Can EasyBCD help prevent Windows Update from Overwriting GRUB?

#1
I'm using GRUB to dual boot Scientific Linux 6.5 and Windows 8.1 Pro on a Sony VAIO VPCSA3AFX (no EUFI). It currently works. However, I'm concerned Windows Update (WU) will overwrite GRUB (see this reddit post). If it does, it may be fixable, but would be a headache. This setup is totally new, I've not yet run WU.

I'm wondering if EasyBCD can help prevent WU GRUB overwrite. For example, if I start over, follow the instructions here, install Windows first, then Linux, install GRUB to root or /boot rather than MBR (although not sure how) and use EasyBCD to "chain-load" GRUB, would WU then be content to let GRUB live as it's no longer on the MBR?

Advice greatly appreciated!
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Leaving side all the ill-informed bile in the comments section of your link, they're discussing UEFI/GPT Secure Boot issues, which do not apply according to your OP.
The only time I have ever seen Windows Update do anything to the boot is during Service Pack updates (Vista and W7), and yes, it will just assume it's the controlling OS in that scenario, but in six years of quad-booting XP/Vista/W7/W8/Ubuntu (Perm any four) on a BIOS/MBR PC with grub4dos as the controlling boot manager, none of the hundreds (thousands possibly) of other WUDs on any of the Windows OS flavours, ever touched the boot.

W8/UEFI/GPT is a different kettle of fish. All W8-ready PCs (afaik) come with secure boot enabled and will "protect" themselves from attempts to alter the boot sector.
My latest PC is a W7/W8.1 dual-boot on UEFI/GPT hardware (custom-built, self installed), and I can tell you that W8 with secure boot will not even allow W7 to be the default OS.
The only way to dual-boot W8 with W7 and secure boot is with W8 default and W7 optional.
Make W7 default (through the W8 bootmgr option) and BSOD results. The only remedy is to turn off secure boot and the two systems will happily dual-boot with W7 as the default.
If you wish to dual-boot W8/UEFI with Linux, you cannot do it through MS bootmgr (with or without the help of EasyBCD).
The only option is to let grub take control and let it chain W8 bootmgr.
I have never heard of, or experienced W8 WUD doing anything to the boot sector, but "fast boot" does cause a number of problems because it may be fast but it's not a boot, it's a disguised hibernation.
If you are dual-booting W8 with anything at all, turn off fast boot in the power options or you are bound at some point to hit problems which will throw W8 into its unstoppable self-repair routines.
I would guess that the author of your quoted link fell foul of that and that it had nothing to do with WUD other than a coincidence of timing.
 
#3
Very interesting, thanks so much. Will disable fast boot. Very good to know there's hope for dual W8/Linux with UEFI (my future laptop perhaps). BTW, although it was apparently unnecessary in light of your post, I did move my Linux GRUB to /boot and downloaded EasyBCD to set up dual boot through W8. So far so good, and I feel better with this setup, EBCD is a very nice tool.