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Recommendations for safe usage of Boot-US

Please pay attention to the following recommendations. They will help you to avoid problems when setting up a multi-boot system. If you face a problem please try to find the cause of the problem and then take the appropriate measures. Even if at first glance the whole system seems to be corrupt usually only a small part of the data are changed. Often everything can be repaired easily with standard tools. A complete re-installation of the system is definitely the very last option which is appropriate only in extreme cases.

Backup your data
The most important rule is to backup all important data on independent storage media. If something goes wrong during the installation of another operating system or the boot manager and a new installation of the operating system is necessary then you can restore your data, although this would require a considerable amount of time.

Default settings
The default settings in the dialogs of Boot-US up to version 1.1.4 were aimed at maximum convenience for an experienced user. Beginning with version 1.2.1 the default settings were changed to offer maximum safety also for an unexperienced user. Since the default settings in different versions are different, you cannot blindly rely on these default settings. Please check them according to the following recommendations.

Any questions ?
If you have any question or something is not clear to you, please try to resolve your queries before you continue. The chapter glossary explains the important terms which you will come across when setting up a multi-boot system.

Is the information displayed correctly ?
When Boot-US starts up it collects the information about all partitions on all hard disks and displays that on the initial screen. Please check whether all partitions are displayed correctly and whether the disk parameters (number of cylinders, heads, sectors and capacity) have been correctly determined. If there is something wrong or if there are any error messages issued by Boot-US do not install other operating systems or the boot manager.

Save partition and boot sectors
Before you begin to experiment with the boot manager it is strongly recommended that you save the list of all partition and boot sectors from all disks to a bootable diskette. The created file contains all sectors which might get modified by the boot manager installation and operation. These sectors can be saved and restored both by the Windows program Boot-US and the DOS command-line utility bootusc.exe. It is recommended to save these sectors with both programs to two different files. The contents of both files must be the same.

Installation to diskette
It is strongly recommended to install the boot manager first to diskette and not on the hard disk. It is important that you choose the setting "Do not change partitions IDs". This is the default setting for version 1.2.1 and later, but not in earlier versions! With this setting no partition IDs are changed. After the boot manager has been installed to diskette you can verify that no data have been changed on the hard disk. Just restart your system and you will notice that everything works as before. Afterwards you can boot the configured partitions by the boot manager residing on the test diskette. While no partitions are hidden you can boot all these partitions by the test diskette.

Installation in primary partition
When the installation to diskette is successful one can think of installing the boot manager Boot-US to a primary partition on the first hard disk. Please note that this target is the default setting only for version 1.2.1 and later. Thus you need to change perhaps the installation target. It is also strongly recommended to save the complete track 0 of the first hard disk to a file and copy that file to a standard DOS formated diskette. Part of this file is the MBR with the partition table of the first hard disk. This allows you to restore the MBR of the first hard disk with a disk editor or with the DOS program bootusc.exe. Please again use the setting "Do not change partition IDs" when you install the boot manager Boot-US to a primary partition. As noted above this is the default setting for version 1.2.1 and later. If something goes wrong when installing the boot manager in a primary partition and Windows cannot be booted any more, you can restore the previous state by standard tools. By a DOS boot diskette and a standard partition manager you can deactivate the boot manager partition and activate the partition which was active before.

Installation in MBR
You should install the boot manager of Boot-US to the MBR only if this is necessary i.e. when you need the boot manager partition for other purposes. The advantage of the installation in the MBR is that no additional partition is occupied. The disadvantage is that for repairing problems more effort is required. If a problem appears and Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10 cannot be booted anymore the boot manager of Boot-US must be removed from the MBR with the standard tool FDISK or by the DOS program bootusc.exe, see the following tip Removing the boot manager in case of problems.