Despite the large number of computers that are accumulating in my home, it still seems that I don’t have enough computers to get my job done. That’s where a cool new product from VCOM comes in: System Commander 2000 allows a PC to use multiple operating systems. In this article, we’ll review System Commander 2000.
The idea of a dual-booting environment isn’t a new one. Early versions of both Windows NT and OS/2 allowed you to boot to another operating system—usually DOS—via a boot menu. While it’s easy to dual boot between Windows NT and Windows 98, it’s much more difficult to dual boot between Windows 95 and Windows 98. What’s even trickier is to establish a multibooting environment with three or more operating systems. System Commander 2000 makes accomplishing this tricky feat look easy. System Commander 2000 is the latest entry in a series of excellent boot-manager programs that have been around for a while. This latest version makes multi-booting easier and safer than ever.
Perhaps the coolest thing about System Commander 2000 is that it’s compatible with any PC-based operating system. For example, you can use System Commander 2000 to switch seamlessly among a total of over one hundred operating systems, including DOS, Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, Windows 2000, OS/2, UNIX, Linux, and many others. Just to help you get started, System Commander 2000 even comes with a free copy of Turbo Linux and a copy of Sun Microsystems’ StarOffice, a Linux and Windows compatible office suite.
When you install System Commander 2000, it automatically detects any operating systems that are already present on your system. Then, it builds a boot menu that features those operating systems. When you’re ready to add another operating system, System Commander 2000 automatically adjusts the size of your partitions to make room for the new operating system on its own partition (if desired). System Commander 2000 can even resize Linux and Windows NT partitions.
If you’ve ever set up a dual-booting environment before, you know that in order for both operating systems to be able to access any given partition, the partition must use a file system that both operating systems can read. It’s still true with System Commander 2000; however, System Commander 2000 gives you a tool that makes this necessity a little less stressful. System Commander 2000 can convert a FAT 32 partition to NTFS or an NTFS partition to FAT 32!
One final aspect of System Commander 2000 that I loved was its built-in safety feature. System Commander 2000 uses something called the Back Step Wizard to monitor changes that you make to your system—even adding or removing operating systems. If you make a mistake, you can use the Back Step Wizard to undo your blunder. This feature is great for those of us who prefer to learn by trial and error rather than through an instruction manual.
I’m very pleased with System Commander 2000. It’s easy to use and very forgiving when I make a mistake. I haven’t found any major negative aspects of this software. If you want to use multiple operating systems on a single PC, I highly recommend that you purchase System Commander 2000.
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Brien M. Posey is an MCSE who works as a freelance technical writer and as a network engineer for the Department of Defense. If you’d like to contact Brien, send him an e-mail. (Because of the large volume of e-mail he receives, it's impossible for him to respond to every message. However, he does read them all.)The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein, but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.