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5.2 Loopback booting

GRUB is able to read from an image (be it one of CD or HDD) stored on any of its accessible storages (refer to see loopback command). However the OS itself should be able to find its root. This usually involves running a userspace program running before the real root is discovered. This is achieved by GRUB loading a specially made small image and passing it as ramdisk to the kernel. This is achieved by commands kfreebsd_module, knetbsd_module_elf, kopenbsd_ramdisk, initrd (see initrd), initrd16 (see initrd16), multiboot_module, multiboot2_module or xnu_ramdisk depending on the loader. Note that for knetbsd the image must be put inside miniroot.kmod and the whole miniroot.kmod has to be loaded. In kopenbsd payload this is disabled by default. Additionally, behaviour of initial ramdisk depends on command line options. Several distributors provide the image for this purpose or it’s integrated in their standard ramdisk and activated by special option. Consult your kernel and distribution manual for more details. Other loaders like appleloader, chainloader (BIOS, EFI, coreboot), freedos, ntldr, plan9 and truecrypt provide no possibility of loading initial ramdisk and as far as author is aware the payloads in question don’t support either initial ramdisk or discovering loopback boot in other way and as such not bootable this way. Please consider alternative boot methods like copying all files from the image to actual partition. Consult your OS documentation for more details.