View Full Version : boot to xp from 98se

12-17-2004, 10:41 AM
I've got booting problems. My dual boot 98se and xp pro set up will not boot into xp although boot.ini seems ok. No choice of os at the start of boot, just a 'system disk unknown' error messge followed by a boot to win 98 (on c: partition), might be a problem with ntldr, not sure yet.

Anyway, is there a way of booting to xp from windows 98? My e: partition is visible from 98 and i have admin priveledges, can i just double on something and get xp up and running?



Paul Komski
12-17-2004, 10:22 PM
A repair installation from an installation cd might sort you out:- http://www.michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

There is no way to boot XP directly from win98 other than by shutting down win98 and using a third party boot manager to initiate the boot-up - but then again if the boot processes are repaired there is no real need for any third party managers. Also, depending on what has gone wrong, boot managers may still fail if the boot files have been corrupted or are otherwise wrong.

More specific details about what happened (or what happens) when you boot up would help understand what is going on - so including details of the physical layout of the drive and what is where and so on would all be valuable.

'system disk unknown' is a rather strange message as is booting into win98 having previously been shown such a message and with the complete loss of the dual boot menu. A copy of boot.ini might also be helpful.

12-20-2004, 06:08 AM
thanks for this Paul. I think using Acronis OS Selector gave my system the willies while trying to upgrade my 98 partition to xp, both Acronis and XP setup trying to manage the install ending with total abort and the problems I described.

Anyway after trying again to get xp installed on the 98 Partition I got my boot options back after a restart, ie xp pro, windows 98 and xp setup. From which I was able to boot to my original xp partition.

I now have

1 40 gig hdd with new minimal xp install (about 2 gig), original xp including program files.

1 120 gig hdd with static data.

I still have 'non-system disk press any key' after the 'searching/found boot record from ide device' notification.

I'll post the boot.ini when I get home later but any ideas as to the remaining system disk error message? I've a feeling that the message is in error itself as I cant find anything wrong with my system (everything seems to be accessible and working ok), and there isn't a floppy or cd in the drive when booting :)

Thanks again for the reply Paul


Paul Komski
12-20-2004, 06:54 PM
It's still a bit unclear what you did and in what sequence but you shouldnt ever install Win98 after you have installed WinXP unless you are quite sure about what you are doing, how to correct the changes it will make, and so on. It sounds like you may have done this. Using an additional boot manager only complicates things further.

I haven't ever used the Acronis boot manager but if you are simply going to be dual booting Win98 and WinXP there is no real need for a third-party boot manager. If you do use such a manager then install the different OSes onto their own partitions (generally onto primary partitions) - even though some boot managers (eg BING and XOSL) can boot-up Windows OSes from logical partitions others (eg BootMagic) cannot. I'm not sure which group the Acronis app falls into.

It's also still not clear what your partition structure is or whether there are remains of any Acronis mbr-drive-overlay. Am I correct that at the moment you only have one 2gig FAT32 partition containing an installation of Win98 and two installations of WinXP on HDD-0 (with 38gig unallocated space). If nothing else I would boot up to the WinXP recovery console from the installation CD and run fixmbr from the command prompt there. This should remove any traces of the boot manager.

So - yes - boot.ini and partitoning details would both be of use.

12-20-2004, 07:47 PM
hi there

[boot loader]
timeout = 5
default =multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS

[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Windows XP Media Center Edition" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

c: WINDOWS XP MCE (upgraded from win98 se) 2 gig partition
d: Program Files. 2 gig partitiion
e: WINDOWS XP PRO. 30 gig partition

f: STATIC DATA. 120 gig HDD

all FAT32.

After pressing 'any key' from the non-system disk prompt I get to the boot loader. Can't see any problems booting now except for this.

Not sure exactly what happened but upgrading 98 to XP MCE started Acronis OS Selector running after the first of the installation restarts. After which the non-system disk error appeared followed by a boot into win 98 (with no boot loader choices) instead of continuing with the XP MCE setup.

Sorry for not too being clear. I'm thinking a format and a fresh install of XP MCE on c: is in order.

cheers Paul,


Paul Komski
12-20-2004, 09:08 PM
Nothing looks too abnormal. It is generally always better to clean install than to upgrade (hadn't realised that's what you had done) so that should be a good move. If you are not careful then if or when you clean install onto the first partition you could lose the bootloader sequence for XP on the third partition. As long as you know the contents of boot.ini it should be easy enough to edit it back appropriately - if needs be.

Suggest you make yourself a WinXP Boot Floppy. Get a new floppy and then do a full format of it from WinXP's MyComputer (this ensures that it will have an NT-based boot sector on it). Then just copy boot.ini, ntldr and ntdetect.com from the C: drive onto this floppy.

Assuming your bios are set to boot to a floppy before any HDD then booting to this floppy should enable you to bypass the boot files on the hard-drive. It could also be interesting to see if you can use it to boot up now OK without the system disk error appearing.

My best guess right now is that the Acronis manager is causing this message to appear so, as before, you could try fixmbr from the recovery console or try uninstalling the Acronis software using any uninstall option available to you.

12-21-2004, 07:32 AM
Thanks for this, i would normally do a fresh install of Windows but the new XP MCE partition is basically my insurance policy from which I can create and restore disk images of my main XP PRO OS if need be, without having to go into safemode or use the imaging software's emergency disk if it all goes pear-shaped. Didn't have the energy to install all the hardware drivers etc with a fresh install :)

(I keep the disk images on the 2nd HDD. As the addage goes, 'If you haven't had a harddisk failure yet, you will')

I will try a boot floppy to see if it bypasses the system-disk error message.

fixmbr means you think the partition table is damaged?



Paul Komski
12-21-2004, 08:01 AM
Suggested fixmbr in order to remove any traces of the Acronis boot manager (drive overlay) just in case this is causing the message by the way it alters the boot processes by passing the boot code around- often "in its own little circles"; not any true corruption such a boot sector virus - and for which fixmbr is not a good fix in any case.

If the boot floppy works without the message then the problem must be with the mbr or the pbs (partition boot sector) on the hdd. The fix to restore the pbs is to run fixboot from the command prompt of the recovery console.

Try the floppy first because if you "muck up" anything on the HDD (even if just temporarily) then you should still be abe to get in to either os using the floppy and then sort things out.

Neither fixmbr nor its related dos compatriot fdisk /mbr alter the partition tables though they do rewrite most of the rest of the mbr. fixmbr differs from fdisk /mbr in that it doesnt change the disk signature - but that's a different story.

The disk signature is also quite different from the boot sector signature of 55 AA (hex) - though if this has been altered by a boot sector virus then all four partition tables will be zeroed (hdd now wont boot of course) by running fixmbr or fdisk /mbr and is the reason that these commands should not be used to "cure" a boot sector virus - though you will often find this suggested around the internet.