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I've heard recommendations from other people before that simply having a bootloader can make it so much easier to add and remove operating systems from my system. What is the best (preferably free) one to have?

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3 Answers 3

GNU GRUB. It's open source as well!

Although after installing a secondary OS such as Linux, it will automatically install GRUB for you and detect your other operating systems. Their is no need to install it standalone.

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Grub tends to be the most recommended. It's very flexible, and very extensible. One guy even got 110 OS's installed and bootable via GRUB: justlinux.com/forum/showthread.php?t=143973 –  Tom Ritter Jul 16 '09 at 3:08
That's incredible I am speechless haha –  John T Jul 16 '09 at 3:09
So let's say then that I installed a Linux distro with GRUB and then decided to install Windows 7. Does GRUB make this any easier or prevent the Windows bootloader from clobbering GRUB? –  jasonh Jul 16 '09 at 3:12
I would usually install Windows first, I've never had a problem that way. You can then use a little program called mbrfix to remove GRUB if needed. –  John T Jul 16 '09 at 3:17
I'm thinking of the case where I need to reinstall Windows after the fact and it plows right over GRUB. I've also been burned before by GRUB, although I can't remember the exact details offhand. –  jasonh Jul 16 '09 at 3:26

I've used rEFIt on my Intel Mac before, and it was pretty good. Probably depends on the system you use, I'm not sure how that works exactly.

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Does Ultimate Boot CD take care of the bootloader part or just arrange the settings of whatever bootloader you have?

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