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[HOW-TO] Make a Multiboot CD/DVD with different configs of the Same Op


Maelstorm

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I have discovered a way, based on flyakite's guide, to make a multiboot CD/DVD that hold mutliple configurations of the same OS. This is specific to Windows XP Professional, but I'm sure that this procedure can be used for others as well.

1. Make a working copy of your Windows XP Pro CD.

2. In the I386 directory, delete the file BOOTFIX.BIN (This is the file that is responsible for displaying the "Press any key to boot from CD..." message when you boot from a WinXP CD).

3. Do any other custom modifications to the files in I386.

4. Make multiple copies of the I386 directory.

5. For this example, we will make 1 copy of the I386 directory. The copy will be called ALT1. You can pick any name that you want, but the requirement is that it must be 4 characters long and in CAPS.

6. Get a XP CD boot sector and name it BOOTI386.BIN

7. Copy BOOTI386.BIN and rename the copy to BOOTALT1.BIN.

8. Edit BOOTALT1.BIN with a hex editor and change I386 to ALT1. There is only 1 location where I386 is found:

0x0495

9. Edit ALT1/SETUPLDR.BIN with a hex editor and change all instances of I386 (also i386) to ALT1. There are 4 locations inside the file where i386 are found. For Windows XP Pro SP2, these locations are as follows:

0x225DA

0x2650B

0x375E9

0x3C21B

10. Using a CD Menu Boot Shell such as CDSHELL, make a menu system that points to the different boot sectors based on what the use chooses. Use your imagination here.

11. Use Microsoft's CDIMAGE tool to make the ISO. The command line that I use is as follows:

CDIMAGE -l"<CD Volume Name>WXPUPG_EN" -b"<path to cdshell boot image>" -t08-23-2001,09:00:00 -h -j1 -m -x -o "<path to source files>" "<path to ISO output file and filename>"

CDIMAGE -l"WXPUPG_EN" -b"E:\CDROM\BOOT\loader.bin" -t08-23-2001,09:00:00 -h -j1 -m -x -o "E:\CDROM" "C:\TEMP\WinBootImage.iso"

Notes:

* You can have different versions of WINNT.SIF to configure your unattended and attended setups. Just place each config in the approperiate directory.

* There are only 6 files that are different between the various versions of XP Pro (Retail Full, Retail Upgrade, OEM, Volume). This is as of SP2.

* By using Microsoft's CDIMAGE tool, duplicate files are only written once. So you can have 4 different configurations of an operating system on a single 700MB CD...with room to spare.

* This was based loosely off of Flyakite's guide and I decided to skip a few steps. I don't know WHY you need the unpacked boot files though when using the files as is seems to work just fine...at least for me.

[EDIT 08-13-2006 0753PST]

Changed cdshell.bin to loader.bin to reflect the cdshell distribution to help reduce confusion about which file to boot the cd/dvd from.

[EDIT 08-14-2006 0108 PST]

Added file offsets to steps 8 and 9.

Edited by Maelstorm
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Thanks.

This evolved from an idea I had some time ago to somehow have multiple configurations of a single operating system using only one disk image that can fit on CD. Before, I was leaning toward booting to DOS using floppy emulation, running a menu from DOS, and then running WINNT.EXE with the various command line options to select different unattended config files. :blink:

This method is much better in my opinion, and because the menu runs as a CD boot (I'm using CDSHELL for the menu), I can add different utilities to the boot environment so the CD/DVD doubles as a bootable diagnostic disk as well. I have included the various ISO images of harddisk utilities from Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital on there as well. It seems that the Seagate one has problems though...The other two boot fine.

If anyone has any other ideas as to what utilities to put on a disk like this, post here.

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Just some reference material for you Maelstorm...

Ultimate Boot Disk

Hiren's Boot CD

This should give you a few ideas of what you could incorporate into your CD.

Given enough room, or using a DVD you might be able to put the UBD on the same disk as your install.

NOTE: I understand Hiren's boot disk contains "warez" or unlicensed, illegal software. It is only listed here for reference purposes. :whistle:

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