Editing BCD to allow selection of Windows Server 2008 media (Web, x86, x64)


This post isn't specifically regarding any NeoSmart software, but is heavily related to modifying bootmgr/bcd to create a bootable usb hard drive that will allow the user to select whether they want to install

1. Windows Server 2008 x86
2. Windows Server 2008 x64
3. Windows Server 2008 Web x86
4. Windows Server 2008 Web x64

My main question for all your bootmgr guru's is whether this is possible or not.

Currently I am using grub4dos to chainload bootmgr:

title 0. Install Windows Server 2008 (x86)
root (hd0,0)
chainloader /WinSources/Win2k8x86/bootmgr

My understanding is that bootmgr is hard coded to load data from /boot/bcd and I'm guessing I need to create a bcd store that points to different subfolders for each set of install media but I'm not sure that this is even possible as it seems to uncompress data from an image and then load \windows\system32\boot\winload.exe which again seems to be hard coded.

Am I missnig something obvious? It seems as though Microsoft has really outdone themselves on overcomplicating something as simple as a boot loader.

I find it hard to believe that I am the only one wanting to do something like this but my google searches have turned up nothing.

Any light you can shed would be greatly appreciated.

Hello Dan, welcome to NST

You may copy the installation files to the drive. To make it bootable, use bootsect, which can be accessed using EasyBCD's power console found on the useful utilities page. Get the drive letter from my computer for the drive, close all applications and windows explorer windows that are currently accessing the drive, and replace x in the following command with it: bootsect.exe /nt60 x: /force

Thank you for the quick reply.

Unless I am overlooking something, doesn't this just apply to a single set of install media. I am looking to go one step further and include the install files for all version of Windows 2008 so I don't need separate drives depending on whether I need to install the x86 version, the x64 version, or the web version.

Thanks again,
Grub4DOS might be the only way you can get multiple installs on a single drive. Its really not needed though, as any given copy of 2k8 server should contain all the files for each version. The version that is installed is determined by the product key you input. If you want to attempt to get multiple installs working on there anyway, create a separate folder on the drive for each install, install grub4DOS on the drive, and configure the menu.lst with new entries pointing to setup.exe in each of the different installation folders.

My understanding is that the following seperate Windows 2008 media exists:

1. 32 bit allowing you to install either Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter
2. 32 bit allowing you to install Web Edition
3. 64 bit allowing you to install either Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter
4. 64 bit allowing you to install Web Edition

This is for use in a datacenter where customer often request reprovisioning of their servers and can be requesting any version to be installed potentially.

You should try my instructions from the last bit of my last post. If you can't get that working I guess you'll need to carry 4 usbs for the various 32-64 bit variants.