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Dual-Boot MS-DOS 6.22 on a Windows Vista computer
#1 by moving Windows Vista

Last reviewed: Feb 2012

October 2013: This is the new location for this page on this site. Please update your link or bookmark.

Introduction

This guide shows how to create a natural dual-boot of MS-DOS 6.22 (FAT) and of any version Windows Vista (NTFS) by moving Windows Vista. You then run either OS by selecting one from a Windows Vista menu during bootup. There's no loss of data in this method. However if you prefer to clean install Windows Vista, then go to this page.

In all methods MS-DOS 6.22 must be installed on the start of the first primary partition of the first hard disk.

The Windows Vista partition(s) is moved to the right to make room for MS-DOS 6. Moving Vista makes Vista temporarily unbootable but that's easily fixed with any Vista installation disk or even NeoSmart's free Vista System Recovery Disk. Moving a partition is a very slow process on large hard disks (about 100GB/hour on faster computers). Spending a minute shrinking the partition first is a safe procedure and can save some hours when moving that partition.

On completing the procedure below, DOS 6.22 boots without being on an Active partition and the partition originally marked Active will still be in control. This leaves Windows Vista nearly exactly the same as before you started.

All versions of Windows Vista were used in testing. The computers used were:
(1) 64-bit Dell Studio XPS 8100 (2.93 GHz), Core i7, 8 GB RAM DDR3, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460, 2x1 TB SATA hard disks
  (the two hard disks, configured as RAID 0, were replaced with a SATA 1 TB disk and then RAID Mode was changed to ATA in the BIOS).
(2) 64-bit AMD Athlon (2.4GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 1 TB SATA hard disk (no BIOS change required).
(3) 32-bit Dell Optiplex with Pentium 4 (2.26GHz), 2.0 GB RAM, 160 GB ATA hard disk

MS-DOS internal and external commands work correctly on both 64-bit and 32-bit computers. The USB keyboard and USB laser mouse do run from MS-DOS 6.22 on a 64-bit computer. However, MS-DOS 6.22 will not run from RAID configurations. Also, MS-DOS 6.22 device drivers are not available for 64-bit hardware devices so expect those devices not to work on 64-bit computers when DOS 6.22 is running.

When testing with 600+ MB of free Conventional memory, Space Quest 3 (1993), SQ4, SQ5 and X-Com2 were installed in DOS 6.22. All ran well on both 64-bit and 32-bit computers - exactly as would be expected for 1993/5 software.

The procedure is suitable for experienced computer users.

EasyBCD version:
EasyBCD is a highly-acclaimed free utility that allows any user to easily enter a new OS option in the Windows Vista boot menu. The earlier 2.0 version of EasyBCD must be used as newer versions did not work in this specific situation.

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Create a Windows Vista and MS-DOS 6.22 Dual-Boot without reinstalling

Installing other operating systems on your Windows Vista computer may invalidate your warrantee.
It's important to follow the instructions exactly as stated and you should have a properly working Windows.

MS-DOS 6.22 must be installed on the first (Primary) partition of the first hard disk. It will NOT be Active!
- it's boot sector will be saved by EasyBCD in a file on the Active partition

Make your preparations

  1. Backup important data - just in case!
  2. Locate any Vista installation DVD or download NeoSmart's free Windows Vista System Recovery Disk
    It must be a 64-bit version if a 64-bit Windows Vista is installed.
  3. Download a free MS-DOS 6.22 that creates a MS-DOS 6.22 bootable CD (if you don't have a floppy drive). Try AllBootDisks or BootDisk.com or other sites. Create a bootable CD/DVD from the downloaded .ISO or .IMG file
    - in Windows Vista, double-click the file, enable the Verify disk ... box, insert the CD or DVD, and click Burn.
    Download Neosmart's free EasyBCD 2.0.2 1343 KB to Windows Vista (do not use a later version).
    Download the latest stable release of GParted Live CD and burn it to CD.
  4. Disconnect all unnecessary external devices before you start.

Install MS-DOS 6.22 on a Vista computer without installing Vista

  1. First identify how many Primary partitions you already have
    - Windows will not let you create a fourth Primary on a hard disk.
  2. In Vista, open Disk Management (Computer > Manage > Disk Management).
    • If you have less than 3 Primaries now, everything is fine.
    • If you have 3 Primary partitions now, read how to Create a Fourth Primary partition
      and decide if you wish to continue - do not try to create a new Primary now.
    • If you have 3 Primaries and Logical(s), you must not continue until that's rectified.

    Move the Windows Vista partition and maybe other partition(s)
  3. Use Vista's Shrink to shrink the Vista partition (Computer > Manage > Disk Management
    - right-click the partition, select Shrink volume, accept whatever shrinkage is offered)
    - (this may substantially shorten the time taken to move partitions).
  4. Bootup from the GParted bootable CD and select GParted Live in the menu.
    • In GParted, highlight the Vista partition and select Resize/Move.
      Move it 1999 MB to the right. Click Resize/Move when Free Space preceding shows 1999.
    • Also move a System Reserved partition fully to the right if you have that partition.
    • Click Apply when Unallocated at top of the partition list shows it's about 1.95 GiB
      - moving the partition(s) can take many hours so start early in the day!
      When it's complete, exit GParted and restart computer as follows: (Vista is not bootable now).

    Then make Vista bootable again and create the FAT partition
  5. Bootup the Windows Vista installation DVD or even NeoSmart's free Windows Vista System Recovery Disk.
    • Select Repair your computer (bottom left of the Install now screen).
      - an automatic check of your system will run.
    • Click Repair and restart.
      Windows Vista will now boot normally - a disk check must be allow to run if it appears.
  6. In Vista's Disk Manager,
    • Create a new Primary partition in the 1999 MB Unallocated, format with FAT and label it DOOS.
      If a Primary partition is not created, use the instructions in how to Create a Primary partition
    • Right-click the Vista partition and select Extend Volume (it's very fast!),

    Next install a basic MS-DOS 6.22 on the new FAT partition
  7. Bootup from your MS-DOS 6.22 bootable CD or floppy disk.
    • Type in and then press Enter
      SYS C:
      - you'll see a "System transferred" message on screen.
      COPY A:\FDISK.EXE C:
      - just in case - read below!
    • Reboot. Windows Vista will still boot normally
      - MS-DOS 6.22 is not bootable (yet) because its partition has not been made Active.

    Now use Easy BCD to copy the MS-DOS 6.22 boot sector and put entry in the Vista boot menu
  8. Open Disk Management (right-click Computer, select Manage, click Disk Management).
    • Note which partition is now marked as Active (probably System Reserved).
      Right-click the DOOS partition and select Mark Partition as Active (click Yes for the caution).
      Minimize Disk Man. Note: You must rectify this change immediately after using EasyBCD.
       
    • Install and run EasyBCD 2.0.2 now.
      • Select Add New Entry in the left pane.
      • Select the Windows tab in the upper right pane.
        • In Type drop-down, select MS-DOS 6.x.
        • In Name, rename to "Microsoft MS-DOS 6.22"
        • In Drive, you'll see it is "Automatically configured". That's correct.
        • Click the Add Entry button in the same pane (click No for no Documentation).
      • Optionally, you can now modify the timeout of the boot loader menu - click the Edit Boot Menu (left pane) and set the Boot default OS after to 7 seconds and click Save Settings.
      • Exit EasyBCD.
        - EasyBCD has copied the DOS boot sector to a file on the Active drive and added DOS to Vista's boot menu.
         
    • In Disk Man, make Active the partition that was originally marked as Active (click Yes for the caution).
      Exit Disk Man. Reboot and select which OS to boot from the boot menu within 7 seconds
      - if you forgot to re-activate the original partition, then use DOS's Fdisk (Option 2) to mark it as Active.
      EasyBCD can remove the unsightly (Recovered) in the boot menu (select Edit Boot Menu > Rename).
Finished! The rest of the MS-DOS 6.22 files must now be added to DOOS: and configured as required by each user.

Congratulations! You have created a natural dual-boot of Windows Vista and MS-DOS 6.22, and Window 7 is unchanged.
If you want to very easily add Windows 3.11 go to this page

Footnote: EasyBCD 2.0 creates an NST folder on the Windows Vista partition when it adds an operating system to the Windows Vista boot loader menu. This NST folder contains file(s) vital to booting an added OS. It must not be deleted.

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Repair Windows Vista Startup

You will not have any problem if you follow the instructions as stated above. However you might encounter some freak occurrence like a power failure during an installation. Windows Vista will boot again if you execute the following procedure.

  1. Bootup any Windows 8, 7 or Vista installation DVD or even from NeoSmart's free Windows Vista System Recovery Disk.
    It must be a 64-bit version if a 64-bit Windows Vista is installed.
    • Press a key when you see Press any key to boot from a CD or DVD.
    • Select your Language and then Time....
    • Select Repair your computer (bottom left of the Install now screen).
      An automatic check of your system will run.
    • Click Repair and restart
      Windows Vista should boot normally (very likely). If not, continue here.
  2. Bootup from the Windows Vista installation DVD again
    • Select Repair your computer again.
    • In System Recovery Options, select Windows Vista, and click Next.
    • Click Startup Repair.
    • Click Finish when it's complete, and then Restart.
    • You must let CheckDisk run if requested.
      Windows Vista should boot normally.

If still stuck for a solution, boot again from the installation DVD, select Repair your computer, highlight Windows Vista, get to a Command Prompt, use DIR command (DIR C: or DIR D: etc.) to identify drive letter allocations (sizes and Labels will help), and type in:
bootrec /FixMbr
bootrec /FixBoot
bootrec /RebuildBcd
X:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt60 C:
  (where X: is your DVD drive letter, and C: is the installation drive for Windows Vista).
EXIT, and click Restart. Remove the DVD.

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