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Download Boot ChoOSer Boot ChoOSer v1.2 download 30K
  Compatibility: runs under any 32-bit Windows (2000, NT, 9x)
  • recommended for use at least one Windows NT or 2000 installation, but can also help you reboot between multiple Windows 9x installations
Price: free

(c) 1996-99 Matt Ginzton, MaDdoG Software
released 6/17/99

Contents of this document:


If you have multiple versions of Windows (2000, NT, or 9x) installed for dual-boot and switch between them regularly, you'll find Boot ChoOSer a must-have. It sits on your taskbar notification area, next to the clock (although it also works with versions of Windows NT lacking a taskbar) and allows you to switch between all installed operating systems with a right click.

Without Boot ChoOSer, switching between operating systems requires being present -- and paying attention -- as your computer reboots, so that you can select the correct OS from NT's boot menu. Set the delay too low, and you might miss it; set it higher, and your computer takes longer to boot. And if you're using an operating system that was not the default at boot time, a computer restart will boot back into the default operating system, which can wreak havoc with installation programs and Windows NT's crash-recovery features.

Without Boot ChoOSer, switching between multiple installations of Windows 9x is not even possible without manual editing of configuration files before you reboot.

With Boot ChoOSer, one click does the work, and your computer will restart into the chosen OS without any further input required. The new OS will remain the default until you again change OS's with Boot ChoOSer (of course, you can still select a different OS at boot time).

Boot ChoOSer features:


Boot ChoOSer runs under any version of Windows 2000, NT or 9x. It will not run under Windows 3.x, as it is a 32-bit program.

To install, right-click the ChooseOS.inf file (its icon is a notebook with a gear on it), then choose Install. Boot ChoOSer will be copied to a new folder in your Program Files folder. A shortcut to it will be created in your Start Menu, in the Startup group. You can uninstall Boot ChoOSer via the Add/Remove Programs control panel.

Now, run Boot ChoOSer from the Startup submenu of the Programs menu. (It will be run automatically every time you start Windows after it is installed, but you haven't started Windows since the install, so you have to start it yourself this once.)


On operating systems with a taskbar (Windows 9x, NT 4.0 or 2000), Boot ChoOSer will show up as a notification icon on your taskbar. Left-click this icon for a list of operating systems you can reboot to. Right-click this icon for other Boot ChoOSer options.

On taskbar-challenged versions of Windows NT, the ChoOSer will show up as a normal minimized icon. Click on this icon, then choose Reboot To and select the operating system to reboot into.

Note that Boot ChoOSer will ask for confirmation before rebooting; to force a reboot without confirmation, hold down the Shift key as you select the operating system to reboot to. If you want to change the default OS for the next reboot without immediately rebooting, hold down the Ctrl key as you select an OS.

Boot ChoOSer works by modifying the "default=" and "timeout=" values in your BOOT.INI file. If you don't want these values changed, don't use Boot ChoOSer.

If you want to change any Boot ChoOSer behavior -- which keys modify its reboot behavior, and what operations require confirmation -- choose Properties from the Boot ChoOSer menu.

Advanced Configuration

Boot ChoOSer builds the menu of available operating systems from the contents of your C:\BOOT.INI file.  Normally Windows 2000 or Windows NT will create and modify this file for you, when you install them, but sometimes you will want to add, delete, or modify OS's listed here.  Boot ChoOSer will not help you with this; it just displays the same menu as NT's boot-time text-mode menu, and lets you choose.

One other time that you will need to edit BOOT.INI is to enable support for booting multiple Windows 9x installations.  (If you don't have any version of Windows 2000 or NT installed, BOOT.INI will probably not exist, and you will need to create a new one, containing only the section described here.)  Add a new section to this file called [Windows 9x installations], and below that, list each Windows 9x directory, in the format directory="display name" (the same as in the [Operating Systems] section).

A sample BOOT.INI, to boot between 3 versions of 2000/NT and 2 versions of Windows 9x, is shown here:

[Boot Loader]

[Operating Systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINNT="Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional" /fastdetect
C:\="Microsoft Windows 95"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00"
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Windows NT Workstation Version 4.00 [VGA mode]" /basevideo /sos

[Windows 9x installations]
C:\WIN-OSR2.IE4=Clean OSR2 install w/IE4 shell
C:\WIN95=Main Win95 install

When Boot ChoOSer sees the [Windows 9x installations] section header, it will replace the entry for C:\ under [Operating Systems] with the entire list from [Windows 9x installations].

Awards Boot ChoOSer has received

Terms and Conditions

Boot ChoOSer is freeware, but if you like it (or if you don't!) please send feedback to one of the email addresses listed in the About... box. Boot ChoOSer is supplied without any warranties, expressed or implied.

Also of interest:

Matt Ginzton /
last modified: 6/17/99