System Commander 2000

SC2000's healthy 160-page manual explains how it does the job. The program analyses your current system and creates a separate bootable partition for each OS you want to add. SC2000 then replaces the original master boot record with its own version, to give you the choice of how to boot your PC. (The old MBR is saved to allow an uninstall, which worked fine when tested.) When the PC is started, SC2000 looks at each disk's partition table and collects information about each OS installed. When you select the OS, SC2000 moves any startup files into place and loads the OS's boot record. The OS is launched and SC2000 high-tails it out of memory until the next boot.

New features in this version of System Commander are an improved OS Wizard, graphical partition management, and an undo wizard.

The OS Wizard asks you a few questions about which OS you want to install, then analyses your PC and makes recommendations as to where and into what size partition your installation could proceed. You can override the recommendations if you like, such as increasing the partition size.

There is a wealth of information in the manual about all manner of upgrade permutations (e.g., keeping Windows NT 3.x and adding NT 4) and the limitations of different OSs. For example, the Windows 95/98 bootup portion (at least 20MB) must be installed in a primary partition on the first physical drive, while the balance can go elsewhere.

SC2000's partitioning manager provides a powerful way to view and change your system's primary and logical partitions. It is a simple process to select a partition and resize, move or delete it, or convert its file system (e.g., FAT16 to FAT32).

The BackStep Wizard allows you to undo previous automatic and manual partitioning tasks. It has some functional caveats but, generally, if you use the OS Wizard to prepare for a new isolated OS, the BackStep Wizard will remove the OS and undo any partition changes.

The Linux experiment

Riding on the Linux bandwagon, V-Com has included a copy of TurboLinux with SC2000, and I think they'll sell quite a few copies on this bundling arrangement alone. It is one thing to bet the house on a whole new operating system; it is another to have an each-way bet and keep your existing OS in its safe, cosy partition while you perform open-source experiments with Linux.

My first attempt at the TurboLinux install via SC2000 struck a pothole. SC2000 correctly recognised my PC's use of the EZ-BIOS driver, which provides support for a large IDE hard disk I have. In a nutshell, SC2000 said, "Proceed but be very careful", so I pulled the plug altogether. This is worth noting because the SC2000/TurboLinux bundle will appeal to many people wanting to bring life to an older Pentium system using programs like EZ-BIOS, EZ-Drive and MaxBlast. They could work with SC2000, but you should investigate first.

The second installation was successful. On a Pentium II running Windows 98, with a three-quarters-full 8GB drive, I installed TurboLinux in a new 512MB partition, as recommended by SC2000. In the process, SC2000 and TurboLinux prompted me to create four backup floppies.

I can't comment on TurboLinux's merits against other Linux installs, but after only two attempts over about 40 minutes I was logging on as "root" and then, admittedly, staring bemused at a blinking Linux command line. I strongly recommend printing TurboLinux's manual from the install CD, or checking its features online at www.turbolinux.com. After re-booting the box, a "DOS" window appeared listing a choice between Win98 and Linux. (The list can be configured with passwords, timeouts and a default OS.)But wait: there's more. Also in the box is a copy of Sun's StarOffice 5.1, a multi-platform suite of office tools that includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, vector drawing app, scheduler and presentation tool.

As a well-documented tool for installing and managing multiple operating systems, I doubt you would strike many limitations.

System Commander 2000

Price: $134.20

Distributor: Marketing Results

Phone: (02) 9899 5888

URL: www.v-com.com

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

MARK STAFFORD

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?