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multi-boot with NTLDR

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I'm using MagicISO, and interested in creating a CD-ROM disc that offers the following options on bootup:

- Windows 2000/SP4 Installer (default)

- Windows 2000/SP4 Unattended Installation

- Windows Recovery Console

- Norton Ghost 2003 Utility

Is this possible using NTLDR and a boot.ini such as the following:

[boot loader]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINNT="Existing Windows Troubleshooter [VGA safe mode w/networking]" /safeboot:network /basevideo /sos /noguiboot

[operating systems]
c:\i386\winnt32="Windows 2000/SP4 Installer" /s:c:\i386
c:\i386\winnt32="Windows 2000/SP4 Unattended Install (default SIF)" /s:c:\i386 /u:winnt.sif /debug3:c:\setup.log
c:\cmdcons\bootsect.dat="Microsoft Windows Recovery Console" /cmdcons
c:\utils\nghost\ghost\ghost.exe="Norton Ghost 2003 Utility"

I've tried, and can get a bootable CD with options displayed, but can't get past errors like inability to find the NTOSKRNL.EXE and the like. Is this approach doable or not?

Would love some guidance from the pros.

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First, I want to hear how you got NTLDR working on a CD! But, the only thing I see is that you may not want to use C:\ for paths, but some form of multi(w)disk(x)rdisk(y)partition(z) to show where the files are.

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it looks to me like you are making some confusion:

1) The entries in boot.ini can be of TWO types:

#a an arcpath,i.e. something like


where the destination is an INSTALLED version of an NT based system, i.e. NT/2K/XP/2003

#b a "normal path, i.e. something like


where the destination is a BOOTSECTOR file, or better a 512 byte file containing a VALID bootsector

In both cases in the SAME (ROOT) directory of the boot.ini must reside AT LEAST NTLDR (case #a above needs also NTDETECT.COM and, if you have SCSI or SATA disks the proper driver renamed as NTBOOTDD.SYS)

2) You CANNOT start a program, ie. something like




3) I never tried using MagicISO to do such an image, but definitely the "C:" drive will NOT be the CD-ROM

There is however a (not always working) possibility, by loading a floppy Image with DOS (or better with a Windows 98 DOS) or loading a version of BartPE.

This can be achieved through a few different programs, all of them somehow tricky to use:

a) the Chinese vfloppy:


b) Grub4Dos


c) the VERY experimental ISOEMU (that should still be somwhere in the net):


and indirectly with:

d) CDshell diskemu/memdisk


e) some others that I haven't a handy link to right now, like BCDW and Bootscriptor


Edited by jaclaz

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I see the error of my previous approach. The NTLDR doesn't provide an operating system - it's just a way to get a menu up to present choice of loading an operating system.

(For liquidplasmaflow) I was able to achieve that using a boot image of a bootable Win2000 diskette in 'floppy disk emulation' mode, to which I had previously copied boot.ini, NTLDR and NTDETECT.COM. The instructions for that were the ones you'd follow if you needed a floppy to bypass a corrupt boot.ini or NTLDR on your hard disk.

I'm now pursuing an approach which is to make separate bootable ISO images for each of the boot options I want to present. This assures unit testing of each. Then, I will combine them all using MagicISO multiboot, which presents its own menu. I like MagicISO's ease-of-use, but the boot menu is plain text. I've also noted that at the last stage of combining the separate images into one multi-boot image I have the alternative of using other software that can present a graphical menu (eg- EasyBoot).

I think for me (as a newbie in bootable CDs) the two conceptual hurdles have been:

- a boot option screen is a separate thing from a bootable OS

- a boot image file is a separate thing from a recordable ISO image file

Now that I better appreciate these points my choice of tools is more clear:

- WinImage, to edit boot image files

- MagicISO, to edit recordable ISO image files

- EasyBoot, to create graphical multi-boot option screens

Still trying to figure out how to create a bootable recovery console, but I can always use a multi-boot menu to remind the user of Win2000 setup to hit F10 and go straight into the recovery console.

Anyway, making some progress. Thanks for the guidance.

Edited by williamc

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Yes, that's better.

However the problem now is which tool will allow you to load an ISO image to boot from.

The ISOEMU mentioned in my previous post only works for int13h compatible Operating Systems....(and only on some configurations)

Provided you have enough space in the boot floppy image, for DOS and Win9x you can try using one of the apps that come with SHSUCDX:


The bartPE+win2003 boot from ISO solution does work:


The problem is to combine the two.

Also have a look at this:


And, regarding Command Console:




Edited by jaclaz

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