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Bootloader and multi-boot question

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 2:33 am
by wdstudios
My desktop runs a triple-boot configuration with Linux Min 19, Windows 8.1, and Windows XP x64 Edition. Whenever I nuke the hard drive and reinstall everything, I must do so in a specific order because of how the bootloaders behave. GRUB (the Linux bootloader) can see Windows installations, but Windows bootloaders cannot see Linux; furthermore, bootloaders from newer versions of Windows can see older versions of Windows, but bootloaders from older versions of Windows cannot see newer ones. Whenever a new OS is installed, its bootloader overwrites the previous one. Ergo, I always have to install XP first, then 8.1, and then finally Linux. If I install them in any other order, one or more OS will become inaccessible. Also, I can never just go directly to the XP partition. If I want to start up XP, I have to select Windows 8.1 from the GRUB menu, then pick "previous version of Windows" from the 8.1 bootloader, then pick Windows 8.1 AGAIN from the GRUB menu.

If I wanted to swap out XP x64 in favor of ReactOS... how would the bootloaders handle it? Can the ROS bootloader see Win 8.1 and Linux? Would the Win 8.1 bootloader see ROS as an earlier version of Windows?

Re: Bootloader and multi-boot question

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 1:34 pm
by Illen
wdstudios wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 2:33 am
Can the ROS bootloader see Win 8.1 and Linux?
The setup will likely fail to properly recognize these, so it can't by default. But you can easily add the BootMGR and GRUB entries to FreeLDR boot menu by editing freeldr.ini (after installation). For example, if you have ROS on first partition, BootMGR is on partition 2, GRUB is on partition 3, and all partitions are bootable, then you do it like this:

Code: Select all

[Operating Systems]
ReactOS="ReactOS"
BootMGR="Windows 8.1 Boot Manager"
GRUB="GRUB Loader"

[ReactOS]
BootType=Windows2003
SystemPath=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\ReactOS

[BootMGR]
BootType=Partition
BootDrive=hd0
BootPartition=2

[GRUB]
BootType=Partition
BootDrive=hd0
BootPartition=3

Re: Bootloader and multi-boot question

Posted: Wed May 22, 2019 8:43 pm
by Quim
We needs tests...
It is assumed that ReactOS can recognize and be booted using Windows XP bootloader, Windows Vista,7,8,10 bootloaders seems not to be recognizable by FreeLoader...

A test: What about booting ROS using DOS, FreeDOS and Windows 9x bootloaders?
Can ROS recognize Windows 9x bootloaders in order to make dual boot ReactOS /Windows 95/98/ME ?

Or maybe using linux GRUB in order to boot all these OSes (GNU/Linux distro + ReactOS + Windows XP + Windows 7 + Windows 8 + Windows 10). :?:
https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-5463
https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-15563
https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-5943


And if you add Plop Boot Manager on old computers that cannot boot LiveUSBs, you will have another bootloader...
https://forum.plop.at/index.php/topic,1840.0.html
https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-14868

Re: Bootloader and multi-boot question

Posted: Sun May 26, 2019 5:00 pm
by erkinalp
FreeLDR can boot Linux kernels (limited to 32-bit bzimage ones) and multiboot-compliant executables directly.

Re: Bootloader and multi-boot question

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 6:31 pm
by Quim
erkinalp wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 5:00 pm
FreeLDR can boot Linux kernels (limited to 32-bit bzimage ones) and multiboot-compliant executables directly.
Does FreeLoader supports booting Windows 9x(95,98,ME) and Windows 2000,XP,2003 ?
What kind of modifications needs in order to boot Windows Vista,7,8,81,10 ?

One thing pending is to have Plop full support, by its developer (if Elmar some day submit FreeLdr patches)....
https://jira.reactos.org/browse/CORE-14868

Re: Bootloader and multi-boot question

Posted: Mon May 27, 2019 10:22 pm
by erkinalp
You can boot GRUB 2 (you can use a GUI plug-in with that) with FreeLDR and vice versa.