When Windows 2000 Professional debuted, I created a dual-boot configuration with Win2K Pro and Windows NT 4.0. I've always had problems with NT 4.0, but Win2K Pro has been good to me, so I want to uninstall NT. However, I think that shared files exist, and I'm afraid that if I uninstall NT, I might mess up both OSs. Do you have any suggestions?

To make the removal as clean as possible, I recommend that you first boot into NT 4.0 and use the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet to uninstall all applications under your NT installation that you aren't using and don't plan to use under Win2K. (The OSs likely share the same \program files folder, so you might not be able to determine at a glance which applications in that folder were installed under which OS.) This step minimizes the amount of disk space wasted by unnecessary applications left over from your NT 4.0 installation.

Then, all you need to do to uninstall NT is remove the NT 4.0 installation folder (e.g., \winnt, \winnt4—be sure that you remove the correct folder) and all its subdirectories. Because your two OSs reside in different installation folders and aren't inherently connected, this removal should have no effect whatsoever on your Win2K installation.

Boot into Win2K, and remove the NT 4.0 installation folder. Next, manually edit the boot.ini file in the root of the system partition (e.g., the C drive) to remove the line or lines referring to NT 4.0. (Typically, you'll find two lines: one for the regular boot and one for the VGA Mode—only boot option.) To view and edit boot.ini, you first need to open Windows Explorer and navigate to the root directory. Select Tools, Folder Options from the menu bar, and go to the View tab, which Figure 2 shows. Select the Show hidden files and folders option and clear the Hide protected operating system files option, click Reset All Folders, then click OK. You should then be able to view the boot.ini file in Windows Explorer. If the file is read-only, right-click it, choose Properties, and clear the Read-only attribute.

If you originally set NT 4.0 as your default startup OS, you need to change this default to Win2K Pro. You can make this change directly within boot.ini, or you can use the Control Panel System applet. Go to the Advanced tab, and click Startup and Recovery. Select Win2K Pro from the Default operating system drop-down list under the System startup section. Click OK, then click OK again to save this change.