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20th September 2012


Brian Grainger


In the world outside of Windows there are two main Linux Bootloaders. First on the scene was LILO, (Linux Loader). More recently, a Free Software project called Grub, (Grand Unified Bootloader), has come to prominence. Apart from choosing which one to use you also have to choose where to install it. You can install it:

  • as files on a disk

  • as code in the MBR, (Master Boot Record), of a disk

  • as code in the MBR of a disk partition

With all these choices the Linux community has lots to argue about which is best.

Windows likes to install some code in the MBR so I will NOT use any code that installs itself there, for fear of breaking Windows. There are ways to get Windows to boot with the full Grub or LILO but they are too complicated for the Newbie as far as I am concerned.

In the world of dual booting Windows or Linux, which we wish to inhabit, you will hear mention of GrubInstall, Grub for DOS, WinGrub, Loadlin and Smart Boot Manager among others. If you ask for help on the Linux forums, because one of these choices fails to work, you are bound to get zealots for the others telling you to use their favourite, for no better reason than it works for them.

I have tried a few of these options and have settled on taking a few files from the Grub for DOS project, one to use with Windows 9x (grub.exe), one to use with Windows XP (grldr) and two to use with Windows 7 (grldr and grldr.mbr). I have done this because:

  • KISS (Keep it simple, stupid) - No installation - You only need to copy one file onto your hard drive

  • No use of a disk or partition MBR is made

  • You do not have to reinstall after a defrag in Windows, (as seems to be necessary with GrubInstall)

  • Grub for DOS is an active project, still providing updates as bugs are found and new facilities are required.

  • As a bonus, it works for me!

In addition to the grub files you also need to download a basic menu.lst file This will be edited in step 4.

Click HERE if you have Windows 9x

Click HERE if you have Windows XP

Click HERE if you have Windows 7