How to Enable or Disable Windows Boot Manager: Step-by-Step Guide

Multi-booting, and particularly dual-booting Windows and Linux, is becoming more and more mainstream with each passing year. On a PC with multiple operating systems (OS), the Windows Boot Manager is what lets the user pick which OS to boot to.

Of course, in single-OS systems, it’s usually better to disable Windows Boot Manager. Unless you’ve made multiple boot entries from a single OS, all it does is make the boot process longer for no reason.

In any case, we’ve listed all the necessary steps to enable or disable Windows Boot Manager via both GUI and Command-Line in the guide below.

How To Enable Or Disable Windows Boot Manager

Enable or Disable Boot Manager via GUI

As usual, the GUI method is very convenient but doesn’t allow for much flexibility. It’s very easy to enable or disable the Windows Boot Manager, but there’s not much room for further modification. Regardless, here are the necessary steps:

  • Press Windows + R, type systempropertiesadvanced, and press Enter.
  • In the Startup and Recovery section, click on Settings.


system-properties-startup-and-recovery-settings

  • To enable BOOTMGR, turn on the checkmark for the Time to display list of operating systems options.

Set the time in seconds. The default value is 30, but you can replace it with however many seconds (3 – 999) you want the Boot Manager screen to display before the timeout expires and loads the default Boot Entry.  

  • Press OK to apply the changes.
  • To disable BOOTMGR, uncheck the Time to display the list of operating systems box.


time-to-display-list-of-operating-systems

  • Press OK to apply the changes.

Enable or Disable Boot Manager via Command Line

The CLI method is somewhat technical but allows for lots more ways to modify the Windows Boot Manager.

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You’ll use the bcdedit command to enable/disable Bootmgr. Keep in mind that you may need to turn off Secure Boot or BitLocker for bcdedit to function properly. With that said, here are the necessary steps:

  • Press Windows + R to launch Run.
  • Type cmd and press CTRL + Shift + Enter to launch Elevated Command Prompt.

To enable BOOTMGR, type the following commands and press Enter after each:


bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu yes
bcdedit /set {bootmgr} timeout 30


Note: You can replace 30 with however many seconds (3 – 999) you want the Boot Manager screen to display for before the timeout expires and loads the default Boot Entry.


bcedit-bootmgr

To disable BOOTMGR, type the following command and press Enter:


bcdedit /set {bootmgr} displaybootmenu no

How to Modify Boot Manager

Modifying bootmgr not only includes enabling and disabling it, but also adding or removing an entry, editing the display order, changing the default entry, and much more.

Add New Boot Entry to Bootmgr

You can create multiple new boot entries for an operating system and customize each to have a different set of configurations. The easiest way to do so is to copy an existing boot entry and then modify it. Here’s how you can do that:

Type the following command in the elevated command prompt:


bcdedit /copy {current} /d "TestEntry"


Copy-Boot-Manager

Current is the last used boot entry. If you want to use another boot entry, replace current with any other identifier value as appropriate.

  • Change TestEntry to whatever you wish to name the new entry.
  • Finally, press Enter to execute the command.
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You’ll receive a message similar to: 


The entry was successfully copied to {1f126914-2e93-11e5-a85b-be1ae2100b04}.

Here, the value inside the curly brackets is the new entry’s GUID. You can use this ID to modify this boot entry however you wish.

Remove or Delete Boot Entry

Removing a boot loader entry removes it from the boot menu, but it will still be present in the BCD store. You’ll need to delete it instead to remove it entirely. Here are the steps to do so via GUI:

  • Press Windows + R, type msconfig, and press Enter.
  • Switch to the boot tab.
  • Select the boot entry you wish to delete and press the Delete button.


delete-boot-entry-gui

With the command line, you can choose to remove it or delete it as you prefer. You can do either using the steps listed below:

  • Press Windows + R, type cmd and press CTRL + Shift + Enter.
  • Type bcdedit and press Enter.

Under each Windows Boot Loader section, check the value of the device element. Once you’ve identified the appropriate partition, note the value of identifier above it.

To remove the boot entry, replace identifier with its value from Step 3 and use the following command:


bcdedit /displayorder {identifier} /remove


bcdedit-displayorder-remove

To delete the boot entry, replace identifier once again and use the following command:


bcdedit /delete {identifier}

Edit Display Order on a Multi-Boot Menu

You can set the display order of boot entries on a multi-boot menu using the /displayorder switch.

  1. In an elevated command prompt, execute the bcdedit command and note the value of identifier for each entry.
  2. Replace the IDs with the boot entry’s GUID or a reserved identifier like {current} and use the following command:
    bcdedit /displayorder {ID1} {ID2}
  3. Add as many more {IDs} as appropriate depending on how many entries you have. Don’t forget the curly brackets and space between the identifiers.
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E.g. if you use the following command: 


bcdedit /displayorder {current} {9f25ee7a-e7b7-11db-94b5-f7e662935912} {e16cd9d6-379f-11e5-99d4-de034410edac}


display-multiple-boot-menu

This sets the display order as: 

  • current
  • 9f25ee7a-e7b7-11db-94b5-f7e662935912
  • e16cd9d6-379f-11e5-99d4-de034410edac

Alternatively, you can also use the /addfirst and /addlast modifiers to directly add an entry as the first or last items respectively on the Boot Manager menu. E.g.
bcdedit /displayorder {5370b175-2e93-11e5-a85b-be1ae2100b04 } /addfirst

Change Default OS in Windows Boot Manager

You can easily change the default OS in Windows Boot Manager via System Configuration. Here are the steps to do so:

  • Launch System Configuration using the run command msconfig.
  • In the boot tab, select the OS you want to set as the default one.
  • Click on Set as Default and press OK to apply the changes.


set-as-default-system-config

You can also specify the default boot entry by using the bcdedit /default {ID} command in Elevated Command Prompt. Don’t forget to replace ID with the appropriate value of the boot entry though.

How to Get Windows 7 or Windows 10 Style Dual Boot Screen?

Here are the steps to get the dual boot screen you want using the bootmenupolicy parameter:

Open Elevated Command Prompt and use the commands listed below as appropriate.

For the Windows 10 style Metro Boot Loader:


bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy standard


bootmenupolicy

For the Windows 7 style Classic Boot Loader:


bcdedit /set {default} bootmenupolicy legacy

Mohamed SAKHRI
Mohamed SAKHRI

I'm the creator and editor-in-chief of Tech To Geek. Through this little blog, I share with you my passion for technology. I specialize in various operating systems such as Windows, Linux, macOS, and Android, focusing on providing practical and valuable guides.

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