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Multiboot Vista / XP and Other OSes with Grub4Dos Menu


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Here's a great download for all: sbootmgr.dsk.

It allows you to boot from a CD-ROM, even if your BIOS does not support booting from CD-ROM.

It's a great tool for even those who CAN boot from CD-ROM because you can add it to a Grub menu. No more chaning your BIOS boot sequence or pressing F8 to boot from alternative devices.

Simply download the file, add it to the root of your OS, add the following code to menu.lst.

title Boot CD using Smart Boot Manager
find --set-root /sbootmgr.dsk
map --mem /sbootmgr.dsk (fd0)
map --hook
chainloader (fd0)+1
rootnoverify (fd0)

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But, mangostan, if you're installing Grub to the Linux partition, whether on the same hard drive or not, how will the Windows installed MBR, which is what continues to boot your pc no matter what is listed in Grub when it's not in the MBR, know how to boot anything but Windows? Something within the MBR must start the Grub that's installed on the Linux boot sector.

I still don't understand exactly what you mean, perhaps?

Some folks use Grloader, Grub4Dos, or EasyBCD which can write a chainloader into the Vista boot loader, to boot to the Grub on the Linux partition which you then can use it's menu to select things but in that case you basically want to just boot to Linux.

Other (most) just let Grub install into the MBR by the distro default setup program and in most cases these days it will detect Windows and create the section in menu.lst to boot Windows and mount the Windows partition for access within Linux.

I've found that I've had a hard time getting rid of Grub manually. Actually the only way I have was by wiping everything and installing Windows fresh. Vista's repair, using YaST to reinstall the original MBR, telling it to install into the Linux partition, running fdisk /mbr from a 98 Startup Disc, running Vista boot repair, running the command to reinstall NT6 from the Vista DVD have all failed to get rid of Grub. The XP cd wouldn't let me into the recovery console as neither my password nor no password would be accepted once Vista was on there.

So that's annoying to me. I hate anything without an off switch. One time I left Linux on there and reinstalled Windows. Booting with the SuSE DVD and choosing to start the installed Linux, then trying to get Grub within YaST to reinstall itself also failed for me. I needed to totally wipe and reinstall Linux to get back Grub into the MBR.

It's probably my not being familiar with command line stuff and trying to use the provided YaST substitutes. If they're not working properly (as they weren't at the time after those early versions of the Novell Kernel updates) then I'm sunk. Maybe some of that stuff would work now, since they've fixed up the latest Kernel updates they're pushing through Online Update. But the recommended non-Linux methods to get rid of Grub still concern me as they just didn't work for me. Sometimes you just want to get rid of Grub without needing to reinstall Windows.

Grub is a really nice boot loader. But these are important issues the makers seem to think aren't so. Otherwise they wouldn't have made removing Grub such a mystery.

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What remains to be seen, I think, is being able to add Windows PE 2.0 to Grub4Dos menu (running off HDD, of course). If anyone has accomplished this please let us know.

Using VPC 2007, I am going to experiment with WinPE 2.0 on second partition of first HDD and first partition of secondary HDD.

Will post my results here.

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too bad i didn't see this earlier... i need to do a dual boot PC of Windows and linux for my school project on VPC. so what happened was... GRUB can't seem to load XP or Vista Directly. it loads the Vista boot loader then select the OS u want... and since i have 2 XP, in the Vista boot loader, they have an option for XP boot loader... so its like going thru 2 boot loaders b4 i can boot a XP.

My setup was:

  • Windows XP Pro (nLited)
  • Windows XP Pro (Full)
  • Windows Vista
  • Mandriva Linux

The Process of booting...

  • Windows XP (Any) - GRUB > Windows Vista Boot Loader > Windows XP Boot Loader > Windows
  • Windows Vista - GRUB > Vista Boot Loader > Vista
  • Linux - GRUB > Linux

any reason why?

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GRUB can't seem to load XP or Vista Directly.

AGAIN, Grub cannot chainload directly XP, grub4dos can:


Alternatively to the method illustrated here, it is possible to insert grub4dos inside Vista bootmanager,


*** Loading GRUB4DOS in Windows Vista ***


First, you should copy GRLDR.MBR to C:\, and use the following commands:

bcdedit /create /d "Boot Manager" /application bootsector

bcdedit /set {id} device boot

bcdedit /set {id} path \grldr.mbr

bcdedit /displayorder {id} /addlast

Then copy GRLDR and menu.lst to the root directory of any FAT16/FAT32/EXT2/NTFS


Notice: These commands need elevated privileges, they should be used inside

cmd.exe which is started with "Run as administrator".

or to chainload the Vista Bootsector.

All the above is related to grub4dos, NOT grub.


Edited by jaclaz
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Thanks, Jaclaz, for clarifying the difference between Grub and Grub4Dos. I have changed my original post to mention Grub4Dos.

I just wanted to add on to what you said about adding Grub4Dos to Vista's boot options menu, which is a great tip. I could not use that method, however, because my goal was to obtain Grub4Dos menu first - before Vista's boot options menu. If you add Grub4Dos to Vista's menu and make it the default with a timeout of 0, then you cannot load Vista because of a circular reference - meaning even if you add Vista to your menu.lst, it will keep loading Grub4Dos menu because it is the default!

Therefore, I had to rename the files. However, if you don't want Grub4Dos to be your first menu, then Jaclaz's method is a great alternative.

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then Jaclaz's method is a great alternative.

Well, actually it is not my method :blushing: , it was just a quote from a recent grub4dos readme.txt. ;)

Changing the post above to better make this clear.


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