Safe Mode command-line-only? EasyBCD from a USB stick?

#1
Hi,

EasyBCD looks great. I'm in the unenviable position of not being able to access the advanced boot options screen on my Win7 Lenovo (F8 doesn't work, and even the emergency boot screen only offers the Startup Recovery option), so I think this will give me the cold boot Safe Mode option back again.

Two questions. Is it possible to spec Safe Mode, Command Line only? I don't see that listed.

Also, if Lenovo is disabling cold entry into Safe Mode, others may also. Is it possible to keep EasyBCD on a stick, and use it to enable Safe Mode on other computers that won't boot up?

Thanks,
p.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Hi Paul,

Interesting case you got there! You should be able to bash the f8 key repeatedly *before* Windows starts loading to get the safe mode option.

Regarding being unable to set CMD Safe Mode in EasyBCD - nice catch! The next beta build of EasyBCD (see EasyBCD 2.0 Beta Builds - The NeoSmart Forums) will definitely have that feature.
 
#3
Hey, thanks. I really appreciate your prompt response. I'm interested in Command Line because it was the only way I could roll back a friend's machine with a deep-rooted virus to a Restore Point.

Regarding my Lenovo - I've tried everything and now have the Lenovo forum admin looking into it. But currently there is no way to do it, that I can find anyway.

How about EasyBCD on a USB stick, to control the boot of a machine? I now have discovered the function that writes MBR to any drive, so I think it would work (providing the machine's BIOS supports it, of course). Strangely, though, eBCD finds my old USB stick, but not my newer 8G one.

Thanks again,
p.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
We don't have any way of running EasyBCD from a bootable CD or USB, though we're looking into creating such in the near future. You can, however, use our Vista Recovery ISO from Windows Vista Recovery Disc Download The NeoSmart Files on either a CD/DVD or a USB; then use the command line to change what you need?

////just occurred to me!

Perhaps I am misunderstanding your original idea. Maybe you don't want to run EasyBCD itself, but instead create a USB that will, when selected at boot time, proceed to boot the OS on drive C: in Safe Mode?

That certainly is possible!
 
#5
Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to do. And I think I'm on my way there. I just copied a MBR to a stick, now I just have to configure it. I think I can backup the system drive's MBR and then import it, all via eBCD. That's next on my exploration list.

Don't mind me, it takes me a while.. : ) This MBR stuff is not second nature to me yet. Great program!

Thanks much,
p.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
Ok, well please do post back and let us know what you did and if it worked - this is a rather nice idea, and definitely something handy to have about.

Also, if you run into any trouble we'll do our best to help :smile:
 
#7
Thank you, again. Sorry for the delay. A backup computer went dead and needed a full restore.

Before I continue with the usb stick, I need to correct some problems I'm having with the C drive installation. The problems are two. First, no matter how many times I run through the Advanced options and set Win7 Safe Mode to "Safe Mode: Safe Mode", and then click Save Settings, when I reopen eBCD it comes up again as "Safe Mode: Normal". It does this for SM and SM with networking, but the setting for vga only does stick.

Second, I have tried Saving the bootloader and now also Writing it to the disk, though I'm not sure what the difference is. In neither case does Safe Mode invoke. I keep getting channeled into a Normal start.

So I'm afraid there's something basic I'm missing about operating eBCD. I removed my two USB sticks while doing these tests, to eliminate the possibility of them actually driving the boot.

Thanks,
p.
 
#9
Hmmm.. I'm getting the same (non)behavior from 2.0.3.167. It goes directly into Normal Mode.

Addendum:

However, low VGA does work! Perhaps there is something wrong with my Safe Mode specs?

Oh my. I just went to check what they are, and discovered that the settings aren't sticking with this version either. I'm in an admin account, but perhaps I need to run this as administrator?

Puzzled.

Addendum:

No, even run as admin doesn't hold its settings.
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#10
Damn. Turns out that a bug in the .NET code protector we're using is breaking this feature when we make the setup....

Addendum:

Please try the latest build.
 
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#11
Ok, the latest build got me into SM! I didn't try with networking, but I have no reason to think it doesn't work too.

Is there a way to invoke the native Windows Advanced Boot Options Menu from eBCD? While in Safe Mode I saw via a Help file that it contains a lot of recovery utilities (much more than the XP ABOM) that would be very handy. I'm sure they could be accessed once in SM, but direct access would be better.

NOW, I can try setting this up on the USB stick.

Thanks very much for your help. eBCD is a very nice tool!
p.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#12
Paul, I only wish. I haven't yet been able to find *any* way (programmatic or otherwise) of invoking the Advanced Boot Options.
 
#13
I finally figured out how to access the advanced boot menu via F8 on my Lenovo. I have to hit it repeatedly from the moment I commence the boot sequence. And to do that, I need to shut off my external speakers, because the key pressing generates ear-piercing overflow beeps.

But I think I see what the problem is. F8 seems to be triggering an interrupt sequence that overrides the normal boot process. So it kicks in before eBCD can get its hands on things.

That's not to say there isn't a programmatic way to invoke the ABO, but I haven't come across it yet.

Another option would be to make the options offered by the ABO screen available via eBCD itself. That would be pretty neat.

Anyway, thanks. My next step is to work on the usb stick as an external loader.

bw,
p.