All 32-bit utilities used in the guide have been tested on a Windows XP system, all DOS utilities have been tested with a Windows 98 SE based boot disk. Compatibility with other operating systems can not be guaranteed.
Throughout the guide any text with a highlight (e.g. C:\grldr), is a file and/or path. It can also indicate a folder that needs to be created.
Any text with a highlight (e.g. find --set-root /grldr), is a command.
Any text with a highlight (e.g. grub> help --all ), is output from a screen (e.g. Grub4dos feedback).
Any text within [ ] brackets is a keyboard input - e.g. [tab] = press "Tab" key.
Grub4dos is a continually evolving project, therefore some of the information contained in this guide may not apply to previous versions, or be applicable to future versions.
The guide is not intended to cover all Grub4dos features, neither is it intended to replace the README_GRUB4DOS.txt file which is included in the Grub4dos package. The guide is meant to be a starting point and covers the syntax and some of the more commonly used commands - hopefully after gaining an understanding of the commands covered in the guide the user will have the confidence to experiment further.
A quick note on printing the guide - make sure printing background colours and images is enabled within your browser, or text highlights (for commands and files etc) will not be printed.
GRUB4DOS is a universal boot loader based on GNU GRUB. It can be used via a command line interface or menu, and has many features including -
Unlike GNU GRUB, which relies on several Stage files, the Grub4dos functions are built into a single file grldr (or grub.exe if booting from DOS or Linux). grldr can be loaded via an existing operating system - e.g. via the NT loader ntldr, during the Windows NT/W2K/XP boot process. Alternatively, the grub4dos mbr (file grldr.mbr included with the Grub4dos package) can be written to a device (HDD, floppy disk drive, USB drive) and grldr can be loaded via the device's MBR.
If the Grub4dos MBR is installed to the boot device then the root of all supported devices (see supported partition types below) is scanned for the Grub4dos file grldr – if located the file is loaded. Once grldr is loaded devices are then scanned for the configuration file menu.lst – if this is not found a command shell is loaded. When booting via the Grub4dos MBR the boot and configuration files do not have to be on the boot drive and can be moved to any local disk, as long as the file system is supported. Supported partition types include –
If either grldr or grub.exe is loaded from another operating system (or the partition boot sector), then local disks are scanned for the configuration file. Using this method the configuration file can be moved to any supported local disk. If multiple menu.lst files are present (e.g. on different devices) then the first instance of menu.lst is loaded. (hd#) devices are searched first, followed be (cd#) – (fd#) devices are not searched (unless (fd#) is the boot device).
Unfortunately there is (currently) a lack of documentation available for Grub4dos - a readme file is included in the grub4dos download package and a useful guide is available from sourceforge. Forums are also a good source of information, in particular the 911cd forum and boot-land (which has a Grub4dos subforum here).