The NeoSmart Files

EasyLDR and EasyBCD 2.0’s New XP Support

At NeoSmart Technologies, we’re not just about making cool software that makes your life easier – we also like to share the how and why behind our work, to make things all the more beneficial for one and all. While the EasyBCD documentation has been out of date for a while now (we’ve been too busy working on the code and support), we’re making a real effort to bring things up to date.

We’d previously finished the tutorials for dual-booting Windows 7 with Windows XP and with Ubuntu 10 (complete with picture-by-picture steps!), but now we’re getting started on the real meat: the technical details of just what exactly is going on behind the scenes. The normal OS boot process is one of the most complicated parts of an operating system with just one OS in the mix – with multiple operating systems, each that works in its own way, things get that much more complicated, and it’s always good to have a nice, illustrated guide to refer to.

The first part of the updated documentation is now available in the form of an explanation of how a dual-boot between Windows Vista/7 and Windows XP normally works, plus a NeoSmart exclusive: EasyLDR and its support for multiple top-level legacy NT entries without needing to go through a second NTLDR boot menu, a long-awaited feature that was finally added with EasyBCD 2.0.

EasyBCD Documentation: The Windows XP Boot Process

EasyBCD 2.0 features a number of exciting new features, but some of the most technically interesting details lie in the improved Windows XP support. Besides the linked article which explains the mysteries of EasyLDR and how EasyBCD accomplishes top-level Windows XP support, a large amount of research went into the creation of BootGrabber.exe, a command-line application that we wrote to automatically configure everything needed to set up easyldr or ntldr, complete with automated detection of all Windows NT – 2003 installations on mounted disks, the generation of a corresponding boot.ini/ebcd.00x file, the copying of ntdetect.com and boot.ini to unmounted and unlettered partitions, and changing the active partition.

Hopefully another article will be added really soon to the EasyBCD documentation explaining the powerful command-line features available to users in BootGrabber.exe, which may be accessed via the “Power Console” under “Useful Utilities” in EasyBCD 2.0 and up.