50 Boot Managers For
DOS & Windows



I've been experimenting with multi-booting DOS and early versions of Windows (3.1, 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP) for a little while now and some of those efforts I've already uploaded on this site and to the Internet Archive.

In several of those I tried some boot managers (OSL2000, XOSL and BootitNG).

Just out of curiosity I decided to see just how many boot managers I could find that would suit DOS and early versions of Windows (W3.1, 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP).

So far, I've managed to find 50 boot managers.

Most of the boot managers are from the 1990's and early 2000's and are getting very hard to find on the net now, so uploading them to the Internet Archive is a way of preserving them so they're not lost when the few existing sites that have them disappear.

While there are 50 different boot managers, there are 125 versions of them in total.

35 of the 50 are Freeware and 15 are either Shareware, Trial, Commercial or Demo.

Several of the Shareware products seem to work quite OK with no restrictions apparent, along the lines of the 1990's "You must register this product after 30 days" but without any real limitations on function.

I've tried each boot manager on a multiboot install of DOS-W31, 95, 98 and 2000 or XP and recorded my impressions of each in a .pdf document, together with a brief blurb from the author about their product.

In the .pdf document with my comments I've grouped the boot managers categories - Excellent / Very Good, Good, OK, Poor / Unusable.

These are purely my impressions based on my experience with seeing how well they worked for multi-booting a Windows VHD that had either DOS-W3.1, W95, W98 and XP installed (or DOS-W3.1, W95, W98 and Windows 2000).

It isn't a thorough review of each one as I only spent enough time on them to get them installed and see how well they worked at multi-booting Windows - and in a lot of cases, they didn't.

Rather than quibble with my assessment of each, download the zip and try them out for yourself as your experience and opinion of them may be different to mine.

I've also created floppy images and/or ISO images for each one (if they didn't have one) so that I could install them in DOS (or Windows in a few cases) and these images are included in the relevant boot manager folder(s).

The following caveats apply to the boot managers and my testing of them in VirtualBox (and my opinion of them):

* The boot managers are mostly 1990's and 2000's products intended for DOS, Windows 95, 98, ME, 2000, XP
* Some may work with later Windows but that's for you to experiment with
* These are all MBR based - no UEFI boot managers
* These are all intended for DOS and Windows - no Linux boot managers are included
* The majority (35) are Freeware but some Shareware, Trial, Commercial or Demo products are included
* Most have very little documentation, although some (Boot-US, BootitNG, have very good documentation)
* Some need to be manually installed and require reasonable DOS skills to be able to update/save a DOS MBR
* The rating of each and the associated comments are purely based on my impressions



My Impressions Of Each Boot Manager

I only did enough testing to install each and see if they worked OK to multi-boot DOS and Windows.

I looked for usability as well as function and gave each a rating as:

    Excellent / Very Good - Does the job well and has a few bells and whistles
    Good - Does the job well but with fewer embellishments
    OK - Basically gets the job done
    Poor / Unusable - Doesn't do the job / fails to install / usability is woeful

My reasons for each are detailed in the .pdf review document.

Your experience may differ.

The 50 boot managers I tried - listed in order of preference from Excellent to Unusable - are:

Excellent or Very Good:
 
  01. OSL2000 9.32 (with Cute Partn Mgr 0.9.8) . . . .Freeware
  02. XOSL-OW 1.1.6 (with Ranish Partn Mgr) . . . . .Freeware
  03. BootitNG 1.87 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  04. BootUS 2.1.8, 4.1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Shareware
  05. Ranish 2.44, 2.90.15 (incl. partn Mgr) . . . . . . . Freeware
  06. GAG 4.10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  07. Paragon Advanced Boot Manager 5.5 . . . . . ..Shareware
  08. Acronis OS Selector 5.0SE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Special Ed
  09. Bootit Direct Multi Boot Utility 1.14 . . . . . . . . .Shareware
  10. Smart Boot Manager 3.7.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware

Good:

  11. Extended Fdisk 0.93 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  12. Airboot 1.06 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  13. MBM - Multiple Boot Manager 0.39 . . . . . . . .Freeware
  14. Mattsoft Boot Manager 1.19g - DOS . . . . . . . Freeware
  15. BootMGR - Multiboot ManaGeR - 2008 . . . . . Freeware
  16. Boot Manager Plus 1.42 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  17. MBLDR - Master Boot LoaDeR . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  18. Symon 3.21 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  19. MasterBooter 3.7 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  20. OS-BS (OS Boot Select) 2.0b8 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware

OK:

  21. MBRBM 1.1 / MbiRa 2023 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  22. BootLDR 2022 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  23. XORboot 0.60, 0.74 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  24. MSTboot 4.2 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  25. Power Quest BootMagic 1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Shareware
  26. PsychTechSoft BootWizard Pro 4.0 . . . . . . . . . Trial
  27. System Commander 3.09 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Commercial
  28. BootStar Boot Manager 8.30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 day Trial
  29. Partition Boot Manager 1.08 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 day Trial
  30. Bootmenu 1.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware

Poor or Unusable:

  31. PLOP Boot Manager 5.0.15 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  32. Grub4DOS 0.4.2 / Grub2WIN 2023 . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  33. Zboot Manager 2.13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Shareware
  34. The Partitioner + Boot Menu 1991 . . . . . . . . . . Shareware
  35. MBR Boot Manager 2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  36. BOSS - Better OS Selector 1.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  37. Xboot 1.2, 2.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  38. Boot Manager 2.0 (by O'Razoff) . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  39. BootEasy 1.1, 1.7.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  40. OS Boot Manager 1.0 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  41. LegendOS Boot Manager 0.92 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  42. DocsBoot+ 0.40b . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  43. Partita 2000 2.10 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  44. Vpart Graphical Boot Manager 2001.11.8 . . . . .Freeware
  45. Icepack Boot Manager 0.30 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Freeware
  46. Boot Manager BTX 1999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  47. MWRload 1999 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  48. KMH's Master Boot Sector Loader 1.0 . . . . . . . Freeware
  49. Boot Manager 2.0 (Gresko) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Freeware
  50. 7Tools 5.7.5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Demo

I suggest you download and try out some of the boot managers as they can make multi-booting DOS and w9x easier.



The files available for download here are:

* A PDF document with my impression of each boot manager (click on the file name to download)
   50_Boot_Managers_For_DOS_and_Windows_Reviewed.pdf

* A zip archive with the Install files for all versions of boot managers
   50_Boot_Managers_For_DOS_and_Windows_.zip    (700mb)

* Screenshots of each boot manager are included in each boot manager's folder and also in this zip file:
   Screenshots_50_Boot_Managers.zip

I've also uploaded these files to the Internet Archive here:
   https://archive.org/details/50-dos-windows-boot-managers


If you prefer to save some bandwidth, then here are 4 options:

1. To download only the 10 boot managers I found to be excellent or very good . . . click here.

2. To download only the 10 boot managers I found to be good . . . click here.

3. To download only the 10 boot managers I found to be OK . . . click here.

4. To download only the 20 boot managers I found to be poor or unusable . . . click here.



Some links:

And . . . as you're interested in boot managers, here are some good sites for them:

Old-DOS.RU - search for "boot manager" returns 178 entries
      http://old-dos.ru/

Simtel archive - 99 entries in boot utilities
      https://ftp.sunet.se/mirror/archive/ftp.sunet.se/pub/simtelnet/msdos/bootutil/

Garbo archive - 28 entries in boot utilities
      http://ftp.icm.edu.pl/pub/garbo/pc/bootutil

SAC - search for "boot manager" returns 19 entries
      https://www.sac.sk/

Short Stop's DOS pages mirror also has a few boot managers (and other good DOS software)
      http://freesoft.cyberside.net.ee/FreeSoft/boot.htm

I've not listed Vetusware as the site has turned to rubbish over the last decade - you have to signup and become a member to download and even then there's a 1 download per day limit. Not worth the effort.

* I just found a Vetusware mirror page on the Internet Archive from 2014 if anyone is interested:
      https://archive.org/details/2014_VETUSWARE_Mirror


Anyways, enjoy exploring the world of early DOS and Windows boot managers.

Kind regards,
shotter_nail


Screenshots:       (Use your browser's right click function "Open Image In New Tab" to see larger images)

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Updated  04 October 2023      
Shotter_Nail