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I have a Windows setup where boot.ini is configured such that it offers dual-boot for different operating systems at boot time.

Is there any syntax for boot.ini that will make it also offer to boot from CD or other external drive?

This is for Windows XP or 7.

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To include boot from CD in Windows XP/7 boot menu eventually look for "grub4dos".

The method is called chain loading of another boot manager/loader. This method works only for BIOS firmware. (On UEFI firmware there are other solutions.)

Grub4dos has its own configuration file where you can specify what device or OS you would like to load. Grub4dos allows booting to almost anything bootable.

Windows 7 boot files and Windows XP boot files differ significantly - Windows XP (ntldr+boot.ini) were replaced by (bootmgr+BCD+winload.exe) in Windows 7!

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  • Didn't realise they were that different. Thanks for that tip. – Stewart Jan 27 '16 at 10:36
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Using this information from serverfault.com I added this to my boot.ini

multi(0)disk(0)cdrom(%u)="CD Drive"

And it works, in the way that once you put the CD in and select it, it triggers a reboot and then boots from CD if it is setup that way in your BIOS.

Good enough for me. Now there's no annoying sequence of missing booting from CD because you can't get the CD in because there's no power to open it, and then having to wait for Windows to boot up just so you can put a CD in the drive and then reboot.

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