1 Jan 96

Getting the Boot

A computer comes with either DOS and Windows or Windows 95 preinstalled. Just turn the machine on, and they appear. Laptops will hibernate, then start up again the next day exactly where you left off. If disaster strikes and the disk is lost, reinstalling DOS and Windows is not a very complicated process.

An advanced user may add Windows NT, OS/2, or Linux to the machine. With enough disk space it is possible to have all of these operating systems on the same machine. If you are in the Beta program, Microsoft will send advanced copies of various operating systems that also have to be installed somewhere. Each system comes with fairly good instructions for installing it alone, or in combination with Plain Old DOS. None of the documents tie all the systems together, and nobody ever bothers to tell you how to remove the damn thing when you have given up on it.

At some point you have to stop playing around with systems and get some real work done. Generally, this involves running some Suite of Windows programs (Microsoft Office, Lotus Smart Suite, WordPerfect, ...). All of these operating systems will run all of these programs. However, the typical Windows suite dumps up to 40 megabytes of trash in the "Windows System Directory Tree". This includes TrueType Fonts, filters, DLLs, clipart, and other junk. Then they add a zillion lines of OLE, DDE, and other stuff to WIN.INI. If you are keeping multiple copies of Windows around, one for each system, then keeping things straight can be nearly impossible.

Das Boot is The Mother of all Pre-Installation Manuals. Actually, it gets things started and leaves off at the point where the real installation manual should kick in and prove useful. It will help to clarify the initial planning. It carries things through the point where you define or select a partition. It also explains the boot sequences of multiple operating systems, the hidden files, and boot managers.

When done, we will have accumulated a collection of boots that would make Imelda Marcos envious. Click on a section to proceed(starting at the beginning is a good idea):

  1. Hardware Initialization

  2. IDE and SCSI Disks

  3. Partitions and Volumes

  4. File Systems (FAT, HPFS, NTFS)

  5. Planning Windows Applications

  6. DOS System Files

  7. Planning for OS/2

  8. Planning for Windows NT

  9. Planning for Windows 95


Copyright 1995 PC Lube and Tune -- Das Boot -- H. Gilbert