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Windows XP forum: Dual boot XP / MS-DOS install, partition size, FAT vs NTFS

by: katie alice February 24, 2007 11:10 PM PST

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Dual boot XP / MS-DOS install, partition size, FAT vs NTFS

by katie alice - 2/24/07 11:10 PM

I'm wiping my laptop HD and starting fresh. I want to install DOS and XP, and I've gotten a lot of tips through searching old posts, but I still have a few questions. There wasn't much out there for this particular combination.

First, equipment. I've got a Toshiba Satellite M55 with a 75 GB HD. I'm installing HP Home. I have no floppy drive. I'm also using a 250 GB USB external hard drive for backups and such.

Partitions: What size for each? I was thinking I'd have one for DOS, one for XP and applications, and one for data, although I'm planning to store most of my non-essential data on the external. Is it beneficial to also have a separate partition for the swap file? I read a recommendation in another thread for a 30 GB volume for XP/apps and a 2 GB volume for the swap file with the rest allocated for data, but I didn't find any recommendations for MS-DOS volume size.

FAT / NTFS: I know that I'll need the DOS volume to be FAT and that I'll need to install DOS first. Will the other volumes need to be FAT too, in order for anything there to be accessed by DOS? I think I'm gonna need to save video files >4GB, so that wouldn't work too well. Unless I could have a small partition formatted NTFS just for video files? Once downloaded, most of the files would probably be transferred to the external, but they'll need a temporary home on the internal. Also, it would be ok to format the internal FAT and keep the external NTFS, right? They can work together?

I don't really plan to use DOS much, mostly for emergencies. For instance [back story], next time Windows crashes and will only boot so far as the splash screen before giving me the BSOD, I'd like to have a way to operate this beast. I'd also like to be able to run programs in DOS without Windows unnecessarily hogging all the resources. I miss the option of starting in MS-DOS mode; this would all be unnecessary. I repaired the install to get myself back to partial functionality - just barely enough to copy my files - which in itself was a mess. I'm no longer able to COPY or PASTE or drag-and-drop, so I had to go into the MS-DOS prompt and XCOPY everything. [I love DOS.] From this point forward, obsessive backups.

Also, I'd like to point out that I'm the worst kind of computer user: the kind that always thinks they know what they're doing, and thus tends to screw things up much more than other people. I've done tech support; I know and hate people like me. For that, I apologize, and also if this is too long and over-explained.

So, how shall I proceed?

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