Imagine, you have 10 various versions if Windows on single machine.
You need some applications to work under all OSes. For example, I use
VisualStudio, Far, Archivers and MSDN. Sometimes I need PhotoShop and MS Office.
I dislike the idea of installing everything 10 times. The common way is
assure Drive Letter assignment to be identical under all OSes. Then copy
necessary Registry keys, sometimes libraries and Environment variables.
To keep Drive Letter assignment identical across OSes it worth
running each next setup.exe from previously installed OS. In this case
Drive Letters will be inherited. When installing Windows from boot CD or from
DOS you cannot control Drive Letter and they will be assigned in some
unpredictable way. Since w2k it is not possible to change letter of so called
Boot partition and System partition using Disk Administrator. Partition Magic
becomes the only solution.
Some days ago I got to know, that Drive Letter
assignment can be destroyed with DOS utility fdisk with /MBR switch (repair
boot loader from MBR). Another thing I experienced was disability of system recovery
with setup.exe. I ran it from NT4 with restored Drive Letters with Repair option.
Installation order. NT family have
its own boot-manager (imho it is rather good) and OS-loader. Higher versions
can load lower ones. But not vice versa. In spite of this fact, os-loader
is unconditionally overwritten during installation. Thus, it worth installing
lower versions first: NT4, then w2k, XP, .NET. Another solution - make a copy
of ntldr and ntdetect.com from root directory of boot partition, then after
installation restore these files. Probably, you should also backup boot-sector.
I saw .NET that could not boot after installation of XP or 2k (I don't remember exactly).
Restoring ntldr and ntdetect.com didn't help.
MS removed /MAXMEM option support from .NET ntldr. I don't know
how to keep both old and new ntldrs.
NTFS partitions must be created under higher OS (for ex. 2k or XP).
In this case you will obtain NTFS of newest version. If you create the partition from NT4,
it will have lover version, but later w2k or XP mark it as modified by higher version of
NTFS driver. Such volume becomes inaccessible for PartitionMagic. BTW, inspite of MS
claims, new NTFS volumes are readable and writable under NT4. The only exception are
files with complicated inherited permissions. In practice, I saw such problem only
twice, and about still some I heard from other people.
And now about moving software across OSes. In general, it would be perfectly
to use Axxie's Advanced Installer, but it is not written yet. Thus, we are
to do everything manually. Or use similar utility - rconf
Brief HOWTO list
HOWTO move Environment Variables across multi-boot Systems
Boot origin OS and save the following registry key:
Remove from .REG-file the following OS- and platform-dependent values:
Boot target OS and load edited .REG-file.
HOWTO move VC 6.0 installation across multi-boot Systems
In order to copy VisualStudio IDE setting to another OS or machine you can save
the keys, mentioned below or download and use Far-like Save/Restore scripts -
Boot OS with installed VisualStudio then save the following registry keys:
Boot OS without VisualStudio and load previously saved registry keys.
Copy the following files from System32 of the old Windows installation to
System32 of the new installation. These are libraries, used for Debug builds.
HOWTO move MSDN installation across multi-boot Systems
MSDN Libraries (at least CHM versions) could not be simply moved between OS'es.
They must be installed in each OS. But if it is installed to the same folder under
different OS'es, the following problem appears: .COL-files, created under one OS
don't work under another. For now I solve it in such way:
Copy everything from MSDN distribution CDs to single folder. Let it be
C:\Program Files\MSDN\CD. CD disks contain some file duplicates. Thus you
can ignore warnings about overwriting existing files.
Boot the OS, where you want to install MSDN and run setup.exe for MSDN
from C:\Program Files\MSDN\CD folder.
Chose the only component to be installed - Full Text Search Database
(it comes very first in list). Rest files will be taken from
Chose installation folder. Let it be for example C:\Program Files\MSDN.
After installation make copies of MSDN120.CHS and MSDN120.COL files.
For example for NT4+sp4 it will be MSDN120.CHS.NT4SP4 and MSDN120.COL.NT4SP4.
Add to AllUser's startup .BAT-file, which will restore MSDN120.CHS and MSDN120.COL
from the copies. Sometimes MSDN120.CHQ and MSDN120.CHW should also be copied.
I don't know why, but on my home machine 2 files works perfectly, same time with
a little newer MSDN on my office machine all 4 files are necessary. These files are fat, so
it is better to make Hard Links instead of dumb copying. Use xln
utility for this purpose.
Repeat steps 2 - 5 for each OS. Installing MSDN over existing files
is very fast. Thus installing MSDN under rest OS'es will not take much time.
HOWTO move MS Office 95/97 installation across multi-boot Systems
These perfect packages require almost nothing. It is enough to copy .LNK files
from one Windows installation to another. This step is not mandatory and is provided
exceptionally for convenience. When you run any MS Office application, almost everything
necessary for its functioning will be written to Registry automatically. But you can
meet some small troubles:
MS Office applications pop up a message, that Tahoma or Verdana font cannot be found.
The only thing you need is installing them from Fonts folder of another Windows installation.
Note, that this folder usually has System attribute set. Thus you will need to
set proper option in order to see it (when installing font using Control Panel -> Fonts).
Equation Editor doesn't work. In this case you should find
"Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Equation" folder on your system drive
and run EQNEDT32.EXE from it. Equation Editor will configure Registry automatically.
For people, who like more tricky ways it is possible to import EQNEDT32.REG from the
same folder. This will have the same result.
Basic doesn't work. I don't know how to fix it. May be Visual Basic should be installed.
HOWTO move Photoshop 7.0 installation across multi-boot Systems
and HOWTO install it under NT4
To move Photoshop 7.0 it is enough to copy the following Registry keys:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Adobe\Adobe SVG Viewer
And now let's talk about NT4. Photoshop 7.0 setup doesn't want to work under NT4. Obviously this is
due to new MSI installer. Thus, install it under w2k or higher, then move to NT4 using described method.
Comments from Axxie: it is little buggy. There are some troubles with
user interface - some moment it stops responding on mouse events in some controls.
Looks like memory leak.
BTW, it seems Photoshop 7.0 could be installed under NT4 with SP6a (not sure).
HOWTO move Mozilla 1.7b installation across multi-boot Systems
and HOWTO install it under NT4
To move Mozilla 1.7b it is enough to copy the following Registry keys:
About NT4. Same trouble, installer relies on some new features.
Install Mozilla under w2k or higher, then copy Registry keys.
HOWTO move Putty installation across multi-boot Systems
To move Putty copy the following Registry key:
HOWTO move Borland C++Builder 6 installation across multi-boot Systems
To move Borland C++Builder 6 you should copy the following Registry keys:
"<SysDrive>:\\Program Files\\Common Files\\Borland Shared\\Debugger\\bordbk61.dll"=dword:00000001
and final step - add path to Bin directory from Borland C++Builder 6 installation to PATH
HOWTO move Far installation across multi-boot Systems
To move Far copy the following Registry keys:
HOWTO move TheBat! installation across multi-boot Systems
To move TheBat! copy the following Registry key: