There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Myth: Any .iso is the same as another one, thus you can boot "any" .iso
Fact: Each and every .iso has it's own peculiarities. For each sigle, specific .iso a single, specific solution may be found . (or may be NOT )
The problem is the "ANY" .iso.
Very little has changed since this thread:
In a nutshell:
ALL DOS based .iso usually work or can be made to work easily
SOME Linux based .iso work, ALL of them can be made to work (not so easily)
ONLY RAMDISK (from Server 2003 SP1 or R2, NOT "gold", NOT SPS2 - limited to 512 Mbyte images) NT based images are known to work
This is not "limited" by grub4dos or other bootmanager, but by the actual way the .iso images are built and, in the case of NT based images, by the lack of a suitable driver.
With plenty of RAM there is a Commercial Ramdisk driver capable to go over the 512 Mb limit.
In other words, there is not (yet) a one-size-fits-all solution, each .iso has it's own "story" and needs "particular" attention:
- some work "as-they-are"
- some need a few, easy changes
- some need complex, difficult/undocumented changes (and a solution may even not exist yet)
Of course there are "families" of similar .iso's, thus it is very possible that an existing solution, working for one of the "members of the family" can be used succesfully for another "members of the family", but there is actually no guarantee that it will work, the exception being DOS based .iso images, that usually ALL work when mapped via grub4dos (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping or equivalent Syslinux/memdisk method.
There is a specific thread RESERVED FOR REPORTS OF SUCCESSFUL SETUPS using the (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping approach:
grub4dos, .iso images and (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping
Post here ONLY reports of working setups!
If the "whatever" .iso you want to boot is not in that list, do SEARCH on the Forum for your specific .iso/product/OS BEFORE starting a new thread.
Please DO NOT start yet another generic "How do I boot a .iso image?" kind of thread, we already have several of them, in time we became fond of them, and don't want them to be put in the background by "new arrivals"
Again, generally speaking:
For Windows 2K/XP/2003 based builds you need a RAMDISK based .iso build (search for keywords BootSDI, RAMDISK.SYS, Firadisk, WinVblock) AND read, before anything else, and attentively this seemingly unrelated thread:
AND links given within it to get a general idea of the RAMDISK booting approach.
In any case they are all part of the same "family", thus one of the solutions in the "grub4dos, .iso images and (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping" thread should apply, possibly with some small tweak.
ALL Vista/2008/Windows 7 build are of the same "family" and the solutions in the "grub4dos, .iso images and (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping" thread should apply.
For Linux based builds there is often a partial workaround which consists into extracting from the .iso only the vmlinuz (kernel) and initrd (initial ramdisk file), and as well some of the solutions in the "grub4dos, .iso images and (hd32) or (0xFF) mapping" thread may apply, though it is more probable that some tweaking/changes of the contents of the .iso (on Linux side) will be needed.
In other words:
- your mileage may vary
- stop asking how many miles per gallon (EU, please read Liters/100Km) "a" car will do, there is simply NOT a valid answer for that.