Single Menu with multiple linuxes and vista made easy.

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First I thank Neosmart Technologies for EasyBCD.
Sorry! I am writing a lengthy post to explain my situation and also it may be of use others who are in this situation as I read practically all posts relevent to this situation.
I have SONY VAIO FE880 laptop with sata hard drive. First primary partition(hidden) has recovery data.It comes preinstalled with windows Vista home Premium in second primary partition which occupies rest disk. . I wanted to install two distribution of linux Debian and Kubuntu. First taking necessary care of backing up windows vista partition using partimage from sysrescuecd, defragging vista drive and removing restore, I did shrinking vista volume and made free space. Any detail for the above I am not including here as it is available in m blog at I made vfat drives for easy data transfer between linux and vista and two ext3 partitions and one swap partition, all as logical partitions. As I am not sure how this recovery partition works internally, Hence I didn't want to touch mbr with other bootloaders. Hence the need for EasyBCD. I installed first EasyBCD 1.52 and then debian on first linux partition and made sure grub was installed in root partition of debian. I tried adding linux in add/remove entries tab of EasyBCD. But though entry was made, I couldn't boot to linux as error said no \NST\nst_grub.mbr. After reading though this forum, I found it easier to use linux dd for getting first 512 bytes of debian root partition as nst_grub.mbr file and put it in C:\NST\. However with second linux installation, I tried to add that as before. Now old nst_grub also has gone. Any how by putting first 512 bytes of Kubuntu as nst_grub.mbr in C:\NST\ I could do second level booting in linux.
Now I would like to put my observation for developers so that following can be taken care in next release.
Adding linux entry is ok. If it fails to make new nst_grub.mbr due to some reason, it should say so by some info window. Here I have some comments regarding numbering of linux partition in manual. Manual may be correct for primary partition as I have not tried with that. But for logical partition, it doesn't work for me. I have installed debian in /dev/sda9. When I use drive 0, partition 9, it didn't make nst_grub.mbr. I have seen advices in forums to see windows numbering in two ways.
One is to use windows disk manager. I am giving below entries in control Panel/System and maitenance/Administrative tools/Computer management/Strorage/Disk management.
windows vista as primary partition. But it also shows recovery, swap and linux partitions as primary partitions. Thus it shows 5 primary partitions. Now using this, how to number partition for EaseyBCD is beyond my guess. It will be better if it is explained using this info how to number it forEasyBCD?
Second, which worked for me, is using EasyBCD Power Console and doing mbr.exe --list from easyBCD folder. It gives Volume information and also block information. Later was useful in finding out partition. For linux partitions in my HD, following are relevent.
link to \\?\Device\HarddiskVolume7
Fixed hard disk media. Block size = 512
size is 8192346624 bytes
link to \\?\Device\HarddiskVolume8
Fixed hard disk media. Block size = 512
size is 8480231424 bytes
What is partition 7 in windows is /dev/sda9 and partition 8 in windows is /dev/sda10. If I use this then I get corresponding nst_grub.mbr in C:\NST\.
But the problem is having two linuxes. EasyBCD first removes existing nst_grub.mbr and writes nst_grub.mbr for second partition. This leads once again two tier menus.
I saw in EasyBCD view settings that BCD Ids are different. If EasyBCD instead of overwriting previous nst_grub.mbr of debian, places another file by another modified name say nst_grub2.mbr corresponding to Kubuntu, single menu can give options for vista and both linuxes.
For this I have gone through bcdedit /? in easybcd powerconsole. I could set the file for kubuntu as nst_grub2.mbr. using the command
bcdedit /set {7eb9b72a-e3e0-9582-0013a9857dc1} path \NST\nst_grub2.mbr where the long list of numbers are id for kubuntu. This ID can be obtained from easybcd view settings or from bcdedit /v.
Now I have a single menu from vista boot loader that takes me to vista or debian or kubuntu directly.
I have attached a zip file containing What disk management shows for my disk and easybcd view settings before I did bcdedit /set command.


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Hello there, lvg

Welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

EasyBCD 1.6 should fix the "No NST/*" error cause by certain system configurations that resulted in EasyBCD being unable to add the data to the NST directory.

With regards to multiple versions of Linux on one PC via EasyBCD, the recommended method by NeoSmart Technologies, GNU GRUB, and the Linux community is to merge it all into one GRUB menu.

Both Debian and Kubuntu use the (excellent) GRUB bootloader as you said.
However, instead having a separate bootloader for each, you should have one copy of GRUB boot into both.

This can be done by merging the two menu.lst files in /boot/grub/ for each operating system into either the Debian or Kubuntu menus and telling EasyBCD to load that.

At any rate, I'm glad you found EasyBCD to be a useful utility, and I'm especially happy it helped you configure your dual-boot.

EasyBCD 1.6 features quite a few improvements to Linux dual-booting. Would you be willing to test out the current alpha copy of EasyBCD 1.6 and give us any feedback you might have? It's made quite a lot of progress in terms of identifying drives and repairing bootloaders.

If you're interested, just drop me a PM with your email address in it.

Dear computer guru,
First I would like to say That I would like to test your beta as you proposed. As I don't know your email, I am replying here. I would like to know whether it can be installed parallel.
Second I didn't try neogrub, because I read in one of your posts that it also leads to two tier menus ie first vista and neogrub and then neogrub menu will give option to select various linuxes. I feel one menu to select all OSes is more convenient.
OK, if you really only want one menu for each OS (using an independant copy of GRUB for each), you can do this:

Select "LILO" from the drop-down list and install the first Linux
Select "GRUB" from the drop-down list and install the second Linux.

All done!


(EasyBCD since 1.5 will auto-detect the correct format anyway :smile:)