Reinstall a Dual-Booted Windows 9x/Me
Last reviewed: March 2004
How to reinstall a Windows Me, SE, 98, or 95 dual-booted with a Windows XP, 2000, or NT, and still retain the dual-boot.
Reinstalling a dual-booted Windows 9x is usually easy.
These reinstalls apply only to when Windows 9x/Me is installed on C: (PC system partition) and XP/2K/NT is on another partition. You will be able to adjust this information to fit your own circumstances. If using a third-party boot manager, you must refer to its own Readme file for instructions.
Three methods of reinstalling Win9x are described here. The Overlay method is "too easy" but can work! The Delete method will be favoured by, and work for, many users. The Format method produces a fresh and clean system, and is essential in serious degradation or if a virus is suspected.
There's never a total guarantee that all systems will follow the normal pattern. Therefore it's strongly recommended that all users protect themselves with a new Rescue Boot Disk and a backup of important data first. If your problem is with the dual-boot itself, you should go to Repair a Dual-Boot.
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RESCUE BOOT DISK
NEVER Dual-Boot without your personal safety net - a BOOT DISK
If stuck, use a Win9x Startup Disk (CD support), and run WINNT.EXE from I386 folder on CD.
RESCUE BOOT DISK for when XP, 2K, NT will not boot - ESSENTIAL, 1 floppy
Create this floppy yourself to get XP, 2K, NT running even if the boot record,
or boot files, are ever a problem. Write-protect and keep it safe.
Format a floppy with that XP, 2K, or NT. It must be a full XP/2K/NT format.
Alter file Attributes (Attrib -r -s -h) of these files in root of C: (PC system partition)
Boot.ini, NTLDR, Ntdetect.com, and Bootsect.dos & Ntbootdd.sys (if present)
(plus Arcldr.exe & Arcsetup.exe - for Windows 2K) and copy them to the floppy.
Write-protect the floppy. Then restore original Attributes to the files on C:.
Read the Rescue Boot Disk page for full details, plus a much improved Rescue disk.
The huge benefit of this boot disk is that you can still run your Windows XP/2K/NT even if there is a problem with the boot files or with the boot sector - those are run from the floppy. The Windows XP, 2000, NT itself will run from its own OS boot partition.
A further benefit is that the Rescue Boot Disk is a backup for all the boot files. These include the important Boot.ini (the boot initialization file), and NTLDR (the boot loader), plus Bootsect.dos (a copy of the Win9x boot sector), and others.
The Rescue Boot Disk page also shows how to add extra lines to A:\Boot.ini so your XP/2K/NT will still boot even if there is confusion (Windows, or user!) about the boot path for the XP/2K/NT line(s) in Boot.ini. It is known that the default line in Boot.ini can, on occasions, be incorrect.
A Rescue Boot Disk is obligatory in all dual-boots, indeed for all XP/2K/NT users.