I've been trying to get a triple-boot set up with Windows 98, Windows XP, and SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional. Here is the setup I had BEFORHAND:

Hard Drive 1:
- Partition 1, FAT32, 80gb, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition

Hard Drive 2
- Partition 1, NTFS, 80gb, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

Here is the setup I WANTED:

Hard Drive 1:
- Partition 1, FAT32, 10gb, Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition
- Partition 2, ???, 70gb, SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional

Hard Drive 2:
- Partition 1,NTFS, Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition.

I had carefully backed up all of my important data, so I decided I was ready to try and set this up. I shut the computer down, and inserted my Partition Magic 7.0 floppies, to boot into pmagic. I then deleted both partitions, then applied my changes. Then I created a 10gb primary partition on hard drive 1, formatted in FAT32. I then made an 80gb partition on hard drive 2, also formatted in FAT32, as a temporary partition so 98 would install without complaining that it wants me to put the setup disk into my second hard drive (a rather annoying bug). I left the remainder of hard drive 1 as unpartitioned space.

I then applied my changes, shut down my computer, removed some of my ram so that I had only 512mb, then started the computer up again in the Windows 98 Setup.

It went perfectly smooth until I got to the part where I was to enter my name and my company name. At this point, both of my mice and my keyboard stopped working, and I couldn't hit CTRL+ALT+Delete because I had no keyboard, so I had to pull the plug. Interestingly, I was just able to type in "Kamex" before the input was disabled.

The second install went fine, although it didn't ask me to choose an install type, which was fine. It seemed to work as expected, so I installed the drivers, install the updates, and disabled my ethernet driver in the device manager, since I will be using 98 only when I absolutely have to now, and thus, I don't want to deal with an Antivirus/Firewall for it.

I installed XP. XP installed perfectly. I customized the dual-boot menu by changing c:\ = "Microsoft Windows" to c:\ = "Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition". I also set the timer value to -1 so as not to get a time limit for selecting my operating system. I tested these changes, and they worked perfectly.

I then installed SuSE. I went with the suggestion partitioning procedure of using the unpartititioned space to house both a swap partition, and the / partition. I installed GRUB on a floppy, so as not to disturb my Windows bootloader. I was quite happy to see Linux worked as well. I spent hours customizing it.

Then the trouble started. Linux booted fine, but the Windows bootloader, even when the GRUB floppy was not in the drive, gave me this error:

NTLDR is missing

The file "NTLDR" was indeed there (I could see it in linux), but it was simply not detecting it. I thought, "No problem, I'll just reinstall XP, and that will fix it", but guess what, it didn't. After creating a new NTFS partition, and copying the files needed for setup (the two yellow bars), it restarted correctly, but upon startup, I got the NTLDR error again. I then tried switching the places of XP and Linux, putting XP as partition 2 on hard drive 1, and totally deleting linux for now (using the XP install cd), with plans to put it on hard drive 2. Even after doing this (all traces of Linux should have been gone), it STILL gave me that error. Finally, I decided to delete my C: drive, and wipe everything on the first disk. Partition Magic gave me the same error I always get when it tries to read a hard drive with a partition that it can't understand, which is wierd because the linux stuff was supposed to have been deleted by XP. Anyway, I tried the XP CD to get it to work...

The setup started typically. I pressed a key when told to to boot from the CD, and I was then presented with a black screen telling me that Windows is inspecting my current hardware configuration. After that, I was presented with an all-black screen, which did not frighten me, because it usually shows this for about 2 seconds before the blue screen appears....

Only the blue screen didn't appear.... The all-black screen stayed. I discovered that CTRL+ALT+Delete restarted the computer, when CTRL+ALT+Delete is normally disabled by the setup, so it appears the setup completely excited.

On thing I noticed is that the last time I saw the blue screen, my monitor flickered on and off...could this be a video card related problem? I just bought my ATI Radeon 9800 pro last may.

Whatever the case, I need this computer for homeschooling, so I'm pretty screwed. Anyone have ideas on how I can get my computer working again?

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All 4 Replies

You can try to remove the (or a) bad hard disk. Hopefully will one work.
Install W98 or Win xp, so you already have something to work with. Then install only the other disk and try again to install/reformat. Linux can do it to. then if everything is fat32 again, (readable by al OS an PM), try your triple boot again.

Why not format it to
HD1 1e 10gb w98
2 10 gb win xp
3 extendend linux swap 500 mb
4 linux /10 gb
5 data 49,5 GB
HD 2 1e more data

I have a similiar problem now. Only i use ubuntu. my mbr / boot sector is totaly broken now.

Well, I wanted this setup because I didn't want to clutter the two operating system's programs together. The only two things I want to share are my Firefox bookmarks and Thunderbird profile, which went on the C: drive. I was quite happy with my setup, and I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have tried to reformat in the first place. Had I used Linux to retrieve my Mom's NTLDR, I might have been able to fix the error. It may have been a currupt file. Now I've got a big mess.

Anyway, I could try reinstalling 98 to kill the boot problem, but the problem is that I can't even install XP anymore because of that black screen. I desperatly need to figure out what is causing this screen, otherwise my computer can never have XP on it again. :(

PS: I'm going to ask my brother to reverse the hard drives, and if that doesn't work, remove the hard drive in question completely, then install 98/XP (XP might be messing up because the hard drive is bad), then put it back in for Linux.

PS: I forgot to say that last night, me and my brother tried to put my XP CD in his computer to see if it would boot. It made it to the blue screen and looked fine, so something is wrong with the computer itself that is causing this, not the CD.

Today, my brother Scott and I were able to figure out the problem. When the hard drives switched places, XP was able to load fine. I then killed every partition on what had just become hard drive 2, and partition magic was then able to load it. I have successfully installed all three operating systems, with Windows 98 and Windows XP on hard drive 1, and Linux on hard drive 2.

I'm still a bit spooked though, because I don't know what caused this to happen in the first place. I'm afraid to even update my Linux, because I'm afraid that this is what caused it. It's also possible that attempting to share my Firefox/Thunderbird info through hard drive 1, partition 1 caused this, so I'm afraid to do that as well. I'm going to ask in the Linux forum if these are concerns.

good job!
It isn't a software problem like updating or sharing info. It's a problem with your mbr /boot sector and installing grub /ntldr. So if eveything works fine now, dont mess up again. You can normally work with it, and update, move data from one HD to the other, but dont change anything in grub or boot.ini or de ntldr file
tomorrow i am going to by a new HD to try a triple boot. maybe trying your first config with MS on different HD's. Then you wont have to worry about two Pri partitions on one harddisk. If it works i want to try to get an additional 2 linux distro on it with makes a total of 5 OS :lol:

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