Bootable EasyBCD Disc

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#1
I've seen some people ask about being able to boot EasyBCD from a disc, like noted in this thread:

http://neosmart.net/forums/showthread.php?t=2207

Though this user wasn't having just boot problems, a bootable disc could make it easier for users that need to verify that the entries in the BCD store are correct when they cannot boot Vista.

A bootable disc would make a single solution possible for complete configuration and restoration of boot entries or the entire BCD store itself. Users could easily perform simple tasks such as re-installing the Vista bootloader to the MBR as well as edit thier entries from a single disc... without the need for a seperate recovery disc.

For example, Super Grub Disk is an excellent bootable disk for configuration and the use of GRUB.

Bootable discs in my opinion are the most convient way to maintence a system. They are not limited by the limitations of any OS since you not need one to run them.

Just an idea of course... I know something like that would require a lot recoding, but something I'm sure a lot of users would appreciate.
 
#2
The Vista dvd is a bootable disk with the startup repair tool for restoring the boot loader. If you are able to boot into XP with a dual boot there the EasyBCD tool can be used to see the Vista mbr restored with the "write the Vista boot loader" option found in the manage boot loader section.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#3
The idea isn't just to offer that feature though. The disc would offer all the features EasyBCD currently does. We often recommend that users use EasyBCD in combination with Vista's bootmgr, but consider those who do not.

For example, this disc could be used by GRUB users who use GRUB as the primary bootloader to edit Vista's entries in the event they have installed GRUB to the MBR and do not have any working entries for Windows XP/Vista.

Addendum:

Here's another idea I had:

Vista HnS + EasyBCD = One utility

Add those both to a bootable disc and you got yourself a single tool for configuring not only Vista's bootloader, but also addressing the dual-boot problems between XP/Vista.
 
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Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#4
EasyBCD as a bootable CD wouldnt help. Since it would not auto detect the driev setup being a bootable CD. Plus you could not write or overwrite the boot setup from a live CD without mounting the partitions first.

For the most part Eye is right. The XP CD or Vista DVD will be of more use tha WasyBCD as a liveCD.

I dont think HnS and EasyBCD should be one. They serve different purposes and not everyone needs HnS compared to EasyBCD.

I personaly do not hide my stuff. So HnS as part of EasyBCD would be useless. I do use EasyBCD to manage my boots. Giving the average user these many more options to go thru will only confuse them more and make support for these applications that much more difficult.

At least this way we can sort thru if it is a EasyBCD or a HnS problem.
 
#5
I have Grub on drive at the present time after seeing ubuntu added into the mix along with the XP/Vista dual boot. Grub was installed by the live cd when first installing the distro off of a live disk. The installer actually saw Grub installed on both of the two sata drives with the first being the Vista primary and second for XP.

The distro at first was then made the default OS seeing the Vista boot loader option. To see Vista remain as the default OS the VIsta boot loader was restored actually more then once with the previous try at seeing Mandriva 2008 go on before ubuntu. On one occasion a boot into XP saw the manage boot loader option used and the other saw a boot up with the Vista dvd.

This is with the HnS tool in use here for further evaluation and testing while Makeveli213 doesn't have anything invested in software and is ready to reinstall either version on the spot. Yet both of us rarely use restore points anyways. The EasyBCD tool itself not involving hiding one from the other is focused on configuring the VIsta boot loader with the option to restore in order to undo any changes made there.

With the HnS tool here I use Grub4Dos for actually managing the dual boot while Grub remains on the second XP drive for loading ubuntu as default there or the option for the Vista boot loader still seeing the working dual boot inplace. The EasyBCD tool as a separate program sees the NeoGrub option included for adding in a Linux distro making a dual or multi boot configuration far easier.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#6
My vision behind this is that if EasyBCD is designed to help you multiboot between all of the major OSes, then why should it be limited to being able to run on the Windows platform? Now I know some well argue the point that it should because it has to deal with configuring Vista's BCD store. But why then does EasyBCD run in Windows XP? Why can't it run in any of the OSes that the user might be using? Correct me if I am wrong, but I can bet that users using more then just the Windows platform would like to be able to use EasyBCD from any of thier OSes. The boot disc would dodge the need to tailor the program for each platform. It would be pratical to meet the needs of everyone, and not just those who rely on Window's proprietary bootloader.

I'm not a programmer myself, but I would think that taking open source code to provide the foundation for the enviornment EasyBCD would need to run in wouldn't pose much hardship as far as trying to provide for such things as drivers.

As for feature combination, I am halfway on the matter myself, but again, I am sure most who use the software would prefer to have one solution for all thier problems. HnS deals with dual-booting issues between XP/Vista and since EasyBCD allows you to do this easily, it would make perfect sense to combine them.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#7
Well first Guru did not program this to work on the 9X or the NT platform. It also does not work with Linux or OS X. So it is kinda hard to make it a all in one utility since it can only run on XP/Vista/Server 2008.

To run on OS X or Linux you would have to force it to look for and be able to use the Windows Registry.

Plus the BCD is a Vista boot loader. Kinda useless to use on any other OS if you dont have Vista. Considering you can not use the toll unless Vista is installed.

So the concept to do what you want with a LiveCD is a lot more troubling than you think. I have already asked about Linux versions of iReboot before and it was explained in there how hard it would be to get teh code working in Linux. Let alone OS X which is compeletely closed source and not way to get your hands on ANY of their code.

So yoru whole arguement is seen and understood. I am not trying to fight about that. But the fact remains that this is a Windows only app and it applies only if you use Vista. So it really would be pointless to put in all that extra work if you do not meet those requirements.

GRUB for Linux and Darwin for OS X. That is how it will have to be till someone writes up a whole new loader that can work with all 4 types. Darwin. GRUB, BCD and boot.ini to meen the needs you are asking for.

As for HnS, again it is more trouble. Since many people do dual boot but not everyone will be dual booting with Vista/XP. Having that included for those who use this for Vista/Linux is unnecessary.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
That's what I'm getting at though. Don't program it to run on a specific platform... just make it a bootable disc. I just suggested taking advantage of some of the open source resources to create a bootable enviornment EasyBCD could operate in. I understand the issue totally behind programming it for Linux. It is hard to even configure a Linux system as it is :smile: .

No offense to anyone who has contributed to the project, but as far as iReboot goes, I think we can all agree here that iReboot doesn't fully do the trick if a user cannot reboot to any OS from any of them. If we got the open source community more involved in the project, I'm sure we could make it happen. CG can't be expected to do all the programming here. It is just too much work for one person.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#9
But getting a LiveCD and EasyBCD to work is going to be jsut as difficult as getting EasyBCD to work in Linux or OS X. Just look at the GParted thread in the WaterCooler. That is a LiveCD project that was abandonded cause of all teh work it takes to create it and keep it going.

Right now Guru has his hands full doing EasyBCD for Windows let alone program a LiveCD.

But the fact is you are not understanding that it wont work from LiveCD. IT wont auto mount the drives. It wont recognize the partition setup. It wont allow you to write to the boot drive and over write the files.

Making it a bootable disc would be like taking EasyBCD back to version 1.0 and starting over. With all the progress made why go backward instead of forward.

Yet again it doesnt make sense to make it a liveCD if you have to have Vista. Plus there are already options to fix your boot from a command prompt with EasyBCD. So a liveCD is really not needed.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#10
Just some points:

  • EasyBCD runs on Windows 98, ME, NT, 2k, XP, Vista, and Server 2008
  • A LiveCD doesn't need to be powered by *nix platforms. A Live CD running WinPE 1.0 or 2.0 would have access to mounting all the drives, NTFS, etc.
  • GParted is being developed once more: GParted Live CD Being Developed Once More - The NeoSmart Forums
  • HnS and EasyBCD will always remain separate utilities for Windows (i.e. if there were a Live CD, things might be different). Reason: HnS is for use with legacy operating systems and won't be needed forever. EasyBCD is the future.
  • I am busy.

So it's a mix of things. It's certainly possible. It does have its advantages. But I really need to sit down and get EasyBCD 2.0 out of the door before anything else.

No offense to anyone who has contributed to the project, but as far as iReboot goes, I think we can all agree here that iReboot doesn't fully do the trick if a user cannot reboot to any OS from any of them. If we got the open source community more involved in the project, I'm sure we could make it happen. CG can't be expected to do all the programming here. It is just too much work for one person.
That would be me, and I'm not offended. I totally agree - it would be awesome to be able to use iReboot from within Linux to boot back into Windows. But it's not possible.

The BCD cannot be touched from within Linux. Reason: the BCD lives in a registry hive. I've covered this before in multiple threads, but in short, the risks associated with a) mounting an NTFS partition on Linux for write purposes b) manually opening a registry hive on any machine, Windows or otherwise c) editing the registry hive manually (if it's even possible, I don't know if tools exist to do this) are crazy-high and not ones I fancy taking on.
 
#11
GParted is a drive partitioning tool with only a few cross platform or listed as platform independent releases that can be used to create Fat16, 32 partitions as well as NTFS for Windows. The later releases following the 0.3.3.0 version are strictly Linux with the ability to resize but not create partitions for other OSs.

You'll note that Microsoft made a slight improvement with Vista's partitioning tool over what was seen with XP like being able to format and resize partitions while booted with the dvd or resize secondary partitions with the Disk Management tool. What happens later if Windows 7 is NT 6.0 not the current 5.0 for 2000/XP/Vista? GParted also sees flash drive versions as well as the live for cd since it made it that far.

EasyBCD is the simplification of the BCD editor using a graphical interface over the command prompt type if you were to manually edit the VIsta boot loader. You can add entries for Mac, Linux with NeoGrub, and WinPE. The idea is to perform these operations while in Windows not booting any live disk. If you need a live cd simply run a live Linux distro without any need for configuring a boot loader to start with.

The one installer seen that will automatically add all OSs detected into it's own boot loader is Mandriva a server orientated Linux distro. When run here it added XP and Vista in as C:\Windows and C:\Windows-1 under that for Vista along with C:\Windows-2 for XP as boot options while making itself the default OS. But that particular distro was written to be cross platform far more then others even while ubuntu and a few other live distros can access MS partitions.
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#12
Alright. Guess i was way off on some of my things. Glad the boss man proved me wrong. :smile:
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14
Thanks CG for clearing things up. I can see why you don't want to combine HnS and EasyBCD unless using the a bootable disc. I have a old copy of 2000 I don't even bother throwing on a machine. The OS is nearly 10 years old with XP not far behind and Vista and the BCD store is the future.

Besides, I agree... i'm sure more people for at least the moment anyway would rather perfer to see EasyBCD 2.0 out with fewer bugs and more fixes! :smile:
 
#15
Actually Vista is the present with Windows 7 just about around the corner in a over a year's time. XP is simply enjoying an extended life since MS was slow with seeing the next version come out namely what EasyBCD and HnS are intended for.

For Build 47 I think you are close to a lasting version of the HnS tool. CG If I have to redo XP to get one problem corrected where something is preventing Intellipoint software from working correctly I'll simply delete the XP primary again to see a clean install have 47 on. I'm sure you'll have EasyBCD 2.0 out very soon as well with the effort you put in.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#16
For any of you interested in running EasyBCD from a bootable disc, I think we finally found a solution... if you're up to the challenge of getting it to work that is. See this thread for further info.
 
#17
One boot floppy I had some time back would load any OS by simply choosing the partition it was installed on. That was the ubuntu boot manager floppy that worked well for Fedora as well as 98 and XP then.

When the floppy needed replacement I couldn't find a download site. That would be something if it could work with Vista as well as the others and could be seen in a bootable cd form.
 
#18
I found Easy BCD, and installed it. It easily allows me to boot into any of the three different Windows versions. When I check for the hard drive addresses, the IDE drive always shows up as drive 0. The Mepis install will be either partition 3 or 5. I have seen both numbers for the root partition. I have tried every partition number on drive 0 from 1 to 7 with different failures and no successes.
Hello faceliftguide.
Please post a screenshot of your Disk Management window, along with the output of the following command run from EasyBCD's Power Console on the Useful Utilities page:

Code:
bootpart
 
#20
A little suggestion .... is there a way that we can weed out in the search the case covers and the disc covers. There are some of us that print out the front covers and have no interest in the disc covers. Gets to be a bummer when you think that someone put up the front cover only to see its the stupid disc art. Im sure that others think the vica versa of me so is there anyway to seperate them ??
@Terry: Told you it was a spam-bot...