Boot programs: Have you installed more than one operating system on your PC and are you looking for a practical and fast way to manage and select the one to use at each start? You can no longer access the operating system of your PC and would you like to understand if there is any program, accessible via USB stick or CD, through which to remedy the thing? Then you have to intervene on the boot, using the software that you find indicated in this guide.
In the following lines, in fact, you will find those that, in my humble opinion, represent the best boot programs currently on the square. There are a few for all needs: to manage, repair and customize boot settings, to perform “first aid” operations on the computer etc. You just have to identify what you think will be most helpful and use it.
Then? Can I know what are you still doing there impaled? Take a few minutes of free time just for you, position yourself comfortably in front of your trusty multimedia station and immediately begin to concentrate on reading the following. I sincerely hope that, in the end, you will feel happy and satisfied with what you have learned.
Before getting to the heart of the matter, then going to find out which are the best programs to boot and how to use them, it is right for me to explain exactly what boot is .
Put simply, boot (otherwise known as bootstrap or booting ) is the set of processes that are performed by a computer during the boot phase, from power on until the operating system is fully loaded. The boot order can also be defined by the user. In operating systems Windows , this operation is performed by acting on the setup BIOS or of ‘ UEFI , as I explained in detail in my tutorial on how to set the BIOS .
For completeness of information, I point out that the BIOS (acronym for “Basic Input-Output System) is a software that resides in a chip placed on the motherboard of the computer, which contains all the instructions to start the operating system and to put communicating the hardware with the software.
The UEFI (acronym for “Unified Extensible Firmware Interface), however, is an evolution of the BIOS that has a graphical interface, has support for mouse and touch-screen and has some advanced security functions. Generally, it is found on recently manufactured PCs, those equipped with Windows 10 and Windows 8.x.
Without the due clarifications above, we come to the real core of the matter: below, therefore, you will find indicated what I believe to be the best programs for bootloaders in circulation. Try them now!
Plop Boot Manager (Windows / Linux)
Plop Boot Manager is a free boot manager for Windows and Linux that allows you to start operating systems, live CDs and DVDs and bootable USB devices, bypassing any limitations present in the computer BIOS. You can launch it from the PC hard disk, from floppy disks, CDs and network devices, with the possibility of using it to start the operating systems contained in hard disks, floppies, CDs / DVDs and USB devices. It’s not extremely intuitive at first, but it takes very little to learn how to set it up and use it.
To download it, go to the program’s website and click on the link plpbt-xxxx.zip that you find next to the first Plop Boot Manager xxxx entry in the list.
When the download is complete, extract the ZIP archive obtained in any position of your computer and burn the plpbt.iso file contained inside it on a CD / DVD, following the instructions that I have provided you in my guide on how to burn ISO files , or copy it on a stick, using the Rufus software , which I will tell you more about in the following lines .
Next, connect the support to the computer of your interest, turn on or restart the latter, boot from the CD or from the stick and use the menu visible on the screen, using the directional arrows on the PC keyboard. To access the alternative boot menu, select the Plop Boot Manager item and press the Enter key (always present on the keyboard).
EasyBCD is a free application for Microsoft operating systems that allows you to manage, customize and repair your computer’s boot settings. It supports all versions of Windows, Linux and MacOS distros, allowing you to change the boot order, change the names of the operating systems installed on your computer and add new items to the PC boot menu. It also includes options for backing up and restoring boot settings and allows you to boot from USB devices, network devices, ISO images and virtual hard drives. In short, it is undoubtedly a very useful tool when you have two or more operating systems installed on the same PC.
To download EasyBCD, go to the program’s website , scroll down the displayed page, locate the Non-commercial column and click on the Register button . Then type your name and e-mail address in the appropriate fields and click on the Download button .
After downloading, start the .exe file obtained and click the Yes button in the window that appears on the desktop. Then click on the Next button , then on the I Agree button , then click on the Next , Install and Finish buttons .
Then, select Italian from the drop-down menu for choosing the language, click on the Go button to confirm your choice, then on the OK one and you will finally find yourself in front of the main program window.
At this point, use the buttons on the right to choose the operation you want to perform: you can change the start menu, add a new item to the latter, access advanced settings, backup the BCD file, repair it or view its path.
In an article dedicated to what are the best programs for boot, it is practically impossible not to mention rEFIT : it is a tool for macOS, thanks to which you can choose which operating system to start without holding down, as usual, the alt key when the computer starts.
To download it, go to its official website and click on the link rEFIt x.xx (6.5M Mac disk image) that you find in the Download section .
When the download is complete, open the obtained .dmg package and double-click on the .mpkg file contained inside. In the window that opens on the desktop, click on the Continue button twice in succession, then on the Accept and Install ones . Then type in the password for your user account on macOS and, finally, click on the Install software and Close buttons .
At this point, restart your Mac and you will find yourself in front of the program screen, through which you can choose the operating system to start simply by clicking on its icon. More comfortable than that?
Programs to boot from USB
Now let’s move on to the programs to boot from USB , that is, all those software that you can use to create bootable USB sticks. They can be useful for installing a new operating system and for prompt intervention and maintenance on the computer: to find out more, read on.
Rufus is a software for Windows operating systems only that is used to create bootable USB sticks starting from specific ISO images. In particular, it allows you to install a new OS by acting as a pendrive. Plus, it’s free and portable, so it doesn’t require installation to be used.
To download it, go to the program’s website and click on the Rufus xx Portable link , which can be found in the Download section .
When the download is complete, open the .exe file obtained and click the Yes button , in the window that is shown on the screen. Next, connect a stick to your computer, click once more on the Yes button to check for updates and make sure that in the Rufus window your pendrive is selected from the drop-down menu Device / unit , located at the top (if not, provide you).
Then select the Download option from the drop-down menu next to the check mark and click on it. In the new window that is shown to you, verify that the operating system of your interest is selected from the appropriate drop-down menu and click on the Continue button .
Then indicate the release of the operating system you intend to download, its version and language, using the other drop-down menus available and click again on the Continue button , then select the OS architecture and press the Download button .
Once the download procedure of the ISO file of the operating system is completed, select the option Disc image or ISO (select) from the drop-down menu under the wording Boot selection and click on the Select button that is next to it, so as to select the operating system image file to be copied to the stick.
To conclude, in the specific case in which you want to create a pendrive with Windows, make sure that, in correspondence with the wording Image Options , the standard Windows installation option is set , press the Start and OK buttons and wait for the stick with the ISO image is created.
Ultimate Boot CD For Windows (also known as UBCD4Win ) is a Windows program that allows you to create a first aid disk for your PC, which includes numerous free tools to repair your computer and correct errors that prevent the system from starting properly operating.
To download UBCD4Win to your computer, go to the program download page on MajorGeeks and click on the Download @ MajorGeeks link on the right, under the heading Download Locations .
When the download is complete, start the obtained .exe file and click the Yes button in the window that opens on the desktop. Then press the OK button to confirm the use of the Italian language and then the Next button .
Then select the item I accept the terms of the license agreement and click again on the Next button (four consecutive times) and on Install . Finally, press the Next and End buttons .
Once the program installation is complete, it should start automatically: if this does not happen, right click on the relative shortcut added to the desktop, select Run as administrator from the menu that appears and press the Yes button in the window that opens .
Now that you see the main screen of UBCD4Win, click on the Accept button , choose which programs and folders to include in the image file, pressing the button […] next to the Customize field , and click on the Plugins button , to select the plugins that interest you .
Finally, click on the Create button (located at the bottom) and an ISO file will be generated which you will then have to transfer to a USB stick using Rufus , the program I mentioned in the previous step of this tutorial . Alternatively, you can burn the image file to a CD / DVD by selecting the Write CD / DVD option in advance and inserting an empty disk in the recorder connected to the computer.
When the operation is complete, connect the support to the PC you want to go to, turn on or restart the latter, boot from the stick or from the CD and use the tools that you find attached to the menu accessible by clicking on the button at the bottom left to perform the operations of your interest. You can access diagnostic tools, tools to remove viruses and malware etc.
Kaspersky Rescue Disk (Windows)
As you can easily guess from its name, Kaspersky Rescue Disk is a first aid disk for Windows PCs, usable even when the OS does not start correctly, through which it is possible to perform a virus scan of the system using the Kaspersky , one of the most effective and famous antivirus software in the world. It is completely free and very simple to use: just download it, copy it to a stick or a CD / DVD and boot from the latter.
To download the Kaspersky Rescue Disk ISO file, go to its official website and click on the Download now button , which you can find by scrolling the page. When the download is complete, copy the ISO image obtained on a USB stick using Rufus, the program I described in the previous lines . Alternatively, burn a CD / DVD, following the instructions that I have given you in my guide on how to burn ISO files .
Then connect the media to the PC you want to go to, turn it on or restart it and boot from the stick or from the CD. Once the main screen of Kaspersky Rescue Disk is displayed, use the directional arrows on the PC keyboard to select English as the language for the diskette interface and press the Enter key (always on the keyboard) to confirm.
Then click on the Start Scan button , to start the PC scan and identify and remove any viruses, and / or use the tools that you find attached to the menu accessible by clicking on the button with the gear and the Kaspersky logo , in the lower left .
Xboot is a small free tool for Windows operating systems that allows you to combine multiple operating systems and bootable first-aid systems on a single support. Using it, you can create USB sticks or DVDs containing various Linux distributions, live antivirus CDs and system maintenance tools, having the possibility to choose which item to start from a special menu.
To use it, connect to the Xboot website and click on the button with the green down arrow , which you can find at the top of the page. When the download is complete, extract the ZIP file obtained in a folder of your choice in Windows and start the .exe file contained within it.
In the window that appears on the screen, drag the ISO files that you want to include in your pendrive or on your CD in the program window. If you do not yet have the ISO files of your interest, you can download them directly via Xboot by clicking on the File menu , located at the top left, on the Download item , selecting the ISO of your interest from the dedicated drop-down menu and clicking on the Open Download button Webpage .
Next, connect the media you prefer to your computer and click on the Create ISO button (in case you have chosen to use a CD or DVD) or Create USB (if you have connected a USB stick to your computer). Once the support has been created, leave it connected to the PC (if you intend to intervene on the computer in use) and restart it or connect it to the computer of your interest and turn it on, boot from the stick or from the CD and use the options offered by Xboot.