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Author Topic: IDEA: Multi-boot default changer  (Read 4928 times)

Notok

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IDEA: Multi-boot default changer
« on: July 23, 2006, 10:21:18 PM »
My test machine has 3 system partitions, 2 XP and 1 Win2003. Often while testing I will have to reboot, and sometimes I'll want to switch to a different machine while it does that (or I'll space off). What I've always wanted is to have a program that would run at startup and simply set the partition that has booted as the default and then exit. That way when I install something and have to reboot, I don't have to worry about selecting the right partition, it'll automatically go back to the last partition I was in.

In addition it would also be nice to be able to run the program manually to select the partition I want, along with some other options for booting into the different safe modes, VGA mode, load last known good config, and the others that show in the boot menu when you press F8 while booting.

Ideally it would be great if it could auto-install into all partitions. I would imagine that if this didn't need to create registry entries and such to install it could just be copied to the desktop, with shortcut in startup directory, for "all users" in each partition found.

I hope someone will take this one up.. it seems like it would be easy to do, and would be immensely useful to me :)

Carol Haynes

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Re: IDEA: Multi-boot default changer
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2006, 06:36:41 AM »
It's already there in Windows ...

Just go to Control Panel > System >Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings

and select the default OS to boot up.

It works by changing the ini file so which ever OS is currently running will change the same ini file to set the default OS.

A quick way to get to the "System" applet is Start and then Right click on My Computer and choose properties.

If that is too time consuming and a problem for you I am sure someone can write a simple app to change the Boot.ini file for you - but it really isn't needed.

Notok

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Re: IDEA: Multi-boot default changer
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2006, 11:03:25 AM »
Yeah, I've been doing it manually but it is a little annoying to do so each time I boot, and it would be great to just have it to it automatically, along with the other options of being able to quickly and easily choose safe mode and such. It may not seem like much, but it would be really nice when you're trying to multi-task between different machines on a KVM (especially).

Carol Haynes

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Re: IDEA: Multi-boot default changer
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2006, 11:29:38 AM »
You only have one Boot.ini file on your system (it will be on the C: drive usually) and that dictates which OS and partition loads at startup.

To get the other options that you want you can add other boot options for each partition and select them (eg. safe mode).

You can either edit Boot.ini manually (it is a text file) and add the boot switches you require for the settings you want or there are some utilities that will do it for you.

Basically the simplest way is to open Boot.ini in Notepad and copy the line used to boot a particular OS and add the safe mode switch to the copy. When the system starts there will be a boot option for that version too *don't forget to change the display text so you know which is which).

You can then use the system applet to choose the default boot partition and mode of operation. That will stick until you change it again, which seems to acheive what you want.

Here is a list of the possible boot time options: http://www.winguides...ry/display.php/1268/

and another 'manual':  http://www.sysintern...rmation/bootini.html

and Microsoft's Manual: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/833721

If you want further info on these switches there are lots of sites explaining their uses (try http://www.google.co...oot%2Eini%20switches)

If you aren't sure how to do this open c:\Boot.ini in Notepad and copy the text to a follow up message here with a note of what you would like to achieve for each partition and I'll try to help.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2006, 11:34:52 AM by Carol Haynes »

Notok

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Re: IDEA: Multi-boot default changer
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2006, 11:48:52 AM »
Yup, been doing all that to date.

Thanks anyway.

Carol Haynes

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Re: IDEA: Multi-boot default changer
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2006, 11:56:49 AM »
Doing what exactly - sorry I am bit confused?

If you edit your Boot.ini file you can acheive all of the things you want in any of your installations with about 3 mouse clicks ??? and once an option is set (in any of the boot environments) it is set up permanately in all of them until you change it?

I though that was what you wanted.

For example - here is my boot.ini file ...

Quote
[boot loader]
timeout=8
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional D ... XP Graphics" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional E ... XP Audio/Video" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional F ... XP Development" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft WindowsXP Recovery Console (needs RAID driver floppy)" /cmdcons

If I want to have a set up where I can switch to any of these in safemode on startup I just need to copy the four installation lines and add the safemode switches that I want ... like this:

Quote
[boot loader]
timeout=8
default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional D" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional E" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional F" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /noexecute=optin
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(2)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional (minimal safe mode)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(3)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional E (minimal safe mode)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional F (minimal safe mode)" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect /safeboot:minimal /sos /bootlog /noguiboot
C:\CMDCONS\BOOTSECT.DAT="Microsoft WindowsXP Recovery Console (needs RAID driver floppy)" /cmdcons

Now I can use the system applet to select either a normal boot option or a safemode boot option for each of my 4 Windows XP installations (same applies to W2003) and that setting is fixed which ever OS I manually decide to boot up.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2006, 12:01:32 PM by Carol Haynes »