GAG - Multi-boot application

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by nexstar, Feb 17, 2008.

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  1. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    In case anyone is interested in multi-booting two or more OS' then the freeware utility GAG is worth a look and is very simple to set up.

    You can boot up to 9 operating systems in a variety of 'flavours' and it can be installed in the MBR, on a floppy or CD-ROM and the OS can be in a primary or extended partition.

    There are lots of features but it is small, fast and well thought out. It can also be used by Rollback/Eaz-Fix users (V7.2.1) as it can be run from floppy or CD without messing with the MBR.

    This was a new piece of software to me but it seems that markymoo is pretty familiar with it and will hopefully be along to provide some hints and tips :) .

    Graham
     
  2. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    hi nexstar, let me get see if got this right. you booting Gag from a cd and you want to be able to boot linux, rb/eaz-fix partition and another xp partititon for recovery? and booted Gag from a cd to protect the MBR of Eaz-Fix? wth Grub4Dos you don't have to install it into the MBR or root in boot.ini but you can also install it in the boot area of a partition and even boot a logical partition. so it would help what partitions you have setup and have you got linux installed already?

    what is important even if obvious about dual-boot or multi-booting is when you make another partition to boot another O/S especially for recovery is that it should be totally seperate from the other windows. a typical dual-boot uses the boot files on the first partition to boot the 2nd O/S. this would be disaster if the first partition failed as you wouldn't be able to boot the 2nd windows or O/S as it reliant on the 1st partition.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  3. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    No, Linux isn't essential for me but I'm sure others would find that useful. I initially cloned the system partition into a logical partition and then just modified the boot.ini accordingly. It booted ok using GAG but there were a few errors that came up on startup. So, I then did a fresh install and it all worked fine. I deleted the boot.ini entry for the second installation on the C: drive so that didn't pop up on normal booting.

    With RB/EF in mind, I installed GAG to a floppy first, configured it as I wanted it and then used Floppy Image to make an image which I could burn to CD. Most of my normal image making tools couldn't read the disk. Before finding Floppy Image I had emailed the author and he replied with:

    I'm still exploring the possibilities that this opens up at the moment :) .

    Graham
     
  4. Alphalutra1

    Alphalutra1 Registered Member

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    GAG is awesome may I just add. It handles all the BSDs, linux, and windows all from an extremely easy to use interface, though I think if you have linux you will still need grub installed on that partition to pass all of the parameters such as the location of the kernel and any initrd and such, though just install grub on the partition instead of in the MBR and it will work incredibly well.

    Cheers,

    Alphalutra1
     
  5. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    @Graham

    The way Brian described to create a bootable cd is one of the easiest. I not sure if you got it onto cd yet.

    Stick in your floppy.

    Download WinImage ftp://ftp.winimage.com/winimage/winima80.exe and install.

    In WinImage goto File Batch Assistant Wizard and click Next 2x then click Set of image files and click Next. Browse to save the image file to a name of your choice. Change save as type to ima - save and click finish. Then load that image into UltraIso or Nero(BootCd) or Img2Burn to burn it to cd

    So it only worked the way he described for you?
     
  6. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    I've got it onto CD now but I couldn't get WinImage to read the floppy which is when I found the Floppy Image utility I mentioned above. I haven't tried the NTRawrite the author suggested but I've no doubt that works as well.

    Once on the CD, you can still use it to boot different configurations, you just can't store them on the CD :) .

    Graham
     
  7. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    In the case of recovery deciding to boot from cd is the safest option long term. Brian's way is good but what if one of the partitions goes down. As i understand it he got both partitions on the same drive so the 2nd partition on a seperate drive be better still.

    To use grub4dos you copy grub.exe gldr to the root of c and create a menu.lst with the following below and then edit boot.ini and add the line c:\gldr="Start GRUB" as the last entry. This would boot into either partition 1 or 2 and would leave the MBR alone. Trouble is in disaster you lose your boot files so its better on cd ultimately. You can run Grub4Dos from cd.

    timeout 5
    color black/white
    default 0

    title Windows XP 1
    root (hd0,0)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1

    title Windows XP 2
    root (hd0,1)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1

    If you was going to boot either drive or drive 2 you would do this instead.

    title Windows XP 1
    rootnoverify (hd0,0)
    map (hd0) (hd1)
    map (hd1) (hd0)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1

    title Windows XP 2
    rootnoverify (hd1,0)
    map (hd1) (hd0)
    map (hd0) (hd1)
    makeactive
    chainloader +1
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2008
  8. Defenestration

    Defenestration Registered Member

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    With grub or GAG, is it possible to run a command from one Windows installation, to shutdown Windows and automatically boot into another Windows installation ?
     
  9. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    Grub and Gag are menu systems with a countdown timer to boot the relevent o/s of your choice and they can boot any os on any partititon or drive aslong as you tell it in the menu where that o/s and where the MBR is which can be a file. You can make the default o/s always boot. It best you use another util that instructs it to boot into another before shutdown in your case like pqboot what Brian described to tell it to boot another on shutdown as Grub Gag will always load the menu system.
     
  10. Defenestration

    Defenestration Registered Member

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    Ok, thanks markymoo.
     
  11. Dave49

    Dave49 Registered Member

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    If I may, I'd like to ask a related question.

    I have a mobile rack. On the drive in the removable tray I have Acronis images of my XP OS backed up. So I need to be able to get to that drive for backing up.

    I have another drive I want to put into the tray with which to install Ubuntu for testing purposes.

    When I'm not "playing around" with Ubuntu, I want to put the back up drive back into the tray and boot into XP. Which means the Ubuntu drive is no longer connected to the computer.

    After installing Ubuntu on the drive in the tray I shut down and removed the Ubuntu drive and inserted the Acronis back up drive into the mobile rack and rebooted expecting to boot into XP and the booting stopped right after the POST. I got the message that it could not find something (GRUB?) and the booting stopped with that message. I used the XP Recovery Console to fixmbr so I could boot into XP again, but now the Ubuntu drive will not boot.

    I want to be able to use the Ubuntu drive when I want to "mess" with Linux. Then I want to be able to remove it from the machine and still boot into XP.

    I thought the dual boot function would default to the OS it could find, if the other one was not present. This seems to not be the case. If it can't find both, it seems to stop. So I was looking for a boot manager which would allow for this. Is GAG that boot manager?

    Thanks,

    ~Dave
     
  12. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    The short answer, I would say, is 'yes'. You could set it up on floppy, CD or (simplest probably) install it on the hard drive itself if nothing else is using your MBR. You could then have it so it defaults after a specified time to your XP setup but you could intercept if you wanted to boot the linux partition.

    I haven't used it with linux but others here have if you have any problems.

    Graham
     
  13. Dave49

    Dave49 Registered Member

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    Thank you. I might experiment with it. My mobile rack currently is an old IDE connection. But I'm coming to the conclusion that it might just be better to get a SATA mobile rack and a few extra removable trays. I could leave one internal drive for my Acronis back up images. But I could just put my OS drives in their own removable tray. Then when I want to install and try out Linux, I can just put the installation drive into the rack and boot that. And when I want to go back into XP, I can remove that tray, and insert the XP drive tray into the rack and boot that one. This should eliminate the need for a dual boot of any kind, don't you think?

    ~Dave
     
  14. nexstar

    nexstar Registered Member

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    Yes, I like caddies for that reason and it means that if you get a 'rogue' installation then it is not going to cause any problems with your other OS's. I like Gag but if the multiple caddies is an option then I'd like that better :) .

    Graham
     
  15. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    Dave49

    If you installed Xp and Ubuntu seperately with only one plugged in at the time of the install when you unplug the other and insert other it should boot either. Are you plugging it into the same drive channel for each? It could be when you installed Ubuntu the drive configuration was in a different order or you had Xp drive attached too perhaps? Best you have them them both plugged in on seperate channels or use some other storage, Usb or Ubuntu Live Cd so you don't have to keep swapping. Yes you sure can use Gag to increase the ways you can boot your Xp,Ubuntu.
     
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