Saturday, 21 May 2011

How-to: Edit Windows Boot Menu

I tripped over an issue with dual-booting a machine with Windows and Linux this week.

If Windows is installed first on the primary partition of the first hard disk, you might decide go with frequent advice NOT to install the Linux boot-loader onto that partition, for fear of messing up the Master Boot Record (MBR).

However, if you install Grub-2 anywhere else, you'll then need to add a menu option to the Windows Boot Menu, else your Linux install won't boot...


By default, most Linux installers put GRUB-2, the boot loader, onto the Master Boot Record of the first hard disk, but the common recommendation of most tutorials is to install GRUB in the boot partition of the Linux installation.

After installation is completed, the PC will reboot into Windows because Windows is not aware that it shares the hard drive with another operating system. The easiest way I have found to add an entry for Linux in Windows' boot menu is to use EasyBCD, a proprietary but free application from NeoSmart Technologies.

Go to http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1 and download EasyBCD; make sure to use the smaller button at the bottom of the page, not the two big green buttons at the top, otherwise you get Freemodo or some other unrelated promoted download.
  • Install EasyBCD and start it.
  • Click on the "Add New Entry" tab,
  • Select the "Linux/BSD" tab.
  • From the Type drop-down menu, select "GRUB 2" (most current Linux distributions use GRUB 2 as the boot loader).
  • Select "Add Entry" button, then
  • Select the "Edit Boot Menu" tab.
  • By default, Windows will boot first, but you may change the boot order here.
  • Click on Save Settings before exiting EasyBCD.
Now there is more than one entry in the boot menu, it will present itself on every reboot for you to select. RC

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