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Author Topic: Windows boot manager versus Grub  (Read 152 times)

unix

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Windows boot manager versus Grub
« on: December 18, 2018, 06:27:05 pm »

I tried really hard to configure a triple-boot with Windows10 1, Windows10 2 and Fedora and hit the limitation of the Windows built in boot manager, bcdedit/bcdboot. There is also this neat app called EasyBCD that manipulates BIOS or UEFI boot entires, I've used it for years and it's neat but it does not work with Linux partitions in the UEFI mode, you have to switch to Legacy. Which I don't want to do.
 Looks like I will have to approach this from the Linux end of things using Grub bootloader and efibootmgr which is Linux equivalent of bcdedit. Maybe even make Fedora the default boot option.

I like the Fedora distro. I tried CentOS to no avail. My idea is to get as close to RedHat Enterprise Linux that I admin. Including LVM and stuff. I thought about Ubuntu which I had previously ran a decade ago and it had tons of features and customization options but it uses a different package manager versus Redhat and I want to stay with RPMs.  CentOS is basically redhat and it just would not see my disks. So there. I create bootable flash drives instead of burning DVDs like in the 90's.

Linux is cool. That is what they run on the space station (ISS). The Debian distro.
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The Gorn

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Why multi-boot? Reality check, please...
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2018, 06:47:08 pm »
For *months* I have been in a sublime happy-zone with Linux. I finally got all of the quirks and nuisances ironed out of the UI and the keystroke handling.

Every time I read a post here about someone's wifi or other shit messed up by a Windows 10 update I know that I took the correct path. Back ups are now easy and extremely fast, and I don't have to ever worry about something being lost.

GRUB is definitely the thing to use here for your purpose.

But Unix, a reality check question: what does the multi-boot really buy you? To me multi-boot makes a system too confusing to use day to day, since files and apps are very hard to share.

I had a multi-boot set up when I first configured this system for Windows back in 2009, and a recurring problem I had was that booting into Linux and then moving back to Windows would push my system clock 1 hour in the past or future. So every time I changed OSs I had to go to the BIOS and adjust the time.

The way I use Windows on my Mint Linux system is that I installed Windows 7 (an OEM copy I bought on Ebay) into a Virtual Box VM.  The Win7 instance can share the network and file system concurrently with Linux.

Most importantly, Win7 is the "slave" and NOT the "master" of my system. I don't have to even think about Windows overwriting something, and Virtual Box's snapshots allow you to save any number of points in time of your VM and go back to them instantly... painlessly and quickly.

A Virtual Box VM can even talk to hardware. You can map virtual USB connections from the VM to physical devices. For instance I can run the Epson Windows based scanner software from the VM.

Being such a hard core equipment hobbyist I'm certain you have plenty of memory installed to provide a decent memory allocation to Windows.
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ilconsiglliere

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Re: Windows boot manager versus Grub
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2018, 05:44:48 am »
I dual boot my PCs with Kubuntu and Windows. And I use Grub as the boot loader. I was on Ubuntu till the dropped their Unity UI - good job of getting everyone on it and than abandoning it. I like Kunbuntu because I can make it look any way I like. Its very powerful if a bit of a resource hog.

I dont want any of Microsoft's garbage that its constantly changing for no reason. I particularly like how even if you have updates turned off stuff just stops working for no reason. Today the memory stick works, tomorrow it doesnt. WHY? WHY? WHY? NO ONE knows. I also see the disk grinding at times and its not defragging.

WHY? ITS CRAP. And Win10 is more of the same with the added thrill of endless updates and surveillance.

I do very little sharing, the only reason I still have Windows is for MS Office. The primary reason being MS Word (my resume), I have completely weened off Excel. I have seen compatibility problems with Office files with Libre Office, it seems to be rare but it does happen. I may need to investigate it again.

On my Mac I use Apple's stuff - it works great despite the learning curve.

The Gorn

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Dual boot is too hard...
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2018, 08:11:20 am »
Not to be a pain in the ass, but again, why do you guys bother with dual booting?

Again, a virtual machine with Windows loaded onto it and started up when you need to do Windows things is the way to go if you are good with spending work time on the Linux desktop.

A virtual machine (quite literally) keeps the contagion of Windows contained in its own sandbox, like it deserves.

And VirtualBox's snapshots allow quick rollbacks if you want to regression test a Windows update that breaks stuff.

I can see someone such as Pxsant or any other consultant who deals with large customer applications, needing to run on Windows on the bare metal. But for the rest of us who only need app software compatibility, VMs are ideal.
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pxsant

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Re: Dual boot is too hard...
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2018, 09:39:56 am »
I can see someone such as Pxsant or any other consultant who deals with large customer applications, needing to run on Windows on the bare metal. But for the rest of us who only need app software compatibility, VMs are ideal.

Actually, I run my Windows customer applications in a virtual machine using Virtual Box, on Linux Mint Mate.  That way I can have an isolated virtual machine for each customer with only their application including the source code for the app.  Backing it up is easy.  Even moving it to my laptop to take it with me is simple.   I have had situations where a customer blows up their app somehow.  With my laptop with the source and everything, I can replace the app quickly.  VM's are great.   

I don't know why anyone would bother with the aggravation of dual booting, assuming their hardware is strong enough and has enough memory.   Given Unix's preference for extra heavy duty hardware, he should have no issue with this approach.

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Re: Dual boot is too hard...
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2018, 09:53:12 am »
I don't know why anyone would bother with the aggravation of dual booting, assuming their hardware is strong enough and has enough memory.   Given Unix's preference for extra heavy duty hardware, he should have no issue with this approach.

Exactly. There you go!

Unix didn't answer my "Why dual boot" post which also acknowledged his enthusiast preferences for hardware.

Dual booting was a big deal in the early 90s when hardware such as memory and hard disks was very expensive relative to their utility. Dual booting was a Rube Goldberg way to squeeze every gram of functionality out of one computer workstation. I diddled dual boot a little bit when I had the bug once to mess with Linux in the early 90s (say 1992).

Everything useful cost back then and I recall buying some ghastly commercial shitware that was a multi boot manager for $100ish from the local Micro Center where they always saw me coming. Took hours to set things up.  I wound up reformatting everything and putting Windows back on the box.

Having said that, a boot manager like GRUB is totally necessary, but I find it useful mostly to boot different versions of a similar OS and for diagnostic boots.

Dual booting is an outdated tool, like EMM managers or Sidekick utilities for DOS.

Unless you want to dedicate one workstation to tinkering with 15 different OSs running on bare metal.
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unix

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Re: Windows boot manager versus Grub
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2018, 09:06:21 pm »
I dual boot Windows 10 and another Windows 10 that are kept out of sync by about 2 weeks. If I get hit by a virus or something, have a cognitive malfunction and damage a file, I boot off the clone and recover everything using Macrium Reflect. I boot into the clone and clone the clone into the primary, which now becomes the clone. Then I change the boot order using either bcdedit command line stuff or EasyBCD.

It has worked well thus far.
Now I added Fedora into this equation. I am happy. Still configuring it to be precisely how I like it. I have total OCD about how my desktop and virtual window manager must look like.

I get the point about VM. I may still follow that path. I will see how this triple boot works out for the next 6 months and then decide.

On my previous box, I tripled booted Windows 7, Solaris 10 X86 and a clone of Solaris 10 x86. that was about 8 years ago and my expectations were still high from Solaris, higher than from Linux, until Sun went nowhere.  That machine only used HDD and they weren't new to begin with, these 300GB Cheetah 15.5K drives. I did have at least one crash.

A head crash is a scary experience.

 A clone HDD or SSD *is* my backup and it's effortless.  You just pick an item during the boot menu. In ~/grub/menu.lst, you have to use the chainloader option to add more operating systems and it works.  If you have a clone, you endure zero downtime. You may lose a few files but if I make important changes, I start a clone and over SSD, it's very fast. under 30 minutes versus hours via HDD.

I think my main subconscious concern is what do I do if the HDD or SSD crashes. Then I lose the entire operating system. Configured exactly how I like it. yeah, I can restore things from backups but I would rather just directly boot into a clone of the crashed OS.
It is expensive, kind of, but saves so much aggravation. I have 4 1TB SSD in my machine. That's a bit expensive.


HDD inevitably fail, when you hit 20 or 30,000 hours, you are cruising in dangerous territory. SSDs are supposedly more reliable but they also fail.

Here is how the /boot/grub/menu.lst looked like given multiple boot options on my previous box, I will come up with a similar syntax for this configuration. Maybe I will have one Win10 and clone the Fedora. Or clone both but that does not make sense either. Out of 4TB, only 2TB will be used.

############################################################
#
#
# AVAILABLE DISK SELECTIONS:
#       0. c1t0d0 <DEFAULT cyl 36469 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>          # Solaris Primary
#          /pci@0,0/pci10de,376@a/pci1000,3150@0/sd@0,0
#       1. c1t1d0 <DEFAULT cyl 36469 alt 2 hd 255 sec 63>          # Solaris Mirror
#          /pci@0,0/pci10de,376@a/pci1000,3150@0/sd@1,0
#       2. c1t2d0 <SUN146G cyl 14087 alt 2 hd 24 sec 848>          # Windows XP
#          /pci@0,0/pci10de,376@a/pci1000,3150@0/sd@2,0
#
#############################################################
title Solaris 10 5/08 s10x_u5wos_10 X86 Primary Disk
kernel /platform/i86pc/multiboot
module /platform/i86pc/boot_archive
#############################################################
# title Solaris 10 5/08 s10x_u5wos_10 X86  Mirror Disk
# root (hd1,0,a)
# kernel /platform/i86pc/multiboot
# module /platform/i86pc/boot_archive
#############################################################
title Windows 7
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
chainloader +1
#############################################################
title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd2,0)
map (hd0) (hd2)
map (hd2) (hd0)
chainloader +1
#############################################################
title Solaris failsafe
kernel /boot/multiboot kernel/unix -s
module /boot/x86.miniroot-safe
#############################################################
#---------------------END BOOTADM--------------------



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ilconsiglliere

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Re: Dual boot is too hard...
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2018, 07:21:42 pm »
I don't know why anyone would bother with the aggravation of dual booting, assuming their hardware is strong enough and has enough memory.   Given Unix's preference for extra heavy duty hardware, he should have no issue with this approach.

Exactly. There you go!

Unix didn't answer my "Why dual boot" post which also acknowledged his enthusiast preferences for hardware.

Dual booting was a big deal in the early 90s when hardware such as memory and hard disks was very expensive relative to their utility. Dual booting was a Rube Goldberg way to squeeze every gram of functionality out of one computer workstation. I diddled dual boot a little bit when I had the bug once to mess with Linux in the early 90s (say 1992).

Everything useful cost back then and I recall buying some ghastly commercial shitware that was a multi boot manager for $100ish from the local Micro Center where they always saw me coming. Took hours to set things up.  I wound up reformatting everything and putting Windows back on the box.

Having said that, a boot manager like GRUB is totally necessary, but I find it useful mostly to boot different versions of a similar OS and for diagnostic boots.

Dual booting is an outdated tool, like EMM managers or Sidekick utilities for DOS.

Unless you want to dedicate one workstation to tinkering with 15 different OSs running on bare metal.

Why? Because I am not a fan of virtual machines. All my experience around it has shown that virtual machines are sluggish compared to running right on the hardware. You are running an OS on a hardware simulator that is making calls to the host operating system. Sounds to me like lots of stuff running.

Also my PCs tend to be not new - as in 3-4 years old. Some have a lot of memory but some dont. And virtualizing OS's usually needs boat loads of RAM.

Am I wrong in assuming its sluggish?

unix

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Re: Windows boot manager versus Grub
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2018, 07:38:14 pm »
I have 24 gb
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The Gorn

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Re: Dual boot is too hard...
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2018, 09:53:31 pm »
Why? Because I am not a fan of virtual machines. All my experience around it has shown that virtual machines are sluggish compared to running right on the hardware. You are running an OS on a hardware simulator that is making calls to the host operating system. Sounds to me like lots of stuff running.

Also my PCs tend to be not new - as in 3-4 years old. Some have a lot of memory but some dont. And virtualizing OS's usually needs boat loads of RAM.

Am I wrong in assuming its sluggish?

It's slower than bare metal but not dramatically slow.

I have a system with these specs:

- Intel i7-920, Bloomfield (2009 vintage.) Older than yours. SLOW by today's standards with a PassMark score of 4925 (modest AMDs today score more like 8000+.)
- 12 GB DDR3 memory.
- Linux Mint 18.2

I'm running Windows 7 in a VM. My Win7 is currently allocated with 4 GB of ram. I'm only constrained by memory. Launching applications such as Quicken or a windows only email client feels about the same as when I ran Win7 directly on the bare machine.

I'd want to upgrade my system memory in order to do more with the WIndows VM such as running MS Office tools like MS Publisher.
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