First post, by Sedrosken
My Pentium Pro machine kinda chugs under 98 by comparison with NT4, but NT4 just can't run everything 98 can, even with the hacked DX5 from the NT5 beta and NT4SETDX6. The obvious solution here is a dual boot, but I'd prefer to keep everything on my single 128GB SD card. Unfortunately being on an MBR partition table makes things a bit interesting since we all know the limitations of MBR -- 4 partitions total, 3 primary and 1 extended with logical drives under it. 98 -- or more accurately, its underlying DOS -- doesn't really like multiple primaries or living on a partition other than the first one, and NT doesn't seem to much enjoy being installed to a 2GB FAT16 logical drive within a much larger extended partition. NT4, as you may know, requires that its boot files live within the first 8GB of the drive. It gets even better -- NT4's incarnation of NTFS is riddled with jank, to the point that it refuses to work properly on flash storage. Setup hangs during that first reboot where it converts the initial FAT16 volume to NTFS since it can't, y'know, just format to NTFS from the get-go like 2000 can. Not a big deal to me, FAT performs better anyway. My inital plan looked like this:
Primary, active partition -- 2GB, FAT16. Windows 98SE installed here. NTLDR points to BOOTSECT.DOS which starts Windows 98SE.
Primary, inactive partition -- 2GB, FAT16, Windows NT4 installed here.
Primary, inactive partition -- remaining space, FAT32. Communal data/programs volume. NT4 gains access through FastFat32 driver.
After SP6a and FastFat32 is installed, NT4 loses access to the first volume with 98SE on it, which is problematic -- any modifications to boot.ini must be done from an alternate operating system.
Next I tried this:
Primary, active partition -- 2GB, FAT16. Windows 98SE installed here. NTLDR points to BOOTSECT.DOS.
Extended partition, rest of the drive. Logical drive -- 2GB, FAT16. Windows NT4 installed here.
Logical drive -- remaining space, FAT32. Communal data/programs. NT4 does not even know this drive exists in this configuration, but 98/DOS 7.1 is a bit happier.
Yeah, in this setup NT4 didn't even know there was another logical drive at all. Very peculiar.
Now, I have a couple other ideas -- forcibly installing 98SE to D:\Windows in this setup:
Primary, inactive -- 2GB FAT16. NT4 will be installed here.
Primary, active -- rest of the drive, FAT32, 98SE will be installed here.
I feel like this won't work because 98 will insist on being installed to C:, in which case I have to wonder... how does NT react to being installed on the exact same partition as a 9x-class OS? Does it conflict in common directories (specifically, Program Files, and the common directories therein) and they just break each other, or does it get smart and make different folders? Will I have to do some wizardry with TweakUI? Will it even work at all?
Edit: I should clarify that for everywhere I say 98, or 98SE, I mean 98SE with the shell swapped out for the 95 version using 98lite. I have no patience for watching the explorer windows paint because I'm using a web browser for a shell.