Understanding MultiBooting
and Booting Windows from an Extended Partition

by Dan Goodell
Introduction Partitions The MBR Principles Tools Imaging Restoring Partition Table Win98 LBA Boot.ini Partition Sigs Boot Mgr Appendix
Useful Tools for Our Project

Not all of these tools are absolutely essential, especially for less involved configurations, but they do make the work easier. This table lists the tools we'll use, as well as similar alternatives.

Note none of these requires execution from within Windows. As a rule, it is always safest to work on partitions when you are not booted into them! It amazes me how this intuitively simple concept seems to escape many people, and can only shake my head when they demand Windows programs to do partition work.

Software Tool Some Alternatives
Windows 98 Startup Disk
(boot floppy with CD support)
www.bootdisk.com is a great source of bootdisk images.
Just make sure you get one with CD support or you won't be able to install your OS's.
PowerQuest PartitionMagic 8.01
(to create/delete/resize partitions)
Gnome Partition Editor, (free, self-bootable CD)
(GPartEd also available on Parted Magic CD and SystemRescueCD)
TeraByte Bootit-NG (boot manager with partition management functions)
Acronis Disk Director (self-bootable CD)
V-Com Partition Commander
Ranish Partition Manager, (free, but limited support for NTFS partitions)
Zeleps Partition Resizer (free, but limited support for NTFS partitions)
PowerQuest DriveImage 2002
(to create image of a partition)

(product no longer available)
TeraByte Image
TeraByte Bootit-NG (boot manager that includes Image function)
Savepart (free, with some good features)
Acronis True Image (self-bootable CD)
Ghost 2003 (product no longer available--Ghost 9/10 cannot create images from outside Windows)
PowerQuest ptedit.exe
(partition table and boot record editor)
ptedit.zip is a free download from PowerQuest.
There really is no reason to use anything else (see below **).
TeraByte editbini.exe
(editor for NTFS boot.ini files)
Any text editor will do - if you can get to the boot.ini file (not always easy if NTFS partition).
Editbini.zip is a free download from www.terabyteunlimited.com and works great on NTFS.
PTS Disk Editor - de.exe
(disk editor)
Norton Diskedit is great if you have it, or download PTS Disk Editor, a good free diskedit clone.
XOSL 1.15
(free and versatile boot manager)
TeraByte Bootit-NG (just as versatile, more bells and whistles, but not free)
GAG Graphical Boot Manager (also freeware)
V-Com System Commander
PowerQuest BootMagic (bundled with PartitionMagic)

Of course, you must also have the CDs to install each operating system.

While the PowerQuest products are typically installed on a Windows system, we need to use them outside of Windows. If you already have PartitionMagic or DriveImage installed, find the menu option for making rescue floppies if you also need a floppy boot disk. If you don't need another boot disk, you can also make floppies by directly copying files from the PartitionMagic or DriveImage CD. Copy the following files:

essential files:
essential files:
PartitionMagic 8.0 CD location:
DriveImage 2002 CD location:

The CD location may not be the same on different versions of the programs. Note: the file ptedit.exe can also be found in the \utility\dos directory on either CD.

** Warning: older versions of ptedit.exe cannot edit the boot record of hidden NTFS partitions. There are several versions of ptedit.exe that identify themselves as "Version 1.0", so check the file date. Versions prior to the 10/22/1999 version (filesize 494,922 bytes) reportedly have this bug. If you are using an older version (and note PowerQuest has not updated their ftp site as of this writing), the solution to editing hidden NTFS boot records is unbelievably simple: use ptedit.exe to change the partition type from "17" (hidden NTFS) to "07" (regular NTFS), then edit the boot record, then change the partition type back to "17".

author: Dan Goodell, ©2003-2007