Booting other OS with F Key??

#1
Hi all, I've looked all over for this, but can't find anything.

I want to set up my end user's Win7 workstations to boot normally, but if they enter a key combination, the machine will boot to an OS on another partition. I've used EasyBCD & NeoGrub to boot to the other OS successfully (I'm using EasyBCD because poitlically its better to use the normal Windows bootloader, and NeoGrub because the partition is hidden), but I can't figure out if it's possible to do this last step.

Any help greatly appreciated!
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
You can't. There's some obscure OEM-specific documentation on Microsoft's partner developers reference, but nothing anyone's been able to hack on and not something I've spent time looking into.

May I ask why you need to?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
This has nothing to do with iReboot. It's all about the low-level boot code run before the BCD menu is even loaded.
 
#5
I was suggesting this as a workaround; at least the customer can boot to the other partitions.

PS: Is this more to do with the BIOS?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
Oh, OK.

Yeah, that works well. Just set the timeout to 0 in EasyBCD and then use iReboot to do the actual selection.
The logic you're referring to sits between the BIOS and the bootloader.

(BTW, I see you are using EasyBCD for commercial purposes. A gentle reminder that this requires a commercial license.)
 
#7
Hi all, many thanks for the quick reply & the workaround.

Of course you can ask ... we need a way to take control of severely infected machines when no one is around & remotely reboot them. My idea was to have a hidden, bootable "antivirus partition" hidden from the end user that could be accessed by IT staff. It's all working well, but with EasyBCD & NeoGrub, the best I can do is set a 2 second timeout in the Windows boot menu & manually select either Windows or NeoGrub (on which I've put a zero timeut). It's not as elegant as it could be, I'm missing this last piece. I'll look at iReboot today.

You are right to give me a gentle reminder ... just so it's clear, I'm still at the testing stage & once I get management buy-in, we will certainly buy licenses. I have too much respect for not only this business model, but all the time & effort that's gone into this to not do so.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
There's another option, which is to create a "recovery USB"

This is a USB stick created with EasyBCD that contains a different menu for the local hard disk. By plugging in this USB and booting from it, you will be shown this new menu which contains two entries instead of the old menu which contains only one.