Windows XP, Unix, Linux, OS/2, OS/2 Warp, OS/2 Warp 4.
System Commander $49.95
Well known and much used.
Commander automatically detects any changes made to your PC since the last boot and updates its menus automatically to reflect those changes.
System Commander 2000's (SC2000) new OS Wizard makes it easier than ever to prepare your computer for your new operating system (OS). With its new look and feel, using the OS Wizard is a snap! Simply choose the OS you plan to install, and the OS Wizard will set up your system, automatically! Or, if you prefer a more hands on approach, you can override the OS Wizard's recommendations. It even includes our exclusive boot-time partitioning.
Without any other tools, SC2000 safely and automatically prepares your hard drive to accept your new OS while protecting everything already on your computer - data and other OSs. No drivers or resident memory are used, so there are no conflicts with any OS. When you first install SC2000, it automatically detects your existing OSs and includes them in the OS selection menu by name!
Supports: Any combination of IDE, EIDE or SCSI hard drives | FAT,FAT32, VFAT, NTFS, HPFS, Linux EXT2 and all x86 Unix file systems | Physical raid arrays
PartitionMagic 40MB, $69.95
PartitionMagic includes BootMagic - Effortlessly switch between multiple operating systems.
Safely run multiple operating systems on the same PC - Easily run multiple OSs on the same machine without compatibility problems. Password protect your boot process as well as change menu items and startup options for all your operating systems with native DOS and Windows configurations.
New Features (v.7):
Merge NTFS partitions, Support for Windows XP
Partition hard drives as large as 80 GB
Access and partition external USB drives
Undelete a deleted partition from rescue disks.
Organize and protect the information on your hard drive | Easy, step-by-step wizards help you perform partitioning tasks | Preview the effects of partitioning your hard drive before implementing anything | Safely manage multiple operating systems | Convert from one file system or partition type to another without losing data
Supports FAT, FAT32, NTFS, and Linux ext2/Swap file systems
PartitionMagic 5 was FREE with the June 2002 edition of PC Magazine (latest PM is ver. 8).
PartitionMagic 4 appears to be FREE at user-friendly.net (not verified).
MasterBooter v 3.1, 65KB, Freeware
MasterBooter is a powerful utility which enables your computer to use multiple operating systems without changing hard disks or messing with boot floppies. You can choose among up to 3 operating systems at boot time (8 in the registered version). MasterBooter is compatible with many operating systems. Capability of booting from any hard disk's any partition
Supports DOS/Windows, Novell DOS, OpenDOS, IBM DOS, Windows95/98, OSR2, Windows NT, OS/2 v3.0 and v4.0, Linux, FreeBSD, SCO OpenServer, Solaris and even unknown operating systems.
Supports delay time at boot (1-99secs or infinite, 3 secs fixed in the shareware version). Supports system names up to 16 characters long. Supports password protecting an operating system. Supports hiding an operating system from the boot menu for best security (registered version).
Supports primary FAT and NTFS/HPFS partition hiding/unhiding (to avoid messing up other primary FAT partitions and to enable running DOS and Windows systems from a slave hard disk). Documentation in English, Hungarian and more languages.
A small utility to save your old partition table and boot sectors is included. Easy to use user interface, small resource requirement. MasterBooter doesn't need a separate partition or memory unlike other boot managers and TSRs.
SyMon, 47KB, Shareware (SyMon R2 is Freeware)
SyMon is a partition and boot manager that allows you to maintain up to 36 partitions on one hard drive and arrange up to 20 operating systems in these partitions.
Up to 36 simultaneous independent partitions with any file system, Up to 20 operating systems using any 4 of 36 partitions, Built-in fdisk for easy creating/editing/deleting of the partitions, Built-in Setup dialog for operating systems
Multiple hard drive support, Full support of drives larger than 7.8 GB, Repair partition structure.
Supports: FAT16, FAT32, EXTENDED & LBA-modifications, QNX, Linux, ext2fs, NTFS, HPFS, OS/2.
VMware is not really multi-booting. VMware lets you run a 'virtual computer' in your computer, letting you install any operating system you choose. But it'll only work in NT or Windows XP/2000 and needs plenty of memory and CPU power.
It creates a virtual computer console on your PC and allows many OSs without having to reformat a drive partition or play around with dual boot settings. The virtual computer runs at about two-thirds the speed of your real computer.
XOSL, 437KB, Freeware
Extended Operating System Loader (XOSL) is a full-featured free boot manager, with a real, easy-to-use and full-blown graphical user interface.
Features: Up to 24 boot items, Partition hiding, Activate partitions, Automatic booting (with timeout), Auto boot last operating system, Password protection, Boot master boot record on any drive, Boot DOS/Windows 9x on any drive, Hotkey per boot item, Support for hard disks larger than 7.8 GB, Virus protection, Drive swapping, ...and more...
XOSL is known to support BeOS, MS-DOS, FreeDOS, Linux (with Lilo), Solaris, VxWorks 5.x, Windows 95/98, Windows NT/2000, ...and others...
While computer is booting, freely selectable booting from any hard disk, floppy and from CD-ROM, Unlimited support of all operating and all file systems (as well as Windows 2000), Unique extension from 4 up to 15 primary partitions (operating systems), Several DOS / Windows Versions (95/98/Me/NT/2000) parallel on one or several hard disks, and others.