Installing eComStation 2.1 and Windows 8 with Dual Boot

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By Martin Iturbide

* 2014-07 Update: This instructions also apply for Windows 8.1

I don't now why but I always like to write Dual Boot articles from time to time.

On this time I bought myself a new 2TB Hard disk and installed eComStation 2.1 and Windows 8 in a dual boot configuration.

For this case I choose to use Windows Boot Manager as my boot manager.

This article shows pictures step by step.

Starting Installing eComStation 2.1

I started installing eComStation on the new hard drive. So I plugged the new HDD and put the eComStation CD-ROM to boot from it.

Choose to boot with "own values" to configure your machine specs:

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I made the cd to boot with ACPI driver.

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I also has the AHCI mode enabled, so I had to turn this on too.

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It will boot and you will see that I enabled that two drivers.

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ok, it is loading..

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First page of the installation...

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The agreement...

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I'm advanced, came on...

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Yes, it requires a serial number.

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Now it will start looking at your drives.

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Bang... it will show you a drive with a problem. No partition data, no table. Let's fix it.

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It will fix it and click "ok".

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But, you have to pay for such an easy fix with a reboot.

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Now start all over. Select own values and advance forward on the install menu.

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We are getting the drive information again.

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Bang!!! no installable partitions. Click "ok" to start the volume manager.

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Now we are in the volume manager and we can see our HDD.

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Create volume by right clicking on it.

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We are going to start with the eComStation one at the beginning of the HDD.

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I like the "X"

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Set it size. Some 10GB will be ok. And remember to use it as primary partition.

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Here I went a little bit forward and creating two other primary partitions

  • X: Primary for eComStation 10GB
  • W: Primary for something else (not defined yet)
  • C: Logical for Windows - 500GB
  • D: Logical for some programs. (Please do not make it LVM, it was a mistake on the picture).

So now you see how I'm going to organize the partitions for the dual boot.

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Let's accept the changes.

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And now you see an startable partition to install eComStation.

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Next you will be asked to format the partition that you set as startable to install eCS.

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Select "Start"

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Wait a little bit...

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Once it is formated, you can click "next".

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Select the languages stuff.

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Select the drivers.

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Select the Audio drivers

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The folders set up.

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Here are some packages you can choose to install.

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The network stuff that needs to be installed.

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Here goes the network protocols. Don't forget TCP/IP.

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Sure, here goes my IP... no way all DHCP.

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The network name and workgroup.

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One more "Next Button" to start...

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Now it started installing the files.

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There goes a reboot

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Installing more files

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A Minion shows up there.

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More install, more reboot... I think this is the last one.

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Finally, we have eComStation installed.

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Installing Windows 8

Now we are going to proceed to install Windows 8.

Remember that I set some space on the HDD and I have a 500GB "C:" Logical partition un formatted. On this one I choose to install Windows 8.

Once you install Windows it will break eComStation 2.1 boot sector, but it will not break the partition.

So, you boot with Windows installation CD-ROM

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It asks you for language and keyboard

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Starts setup

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You make MS lawyers happy by clicking "Agree".

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Here you need to select "CUSTOM". Maybe the other option will go terrible wrong.

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Here is where the magic begin, remember that this was how we made the partition on eComStation.

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So we select the partition when when want Windows to be installed. Do not resize the partitions here or everything will be lost.

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Sit back and see how Windows installs the files.

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It boots...

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And here we have the useless "Metro" Windows 8 GUI installed with the rest of Windows.

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Now just lets check how Windows sees the partitions on the "Configurator Manager".

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Installing/Configuring EasyBCD on Windows 8

So, if we are going use "Windows Boot Manager" for dual boot the easy way is to download and install "EasyBCD" program. This program will make it easy and graphically for us to add more OSes on the Windows boot meny.

Once we run the program we see it this way, only Windows 8 is on the boot loader.

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We click "Add new Entry" and put the eComStation partition on it, like it was a GRUB Legacy Linux partition.

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After saving we will see the two entries on the EasyBCD menu.

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On the next restart we are going to see Windows asking us which OS to run.

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Restoring eComStation 2.1 if Windows 8 breaks it boot sector

Windows 8 is a bad boy, so it may break eComStation boot sector when installing. If that happens you only need to boot with the eComStation CD in maintenance mode and select the eComStation partition as startable.

DualB fixeCS-1.JPG

But it is possible that this will remove "Windows Boot Manager". Check on the Windows 8 instructions to recover the Windows 8 Boot.

Restoring Windows 8 if eComStation breaks it boot sector

If when trying to recover the eComStation boot sector on your machine, you noticed it turned off the "Windows Boot Manager" here are some instructions to recover it.

Boot the Windows 8 CDROM as "Repair".

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Choose "Troubleshoot"

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Let's go to "Advanced Options"

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..and lets run the "Command Prompt"

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We can recover the Windows Boot manager by running "bcdboot c:\windows" from the C: drive.

As a side note it also good for you to read how to use Windows diskpart [1] and how to change drive letters from the command line.

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On the next reboot Windows Boot Manager will be enabled and both OSes should run without problems.

Errors and Limitations

Geometry Error

Be carefull to resize the partitions from other non-eComStation systems. eComStation still has some limitations to recognize partitions.

For example. If you resize a partition from a Windows program, on the same HDD where eCS is installed, it may break eCS boot and eComStation will not recognize the partitions anymore.

It will show you an error like this one:

DBoot Error2 - Geometry.JPG

The only workarround is to erase the HDD and repartition it with eComStation.

Miss Aligned Boot Sector

This is other kind of error that can show up on eComStation installation.

DBoot Error1 - MissbootSect.JPG