Creating a bootloader for a Removable drive to be used in multiple machines

ashg

New Member
#1
Hi there. Only just getting my head around BCD world, and had a hunt of the forums but couldn't find anyone trying to do what we're doing, so here's a series of questions.

The plot
We use removable hard drives to deploy Windows 7 images out to client machines. The drive boots into WinPE, and by a method provided by MS SCCM it allows us to drop a new image over a client box. That works fine, but if the drive reboots back onto the removable drive as part of the installation it stuffs it up, so I'm looking for a method whereby if the drive is plugged into a client and the bios is set to automatically boot from the USB drive, it'll provide a menu & if no response is given it'll drop onto the client OS without amending anything.

The ideas
I'm presuming that I need 2 options in the boot manger, one being the 'boot' to USB drive one which is down as default (and works fine already), but the other needs to:
a)boot from the active partition for that machine into the host operating system (most likely Vista/Win7 but could be XP)
b)be able to handle multiple machines - so (I think) it can't have a fixed reference to a GUID of a drive, as this will be used on different machines, different hardware and so on.

I've tried a few different options through NeoGrub as I figure this seems to be the most 'flexible' of the options that EasyBCD allows for. However, I'm not really getting anywhere.

Also tried with 2 instances of the 'boot to windows', one pointing at C and one pointing at the removable drive which worked fine, until I move it to a different machine (presuming that's the GUID issue creeping in).

Anyone:
a) understand what I'm on about
b) suggest if it's evan possible
c) able to point me in the right direction please?

Cheers,

Ash
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Hi Ash,

What you're proposing is certainly doable, but it's a bit complicated.

* Create a bootable USB with EasyBCD
* Add a NeoGrub entry to that USB
* Add an entry to the PE installer to that USB

Modify the NeoGrub entry to boot from the boot drive (use the chainloader+1 command), and make it the default.