Help Identifying EasyBCD Created File & Encryption Advice

#1
Greetings,

I was wondering if someone could help me identify a file that EasyBCD created when I setup my system to dual boot Vista + Ubuntu. When I added the entry for my Ubuntu boot partition (\boot) EasyBCD created the following directory and file:

C:\NST\nst_grub.mbr

When I view the Bootloader entries I have now EasyBCD says the following:

Entry #2

Name: Ubuntu Linux
BCD ID: {2303dde0-65fe-11de-aaea-001b38cdea4e}
Drive: C:\
Bootloader Path: \NST\nst_grub.mbr

I don't understand what EasyBCD did. When I created the Bootloader entry I pointed it to the \boot partition I created. Could anyone explain why EasyBCD created the above?

So far everything is working perfectly and I am able to boot into both OS's either with Vista's bootloader or with GRUB.

The reason why I'm asking about what EasyBCD did is because I intend to encrypt all partitions on the drive except \boot using both TrueCrypt and the built-in encryption provided by Ubuntu (detailed below). What I'm worried about is that once I encrypt the VISTA partition (\dev\sda1) with TrueCrypt and begin using TC's boot loader, the above boot loader entry inserted by EasyBCD will either be messed up or inaccessible.

Should I redo the EasyBCD boot entry and try to point it to the BOOT partion again or leave it alone?

A little more background...

I plan to encrypt all of my hard drive partitions that I created except for the \boot partition. I will be using TrueCrypt system encryption for the partition that Vista is installed on and the Data partition. In Ubuntu I will be using TrueCrypt to access the Data partition and the rest of the Ubuntu partitions are encrypted using the built in encryption that comes with the OS.

I used a GParted Live CD to setup the following partitions before I installed:
Code:
VISTA     Primary     NTFS     /dev/sda1     TrueCrypt
BOOT      Primary     EXT3     /dev/sda2     No Encryption
UBUNTU    Primary     EXT3     /dev/sda3     Linux Encryption
Extended Partion               /dev/sda4
SWAP      Logical     SWAP     /dev/sda5     Linux Encryption
DATA      Logical     NTFS     /dev/sda6     TrueCrypt


Not sure if it matters or not but I used EasyBCD v1.7.2 to add the Ubuntu boot entry.

Thanks in advance for any advise or information!
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Hello WebRangler, welcome to NST

I've never experimented with full disk encryption in a multiboot secnario, so its questionable. Anyway, the file EasyBCD placed basically chainloads grub in order to load Ubuntu from the Vista bootloader. If you can encrypt at the disk level rather than partition level you may be successful.
 
#3
Hello Web, welcome to NST.
The nst_grub.mbr file is what handles the chainloading from the Vista bootloader to Grub. The reason the entry in your BCD is pointing at C: is because that's where the nst_grub.mbr file is.
I don't know anything about TrueCrypt and Linux encryption, but you shouldn't have any troble booting into Ubuntu afterwards if the entry in your BCD works fine already.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
Hi Rangler, welcome to NST.
Are you using an old Ubuntu build ?
After Ubuntu 8.04, which worked fine with EasyBCD 1.7, the grub syntax was changed, and EasyBCD had to have additional Linux support added to cater for the new syntax. That support was added to EasyBCD 2.0, which is needed for Ubuntu 8.10 or 9.04.
The NST folder on the Vista partition root is the bridge between Vista and Linux. Vista expects to find all the boot files it uses in the Windows "system" partition (normally itself). Its the same reason why the XP boot files have to be copied to Vista too. The copied XP files in Vista point to the true location of XP, the NST_grub.mbr on the Vista root points to the true location of Linux.
What are the disk management flags when Vista is booted ? What is "system" ? Vista or Your Boot partition ?
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Ok, I went and reviwed the wizard for encrypting the full hard disk. You well need to get everything working and than select the multiboot option. TrueCrypt well have you burn a rescue CD during the proccess should you need it, so be prepared to burn it with a blank CD.
 
#6
Are you using an old Ubuntu build ?
After Ubuntu 8.04, which worked fine with EasyBCD 1.7, the grub syntax was changed, and EasyBCD had to have additional Linux support added to cater for the new syntax. That support was added to EasyBCD 2.0, which is needed for Ubuntu 8.10 or 9.04.
The NST folder on the Vista partition root is the bridge between Vista and Linux. Vista expects to find all the boot files it uses in the Windows "system" partition (normally itself). Its the same reason why the XP boot files have to be copied to Vista too. The copied XP files in Vista point to the true location of XP, the NST_grub.mbr on the Vista root points to the true location of Linux.
What are the disk management flags when Vista is booted ? What is "system" ? Vista or Your Boot partition ?
Thanks for the info guys.

@Terry60
I didn't realize there was a new version of EasyBCD for Ubuntu 9.04. I actually just looked and could not find a link to v2.0 only v1.7.2. If you can point me in the right direction to download v2.0 I'll install it and hopefully fix whatever syntax or options are missing from the boot loader entries.

Will it be safe to delete and remake the bootloader entry for Ubuntu with the new version or have I messed up?

Disk Management flags are as follows:
VISTA (C:\) - System, Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition
BOOT - Primary Partition
UBUNTU - Primary Partition
SWAP - Primary Partition
DATA - Logical Drive
 
#7
[thread=642]Download 2.0 here[/thread]. Since your dual-boot's already working, there's not much point in deleting your Ubuntu entry, and re-creating with 2.0 beta though.
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#8
Ok hold on...

EasyBCD is only for Windows.

Your dual-boots working so there isnt anything else to do other than the encryption

I explained the reason for the created file in my first post of this thread

I also explained that you should encrypt the whole hard drive rather than individual partitions with TrueCrypt using the multiboot option in my last post

Read -- its important...
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
EasyBCD 2.0

but you don't need it at all if you're booting with grub. There's no reason to make both work. Choose the controlling boot manager, grub or bootmgr, and configure it for the dual boot. Ignore the other.
Take Justin's advice about encryption. I don't use it so will not venture an opinion.
 
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#10
@Terry & Justin
----------------------
Thanks for the link. I recreated the entry for Linux boot and all worked fine.

The reason why I partitioned the hard drive the way I did and am using bootmgr and grub is because TrueCrypt doesn't support full drive encryption when using grub as the boot loader. I already tested this by installing Vista first and then Linux to a separate partition. I attempted to setup TrueCrypt with multi-boot and system encryption but it did not allow me to proceed. TrueCrypt's site plainly says that only Windows platforms are supported for system encryption. From my reading it seems that the TC boot loader will only replace a windows boot loader and not GRUB/LILO, etc.

After researching the problem on both TrueCrypt and Linux forums I found a solution for Fedora + Windows install and adapted it for my Ubuntu install detailed in my first post. This is the only way that I found to encrypt all partitions (except \boot of course). If you are interested in the reading the how-to it is located here.

If there is a better way to encrypt the entire hard drive and still dual boot with Vista and Linux please let me know. If not I'm about to encrypt my NTFS partitions with TrueCrypt.

@Justin
-----------
I did read... twice even. If you are dual booting Windows and Linux and using only TrueCrypt with full system encryption and multi-boot I would be interested in how you set it up. I found no reference to that config in any of my readings. I would even write up a how-to so that no one else has to go through all the research I've had to do. Thanks.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#11
If you use Vista's loader as the primarly loader with an entry to boot Ubuntu using EasyBCD like you said you had setup than you shouldn't have any problems. Now if you're using grub as primary loader than yes you may be right. They've got a linux version in that case that may support it while the Windows version cant that you may want to use to do the encryption if it allows for it.

Apologies if I sounded irritated, but at the time people were just posting away as if your dual-boot wasn't working.