EasyBCD in place of Grub?

#1
I've been using Grub4DOS for years for multi booting and for booting ISOs and it's been great, but really I would prefer to use the Windows BCD for these same functions if that's possible. At present I've installed the free version of EasyBCD 2.2 to get some idea of what may be possible.

Here's the existing Grub4DOS menu entry for Win 8 -

Code:
title Windows 8
root (hd0,0)
makeactive
# Hide 2nd and 3rd partitions, unhide first partition
hide (hd0,1)
hide (hd0,2)
unhide (hd0,0)
chainloader /bootmgr
and here's one for booting an ISO -

Code:
title ATI 2013
unhide (hd0,0)
unhide (hd0,1)
unhide (hd0,2)
map --mem (hd0,4)/ISO/ATI_2013.5551.iso (hd32)
map --hook
chainloader (hd32)
boot
So basically with Grub4DOS I'm hiding and unhiding partitions; setting partitions Active; and invoking the appropriate bootloader.

Can these functions be performed in EasyBCD? Quickly reading through the menus and options I'm not seeing it but I'm sure that's just me.

Addendum

Right, I'm finding my way around a bit now and can see how I could set up dual or multiple boots of Windows OSs, so I can now refine my question a little -

1 - With my Grub4DOS bootloader every installed OS is completely isolated from all of the others, achieved by hiding and unhiding partitions at bootup. Can this be done with EasyBCD or will all partitions/OSs always be visible whichever OS is booted, with the inevitable swapping of drive letters?

2 - I want to be able to boot into a Puppy Linux ISO stored on the hard disk. Is this possible?

3 - I want to be able to boot into Acronis, Win 7 PE and Partition Wizard bootable ISOs stored on the hard disk. Possible?

Any other tips/guidance/warnings for an EasyBCD newbie welcome :smile:

Addendum

Ha! Reading on, NeoGrub is effectively my existing Grub4DOS bootloader incorporated into EasyBCD. Haven't actually attempted anything with EasyBCD yet but NeoGrub looks like it ticks all my boxes - theoretically anyway :scared:

Addendum

Success! And a lot easier than expected. Now dual booting Win 7 and NeoGrub, and via NeoGrub I can boot the Puppy Linux ISO stored on the hard disk. The rest should now be straightforward and I'm really pleased at being able to do all of this without touching the MBR. Grub4DOS used on its own does create a non-standard MBR.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
You can use grub without altering the MBR by renaming grldr to bootmgr, and bootmgr to something else (if they share the same partition). That's what HnS does (which replaced Neogrub as the preferred method of hiding partitions for the "restore point problem")
If the boot files are kept in their own partitions and grub has its own boot partition, you don't even need to rename bootmgr, just grldr, and the system will boot via grub (with its hide/unhide capabilities) chaining on to the relevant Windows boot files.
An example is described here
Quad boot Vista, XP, W7 and Ubuntu using HnS to protect system restore points from XP
 
#3
Thank you Terry. I've no immediate plans to add XP to this new lappie as I have it in a VM in Win 7. I'll keep that info safe though.
 
#4
I've discovered there is a significant downside to using NeoGrub as opposed to just booting with Grub4DOS, in my usage pattern anyway. I use Grub4DOS mainly for booting bootable ISOs rather than for booting into another OS, particularly things like rescue CDs. As my laptop has no optical drive it's a right pita having to boot from a disk, but booting to a stored ISO is painless. Trouble is you cannot restore an image of your OS partition when booted to an ISO via NeoGrub - the system won't let you - but when booted to the same ISO from Grub4DOS you can.

I'm pleased that I now have a much better understanding of EasyBCD and its capabilities but reluctantly I'm going to have to revert to booting with Grub4DOS.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#5
That means the configuration you used is incompatible, not NeoGrub. Try a) a different load mode (mem vs disk), b) manual neogrub config
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#7
If you simply create a regular NeoGrub entry and copy-and-paste your Grub4Dos configuration, it should certainly "just work"
 
#8
I was making it unnecessarily difficult as I discovered that simply by pointing EasyBCD at a stored bootable ISO rather than trying to configure Grub4DOS via NeoGrub to do so, it just worked. I was thrown for a while by the Macrium Reflect PE ISO as that was not finding my hard disk when asking where an image was to be restored to but switching back to Acronis everything was OK.