Problem Multi-booting an old PC

#1
Today, I was playing around with an old PC.

Here was my plan: Triple boot menu of Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows 2000

How I tried to go about it: 1. I Split an 80Gig IDE Drive in 2 partitions.
2. Installed Windows ME First
3. Then Installed Windows 2000 on the other partition
(so far so good, 2000 detects it and create it's only dual boot menu.)
4. Disconnected the 80GIG drive and temporary replaced it with a old 10GIG Drive
5. Installed Windows 98
6. All good so far, now reconnected the 80GIG Drive back, turned the 10GIG into a
slave with a jumper into the correct spot and plugged the end of the ribbon
Cable in, while the 80GIG (Master) get the middle part of the ribbon.
7. Attempted to edit the boot.ini creating a new entry trying to point at Windows98
on the slave drive.

Then frustated I thought bugger it, I should just use EasyBCD and create the menu there, so obviously I had tem porary install WinXP for just the sole purpose of that, and split the 80gig into 3 partitions.

After that on WinXP I installed the Net 2.0 framework, and installed EASYBCD 3.2 beta, but what I didn't know it's looks like it won't work correctly without vista as it uses it bootloader or something.

Anyway I tried to write a blank vista and xp bootloader to the MBR, But it's only let me create 1 entry, if I attempt to create another trying to point as ME or 2000, I get an errorbox stating Insuffient System Resources exist to complete the requested service or something.

So what gives, am i low on RAM as there is only a 512MB stick inside the case?
Or am i screwed and it's not possible? or anyway I could reinstalled Win2000 in attempt for it to "see" win98?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
EasyBCD, as you have discovered, is only applicable to systems controlled by Windows Vista onwards.
The BCD (the clue's in the name) first appeared in Vista as a replacement for the "boot.ini" boot information repository which existed in XP and all of its derivatives.
Prior to XP, there was no dual-boot capability in any Windows OS.
You can dual-boot 95 or ME with XP or with Vista/7/8/10, letting the newer OS control things, but the MS bootloader before XP's NTLDR was a primitive relic of the very earliest computer main-frames of the mid 20th century. Each of your OSs expects to be occupying the same fixed space at the beginning of the HDD. That's the only way the early bootloader knows how to find the OS.
Your only hope of a "multi" boot is to have each of your systems installed on separate HDDs and use a hot-key to override the BIOS at boot and manually select the drive you want.