Dual boot standalone O/S's

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Kaos Kid
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Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:25 pm

I have Win 7 and Win 8 on the same PC in standalone configs (Each has its own boot loader so I currently have to go into bios and change the boot order of the physical hard drives every time I want to switch between O/S's). Would it be possible to create a custom bootloader on an SD card that the bios would boot to first that would then give me a gui to choose between the two standalone O/S's? I like the idea of them being separate because if one drive is corrupted or fails it doesn't affect the other. I have it set so that if one drive is booted into via the bios, the other O/S's drive doesn't have a letter so in theory there shouldn't be any risk of writing to or corrupting the alternate's install. Is there any reason this would not work? Basically I want the custom bootloader on an SD card inserted into a card reader to work as a switch to point to the drive of my choice and so use it's stock bootloader to load the O/S I want while still keeping each O/S and drive independent of the other... Any idea which custom bootloader program currently out there may accomplish this? Thanks

Edit: in a nutshell I want to put a Win7/Win8 bootloader onto a bootable SD card that will point to the drive I want to boot from and initiate using that drive's bootloader to complete the boot, thus keeping each O/S's individual bootloader pristine for standalone boots as needed. I would assume that it would need to be able to see the hard drives just as the bios would, rather than as they would appear from inside one of the O/S's...
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby DJ Tucker » Fri Feb 19, 2016 4:41 am

i cant see why you wouldn't be able to dual boot from an sd card using a custom interface to select which OS you want to load. it would require some attention to detail. i did use grub for vista and 7 dual boot 1.5-2 years ago :)
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Fri Feb 19, 2016 2:09 pm

I thought grub was just for Linux distros, I guess I'll do some research on that. Most of the proggies that I've seen while googling talk about being able to make a bootable flash drive, but on further reading it is just so an O/S can be installed to it. All I want to do is have the bootloader/files themselves on an SD card that will point to one physical drive or the other to boot from my choice without having to do it in bios. Also, should be easy to undo it, just pull the SD card out of the reader and the PC will boot to the next drive in line as per the bios. At least that's what I'm hoping, lol...
Thanks
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby KnightRid » Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:22 am

Curious - why not just put the bootloader right on one of the hard drives to select which you want each time? I don't know if any of them have timers that would auto launch your preferred one after a set period of time but they probably do...
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:45 pm

Makes my life simpler since I have to share this PC with my wife, and she refuses to learn anything, lol. What I want to accomplish is to have it boot to SD Card slot first as default so if the card is not in the slot it goes to next in line which would be the Win7 drive. When I want to get on and switch between Win7 and Win8 easily all I would have to do is insert the SD card in the slot and it will easily give me the option to go to one or the other without having to change hard disk preferred between the two drives every time. I have an Andyroid installed on each drive so I can run two accounts of each app I play (CoC and Boom Beach) and it would be easier to switch between the two if I don't have to go into the bios every time, and I will set the timer on the SD card bootloader to wait until it gets input rather than defaulting to one or the other. i have done the normal dual boot thing, and I don't want one O/S dependent on the other, hence the standalone drives. Plus I like to be able to take out a drive without it affecting the other.
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Sat Feb 20, 2016 7:41 pm

I doesn't appear that Grub will work for my intended purpose since it wants to install to a C drive. I want something that works more as as a "portable" extension of the bios (boot to SD Card, command information on SD card points to which physical hard drive I choose which then uses that drive's bootloader with no other mods (sort of like an A/B switch). I assume that it would need something to tell it to boot to a drive and not just try to access it like a storage drive. Would I have to actually have a basic O/S (like DOS or linux that then runs a command line?) installed on the SD card to be able to have a loader on it that then tells it to boot to the physical hard drive of my choice? It seems to me that it would be possible, I know it will take thinking outside the box since but having the drives function as standalones it seems to me anyway in theory that it should be simple commands, but then again I know nothing about it...maybe I'm more of an idea man than an implementer.

Edit: The idea could be compared to the way you would use a Windows 98 Floppy disk to start the install, only this would "fool" it into actually skipping the install part and make it believe that the install is finished and just point to the drive that the preferred install is on.
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby KnightRid » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:14 am

https://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager/index.html - old but he is working on a new version. Might work for the simple thing you are doing....

http://btmgr.sourceforge.net/about.html

If they dont do it I will keep looking :)
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:15 am

thanks, I'd been playing around with rufus all night last night, trying to make something happen with GAG 4.11 too but can't get the hang of it. This is frustrating but fun at the same time, I know I will get great satisfaction if I figure this one out. The major obstacle is that they all want to write to the hard disk(s), whereas I don't want the existing boot managers touched, only pointed to from an sd card in a usb-based card reader.
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby DJ Tucker » Sun Feb 21, 2016 8:52 pm

i used grub2win so you could try that and my usb stick at the time was ntfs format and it looks for ntfs to boot to/from ;)
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Sun Feb 21, 2016 10:46 pm

DJ Tucker wrote:i used grub2win so you could try that and my usb stick at the time was ntfs format and it looks for ntfs to boot to/from ;)


How did you install it as a standalone on your usb stick? From what I read, it wants to install to the C Drive so AFAIK it will modify the boot sector of at least the default drive (which in my case is the physical drive with Win 7 on it), I couldn't tell if it would also mess with the bootloader of the physical drive with Win8 on it. My goal would be to have a choice of which physical drive to boot to, but if I had to remove either drive from the system the other would still boot without having to do a repair.
I have come to the conclusion that "FaceBook" should be renamed "FacePalm" :roll:

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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby Kaos Kid » Mon Feb 22, 2016 1:15 pm

Update: I just found an extra step in the F12 process for my mobo, I had thought it would only let me change general boot order but I've found that it will also let me change hard drive preference in the F12 command for a one time boot without having to go all the way into the bios, and still keep the default for any subsequent restarts/boots. This will work for me for now, perhaps when I get a newer mobo that is UEFI one of the existing multiboot managers will work for me, right now they don't work the way I want for just a standard bios mobo. Thanks for your help.
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Re: Dual boot standalone O/S's

Postby DJ Tucker » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:35 am

i forgot you can install to usb if you can fool the installer to register a usb as the c drive. it worked for me however it was a little troublesome. this was due to it not meant to be working on a usb. a work around is to change the drive letter of the usb to c drive but that can be very risky for most.
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