A. Linux has a boot manager called LILO (which is a separate utility), and it will boot Linux on its native EXT2 partition, and any other DOS/WIN bootimages residing on a FAT16 partition. It doesn't really care whether it is dos/win95/NT, it will boot it. So as long as NT is installed on a FAT16 partition, there is no problem with LILO. Apparently the latest Linux kernel has FAT32 support, so that may also be an option as well. Actually Linux supports FAT16 and can mount the FAT16 partition under its filesystem and have all the DOS/WIN files visible if you want it to. An alternative to LILO is Grub which can be downloaded from http://www.uruk.org/~erich/grub .

There is something else called LOADIN, allowing linux to be installed as a MSDOS subdirectory in a DOS/WIN system. This allows Linux to be run as an application after you started DOS. This does not work with NT. This is as Linux needs to run in supervisor mode and not user mode. NT will not yield at all on this. Windows 95 is the same but you can set loadlin to run in Dos mode where it just sees Dos 7 and works fine.

Linux and NT will work even if Windows NT is on NTFS. You need to set in linux fdisk for the Linux drive to be flagged bootable, not NT. Then install lilo and select to boot the linux partition and NT (which will say OS/2 in lilo). This way you can use both NT and Linux and still have a NTFS partition. Lilo must reside on the Linux root sector and not the MBR.

Another method is as follows:

  1. Install NT as per normal
  2. Download the freeware utility, bootpart.exe, from http://www.winimage.com/bootpart.htm
  3. Install Linux, and make sure Lilo is not installed on MBR, but on the boot sector of the linux root partition.
  4. Boot NT
  5. Start a command prompt (cmd.exe)
  6. Run Bootpart.exe, and add the Linux bootsector into the NT-OS loader.(This also works when NT boot partition is NTFS)

You can learn more about it from the Linux documentation project and the FAQ inside. It is mirrored in a large number of locations. This is one of the mirrors ftp://ftp.ox.ac.uk/pub/linux/LDP_WWW/linux.html.