Triple boot - Safely removing one of them


OSNN Senior Addict
1 Mar 2003
I currently have a tripple boot set up with Windows 98, XP pro and Vista.
I want to remove the Windows 98 (fat 32 partition) and still have a dual boot with XP and Vista.

How do I go about doing that safely?
Re: Tripple boot -- safely romoving one of them

Depends on how and in what order you set up. As long as 98 is not on the C: drive (partition1) you can just pull the entry from boot.ini and erase or reformat the partition. You can also do this using sysdm.cpl from the Start-Run menu.

If 98 is on the partition recognized as your C: drive primary partition if cna get messy. Best to wait for advise from someone who has actually done this kind of setup.
Re: Tripple boot -- safely romoving one of them

I set up XP first, then 98, then added Vista.

Windows 98 and XP are on a separate HD from Vista

Windows 98 boots up as C: on a partition on Disk 0
XP boots as D: on a partition in disk 0
When I boot into Vista, Vista sets itself up as C: it is on disk 1

There is also a data partition on disk 0 and disk 1

I now have 2 GB of ram and windows 98 doesn't like it and I don't really use 98 any more. The partition is only 8 GBs so I guess I could just leave it the way it is.

I am using Vista most of the time and may even get rid of XP, altough I have a printer (cannon all in one) that doesn't have a driver for it in Vista. MF30 model.
You might want to take a screenshot of Disk Management just to make things a little bit easier to understand how your setup is...

The way it sounds, if Windows 98 is isolated on its own partition, then removing it is trivial. You remove the boot entry, and do something with its partition; you could even resize a neighboring partition to fill its space with the GParted LiveCD or possibly Vista's Disk Management.
You might want to take a screenshot of Disk Management just to make things a little bit easier to understand how your setup is...

That's an excellend idea, MikeRS.

If I were doing this, I would have a 100% backup of everything before I proceeded. Sometimes I seem overly cautious, but it's not without bad experiences as a reason.

But let's see the screenshot; it should definitely make things clearer.
As per my experience . you can format the 98 drive and try booting into the PC if it says some error then insert the vista bootable DVD instead of installing the windows . go to repair the system and repair the startup disk problem... this should automatically fix the problem.
I attached a screensho of disk manager within Vista. It is different from within XP. In XP, windows 98 is C: and XP is D:


  • screenshot of diskmanager.JPG
    screenshot of diskmanager.JPG
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NO! Don't delete the Windows 98 partition because it is the "Active" partition, which means it is the partition that is actually booted first, then from there, either 98, XP or Vista is chosen and control is then passed onto the respective partitions. The only exception is if you have the BIOS set to boot from drive 1 instead of the default of drive 0, but I doubt if this is the case. If it were, then that would mean that actually the Vista partition is booted and from there given the menu to 98, XP or continue in Vista? Either way is a possibility, but with one more, different screenshot, we can tell for sure if the 98 partition is the one booted.

Do you know how to get Windows Explorer to show hidden and system files? If so, do that and please make a screenshot of the root of the Windows 98 partition. If you need a better explanation, just say so and you will receive.

I will say once more, however, that no matter what I always recommend having a 100% backup before doing anything.
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Here it is within XP.


  • disk management within xp.jpg
    disk management within xp.jpg
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That's okay. It's common for different installations of Windows on the same computer to show different drive letters under each one. Still the same advice; don't delete Windows 98 yet, and if you can give us the contents of the root of the Windows 98 partition, with showing hidden and system files, then it would help advise you further.
Ok,this is ugly. 98 shows up as the system disk in both cases. That makes me nervous about removing anything from it. Xp and VISTA may have stashed data there. Probably not VISTA, it's smarter than XP, but damaging XP worries me.

Note the active operating system names the partiton it is on as the Boot disk and can re-letter the drive.

I would make an image of the 98 partition before trying anything. If it causes a problem you can restore it.

If you have to do a repair of an XP install you will loose the registry and access to most of your installed programs though their data will be intact.

Removing that 98 partition could be risky or windows may just handle it fine.

Edit your boot.ini files first to remove boot reference to the 98 OS and see how XP and VISTA handle that.

Then it's time to get brave and try and remove 98 (after making an image the partition).
why don't you edit the the boot.ini files to make the Xp the default system? It would just be a matter of setting the default boot, than you could migrate all of the 98 settings over
If wingman411 shows the contents of the Win98 partition, that will tell us what is stashed there. No matter what, it will be no great mystery; there are only a few possibilites. It's well known what files and folders Win 9x, XP and Vista use in order to boot.

In the end I wasn't going to recommend actually deleting the Win98 partition anyway. Once I can tell him exactly what is safe to delete and what he absolutely must not touch, then he can shrink the Win98 partition to a minimal size (I would suggest 512 MB for reasons I will later explain). Then he could expand the XP partition to include the free space that was originally part of the Win98 partition.

But first I have to see the files and folders in just the root of Win98, so I can be very specific as to what files and folders to delete.

why don't you edit the the boot.ini files to make the Xp the default system? It would just be a matter of setting the default boot, than you could migrate all of the 98 settings over

More than likely, Vista is the default since that would've been the most recently installed (under normal circumstances). I would guess he would probably want to keep it that way anyway. He's just wondering if he can get rid of Windows 98 in total. The answer is yes, he can get rid of Windows 98, but not (easily) the partition Win98 that it was on. It could be done, but it's tedious and much more risky, and just isn't worth it just for this.
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here is most of the root of C: windows 98


  • root of C.jpg
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Looks like you installed Windows 98 first after all. Both Windows XP and Vista are storing system boot files on it, and I wouldn't personally know how to change that. Might as well not bother, it's only 8GB.
Are you interested in removing everything you can and shrinking the size of the Win98 partition (giving it to XP)?

In, _KC_ suggested
for a different purpose but you would be able to use this same program to perform the shrinking and expanding portions. I had never used this (I use the commercial product Acronis Disk Director) but taking a look at it's screenshots it looks useable.

You would have to download the .iso CD disc image, burn it to CD, boot from it, run either GParted or VisParted from the CD (either would get the job done), and use either to shrink the Win98 partition and expand the XP partition.

All after, of course, deleting the files from the Win98 partition that are okay to delete.

Also, there are free backup utilities I could direct you to to play things safe. Some are listed here. Again, I haven't used any of these as I use the commercial product Acronis True Image.

I'm really not comfortable telling you to delete files off of Win98 and performing the other operations without a full backup of all three of your OS partitions. Caution is warranted. The only exception is the "WIN386.SWP" file. This is just Windows 98's page file and is absolutely positively safe to delete this at any time that Windows 98 isn't running without any exception. If you ran 98 again it would recreate it, but that's just one gig.

By now you should have a good idea if you want to go through this to recover at least 7.5 GB of the 8 GB partition. What I would do is immaterial.
Here is the boot.ini file in windows 98

;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /FASTDETECT /NoExecute=OptIn
c:\="Microsoft Windows"

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