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Install XP on FreeDOS PC and dual boot both OSes

xp freedos dual boot

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#1 scifidude

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:38 PM

Hi All

 

I have an old Pentium based PC with FreeDOS installed that I'm using to control a CNC machine using proprietary ISA cards and software.

 

I would like to install XP in a dual boot configuration so I can continue using the FreeDOS CNC program while I have an option to boot to XP to save/restore the CNC programs on a USB flash drive instead of the PC's diskette drive since FreeDOS lacks USB support. 

 

I have another PC I've been experimenting with to make sure I don't destroy the CNC PC's FreeDOS install, since it took awhile to configure correctly and I don't want to do it again.   I've formatted the test PCs HD as FAT32 and installed FreeDOS and it boots OK.  

 

When I attempt to install XP from CD into C:\Windows the install proceeds OK but on the first reboot during the install the PC doesn't boot, giving me message "Disk Error, press any key to restart".

 

I tried booting to the repair option on the XP CD and running   fixmbr  and   fixboot  but that made no difference.

 

I know the XP CD is OK because I was able to reformat the drive on the test PC and install XP by itself.

 

My question is what is the best way to load XP onto an existing FreeDOS PC and maintain both OSes in a dual boot configuration?

 

Thanks for any help

 

Scifidude

 

 



#2 steve6375

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 02:49 PM

How did you go about installing XP to an already partitioned hard disk containing FreeDOS.

What did the partition structure look like both before and after?

What size is the hard disk?

 

P.S. Does the CNC PC have 'boot from USB Flash drive' capability?



#3 scifidude

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:11 PM

First, thanks for the response.

 

The CNC PC does not have boot from USB Flash drive support, it's an old IBM 300 GL.   It's lucky to have two USB ports in addition to a diskette drive.

 

Since I'm testing this config on a test PC I first formatted the entire HD as FAT32 using GDISK.   It's a 32GB drive.   Next, I installed FreeDOS using the 1.0 distro CD and FreeDOS is bootable.

 

Next I tried booting the XP install CD and installing into the existing C: FAT32 drive into the C:\Windows directory.   That's when the failure occurs... the first reboot during XP setup.



#4 steve6375

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 03:23 PM

When XP installs, it typically adds a config.sys and autoexec.bat and IO.SYS file to the C: drive. This could break FreeDOS (depends on what files it uses to boot).

 

If it was me, I would first shrink the FreeDOS partition and then install Win XP to a separate partition. Then either install grub4dos and add a menu.lst to allow booting from either partition, or edit the boot.ini to add FreeDos to the XP boot menu.

 

If you want to install to the same partition ,then at least make a backup first of the root files (is there enough room to backup ALL the FreeDOS OS to a \FBackup folder?).

You can press SHIFT+F10 to get to a command console.

 

However, none of this should have prevented XP from installing and re-booting. It suggests that something is not right about the BIOS disk geometry - are there any options in the BIOS for OS or different hard disk configs?



#5 Wonko the Sane

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:46 PM

My question is what is the best way to load XP onto an existing FreeDOS PC and maintain both OSes in a dual boot configuration?

Possibly it is to boot "normally" FreeDOS, and then use grub4dos' grub.exe to map a XP working image, of the kind wimb's tools can make:

http://reboot.pro/to...-and-windows-7/

 

BUT, anyway, we have to understand what happens on that machine (I presume that this "test" machine is IDENTICAL to the "final target" machine :dubbio:).

 

If I were you I would "ignore" completely the FreeDOS requirement and install first the XP, allowing the setup to re-format the FAT32 partition.

Then we will see how to re-add FreeDOS.

(the issue may be in the actual filesystem BPB :unsure:)

 

:cheers:

Wonko



#6 scifidude

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 05:34 PM

Thanks for the replies Wonko and Steve.

 

I finally resolved it by shrinking the FreeDOS partition to 4GB (plenty of space!) and then creating a second primary partition using GParted and formatting it FAT32.  I was then able to install XP in D:\Windows and modify the XP boot.ini file to dual boot XP or FreeDOS.

 

I didn't want to deal with formatting or re-partitioning the hard drive because I didn't want to risk the chance of breaking the FreeDOS install and all the associated CNC software, but partitioning seemed to be the easiest and safest, and simplest method to get this to work.







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