XOSL: A Test Project

By Thiravudh Khoman XOSL or "Extended Operating System Loader" (http://www.xosl.org) is a very capable freeware boot manager written by Geurt Vos of the Netherlands. It has been around for several years now and and is particularly well regarded by the "do-it-yourself" crowd. A year ago, I gave XOSL a "read no docs" try, but quickly ran up against a "wall". Not wishing to spend a lot of time with the program then, and given that Windows 2000's boot manager was doing fine for me, I put XOSL aside for another time. Two weeks ago, I unpacked XOSL again (the program hadn't been updated since I last looked it), and promised myself that I wouldn't put it aside again until I figured out how it worked. What follows are some notes that may prove useful to other XOSL users. The article is separated into two parts: a narrative part that focuses on aspects of design and implementation, and a script part that details (nearly step-by-step) what I actually did. The script parts exist as links off of the main narrative part. The intention was to avoid turning this into a 20 page article, while still retaining the level of detail that a XOSL newcomer might wish to reference. General Features As is generally true of all boot managers, XOSL is a small program. However, it is not so small that it could live entirely in the Master Boot Record (MBR) as do other text-based boot managers. XOSL's graphical interface and the fact that it works hand-in-hand with two other bundled programs - Ranish Partition Manager and Smart Boot Manager - make this all but impossible. It should also be noted that XOSL is operating system (O/S) agnostic. It doesn't run under any O/S (boot managers usually don't), but is nonetheless capable of booting almost any PC-based operating available. In fact, it can boot multiple copies of a single O/S (naturally, one at time!), often from either a primary or a logical partition. It can also boot a particular O/S, while leaving all other installed O/S'es invisible. My Test Project Armed with a Celeron 466 test machine with 128MB RAM and a 10GB hard drive, I designed a system containing the following: Partition Used For Size File System Primary 1 Windows 98 SE 800 MB FAT32 Primary 2 Windows 2000 Pro 1 GB FAT32 -> NTFS Primary 3 Windows XP Pro 1.5 GB FAT32 -> NTFS Primary 4 Extended partition 5 GB not applicable Logical 1 XOSL 16 MB FAT16 Logical 2 Shared data drive 3 GB FAT32 Logical 3 RedHat Linux 9 swap 256 MB not intialized Logical 4 RedHat Linux 9 root 1.5 GB not initialized (Note: FAT32 -> NTFS means that the partition was initially formatted as FAT32, but was converted to NTFS during the the O/S installation phase.) XOSL will be used to produce a boot time menu that allows me to select from either of the four O/S'es (Windows 98/2000/XP, RedHat Linux). When I select any of the Windows O/S'es, the other two will be configured so that they are totally hidden from sight. This means that I will only see a drive C: (the main Windows drive), a drive D: (the shared data drive on Logical 2), and a drive E: (the CD-ROM drive). Why Design It This Way?

The overriding reason for the above design was the need to have a separate partition for each of the four O/S'es, plus a shared data partition. I figured that if I could get this to work, there would be almost no limit to how many O/S'es I could handle short of XOSL's limit of 24 menu items. (By the way, if you're interested in how far this can be taken, I recommend that you read a Maximum PC article of 18-year old Richard Robbins who installed 37 O/S'es onto 6 hard drives with the help of XOSL! Vide: http://www.maximumpc.com/features/feature_2002-09-24.html. Note: The reason why he was able to exceed XOSL's menu item limit was because he 24 installed separate copies of XOSL on different drives and chained between them.) Anyway, with a minimum of five partitions, there was no way for me to avoid using both primary and logical paritions. But first, some background on hard disk partitioning. Unless you resort to non-standard partitioning methods, each hard disk can support only FOUR so-called "primary" partitions. Each of these primary partitions can be made bootable. If you had only one or two operating sytsems, this is probably the most logical place you'd put them - except for the fact that FDISK can only deal with one primary partition and later versions of Windows may create logical partitions even though there's "space" for more primaries. Optionally, one of these four partitions can be a so-called "extended partition" (which would leave you with only three primaries). This extended partition can act as a container that holds any number of so-called "logical" partitions as you have space for. One problem with logical partitions is that certain operating systems (notably Windows) will refuse to install there, nor are they willing to boot from there assuming you found a way to get them there. Fortunately, XOSL IS smart enough to boot such logically-resident Windows for you (albeit a few tricks may be required), and there are several ways to copy Windows from a primary to a logical partition. Incidentally, certain programs or O/S'es such as XOSL itself and Linux CAN be installed AND booted from logical partitions without any fuss. Good for them! One final note. The XOSL documentation actually RECOMMENDS that you install XOSL into an existing DOS drive. I don't exactly agree with this but I think I know why the author chose to recommend this. If you have a pre-existing computer with Windows on it already and NO free space left on your hard disk, a DOS drive is really the only place you can install XOSL. Personally, though, I prefer the advice of Filip Komar who wrote the HOWTO/FAQ on XOSL. He recommends that XOSL be installed into a dedicated area on a logical partition. Doing it this way not only frees up a primary partition that XOSL would otherwise co-opt, but also keeps it separate from any particular O/S installation. This allows those O/S'es to be re-imaged in and out without affecting XOSL. Installation Floppies To perform the installation, you will need two floppy disks. One needs to be bootable to DOS while the other one doesn't - in fact SHOULDN'T - since you'll need as much space as possible on that diskette for backup information. Although you can use most any kind of DOS to create the bootable Floppy #1, I've chosen to format it with Windows 98 SE's DOS because I already had it handy and because I wanted to be able to access FAT32 partitions later when I do some imaging with Norton Ghost. Also, Floppy #1 needs to have CD-ROM support. I'm using Oak Technology's generic CD- ROM driver and MSCDEX.EXE with my CD drive mapped to drive X:, a drive letter high enough so that it wouldn't get interleaved with any hard disk letters that might get created. Basically, this is what my two diskettes contained (see detailed notes 1): Floppy #1 • Bootable with CD-ROM support • FDISK.EXE (from Windows 98 SE) • Ranish Partition Manager v2.40 ("Partman") Floppy #2

• Not bootable • COMMAND.COM (from Floppy #1) • XOSL v1.1.5 (without any of the documentation files) (In case you're wondering why COMMAND.COM is on Floppy #2 if it doesn't need to be bootable, it's there to avoid error messages that occur when you exit Partman and DOS is unable to reload COMMAND.COM.) XOSL v1.1.5 comes integrated with Ranish Partition Manager v2.38 beta 1, but I've chosen to download and use a standalone version anyway for the early setup tasks. You can get it from http://www.ranish.com/part. Meanwhile, you can get XOSL v1.1.5 from http://www.xosl.org (click the "Download" link on the left side). (Note: As indicated earlier, XOSL is freeware, while Partman is "shareware". For individuals and academic users, you are allowed to "try" Partman for a period of 10 years before you are required to buy it for $10 per household, classroom, or department. Or if you're a poor student, you can register it simply by sending Mikhail Ranish a postcard of your college.) Partitioning and Formatting For simplicity's sake, I'm going to perform this test on a clean/blank hard disk. I'd recommend that you NOT (repeat, NOT) experiment with this kind of thing on a production hard disk until you're more experienced and have a working backup of your installation first. What we're going to do is to create all of the partitions I defined in the previous table, and then we're going to format most but not all of the partitions. To start out, I booted with Floppy #1 and then ran: FDISK /MBR. This is the only time I'm going to use FDISK. Also, if you've always thought that FDISK was a difficult program to use, get ready for something 10 times worse! Introducing, Ranish Partman (figure 1). Aargh! This, dear readers, is where I died the first time I tried XOSL. At this point, I would recommend that you go through my detailed notes and "play along" using PART0SIM (Partman's non-destructive simulator) if you don't have a spare drive to experiment with. This was not copied to Floppy #1, so you'll need to play with it on your hard disk wherever you extracted PART240.ZIP. Don't worry, the simulator won't do any harm to your hard disk, but be careful that you're not using the REAL PART.EXE program by mistake!!! The first time you run PART0SIM, it will create a simulation data file. You will need to edit the DISK_SIM.CFG file so that it matches (or at least approximates) the hard disk I'm using. Specifically, change the 4th line from the top so that the # cylinders and the # of heads matches what you see below. Also, comment out the 5th line with a # sign. This refers to a 2nd hard disk, which I don't have.
# Disk simulation configuration file # # Cylinders Heads Sectors DiskFileName 1245 255 63 disk_sim.x80 # 24 16 63 disk_sim.x81 # ??? 16 63 disk_sim.x82

If you DO have a spare drive to experiment with, you may as well run PART.EXE from Floppy #1 as I'm doing. Okay, you can start reading my detailed notes 2 now, but please return here when you're done. If all went well, congratulations are in order. Hopefully too, your Partman screen looks something like this (figure 2 - note: this screenshot may be slightly different because I used the Partman simulator). You've just created and formatted a bunch of partitions using the powerful, but admittedly user-unfriendly Partman program! Actually, having used Partman so much these past few weeks, I'm beginning to like it more and more. A related note. As general rule, I believe that you should only partition/format your hard disk with enough space to meet your medium term needs. With smaller hard disks, this may mean using every iota of disk space. But if you have one of those newer 40+GB hard disks, you might

consider leaving what you don't foresee needing as free space, to be used for future contingencies. Installing and Configuring XOSL It's now time to install XOSL. But before we get to that, it's a good idea to reboot to Floppy we #1 to make sure all of the partitioning work we did is recognized by the system. After you've rebooted Floppy #1, remove it, insert Floppy #2, and then type: INSTALL. Installing XOSL isn't terribly involved and in fact, the only thing that needs special attention is to make sure that XOSL gets installed into the correct partition (i.e. our 16MB FAT16 logical partition). Again, it's time to head to my detailed notes 3. Very soon after rebooting, you will be greeted with XOSL's startup screen, which at this stage will be rather bare because we haven't configured any menu items yet. We'll be doing that next. Please read my detailed notes 4 and return here when you're finished. A few notes before we continue: • Because we wanted all 3 Windows O/S'es to be able to see and use the shared data drive (HD0 logical Microsoft FAT32 3000) we never hid it. • Windows has no built-in capability to access Linux partitions. Conversely, Linux can access Windows partitions as long as they're not hidden. • Because our Windows 98 CD is not bootable, we will be using the Boot to Floppy boot item to install Windows 98 • On the other hand, our Windows 2000 and Windows XP CD's ARE bootable, so we will be using the Boot to CD option to install those two O/S'es. Before we use them, though, we will need to re-adjust the hiding properties so that the correct partitions are being hidden. • An interesting side-effect of using XOSL: if you have your computer's CMOS set to boot to the hard drive before the floppy drive, you can still use the Boot to Floppy boot option to actually boot a floppy disk. Neat! • Similarly, if your computer does not have BIOS support for booting to an ATAPI CDROM drive or if you have it set to boot to your hard disk first, you could still use the Boot to CD menu item to boot to a CD. Double neat! • In truth, XOSL has no built-ability to boot a CD. Instead, it relies on Smart Boot Manager (a separate boot manager that XOSL chains to) to do this. Installing Windows 98 The secret to partition hiding under any kind of Windows is to always boot into XOSL first and then to let XOSL handle any secondary booting (i.e. to a hard disk partition, a floppy or a CD), with the appropriate "hiding rules" in place. It is important that the installing O/S sees that no prior drive C: exists. Not surprisingly, booting directly from a floppy or a CD will moot XOSL's partition hiding and will make visible any partitions not previously hidden during the last session. The strategy for installing our non-bootable Windows 98 SE CD is therefore: a) to boot into XOSL first, b) to ask XOSL to Boot to Floppy with our Floppy #1 inserted, c) to run CDROM.BAT to load the CD-ROM redirector, and d) to run SETUP.EXE from the Windows 98 CD which will guide you through the usual installation routine. The exact steps taken are described in my detailed notes 5. It's important to realize that our Boot to Floppy boot item is not generic. Rather, we had preconfigured it for our specific Windows 98 installation scenario only. If we were to install another operating system, we would need to reconfigure what partitions to hide or make visible when this menu item is selected. Installing Windows 2000 The strategy for installing our bootable Windows 2000 CD is: a) to boot into XOSL first and then b) to ask XOSL to Boot to CD with our Windows 2000 CD inserted, after which the usual

Windows 2000 installation sequence will unfold. The exact steps taken are described in my detailed notes 6. As with the above, our Boot to CD boot item is not generic but rather configured specifically for our Windows 2000 installation scenario. We will need to change it before we do our Windows XP installation. Installing Windows XP The strategy for installing our bootable Windows XP CD is nearly identical to Windows 2000: a) boot into XOSL first and then b) ask XOSL to Boot to CD with our Windows XP CD inserted, after which the usual Windows XP installation sequence will proceed. But before we do this, we absolutely need to change the hiding settings for our Boot to CD menu item first, since it currently hides the Windows 98 and XP partitions. It needs to be changed so that the Windows 98 and 2000 partitions are now hidden. As usual, the exact steps taken are in my detailed notes 7. Installing RedHat Linux After all the acrobatics we had to go through to get multiple copies of Windows to co-exist, you're going to love Linux. Like XOSL, Linux has no qualms about being installed into or booting from a logical partition. Again, my detailed notes 8 describe the steps I took to install it. If you chanced to revisit Partman after we finished installing RedHat Linux, you will notice that the 2 partitions that we had previously created for Linux have now been replaced by 3 partitions: a swap partition and 2 native partitions (i.e. / and /boot). This happened because we allowed RedHat's installation program to perform automatic re-partitioning. One minor shortcoming of XOSL, you may have noticed, is that it isn't able to boot into Linux directly. Rather, it must boot through a Linux- type boot loader such GRUB or LILO first. You can reduce the lingering effects of GRUB or LILO by reducing their delay times, but of course, they'll still be loaded (and unloaded). Further XOSL Customizing There are a number of settings in the Setup and Preference areas that can be tweaked to improve its operation or appearance. I've run through the ones I feel to be the most important/useful in my detailed notes 9. A caveat. If your XOSL boot menu is being designed for end-users, you should definitely password protect the Setup and Preference buttons (which will password protect the Ranish Partman hotkey as well, thank-you). In addition, you may wish to password protect the Boot to Floppy and Boot to CD items too - either that or consider deleting them entirely. They're mainly used during boot-type software installation and can be recreated without much difficulty anyway. And a final note. The built-in Ranish Partman can be accessed from the XOSL main screen by pressing ctrl-P. This is version 2.38 beta 1 versus the v2.40 for the standalone version that we used on Floppy #1 - but it's close enough. Very often, you'll find it more convenient to use this copy of Partman for partition fine-tuning/rebuilding. Pending There are still two pending areas of discussion that I haven't gotten to yet (translation: I haven't written them yet or don't know quite how to do them yet): • Backing up and restoring partitions • Installing to and booting from logical partitions These will be added later, either as update notes or as part of the main article. Please check Wobble's main page for news about this.

1) Installation Floppies Floppy #1: COMMAND.COM - part of Windows 98 SE DOS DRVSPACE.BIN - part of Windows 98 SE DOS AUTOEXEC.BAT - 0 byte file so that DOS doesn't prompt for date/time CONFIG.SYS - see below HIMEM.SYS - used in CONFIG.SYS OAKCDROM.SYS - generic CD-ROM driver FDISK.EXE - disk partitioner, part of Windows 98 SE DOS CDROM.BAT - batch file to execute MSCDEX.EXE; see below MSCDEX.EXE - standard CD-ROM redirector PART.EXE - the Partman program itself CWSDPMI.EXE - part of Partman You can get a head start on creating Floppy #1 by going to: Start > Settings > Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs > Startup Disk tab > Create Disk button under a previously installed Windows 98. Then, delete the files you don't see above and copy or download MSCDEX.EXE from somewhere (all CD-ROM driver diskettes should have it). Also, edit CONFIG.SYS and create CDROM.BAT so that it matches mine (or something to that effect if you know what you're doing). This is what my CONFIG.SYS file looks like: DEVICE=HIMEM.SYS /TESTMEM:OFF DEVICE=OAKCDROM.SYS /D:MSCD001 DOS=HIGH,UMB FILES=40 BUFFERS=40 STACKS=9,256 SHELL=COMMAND.COM /P /E:1024 and this is what my CDROM.BAT file looks like: MSCDEX /D:MSCD001 /L:X Why didn't I put this into AUTOEXEC.BAT? Simple, we will use it so rarely and it will save a few seconds on every reboot to keep to separate. Next, create a 0 byte AUTOEXEC.BAT by doing this: COPY CON: AUTOEXEC.BAT ^Z (i.e. press ctrl-Z) Finally, download and extract PART240.ZIP to your hard disk and copy only PART.EXE and CWSDPMI.EXE to Floppy #1. Floppy #2: All of these files except for COMMAND.COM (which came from Floppy #1) came from the XOSL\ directory where XOSL was extracted: COMMAND.COM - prevents "COMMAND.COM not found" type errors INSTALL.EXE - Partman installation program CURR_MBR.XCF - part of Partman DEFAULT.MBR - part of Partman DEFAULT.XFF - part of Partman EXTRA.XFF - part of Partman IPL06.BIN - part of Partman IPL06LBA.BIN - part of Partman IPL0B.BIN - part of Partman IPL0BLBA.BIN - part of Partman IPLS.BIN - part of Partman IPLSLBA.BIN - part of Partman

SBMINST.EXE - part of Partman SPLASHLG.XBF - part of Partman XOSLIMG0.XXF - part of Partman XOSLIMG1.XXF - part of Partman XOSLIMG2.XXF - part of Partman XOSLIMG3.XXF - part of Partman XOSLIMG4.XXF - part of Partman XOSLIMG5.XXF - part of Partman XOSLLOAD.XCF - part of Partman XOSLLOGO.XBF - part of Partman XOSLWALL.XBF - part of Partman XRPART00.XXF - part of Partman XRPART01.XXF - part of Partman NOTES.TXT - can be deleted GPL.TXT - can be delete 2) Partitioning/Formatting • Boot from Floppy #1 • Run: fdisk /mbr to reinitialize the MBR • Run: part (i.e. Ranish Partition Manager) • If any partitions still exist, delete them by pointing to the partition entry and pressing the Del key. Don't worry, you can't delete the MBR. • When you're finished, only one entry should remain: MBR Master Boot Record and 0 the cursor should be on 1 Pri Unused • Press F2 to save your deletions • We'll now create the Windows 98 SE partition • Press Enter, choose FAT-32, back space and enter a value of 800000. We're creating an 800MB partition for Windows 98. • Select Save later • Press B to make this partition bootable/the active partition. We're only doing this to eliminate some of Partman's warnings - actuallyXOSL will change this later so it's not , really necessary. A > will appear. • Cursor to the right until you get to the Ending Head column. Change or make sure this number is 254. We're doing so that the partition boundaries are set correctly (a minor problem in Partman). • Move down and back to to 3 Pri Unused • We'll now create the Windows 2000 partition • Press Enter, choose FAT-32, back space and enter a value of 1000000. We're creating a 1GB partition for Windows 2000. Later, this FAT32 file system will be converted to NTFS when we perform the Windows 2000 install. • Select Save later • Change the Ending Head to 254 as was previously done • Move down and back to to 4 Pri Unused • We'll now create the Windows XP partition • Press Enter, choose FAT-32, back space and enter a value of 1500000. We're creating a 1.5GB partition for Windows XP. Later, this FAT32 file system will be converted to NTFS when we perform the Windows XP install. • Select Save later

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Change the Ending Head to 254 as was previously done Move down and back to to 5 Pri Unused We'll now create an Extended partition Press Enter, choose Extended, and accept all of the remaining space Select Save later Move down and back to to 6 Log Unused We'll now create a dedicated partition for XOSL Press Enter, choose FAT16, and back space and enter a value of 16000. We're creating a 16MB partition for XOSL. Select Save later Move down and back to to 7 Log Unused We'll now create a data partition for all 3 Windows to share Press Enter, choose FAT32, and back space and enter a value of 3000000. We're creating a 3GB shared data partition. Select Save later Move down and back to to 9 Log Unused (noticed that 8 was skipped) We'll now create a Linux swap partition Press Enter, choose Linux swap, and back space and enter a value of 256000. We're creating a 256MB swap partition for Linux (i.e. 2X of RAM = 2 x 128MB = 256MB). Select Save later Move down and back to to 11 Log Unused (again, 10 was skipped) We'll now create a Linux root partition Press Enter, choose Linux, and accept all of the remaining space Select Save later Now's a good time to save your work. Press A message will appear informing you of F2. this fact. It's time to format the partitions. Partman has the ability to format certain types of partitions only, such as FAT16 and FAT32, but not NTFS. Also, it can format a Linux ext2 file system, but not the newer ext3. Move the cursor up to the Windows 98 partition: 1 Pri Windows FAT-32 Press F and confirm to proceed with the formatting Move the cursor down to the Windows 2000 partition: 2 Pri Windows FAT-32 Press F and confirm to proceed with the formatting Move the cursor down to the Windows XP partition: 3 Pri Windows FAT-32 Press F and confirm to proceed with the formatting Move the cursor down to XOSL partition: 6 Log DOS FAT-16 Press F and confirm to proceed with the formatting Move the cursor down to the shared partition: 8 Log Windows FAT-32 Press F and confirm to proceed with the formatting We'll leave the Linux partitions for Linux to format, since Partman can't format ext3 anyway. Press F2 to save again for good measure Then press Esc so that we can finally "escape" from Partman

3) Installing XOSL • Leave Floppy #1 in the drive and then reboot • After rebooting, remove Floppy #1 and insert Floppy #2

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Type: install Choose Install XOSL and then Install on a Dedicated Partition Change the video mode if you wish (press + or -). I used 800x600. Slowly cursor down until the cursor turns into a black bar Press + until you see the entry HD0 log Microsoft FAT16 7. This is where we want to install XOSL - in the 16MB logical partition that we prepared for it. Cursor down to Start Installation and then press Enter In a few seconds, you will be prompted about the installation of Smart Boot Manager Accept all the defaults and answer Y when prompted In about a minute, the installation will be complete Remove Floppy #2 and choose Reboot system

4) Configuring XOSL • After rebooting, XOSL's main screen will soon appear, albeit rather empty • We now will populate it with boot/menu entries • Click the Setup button • On the next screen, click the Add button • Choose HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 776 (776 = 800MB) • Change the Boot item name to Windows 98 SE • Then click the Apply button • Click the Add button again • Choose HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 972 (972 = 1GB) • Change the Boot item name to Windows 2000 Pro • Then click the Apply button • Click the Add button again • Choose HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 1459 (1459 = 1.5GB) • Change the Boot item name to Windows XP Pro • Then click the Apply button • Click the Add button again • Choose HD0 logical Linux Native 3380 (3380 = 3.4GB) • Change the Boot item name to RedHat Linux 9 • Then click the Apply button • Click the Add button again • Choose FD0 floppy Boot Floppy 0 • Change the Boot item name to Boot to Floppy • Then click the Apply button • Click the Add button again • Choose HD0 loader Smart Boot Manager 0 • Change the Boot item name to Boot to CD • Then click the Apply button • Click the Move up and/or Move down buttons to re-arrange the order of the menu items as desired • Click the Save button and then respond OK • Next we have to instruct XOSL which partitions to hide when each partition is booted • Highlight Windows 98 SE and click the Hiding button • When booting Windows 98 SE, we want to hide both the Windows 2000 and Windows XP partitions

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Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 972 and check the Hide box Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 1459 and check the Hide box Note that the hidden partitions have now been greyed out Click the Apply button Highlight Windows 2000 Pro and click the Hiding button When booting Windows 2000 Pro, we want to hide both the Windows 98 and the Windows XP partitions Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 776 and check the Hide box Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 1459 and check the Hide box Note that the hidden partitions have now been greyed out Click the Apply button Highlight Windows XP Pro and click the Hiding button When booting Windows XP Pro, we want to hide both the Windows 98 and the Windows 2000 partitions Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 776 and check the Hide box Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 972 and check the Hide box Note that the hidden partitions have now been greyed out Click the Apply button Highlight Boot to Floppy and click the Hiding button We will be using this to install Windows 98, so we want to hide the Windows 2000 and Windows XP partitions when we use this Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 972 and check the Hide box Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 1459 and check the Hide box Note that the hidden partitions have now been greyed out Click the Apply button Highlight Boot to CD and click the Hiding button We will be using this to install Windows 2000 first (and Windows XP afterwards). For now, we want to hide the Windows 98 and Windows XP partitions when installing. Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 776 and check the Hide box Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 1459 and check the Hide box Note that the hidden partitions have now been greyed out Click the Apply button Click the Save button and then respond OK Click the Close button

5) Installing Windows 98 SE • Upon returning to the XOSL main screen, the menu items we created will now be displayed. Of course, many of these won't work because we haven't installed Windows or Linux yet. • Because our Windows 98 SE CD is unbootable, we need to boot to a floppy first • Insert the Windows 98 SE CD and Floppy #1 and wait 3-5 seconds before proceeding • Select the Boot to Floppy menu item and click the Boot button • After the floppy disk has booted, change drives/directories to where Windows 98's SETUP.EXE file is located • Remove Floppy #1 • Run: setup • Proceed with the usual Windows 98 installation

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After several reboots, a login window will appear. Login as anything you wish (it doesn't matter with Windows 98). Once you're inside Windows and there's no more disk activity, remove the Windows 98 CD Unfortunately, Windows 98 overwrote XOSL and we now have to restore it Do a manual reboot into Floppy #1. Replace Floppy #1 with Floppy #2. Run: install Select: Restore XOSL and then Restore on a dedicated partition Press + until HD0 log XOSL FS 7 is highlighted Cursor down to Start restore and press Enter. The restore occurs almost instantaneously. Select: Reboot system Before the reboot process starts, remove Floppy #2 XOSL is back! Time to test if our Windows 98 installation is working properly From the XOSL main page, select: Windows 98 SE and click the Boot button Run Windows Explorer and confirm that Windows 98 can only see 3 drives: C:, D: (the shared partition), E: (the CD drive) While you're there, right-click the C: drive, choose Properties, and give drive C: a name - e.g. Win98 Also, right-click the D: drive, choose Properties, and give D: a name as well - e.g. Shared Press F5 to refresh the screen Do a manual restart We're all finished with Windows 98 SE. 1 down, 3 O/ S'es to go.

6) Installing Windows 2000 Pro • If necessary, reboot to the XOSL main screen, making sure that there are no floppies or CD's in the drives. • Unlike our Windows 98 SE CD, our Windows 2000 Pro CD IS bootable • Insert the Windows 2000 CD and wait 3-5 seconds before proceeding • Select the Boot to CD menu item and click the Boot button • Because XOSL is incapable of directly booting CD's, it will take you to something called the Smart Boot Manager which CAN • Displayed will be a text based boot screen • Cursor down to the last item on the page, which is D CD 0 NONE CD-ROM and then press Enter • If you get prompted to save the changes, answer Y and press Enter. You will only be asked this the first time you use Smart Boot Manager (SBM) as confirmation that you accept the devices found when SBM scanned the system. • Proceed with the usual Windows 2000 installation • When you reach the screen where you are asked where to install Windows 2000, note that the Windows 98 and Windows XP partitions are marked as Inactive. Meanwhile, the intended partition for your Windows 2000 should be designated as C:. If not, then there was probably an error in your hiding schema, in which case you should abort the installation and return to XOSL to check that the Boot to CD hiding settings are correct. • Once everything is correct, choose to install in drive C:.

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Choose to format the partition as NTFS. Windows 2000 will convert the existing FAT32 file system to NTFS for you. At the end of the installation, a Completing the Windows 2000 Setup Wizard screen appears. Remove the Windows 2000 CD and click Finish to reboot. After rebooting, a Network Identification Wizard will appear, followed by a login window Once you're inside, do a manual restart Again, Windows has managed to trash XOSL and we now have to restore it Do a manual reboot into Floppy #1. Replace Floppy #1 with Floppy #2. Run: install Select: Restore XOSL and then Restore on a dedicated partition Press + until HD0 log XOSL FS 7 is highlighted Cursor down to Start restore and press Enter. The restore occurs almost instantaneously. Select: Reboot system Before the reboot process starts, remove Floppy #2 XOSL is back! Time to test if our Windows 2000 installation is working properly From the XOSL main page, select: Windows 2000 Pro and click the Boot button Run Windows Explorer and confirm that Windows 2000 can only see 3 drives: C:, D: (the shared partition), E: (the CD drive) While you're there, right-click the C: drive, choose Properties, and give drive C: a name - e.g. Win2K Press F5 to refresh the screen Do a manual restart We're all finished with Windows 2000 Pro. 2 down, 2 O/ S'es to go.

7) Installing Windows XP Pro • If necessary, reboot to the XOSL main screen, making sure that there are no floppies or CD's in the drives • Before proceeding further, the Boot to CD menu item needs to be modified so that the Windows 98 and 2000 partitions are hidden • Click the Setup button • Highlight Boot to CD and click the Hiding button • Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 776 and confirm that the Hide box is checked • Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 972 and check the Hide box • Highlight HD0 Primary Microsoft FAT32 1459 and uncheck the Hide box • Note that the hidden partitions have now been greyed out • Click the Apply button • Click the Save button and then respond OK • Click the Close button • Unlike our Windows 98 SE CD, our Windows XP Pro CD IS bootable • Insert the Windows XP CD and wait 3-5 seconds before proceeding • Select the Boot to CD menu item and click the Boot button • XOSL will take you to the Smart Boot Manager screen we saw during the Windows 2000 installation • Cursor down to the last item on the page, which is D CD 0 NONE CD-ROM and then press Enter

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Proceed with the usual Windows XP installation When you reach the screen where you are asked where to install Windows XP, note that the Windows 98 and Windows 2000 partitions are marked as Inactive. Meanwhile, the intended partition for your Windows XP should be designated as C:. If not, then there was probably an error in your hiding schema, in which case you should abort the installation and return to XOSL to check that the Boot to CD hiding settings are correct. Once everything is correct, choose to install in drive C:. Choose to format the partition as NTFS. Windows XP will convert the existing FAT32 file system to NTFS for you. Several reboots will follow. Once Windows XP has finished installing itself, do a manual restart. Once again, Windows has managed to trash XOSL and we now have to restore it Do a manual reboot into Floppy #1. Replace Floppy #1 with Floppy #2. Run: install Select: Restore XOSL and then Restore on a dedicated partition Press + until HD0 log XOSL FS 7 is highlighted Cursor down to Start restore and press Enter. The restore occurs almost instantaneously. Select: Reboot system Before the reboot process starts, remove Floppy #2 XOSL is back! Time to test if our Windows XP installation is working properly From the XOSL main page, select: Windows XP Pro and click the Boot button Run Windows Explorer and confirm that Windows XP can only see 3 drives: C:, D: (the shared partition), E: (the CD drive) While you're there, right-click the C: drive, choose Properties, and give drive C: a name - e.g. WinXP Press F5 to refresh the screen Do a manual restart We're all finished with Windows XP Pro. 3 down, 1 O/S to go.

8) Installing RedHat Linux 9 • If necessary, reboot to the XOSL main screen, making sure that there are no floppies or CD's in the drives • Insert the Linux #1 CD and wait 3-5 seconds before proceeding • Select the Boot to CD menu item and click the Boot button • XOSL will take you to the Smart Boot Manager screen we saw during the Windows 2000 and XP installations • Cursor down to the last item on the page, which is D CD 0 NONE CD-ROM and then press Enter • Proceed with the usual Linux installation • When you reach the partitioning screens, tell Linux that you want it to perform automatic Linux partitions that it wishes (byepartitioning and that it's free to remove any existing bye to the two Linux partitions that we created with Partman) • On the next screen, check the box next to Configure advanced boot loader options. This is VERY IMPORTANT. DON'T miss it!

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On the next screen, you will be asked where you want to put the boot loader (GRUB). Choose to save it to the First sector of the boot partition, NOT in the Master Boot Record (MBR). This too is VERY IMPORTANT and must not be missed! Continue with the Linux installation After a CD swap or two, Linux will eject the CD and inform you that it has finished the installation and is ready to do a reboot Remove the CD Rejoice dear friends, because unlike Windows, Linux doesn't overwrite XOSL! Thus, no restore is necessary. However, because we allowed RedHat Linux to create its own new Linux partitions, we're going to have to go into XOSL setup again and match up the Linux menu item with the new/correct partition. From the XOSL main screen, click the Setup button Highlight the RedHat Linux 9 menu item and click the Edit button Peruse the logical partitions and look for a Linux native type partition. Look for the one with the smallest size. This will be Linux's /boot partition. Choose this as the partition to boot when the RedHat Linux 9 menu item is selectd. With RedHat Linux 9 still highlighted, also make sure the check box near Disabled is unchecked While we're here, we should set the "hiding" parameters Click the Hiding button Next, make sure that the Windows 98, 2000 and XP partitions are the only ones hidden. This will insure that Linux too can access the shared data drive. Click the Save button and then respond OK Click the Close button Time to test if our RedHat Linux installation is working properly From the XOSL main page, select: RedHat Linux 9 and click the Boot button You'll soon be presented with the GRUB boot loader screen Press Enter or let it timeout and load Linux Once you're inside Linux, you might want to edit /etc/grub.conf so that the delay time isn't so long. We're all finished with RedHat Linux 9. 4 down and we're all done!

9) Further XOSL Customizing From the XOSL main screen, click the Preference button: • Graphics > Use wallpaper - this uses a dark background which helps the XOSL main screen stand out. Unfortunately, there's only one wallpaper. • Color - teal is my preferred color scheme, but I'm visually conservative • Password - password-protects access to Setup, Preference, and the built-in Ranish Partman. From the XOSL main screen, click the Setup button: • Default boot item, timeout - automatically runs a given menu selection after a timeout period, without showing the main XOSL screen • Password - password-protects the menu items, on an item by item basis. • Keys - allows you to pass keystrokes to the selected menu item. This is most useful when combined with the Boot to CD option. For example, you can pass 6 down arrows and an Enter keypress to Smart Boot Manager, which will then automatically select the boot CD-ROM entry without any user intervention.

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