Newcomer to EasyBCD - with problem over multibooting

#1
Hello all. I have just joined the NeoSmart forum after installing the latest EasyBCD 2.3 Community Edition in order to set up a multiboot arrangement on my Win7 laptop. Disclaimer: I am not an IT or computer expert, so terminal/command line stuff is outside my comfort zone.

Here are the basic facts. Samsung laptop, 750GB hard drive, with Windows7 as OEM operating system. I have left untouched the existing partitions occupied by Windows 7, its Recovery and System. I have created an extended partition containing five logical partitions as follows:
/dev/sda5 swap
/dev/sda6 Linux Mint 17.3 'Rosa' (and its grub)
/dev/sda7 Linux Lite 2.6 (and its grub)
/dev/sda8 (empty) - to hold another linux distro in due course
/dev/sda9 a shared DATA partition

The installation of the first Linux distro (Mint) went fine. I then added it to the EasyBCD menu and was able successfully to boot into either Win7 or Linux Mint.

Then I installed Linux Lite and its grub into the next partition. It installed fine. I added it to EasyBCD menu, and it shows as the third OS option there and in the initial (Windows) boot screen. BUT.......

When I choose to boot into Linux Lite, up comes a "grub" menu offering me Linux Mint 17.3 (or the usual alternatives like safe/recovery mode, plus Windows 7). No listing and no mention of Linux Lite 2.6, and no way to get into it. It looks as if Linux Mint has taken over, or blocked access to, the Lite grub in another partition!

I have quickly browsed the FAQs and forum threads, and this seems to be an identical problem to that already posted by Lilinux in the forum thread titled Triple Boot here. The detailed screenshots posted in that thread are virtually identical to mine.

I see that there is an answer to Lilinux's query. It says "You'll need to add Kali Linux to Ubuntu's GRUB boot menu, EasyBCD doesn't yet support specifying which GRUB2 loader to load."

I deduce from this that EasyBCD cannot manage two Linux distros which both happen to use Grub2 (as Mint and Lite apparently do).

I have no idea how to add a second Linux distro to a previous one's GRUB boot menu. Part of my reason for choosing EasyBCD was to have a way of multibooting without having to edit files within Linux using the terminal and all that (which is definitely NOT easy for a novice).

This also raises the separate question of whether EasyBCD can handle (without editing Grub) one Linux distro (like Mint) which uses Grub2, and one (like PCLinuxOS, which I was thinking of putting in my remaining empty partition) which uses Grub Legacy?

Can someone point me to a clear and comprehensive step-by-step of how to add one distro to another's Grub? If it's a simple process I will try it. If it is complicated, then Easy BCD has failed me, and I'll be looking at the delete and uninstall buttons....

I'm still in honeymoon mode with EasyBCD. I hope we are not heading for an early separation!
 
Last edited:

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Hiya @br1anstorm and welcome to the forums,

EasyBCD can add multiple Linux entries, that's not the problem. Triple-booting with a GRUB2 and a grub-legacy distro should pose no problem, that would be literally point and click in the EasyBCD GUI (once for GRUB and another time for GRUB2).

The only problem that arises is if you have two separate GRUB2 distros and during their setup they do not recognize each other. 99 times out of a 100, you will end up with a perfectly-working configuration. The other thread was about someone who wanted to "streamline" their boot menu so that instead of having two menus they only have one from which they can choose all their OSes to minimize the delay.

Basically, you're good to go :smile:
 
#3
Hiya @br1anstorm and welcome to the forums,

EasyBCD can add multiple Linux entries, that's not the problem. Triple-booting with a GRUB2 and a grub-legacy distro should pose no problem, that would be literally point and click in the EasyBCD GUI (once for GRUB and another time for GRUB2).

The only problem that arises is if you have two separate GRUB2 distros and during their setup they do not recognize each other. 99 times out of a 100, you will end up with a perfectly-working configuration. The other thread was about someone who wanted to "streamline" their boot menu so that instead of having two menus they only have one from which they can choose all their OSes to minimize the delay.

Basically, you're good to go :smile:
Thanks, Mahmoud. Over the last few days I have been working on this with the help of the relevant Linux forums (Linux Mint and Linux Lite), and have reached a solution.

The issue seemed to be that Mint's Grub2 (which was the first Linux distro I installed) did not see, or include, Linux Lite's Grub2 when I subsequently installed that as my second Linux distro. I listed Linux Lite as the third OS (after Win7 and Mint) in EasyBCD, and it showed up in the Windows bootloader screen. Even though I "told" EasyBCD the location of Linux Lite and its Grub2, on a separate partition, choosing Linux Lite still brought up only Mint's Grub screen, with only Mint listed. I could not boot into Lite at all.

[incidental but relevant note: it emerged that Linux Lite's Grub has been tweaked by the designers to make it more Windows-friendly, and one consequence is that the Lite entries in the Grub menus of other distros in a multi-boot setup don't always work.....]

Exploring the files via Mint revealed that Linux Lite's Grub had seen and included Mint. But I could not make Linux Lite's Grub the first, or only Grub seen by EasyBCD. (If I could, then obviously using EasyBCD I could have gone to the Windows bootloader, then on to Lite's Grub, and from there chosen either Lite or Mint.) As it was, the only Grub2 which EasyBCD offered was the Mint one (with no listing for Lite).

The solution was to manually insert an entry for Linux Lite into Mint's Grub boot menu. This I was eventually able to do with help and advice from forum experts. It was a bit complicated. But I now have a setup in which EasyBCD has two menu-entries: one for Win7, and one for "Linux Mint or Lite". Choosing either of these takes me first to the Windows boot screen (with those same two options of "Win7" or "Linux Mint or Lite"). Choosing the latter then takes me on into Mint's Grub boot screen, where I can now choose between Mint or Lite.

So I guess this is the "two-stage" selection process mentioned earlier. Not particularly elegant or simple, and it was tricky to set up, but once in place, it works.

I shall now try to install my third - and last - Linux distro in the remaining empty partition. As it is PCLinuxOS, which uses Grub Legacy, I am hopeful that EasyBCD will be able to "see", list and access this directly without getting tangled up with the existing Grub2s.

It's been a steep learning curve, but at least I can say that EasyBCD does what it says, and works smoothly. So thanks for the advice and comments.