Windows Server 2008 Boot Manager

I am reinstalling one of my work machines which is a small server with Dual Core CPU and 4GB of RAM. I have divided my 160GB SATA disk in 5 partitions, one for the Windows Server Core, one for Windows Home Server, one for Windows Server 2008 and one for the Windows Server Virtualization environment. My fifth partition is for storing data.

Now after installing the second Windows Server 2008 OS I get the same description into the bootloader. Because we are not using any boot.ini file anymore I need to change the boot order, description through a tool called bcdedit.exe.

The Bcdedit tool is good enough if you only have to make some minor changes to the bootloader. But if you have to make some more advanced changes I recommend you to use EasyBCD from Neosmart Technologies.

What do I want to do is change:

  • the boot order
  • the bootloader timeout from 30 to 15 seconds
  • the Description of both Windows Server 2008 installations.

Let's do the items I want to change first by using the Bcdedit command. Open a cmd prompt and type bcdedit /? to have the help available.

First we need a list of all items into the bootloader:

bcdedit /enum

I have three entries here, one for the boot manager which is used to define the time before starting the default OS, which is the default OS, etc. The other two entries called {current} and {default} are my actual Windows Server installation both have the same description.

Note: Because I didn't boot the default OS I get those two entries if I had booted the default OS I would have a different output when running the bcdedit, my default would then be the current and the second entry with be a BCD ID guid which can actually is the resumeobject identifier.

Assume that the default bootloader item is my Windows Server 2008 Server core installation and that the current bootloader item is a normal Windows Server 2008 installation.


Now let's change the boot order first:

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} default {current}

Set the bootloader timeout to 15:

bcdedit /set {bootmgr} timeout 15

Finally change the descriptions of the bootloader items:

bcdedit /set {current} description "Windows Server 2008 Full Install"

bcdedit /set {BCDID} description " Windows Server Core Installation"

Before you can set the Windows Server core description you will need to run a bcdedit to find out the BCD ID for this bootloader item.

I did the same config changes with EasyBCD look at the screenshots how easy it is:

image image


Comments (5)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Server 2008 doesn’t use boot.ini any more, instead using a tool called bcdedit.exe to handle manipulating boot device information. Today, Arlindo’s blog discusses using the bcdedit.exe tool to do minor boot device ordering on a multi-boot system. He also

  2. Anonymous says:

    Here is a list of what some of our Belgian IT Pro Bloggers are saying/blogging about Windows Server 2008.

  3. Pat-Keone says:

    Isn’t there a Vista ProEdit, that was used when the Beta Testing was in order?

    I run into the same problem.  My Win 2000 Server can no longer reference to the old boot.ini.

    Can u folks let me know later?  I just installed the Long Horn, but have not tweaked it yet.  Thanks.

  4. Dale Unroe says:

    I’ve been unable to launch EasyBCD (currently v1.7.2) from within the Core installation of Server 2008.  It installed but didn’t launch.

    Thanks for this short tutorial.  Although I wasn’t able to easily do all the modifications I desired I was at least able to change which OS loads by default and this is critical that Core loads by default since it runs headless.

  5. Dale Unroe says:

    BTW – running "bcdedit /v /enum" will provide the BCDID’s

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