Okay, here's what finally worked and what didn't.
I installed Windows 98 on Drive C. I did all its updates and then used a global search and replace utility for the Windows (98) registry and changed all entries from C:\Program Files to C:\Prog98. Then I did another search and replace for C:\Progra~1\ to C:\Prog98\. I then changed the Program Files folder name to Prog98. The renaming of Program Files had to be done in DOS mode as Windows would deny the action.
Without getting into a lot of details, this worked flawlessly for Windows 98 with the exception of Norton Antivirus. It would not install that way and then would not run afterward. All programs went obediently into the Prog98 folder without any coercing. Lotus SmartSuite wants to install at C:\Lotus by default and I simply had to redirect it to C:\Program Files\Lotus.
When I was satisfied I had installed everything into Windows 98 that I wanted, I then started the installation of Windows 2000. After initial installation, I ran the same search and relplace operations as for Windows 98, but in Windows 2000 and this time I changed the Program Files folder name to Prog2000. Everything worked flawlessly until I did a Windows Service Pack 4 update. Service Pack 4 recreated the Program Files folder and put all updates into that.
I started over again with Windows 2000 and did all service pack updates first, all critical updates, etc. before doing the global registry changes and renaming the Program Files folder to Prog2000. Things worked fine again until I installed Norton Antivirus, which again created a Program Files folder and put all its common files and Symantec shared files into it.
It seems many programs are hard-wired to the Program Files folder and do not obey the default install folder listed in the Windows Registry. Norton Antivirus worked fine until I tried to move it to the Prog2000 folder and do another global S&R in the registry.
As a side note, I do have a lot of odd errors with Norton Antivirus. Their recommended fixes are abhorrent also--such as uninstalling absolutely every Symantec product from the machine and starting over in some cases. As soon as this stack of Norton Antivirus program disks are gone from my shop, there will be no more. I've been putting up with this for years and I have had enough.
Anyway, it seemed that every time I did a Windows update, the update would again recreate the Program Files folder and that was a problem I didn't want to contend with. So, I decided to accept that I could get Windows 98 and Windows 2000 (or Windows 98 and Windows XP) to run in harmony on the same partition; but, I was also satisfied it was too much trouble to get all three into the same partition.
I cleared out a 4-Gig partition (via Partition Magic) from drive E and made a drive H. I installed XP into it and things are now working okay. I will later try again to put Windows 2000 and Windows XP into the same partition; but, next time I intend to let them share the same Program Files folder. I will then install my various programs and make a list of programs that will not live in harmony with themselves when installed into both operating systems sharing the same Program Files folder.
I will at that point look for alternative programs. Norton Antivirus will obviously be the first to go with AVG being a logical substitute. There will be others.
I'll keep you posted.