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Press F11 to boot to recovery partition?


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#1 Greg Nottage

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 04:17 PM

Hi guys,

Sorry if this question has been asked before, I did try searching the forums but could not find anything about this.

Is it possible with Grub4DOS to configure it in such a way to show a prompt to Press F11 to Boot to a Recovery Partition. Then (only) when F11 is pressed (rather than any key), the machine boots directly into a designated partition?

I've seen this done with the Symantec SRFixMBR.exe tool, but I wondered if Grub4DOS has similar functionality?

I'm trying to avoid showing any menus, I just want the F11 key press to automatically boot into a WinPE 2.0 based recovery environment. On a normal boot the machine should boot straight into WinXP Pro, again without any menus or prompts. The F11 prompt should appear for 3 secs, then if no action is taken the machine boots to XP.

Any ideas if this is possible?

Many thanks in advance - this is one great forum by the way!

Kind regards,

Greg.

#2 was_jaclaz

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 07:17 PM

Hi guys,

Sorry if this question has been asked before, I did try searching the forums but could not find anything about this.

Is it possible with Grub4DOS to configure it in such a way to show a prompt to Press F11 to Boot to a Recovery Partition. Then (only) when F11 is pressed (rather than any key), the machine boots directly into a designated partition?

I've seen this done with the Symantec SRFixMBR.exe tool, but I wondered if Grub4DOS has similar functionality?

I'm trying to avoid showing any menus, I just want the F11 key press to automatically boot into a WinPE 2.0 based recovery environment. On a normal boot the machine should boot straight into WinXP Pro, again without any menus or prompts. The F11 prompt should appear for 3 secs, then if no action is taken the machine boots to XP.

Any ideas if this is possible?

Many thanks in advance - this is one great forum by the way!

Kind regards,

Greg.


mbldr might be more appropriate (just 512 bytes - entirely fitting in the MBR).
Or possibly the Terabyte MBR.

Some reference:
http://www.msfn.org/...showtopic=84411
http://www.msfn.org/...howtopic=100053
http://www.msfn.org/...o...1620&st=105

The no-prompt part may-be tricky.

I guess that it is very possible in grub4dos, but nonetheless I presume that "something" will be shown anyway on the screen. ;)

Unless you somehow "redirect" video output to some other device, or you (if possible) select black/black as Foreground/Background. ;)

I never thought about this, if I get it right it is a kind of "secret" dual boot, isn't it?

jaclaz

#3 tsetya

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 11:02 AM

i don't know exactly what is your "recovery partition" and how the way grub4dos will boot to that partition, but imo you can configure grub4dos menu to your need if you know how to boot to that "recovery partition".

here example what i did on some friends pc to configure seagate disc wizard and "hidden recovery partition", seagate disc wizard powered by acronis but lack of acronis secure zone and F11 function. so i use grub4dos to configure "my seagate secure zone".
may be you can get some idea from my set up.

>i made 2 hidden partition, 1 for back up file, 1 for grub4dos and seagate disc wizard iso.
-put some tagging file on that partition, i.e backup.tag and seagate.tag

>install grub4dos to MBR (use grub4dos toolbox), with option
-change target file name (grldr) to specific one.
-boot-prevmbr-first
-hotkey (default hotkey is space, see grub4dos readme for others key)
-time-out=0

>patch grldr (modify built in menu/boot file name)
-specify target file name same as target file name above.
-make your own embedded menu, my example here
default 0timeout 3title windows xpfind --set-root /backup.taghidefind --set-root /seagate.taghidefind --set-root /ntldrchainloader /ntldrtitle seagate dwfind --set-root /backup.tagunhidefind --set-root /seagate.isomap /seagate.iso (hd32)map --hookroot (hd32)chainloader (hd32)
>put modified grldr and seagate.iso to seagate partition.with those option grub4dos will boot to prev MBR (win xp) without any menu showing, if you press hotkey then it will find renamed grldr.after you press "hotkey" it will show yours embeded menu for 3 second, if you dont press anything it will boot to windows xp and hide backup/seagate partition if it is previously unhide.

of course it is not exactly the same to your need but it is fit your need here.
you can change which menu you want to show by changing timeout value.

I'm trying to avoid showing any menus, I just want the F11 key press to automatically boot into a WinPE 2.0 based recovery environment. On a normal boot the machine should boot straight into WinXP Pro, again without any menus or prompts. The F11 prompt should appear for 3 secs, then if no action is taken the machine boots to XP.


my suggestion:
>search and read about your "recovery partition", if it is OEM recovery partition you might loose some functionality because it is modified your mbr and not fit in 512 bytes.
>try to boot your "recovery partition" without installing grub4dos. (from usb stick or win xp without install methode), and find out the right command to boot recovery partition.
for example, acronis secure zone and hp recovery partition can be chainload to partition boot record using this command:
root (hd0,n)
chainloader /+1

#4 Greg Nottage

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 12:18 PM

Hi guys,

Thanks so much for your replies and assistance, they are very much appreciated :-)

OK, to explain a little more: I currently have my hard disk configured with 2 partitions:

Hard Disk 0
Partition 1 = WinXP System (C:\) partition
Partition 2 = WinPE 2.0 (boot.wim - RAM based)

I have installed the Grub4DOS boot loader to HD0 using grubinst.exe

I have the following menu.lst file in the root of partition 1:

hiddenmenu

timeout 3

default 0

hide (hd0,1)



title Windows XP\nPress ENTER or b to boot

chainloader /ntldr



title Recovery Environment (press ENTER, then type the password)\nPress ENTER, then type the password to unlock

password --md5 ***password replaced***

root (hd0,1)

chainloader /BOOTMGR

unhide (hd0,1)

This all works fine, but I was looking to improve the above solution, by not having to show the menu at all. So in normal circumstances the machine would just boot straight to XP. But I'd also like to display a message that says something like: "Press F11 to boot Recovery Environment"

If the user opted to press F11 when that message shows, then I would like the machine to boot directly into that WinPE environment on partition 2 (instead of showing the menu first).

Looks like tsetya's post will allow this (or something similar), I just need to test it out...

Many thanks once again guys, this forum ROCKS!!!

Kind regards,

Greg.

#5 Greg Nottage

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 03:39 PM

Hi guys,

OK, following tsetya's instructions I think I'm almost there!

I now get a prompt right at the start that only executes the boot to the recovery partition (i.e. WinPE 2.0 on HD0,partition 2) if F11 is pressed. However, if F11 is not pressed, the machine correctly boots the previous mbr and loads straight into WinXP. So this bit is all working just the way I want ;-)

The only remaining item is that I need to keep the recovery partition (i.e. HD0, partition 2) hidden from the WinXP partition when booted into XP. I'm not sure how to achieve this using the boot to the previous mbr?

I was previously able to do that using the hide commands as specified in the config I posted earlier.

Is the hide of partition 2 possible, using tsetya's config?

Many thanks for all your help so far, you've been enlightening!

Kind regards,

Greg.

#6 was_jaclaz

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 04:11 PM

OK, following tsetya's instructions I think I'm almost there!


Post your "almost" working menu.lst, so that we can see if we can find a way to suggest you, right now all you can have is standard reply #32:
http://www.boot-land...?showtopic=2587 ;)

:lol:

jaclaz

#7 tsetya

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 05:29 PM

hide your HD0, partition 2, it will remain hidden until you unhide.

my example here, to unhide backup partition when i need to perform backup/restore operation.
title seagate dwfind --set-root /backup.tagunhidefind --set-root /seagate.isomap /seagate.iso (hd32)map --hookroot (hd32)chainloader (hd32)
after backup/restore, i will go to grub4dos once again to make backup partition hidden. it will remain hidden until i go to backup/restore operation or unhide using another tools.
title windows xpfind --set-root /backup.taghidefind --set-root /seagate.taghidefind --set-root /ntldrchainloader /ntldr
i need to hide/unhide backup partition because seagate disc wizard unable to see backup file in hidden partition. i don't know about winpe and boot.wim, if it can boot and restore from hidden partition you just need to hide it once. otherwise, you need to unhide and hide again after restore.

as jaclaz post ;

Post your "almost" working menu.lst



#8 Greg Nottage

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 07:56 PM

Hi guys,

Thanks again for your posts ;-)

I'm actually on holiday for a few days now, so I won't be able to post the menu.lst for a few days.

I'll be back in touch soon.

Many thanks,

Greg

#9 ilko

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 09:46 PM

Try to boot WinPE from your hidden partition without unhiding it at all. If I recall correctly from some experiments in the past it should boot just fine.

#10 risolutore

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 09:20 PM

on the EEEPC, fpr exampl, the hidden Win Pe partition is started from the F9 botton at the startup. is a 0b parition, and on othe system is a 1b partition. the active partition must remain the first!

#11 Greg Nottage

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 08:56 AM

Hi guys,

OK, I've been doing some more testing. ilko is indeed correct that I can boot the WinPE boot.wim file from an already hidden partition. However, the scripts that I am running in the WinPE session once it's booted don't work because they need to access data that is on the hidden partition.

I've got it working with the F11 hot-key as tsetya has suggested. So now when I boot I see the following message:

"Press hot-key to start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR..."

This also shows a 3 second countdown, as per the config I have chosen. When I press F11 whilst the above message is shown, the machine then boots into the WinPE recovery partition as expected.

So this is pretty much the behaviour I wanted, however the two remaining issues are that I can't properly hide the recovery partition the way I need and that I'd like to edit the "Press hot-key..." message to read "Press F11 to initiate Recovery Environment"

According to the details on the following link, I should be able to modify the embedded menu:

http://diddy.boot-la...es/grldrmbr.htm

However, since I'm using Grub4DOS v0.4.4, the grubinst.exe that I've downloaded (latest I could find was this one: grubinst-1.1-bin-dos-2008-01-01.zip) doesn't seem to be compatible. I get the following error:

grubinst: Version number mismatched (old=4 new=2)

I'm assuming that if I can somehow modify the embedded menu, I could at least insert a hide command for the second partition. Also does anyone know if it's possible to edit the "Press hot-key..." text - and if so please could you share it with us?

Anyway, I just want to thank everyone for all your help getting me this far!

Many thanks guys.

Greg.

#12 was_jaclaz

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 11:30 AM

Use a "normal" hex editor.

The embedded menu.lst are the last few bytes of grldr.

Some reference is here:
http://www.boot-land...?...c=6775&st=5

But the string:
"Press hot-key to start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR..."

Actually seen like this in the file:
Press . to start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR ...
is around offset 7286.

Since your string is shorter than current one, you can edit starting from here:
start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR...
like this:
initiate Recovery Environment
using spaces (hex 20) to "pad" the rest of the message up to the three dots (2E2E2E hex)

:lol:

jaclaz

#13 Greg Nottage

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 01:46 PM

thanks Jaclaz ;-)

Could you suggest any hex editors that I could download and use? Needs to be a freeware or open source one please.

Many thanks,

Greg.

#14 was_jaclaz

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Posted 03 July 2009 - 04:40 PM

thanks Jaclaz ;-)

Could you suggest any hex editors that I could download and use? Needs to be a freeware or open source one please.

Many thanks,

Greg.


What I use normally is tiny hexer.

Here:
http://www.mirkes.de/
Markus Stephany, the Author, is currently in what could be defined a "maybe sabbatical year", but he kindly let most of his programs available:
http://www.mirkes.de/files/

the file:
http://www.mirkes.de...s/tinyhexer.cab
is the complete BartPE plugin <-this is the "minimal" version that you can get

the file:
http://www.mirkes.de/files/mpth_18.exe
is the "full" install <-this is the one you should download

the file:
http://www.mirkes.de...s/mpthme_18.exe
is the "medium edition" install

:lol:

jaclaz

#15 tsetya

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 09:36 AM

however the two remaining issues are that I can't properly hide the recovery partition the way I need and ...


your chance to hide recovery partition only after "winpe session" and before "boot prev mbr".
you can boot grub4dos once again after "winpe session" then hide the recovery partition using command line /embedded menu/menu.lst.

and the alternative methode, you can "boot prev mbr" directly and hide the recovery partition at the same time, BUT you need to modifiy win xp PBR (so i will not suggest you to do this, it is just an idea) and also patch another grldr embedded menu. you will loose this function if you do recovery operation or fixing PBR (fixboot)

#16 ktp

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 11:39 AM

Hello,
I think I missed something. Could some explain to me the need for changing the target grldr file name on installing grub4dos in MBR ? What is the conflict?

#17 was_jaclaz

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Posted 04 July 2009 - 12:19 PM

Hello,
I think I missed something. Could some explain to me the need for changing the target grldr file name on installing grub4dos in MBR ? What is the conflict?


Don't think it is "strictly" needed, I guess it's just a way to make sure that the actually "with modified embedded menu.lst" copy of grldr is actually loaded, should grldr be copied to a HD partition with a higher "search" priority.

As said, for this particular setup, I personally find mbldr more suitable. :lol:

;)

jaclaz

#18 tsetya

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Posted 05 July 2009 - 11:49 AM

Hello,
I think I missed something. Could some explain to me the need for changing the target grldr file name on installing grub4dos in MBR ? What is the conflict?


jaclaz right, it is not strictly needed, just to make sure it will load only "special purpose" grldr.

#19 Greg Nottage

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 03:42 PM

OK, guys in an effort to help others achieve what you've helped me to achieve I'm sharing the exact steps I've taken. I still have the outstanding issues with editing the "Press hot-key to start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR..." message and how to hide the second partition. Would you be able to tell me (in baby steps) how I should achieve those final bits?

I'm hoping that by posting the exact steps I've taken, you guys can tell me the remaining exact steps I need so that I can change the "Press hot-key" message to something like "Press F11 to initiate recovery"; and how to edit the embedded menu.lst to add the find --set-root /rp.tag and the hide commands?

Grub4DOS based Recovery Partition Steps
Tools used as follows:
Grub4DOS files: http://download.gna....2009-03-29p.zip
Grub4DOS Toolbox: http://downloads.sou...e_mirror=puzzle
GrubInst: http://download.gna....-2008-01-01.zip

1. Boot using eSATA based WinPE – which is idenfitied in the WinPE session as disk C:\ (but it’s HD1)
2. I deploy a WIM image to partition 1 on HD0 (i.e. the internal machine hard disk, not the eSATA WinPE disk), ensuring enough space is left on the HD0 hard disk for an additional partition (big enough to hold the WIM image that you apply to the first partition). In my case, I have a 5GB WIM image file which I am deploying to a 70GB partition on an 80GB disk. So this leaves me with 10GB for the recovery partition
3. Create the second partition using the remaining space on the HD0 hard disk. In my case this is the 10GB second partition that will host the WinPE recovery environment and a copy of the WIM image
4. On this second partition I include the necessary WinPE 2.1 files (so ..\Sources\Boot.WIM etc).
5. Create a blank text file in the root of the second partition on HD0 which is renamed to rp.tag
6. Then run the following grubinst.exe command to install the Grub4DOS bootloader:

grubinst.exe --duce --mbr-disable-floppy --boot-prevmbr-first --time-out=3 --hot-key=0x8500 --boot-file=gnrldr (hd0)

7. Create a new blank text file in Notepad and call it menu.lst with the following file contents:
timeout 0
default 0

title Recovery Environment\nPress ENTER to boot the Recovery Environment
password --md5 ***password hash***
find --set-root /rp.tag
unhide
chainloader /BOOTMGR

*** FYI: The password used for the –md5 hash is created following the 'Password Protecting Boot Options' steps outlined on this page: http://diddy.boot-la...nu.htm#password ***

8. Run the ‘Grub4DOS Toolbox for Windows-0.1.exe’ and select the ‘Patch grldr (modify built-in menu/boot file name)’ option and specify the following details:

Specify target file name: gnrldr
Choose the menu.lst file to use: ..\gnmenu.lst
Specify the output file: d:\gnrldr
Then hit the ‘Do It!’ button

9. Then reboot and you should see the following message:
‘Press hot-key’ to start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR …
Timeout: 3 (second countdown)


If you guys could just walk me through the final bits of the puzzle, then I can add those steps to the above guide.

Many thanks and sorry for not getting it first time round ;-)

Kind regards,

Greg.

#20 was_jaclaz

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 05:00 PM

You CANNOT hide the "second partition" if NOT:
- by re-running grub4dos and issueing a hide(hd0,1) command in it
- by running ANY adequate program from the booted PE (you'll have to find which one works and what you have to do with UAC if present), suitable ones are MBRFIX:
http://www.sysint.no...ting/mbrfix.htm
http://www.sysint.no...US/Default.aspx
or MBRWIZ:
http://mbrwizard.com/

Have you tried a menu.lst:

hide (hd0,1)
timeout 0
default 0

title Recovery Environment\nPress ENTER to boot the Recovery Environment
password --md5 ***password hash***
#find --set-root /rp.tag
unhide (hd0,1)
root (hd0,1)

chainloader /BOOTMGR


I.e. always hide second partition and only unhide it when the corresponding "recovery" option is chosen? ;)

But I don't think that the menu.lst is read at all if the "hot-key" is not pressed. ;)

About hex-editing, you have been given the tool, what is the problem? ;)

You do know how to use a hex-editor, don't you?

Just in case:
http://www.sweetscap...hex_editor.html
http://www.sweetscap...0editor/manual/
(the basics are the same in any hexeditor)

Otherways, go back to square #1 (actually #2), and try mbldr, that needs NOT hex-editing:
http://www.boot-land...?...c=8296&st=1
I am pretty sure you can combine it with the grub4dos code installed to the bootsector instead of the MBR.

:lol:

jaclaz

#21 Greg Nottage

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 08:33 AM

Thanks Jaclaz ;-)

I did try the hide command as you mentioned before I posted my steps, but as you rightly mention - the hide command only worked when the hot-key is pressed. If this is not pressed, then Grub4DOS is bypassed and the prev-mbr (i.e. WinXP) is loaded instead.

You are correct, I'm not familiar with Hex Editing. However, I'm prepared to learn! Given the config I have described, could you tell me what I'm meant to be Hex-editing? Is it the gnrldr file or is the MBR of the hard disk?

Just having a quick read of the mbldr links you sent - and it looks like that may well do it ;-)

I will experiment with that too.

Many thanks for all the help and advice, it's very much appreciated!

Kind regards,

Greg.

#22 was_jaclaz

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 09:24 AM

Leave the MBR alone. ;)

You can hexedit grldr allright.

"Rules" for hex-editing are simple (at least the basic ones):
  • try not to insert any characters (i.e. do not change a string with a longer one)
  • pay attention to (text) delimiters, they vary in different hex sources, but generally they are either "00" or "0D 0A" (in grldr are "000D0A" for the parts "embedded" in the code and "DA09" for the embedded menu.lst at the end)

With Tiny hexer, open grldr and Tools->Scripts->Extract strings from binary file
make sure to change the default "100" in Strings/Page to 10000

Press Start

Optionally save file as .html.

Relevant samples of the output (on a 0.4.4 version of grldr I have handy, your addresses/strings may be different:
0x1C65	0x0F	Press space bar

0x1C77	0x06	Press 

0x1C7F	0x35	to start GRUB, any other key to boot previous MBR ...

0x1CB6	0x35	to boot previous MBR, any other key to start GRUB ...

0x1CEE	0x0A	Timeout &#58; 

0x1D02	0x35	Invalid previous MBR. Press any key to start GRUB ...

0x1D3A	0x0C	Cannot find 

0x1D48	0x3A	to hold the screen, any other key to boot previous MBR ...

0x03506C	0x023C	pxe detect configfile default 0 timeout 1 title find /menu.lst, /boot/grub/menu.lst, /grub/menu.lst errorcheck off configfile /menu.lst configfile /boot/grub/menu.lst configfile /grub/menu.lst find --set-root --ignore-floppies --ignore-cd /menu.lst && configfile /menu.lst find --set-root --ignore-floppies --ignore-cd /boot/grub/menu.lst && configfile /boot/grub/menu.lst find --set-root --ignore-floppies --ignore-cd /grub/menu.lst && configfile /grub/menu.lst errorcheck on commandline title commandline commandline title reboot reboot title halt halt

So that you have a rightful idea of where to find the parts to be edited.

Something that may work ;) is to load the "previous" MBR (on second sector) through grub4dos menu, though I cannot find a "illustrated" way to do so. ;)

Try from grub4dos Command Line what happens with this:
chainloader  --skip-length=512 --load-length=512 &#40;hd0&#41;

boot
actually works.


This is one of the cases where some input/advice by the developers would be handy, it is perfectly possible that the above is only derived from a misunderstanding of mine. ;)

:lol:

jaclaz

#23 Greg Nottage

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 03:44 PM

Hi Jaclaz,

OK, I edited the gnrldr file in the root of part 1 on HD0 using tiny hexer as you mentioned. In inserted the text to say "to start Recovery Environment..." as you specified and then I padded out the rest of the text with spaces to ensure the file size exactly matched the previous version of the file.

However, this doesn't seem to have changed it when I boot? I can still boot everything OK as I could before, but the "Press hot-key etc" message is still the same as it was prior to editing the gnrldr file (and it is not showing my updated text)? I assume this is because the text is being read from the MBR (not the grldr file) since the "Press hot-key etc" message is still present at boot time whether I have the gnrdlr file on the disk or not.

I also had a play with the mbldr tool that you recommended and I followed you recommendations at the top of this page:

http://www.msfn.org/...o...1620&st=105

I managed to make it display the correct boot prompt, but when I pressed F11 nothing happened? Not sure if I am setting it up properly? I'm testing this on a Dell Latitude E4300 laptop (again not sure if that has any bearing on things?). Also not sure if the 87 key code is correct in my case??

I like the idea of the mbldr tool as it appears to have a command line tool (which would be great for my needs). However, I'm a complete newb to that so I don't know which method you'd prefer me to concentrate on?

Anyway, as always, I'm hugely appreciative of your help and advice!

Many thanks and regards,

Greg.

#24 was_jaclaz

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 05:38 PM

Do you have grldr.mbr installed to the MBR? ;)
If yes you probably need to re-install it after editing grldr.mbr. ;)

I managed to make it display the correct boot prompt, but when I pressed F11 nothing happened? Not sure if I am setting it up properly? I'm testing this on a Dell Latitude E4300 laptop (again not sure if that has any bearing on things?). Also not sure if the 87 key code is correct in my case??


At the time I had just a quick look at the docs, and 87 seemed to be the right value ;), re-checking it, it is probably wrong ;) (87 should be SHIFT+F11 and "plain" F11 should be 85)
Key	 Normal	Shifted   w/Ctrl	w/Alt

F11	  8500		8700	  8900	8B00
Scancodes should be these ones:
http://heim.ifi.uio....scan_codes.html

And, additionally, it seems like mbldr wants DECIMAL Scancodes, (whilst the above are Hexadecimal).

Hex 8500 translates to 133 decimal, try with this value.

This would make sense as when you choose "Custom scan-code" in mbldr it suggests 59 decimal which is 3B (or 3B00) Hex and that corresponds in the scancode table linked above to F1.

:lol:

jaclaz

#25 Greg Nottage

Greg Nottage

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 04:20 PM

Hi Jaclaz,

OK, been experimenting with the mbldr tool. I can't seem to get it to boot using the F11 key?? The closest I could get was to use the F10 key, with keycode 68. That works OK, so I guess I could get by with that. I did try the 133 code you mentioned, but that didn't work for F11?

I also found a script that detected a key code of 122 when I pressed F11 on my keyboard. However, I'm not sure how that translates to what mbldr is expecting, as I tried 122 in there and that didn't work for F11 either?

Regarding the re-install of the edited grub file - what I did when I edited the file was just open the file that is in the root of HD0 part 1 and edit it directly with the hex editor. I don't know how to re-install this edited file back to the MBR? Can this be done with grubinst.exe? I did try to do this using the Grub4DOS Toolbox for Windows v0.1 using the "Install Grub4DOS to disk/partition using bootlace.com" option. However, this didn't apply the file?

Sorry if I'm being stupid here, but I'm not sure how to re-apply the edited grub.mbr file? Should I have exported it from the MBR first? If so, please could you explain the steps needed...

Many thanks and kind regards,

Greg.




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