Grub4dos Guide - Installing Grub4dos

Create folder C:\Grub4dos. Download the latest Grub4dos *.zip package (see here) and extract the contents to the folder youve just created, then choose one of the following methods -

Method 1 - Load via DOS

You will need a DOS bootable device copy the file C:\Grub4dos\GRUB.EXE to it. Boot from the device and wait for the DOS prompt, then type GRUB.EXE [ENTER] to load grub4dos. Alternatively grub4dos can be automatically loaded by adding an entry in CONFIG.SYS. To add an option to the Windows 98 (SE) boot disk menu, edit config.sys (in a text editor such as notepad) and add the following entries (for changes to original config.sys see here - changes are in red text) -

An alternative config.sys file is included in the Grub4dos download. Autoexec.bat can also be used to launch Grub4dos.

Method 2 - Load via SysLinux

To load via Syslinux you will first need to install Syslinux to a bootable device. Copy C:\Grub4dos\GRUB.EXE to the drive containing your Syslinux files and add an entry to the Syslinux configuration file syslinux.cfg. e.g.

LABEL grud4dos
KERNEL grub.exe

Method 3 - Load via Windows NT/2K/XP (1)

Copy C:\Grub4dos\grldr to the root directory of an existing windows install and add the following line to the [operating systems] section of the configuration file boot.ini -


NOTE 1 - the path "C:\grldr" should be used even if the Windows OS has a different drive letter.
NOTE 2 boot.ini is a hidden system file. It is not displayed by default, in order to edit it you will need to open Explorer and select the Tools menu then select Folder Options and open the View tab.

The edited boot.ini file will look something like this -

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect

Now reboot windows a boot menu should be displayed with a new option for Grub4dos (see figure 1).

figure 1.

Method 4 - Load via Windows NT/2K/XP (2)

This method can be used to boot via the Windows NT/2K/XP boot loader ntldr, even when Windows is not installed - the boot device will however need to have a Windows NT/2000/XP partition boot sector (boot sector must call NT Loader ntldr). There are several utilities for installing the boot sector including -

You will also need to copy ntldr, and boot.ini (from a windows install) and C:\Grub4dos\grldr to the boot device. Edit boot.ini and add the following entry

[boot loader]
default= C:\grldr
[operating systems]

Method 5 - Load via Windows Vista

Windows Vista's boot configuration file BCD (Boot Configuration Data) is a database similar in format to a registry hive and cannot be directly edited with a text editor. To add an entry for Grub4dos use the command line tool bcdedit.exe. To install grub4dos copy the file C:\Grub4dos\grldr.mbr to the Vista boot partition (usually the active partition on the first hard disk - the drive will contain the BCD store and bootmgr (Vista's boot manager)). To manually create an entry using Windows Vista -

BCDEDIT.EXE /store %STORE% /create /d "Start GRUB4DOS" /application bootsector
BCDEDIT.EXE /store %STORE% /set %guid% device boot

BCDEDIT.EXE /store %STORE% /set %guid% path \grldr.mbr

BCDEDIT.EXE /store %STORE% /displayorder %guid% /addlast

Method 6 Installing Grub4dos from Windows

To install grub4dos to MBR via Windows XP/2000 - download grubinst/grubutil package from here (or here). Grubinst.exe is a command line tool however a Graphic User Interface (GUI) is included in the download. Check the disk number allocated to the device you intend to install the grub4dos MBR to - use Windows Disk Management console (type C:\Windows\System32\diskmgmt.msc [ENTER] at a command prompt or in a RUN box). Installing to the wrong disk could result in Windows not booting so be careful. To install to MBR of disk:0 use command C:\Grub4dos\grubinst.exe (hd0); to install to MBR of disk:1 use command C:\Grub4dos\grubinst.exe (hd1); etc.

Grubinst switches include -

Now copy C:\Grub4dos\grldr to the root of a (supported) local drive/disk.

Using the Grubinst package, it is also possible to install Grub4dos code to the partition boot sector. Use command syntax grubinst.exe -p=n [device] or grubinst.exe --install-partition=n [device] (where n = partition number, starting from 0 for first partition. e.g. grubinst.exe -p=0 (hd0). Alternatively, use command grubinst.exe (hd0,0). grldr must be copied to the partition on which the bootsector was installed, and the partition must be active.

Method 7 Installing Grub4dos from DOS

To install grub4dos to MBR via DOS or Windows 9x copy C:\Grub4dos\BOOTLACE.COM to the root of a DOS bootable drive/disk. Now reboot your PC and boot into DOS. To install Grub4dos MBR to the first hard disk (usually the first hard disk set to boot within the BIOS settings) use command -


To install Grub4dos MBR to the second hard disk use command -


To avoid installing Grub4dos to the wrong disk use a third party tool such as MBRWizD.exe (available here) to check the disk order. Copy MBRWizD.exe to the root of the DOS bootable device and type MBRWizD.exe /List - you should be able to identify the correct disk from the attributes outputted by the command (to install to disk 0 - use command BOOTLACE.COM 0x80; to install to disk 1 - use command BOOTLACE.COM 0x81; etc.). You will also need to copy grldr and menu.lst to the root of a (supported) local drive/disk.

Using the Grubinst package, it is possible to install Grub4dos code to the partition boot sector. Although this feature is documented in, attempting to install to the bootsector (using the command --install-partition=0 0x80) results in the following -

C:\> --install-partition=0 0x80

Sorry! --install-partition not yet implemented with this release

Use instead the DOS version of grubinst tool with command syntax grbins16.exe -p=n [device] or grbins16.exe --install-partition=n [device] (where n = partition number, starting from 0 for first partition. e.g. grbins16.exe -p=0 (hd0).

grldr must be copied to the partition on which the bootsector was installed, and the partition must be active. Download Grubinst from here.

Method 8 Install Grub4dos to Windows NT/2000/XP Partition Boot Sector (1)

If the active partition contains a Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 bootsector (boot sector loads "NTLDR") an alternative method of installing Grub4dos to the partition boot sector is possible. Hex edit the bootsector and replace the text string NTLDR with GRLDR. A batch file for replacing the text string is available here.

grldr must be copied to the partition on which the edited bootsector is installed, and the partition must be active.

WARNING - this method will only work on a FAT32 or NTFS formated partition. Following information is quoted from here (by Grub4dos author tinybit) -

"Because the MS NTLDR boot sector of an FAT12/16 partition only loads one sector, i.e., the first sector of the NTLDR file. If this NTLDR was our GRLDR, then this will fail to boot. On the other hand, the MS NTLDR boot sector of an FAT32/NTFS partition will load the whole NTLDR file into memory, and thus our GRLDR(renamed to NTLDR) can boot OK."

Method 9 Install Grub4dos to Windows NT/2000/XP Partition Boot Sector (2)

The following method (by 911cd forum member spacesurfer - see here for the original post) has had mixed success, but works for some people. As in "Method 8" the active partition must contain a Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 bootsector (boot sector loads "NTLDR" - refer to Method 4 for instructions on installing the bootsector if required). Simply copy grldr to the partition and rename it to ntldr. The renamed grldr will now be loaded during the boot process. The partition type must be FAT32 or NTFS - refer to warning in "Method 8" for full explanation.

Method 10 Using grldr as no-emulation bootsector on CD/DVD

To Install grub4dos to CDROM you will need the command line tool mkisofs - place it in the C:\Grub4dos folder. Using mkisofs will create a disc image (.ISO format) - the image file will need to be burnt to a CD using a third party tool (e.g. ImgBurn or Nero). Following information has been taken from the Grub4dos readme.txt file. Create directory C:\Grub4dos\iso_root. Copy C:\Grub4dos\grldr and menu.lst (if using a configuration file) to the root of C:\Grub4dos\iso_root folder. Two different commands can be used to create a Grub4dos CD/DVD. Open a command prompt and use the command CD C:\Grub4dos to set C:\Grub4dos as the working directory. Then enter either the command -

mkisofs -R -b grldr -no-emul-boot -boot-load-size 4 -o grldr.iso iso_root

or -

mkisofs -R -b grldr -no-emul-boot -boot-load-seg 0x1000 -o bootable.iso iso_root

The first method is the safest to use as it should be compatible with older BIOS's - it will load the first sector of grldr, the program then loads the rest from CD. Method 2 will attempt to load the whole of grldr.

Method 11 - Install Grub4dos to Floppy Disk

Use the command line tool to install grub4dos to a floppy disk or disk image. NOTE - will not function fully from Windows NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista as direct access to devices is restricted, although installing to a disk image file will work. It will run under DOS/Windows 9x/Linux. Use the following command to install to first Floppy disk - --floppy --chs 0x00

To install Grub4dos to a floppy disc image use the command --floppy --chs [file] (where [file] is the disk image with full path. E.g. to install to floppy image win98.ima at root of (C:) drive - --floppy --chs C:\win98.ima


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