installing iso's to WinRE partition ?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by gbhall, Jul 8, 2013.

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  1. gbhall

    gbhall Registered Member

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    I have Win 7 pro and Win XP pro dual booting - that was easily set up with EasyBCD.

    I also have various imaging and partitioning and windows recovery softwares that have been made into bootable .iso files and burned to CD's in order to have a clean environment - sometimes only for image restore, sometimes for other procedures.

    Rather than boot from those CD's to image/restore/play with partitions, I think to myself 'I have a hidden WinRE partition containing the BCD database and other things and there is at least 1Gb spare space, so is there any reason why I can't just copy one or two of those .iso files to the WinRE partition, and add them to the BCD boot ?'

    It would be nice for every reboot to offer Win7, XP, imaging/recovery, and partition work. Surely that would be very easy to set up - is there any snag I am not aware of in this plan?
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2013
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    You can use EasyBCD to add the ISO files for booting.
     
  3. huntnyc

    huntnyc Registered Member

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    Does it matter that the partition is hiden? How would you input the path of ISO in EasyBCD unless you assign a drive letter to the hiden partition.

    Just started using EasyBCD and I am also interested in this but need more clarification and thanks for the topic.

    Gary
     
  4. gbhall

    gbhall Registered Member

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    I was wondering about that too. Maybe you just unhide the partition (which you would need to do anyway to access the partition and put the iso files there.)

    Then set up the BCD with easybcd and hide the partition again afterwords.

    If easybcd or any of the iso's cannot see the partition to boot from when hidden, then I fail to understand how the BCD booting process can work anyway.....

    @MudCrab - do you mean use Easybcd to place the iso files on the WinRE partition, or perhaps you can expand just a bit more, please ?
     
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Depends what you mean by hidden. It would need to be accessible via drive letter to use EasyBCD with it. It could be unassigned afterwards. Actually setting the partition type to hidden (0x17, for example) doesn't work for booting because the loader skips the partition.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother with the hidden partition. Just use a regular partition (dedicated or otherwise) and put the ISO files there. Easier to update/maintain.
     
  6. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Excellent thread. I un-archive the ISO and then use it. Also, I keep the unarchived ISO in a separate partition linked with EasyBCD.

    Thus, when a new version of the WinPE comes out, I un-archive the ISO, and replace the newer unarchived directory with the older unarchived directory.

    Best regards,
     
  7. gbhall

    gbhall Registered Member

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    Point taken. Using a new dedicated partition is probably best. To use an existing OS or data partition to store .ISO's might trip me up if booting from an .iso that I am using to image that very same partition.....

    As far as I am able to gather from documentation on terabytes site for BootItBM and Image for Dos/Windows that is also the approach taken if you want to boot from the HDD rather than other media.

    No doubt it is possible to use the Windows recovery partition, but you need some complicated way to alter the booting process called up by F8 at boot time, and add image/recover/partition work to the offered options. Not only complex, but a PITA to update when desired, as you say.

    Thanks for the advice.
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Most utility ISO files boot into RAM. This doesn't cause any problems if backing up the partition they were loaded from since it's not being used.

    What I've done in the past is setup a secondary drive with GRUB4DOS. When booted it brings up a menu for the ISO files. To boot it I just selected that drive from the BIOS Boot Menu.

    If you wanted to use the Windows Boot Manager what I would do is set up a non-OS partition with the booting files (just like it would be on a UFD). That way you have a completely separate booting system with no risk to your main Windows booting files. The partition could be booted by being Active and selecting the drive (like the GRUB4DOS method) or you could boot it from BIBM.
     
  9. gbhall

    gbhall Registered Member

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    This is proving frustratingly difficult. I cannot get sensible results from what I have done so far, and don't know what I am doing wrong.

    I set up a small primary NTFS partition on my first HDD called isostore, assigned a drive letter, and saved on there a few .ISO files which have been used to write bootable CD's. Therefore these .isos are bootable and have a booter plus some operating system and drivers inside themselves.

    Examples ; Gparted, Macrium Free recovery with windows PE 4.0, Macrium Free recovery with Linux, Partition Wizard. Then I added each iso to the boot process using EasyBcd. I added them with options to run from Ram or run from disk, without any improvement.

    What happens is various forms of failure. The Linux Macrium recovery, for instance, goes into an infinite loop ' module unknown not found in modules.dep'. The windows PR Macrium recovery wants me to 'press any key to boot CD' and goes back to the BCD menu again. Another drops me at a grub> prompt and goes no further. When one does work, it does so by displaying yet another menu, which is, of course, the menu one sees if one boots the actual CD. It offers such things as memory tests, safe mode and the actual imaging app. Sometimes with only recovery, sometimes without USB access to my external backup drive.

    I welcome suggestions as to what I may be doing wrong, but it is beginning to look a bit futile, and I might be better off just using the full monty from Terabyte, where all the problems have been worked out. A drawback is they are lately issuing updates faster than anyone can keep up with.
     
  10. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Have you tested that those ISO files boot correctly from the files? When I was doing this more I found many that would not boot correctly from the files, but worked fine when booted normally (from a CD, for example). Also, different versions of GRUB4DOS worked better than others. I'm not sure on the options EasyBCD uses (I just used the default in my test), but it's probably more limited than using GRUB4DOS direct.

    I haven't updated it recently, but the general procedure using GRUB4DOS can be found here.
     
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