This may be of interest to people who need to have
Vista or Windows 7 installed along with more sensible operating systems.
I'm just in the process of upgrading my laptop's 250 GB drive to a shiny new 400 GB. And, unfortuantely, still need to keep
Vista for customer support (though I usually only seem to run the silly thing to update the virsus and spyware scanners....).
I've good reason to be wary of messing with the Windows boot loader in more recent versions - its very easy to end up with a system which no longer boots Windows that way. When I first installed Linux on the laptop, I installed an older version of EasyBCD, which allowed me to pass control to a copy of Grub legacy. Which worked fine for the 18 months or so that I've had the machine.
There are a couple of problems though. First, xfs is usually my file system of choice, and Grub can't boot from xfs. So I had to install it to a small ext2 partition (used as the /boot partition for Zenwalk). Not a wonderful idea - with SATA drives and more recent kernels using SCSI naming conventions, Linux is effectively limited to partitions no higher than 15. So wasting a partition number for a boot partition wasn't ideal.
Second problem is the increasing use of ext4. I needed a copy of Fedora (needed to build some software for a Fedora-based server), and it will only use ext4 or the recently modified version of ext3. Grub legacy doesn't understand either of them. So I was having to use 'chainloader +1' syntax to get from one Grub menu to another. Too many boot menus!
When I started migrating things to the new drive, I thought I needed to find a better way of handiling things.
So I took the unprecedented step of reading the EasyBCD docs. And discovered an extra included with EasyBCD - NeoGrub. Seems to be a variant of the Grub for DOS project, and can be installed from EasyBCD, at which point it creates a menu entry in the Windows BCD screen.
NeoGrub turns out to be something of a lifesaver. It will happily boot an xfs partiton, and also understands ext4. Still uses the Grub legacy 'menu.lst' syntax, and won't upset the Windows BCD the way Grub2 probably will. It also saves me having to reserve partiton space for Grub legacy.
I'm now running EasyBCD 2.02, which is claimed to be compatible with Windows 7 as well as Vista (can't test that - one copy of Windows is quite enough for me.....).
For anyone interested, EasyBCD can be found here:http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1