The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of available bootloaders.

General information

Name Developer / Publisher Current version Initial release date Latest release date License Cost Website / documentation
Acronis OS Selector Acronis International GmbH ? ? ? Proprietary $49.95 (personal use)
$79.99 (commercial, per seat)
$299.99 (server)
Official website
AiR-BOOT Martin Kiewitz
Ben Rietbroek
? ? ? GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Official website
AKernelLoader ? ? ? ? GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Official website
Barebox Sascha Hauer
the barebox community
? ? ? GPL-2.0-only No cost Official website
BOOTBOOT bzt ? 2017 May 2023 MIT No cost Source repository

Official website

BootIt Bare Metal (formerly BootIt Next Generation) TeraByte Unlimited ? ? ? Proprietary $39.95 Official website
BootKey ? ? ? ? Proprietary ? ?
BootManager ? ? ? ? MIT No cost ?
BootX (Apple) Apple Inc. ? ? ? Proprietary bundled with macOS ?
BootX (Linux) Benjamin Herrenschmidt ? ? ? Proprietary No cost ?
Clover (fork of rEFIt) https://github.com/CloverHackyColor/CloverBootloader/graphs/contributors Multi Contributors] 5157 October 3, 2013 January 13, 2024 GPLv2/BSD-2-Clause No cost Official website

Source repository

Darwin Boot Loader Apple Inc. ? ? ? APSL-2.0 No cost Official Website (Archived)
Das U-Boot DENX Software Engineering 2023.01 Edit this on Wikidata 9 January 2023 Edit this on Wikidata GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Official website
Easyboot bzt ? 2023 Dec 2023 GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Source repository
FreeBSD loader FreeBSD BSD license No cost
GAG Raster Software 4.10 Edit this on Wikidata ? 10 August 2008 Edit this on Wikidata GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Official website
GRUB Legacy GNU Project GPL-2.0-or-later No cost
GNU GRUB GNU Project 2.12[1] Edit this on Wikidata 20 December 2023 (20 December 2023) GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Official website
Grub2Win GPLv3
GRUB4DOS GPL-2.0-only[a] Official website
Gujin GPL-2.0-only Official website
systemd-boot / Gummiboot LGPL-2.1-or-later
iBoot Apple .Inc Proprietary
LILO BSD-3-Clause
Limine mintsuki 7.5.2 April 6, 2020 May 22, 2024 BSD-2-Clause No cost Official website
loadlin GPL-2.0-or-later
MasterBooter GPL-2.0-only No cost Source repository
NTLDR Microsoft July 27, 1993 (Windows NT 3.1) Proprietary bundled with Windows
OpenCore Acidanthera May 4, 2019 BSD-3-Clause No cost Source repository
OSL2000 Boot Manager Proprietary
PLoP Boot Manager Proprietary No cost Official website
quibble maharmstone 20210111 February 13, 2020 January 12, 2021 GPL-3.0-or-later No cost Official website
RedBoot GPL-2.0-or-later (eCos license)
rEFInd (fork of rEFIt) Roderick W. Smith 0.14.4.2 March 14, 2012 March 6, 2023 GPL-3.0-or-later/BSD-3-Clause No cost Official website
rEFIt Christoph Pfisterer 0.14 March 2, 2006 March 7, 2010 GPL-2.0-or-later/BSD-3-Clause No cost Official website
Simpleboot bzt ? 2023 Jul 2023 MIT No cost Documentation

Source repository

Smart Boot Manager GPL-2.0-or-later
SPFdisk GPL-2.0-or-later
SYSLINUX GPL-2.0-or-later
TianoCore EDK II BSD-2-Clause
Windows Boot Manager Microsoft January 30, 2007 (Windows Vista) Proprietary bundled with Windows
XOSL GPL-2.0-only
FreeLoader (ReactOS Boot Loader) GPL-2.0-or-later No cost Documentation
wolfBoot wolfSSL v2.0.2 December 4, 2018 December 29, 2023 GPL-2.0-or-later and Commercial Licensing No cost Official website
Name Developer / Publisher Current version Initial release date Latest release date License Cost Website / documentation
  1. ^ While most parts of GRUB4DOS are under GPL-2.0-or-later, the whole software is limited to GPL-2.0-only due to incorporating some code from Linux.[2]

Technical information

Note: The column MBR (Master Boot Record) refers to whether or not the boot loader can be stored in the first sector of a mass storage device. The column VBR (Volume Boot Record) refers to the ability of the boot loader to be stored in the first sector of any partition on a mass storage device.

Storage medium support

Name Can reside in Can boot from
ESP (UEFI) MBR VBR Floppy Hard disk Second Hard disk Logical partitions CD-ROM Floppy USB Zip LAN
Acronis OS Selector ? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
AiR-BOOT ? Yes No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
AKernelLoader ? Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ?
Barebox Yes Yes No ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
BOOTBOOT Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No
BootIt Bare Metal ? ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
BootKey ? No No Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes No No
BootManager ? Yes No No Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? No
BootX (Apple) Yes No No No Yes No No Yes No Yes Yes Yes
BootX (Linux) No No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Clover Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No ? Yes ? No
Darwin Boot Loader Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ?
Das U-Boot Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Easyboot Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No
FreeBSD loader Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes
GAG ? Yes (SafeBoot) No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
GRUB Legacy No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
GNU GRUB Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Grub2Win Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
GRUB4DOS ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Gujin ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
systemd-boot / Gummiboot Yes No No No Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? ?
iBoot Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? No ? ? ? ?
LILO Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Limine Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
loadlin ? No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
MasterBooter ? Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ? ? ?
NTLDR ? No Yes Yes Yes ? No No Yes Yes ? ?
OpenCore Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? No ? Yes ? No
OSL2000 Boot Manager ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
PLoP Boot Manager ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
quibble Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
RedBoot ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
rEFInd Yes No No No Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes ? Yes
rEFIt (not maintained) Yes No No No Yes Yes ? No ? Yes ? No
Simpleboot Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No
Smart Boot Manager ? Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ?
SPFdisk ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? ? ?
SYSLINUX No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Tianocore EDK II ? No No No Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes No Yes
Windows Boot Manager Yes No Yes No Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
XOSL ? No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No ? No
FreeLoader (ReactOS Boot Loader) ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
Name Can reside in Can boot from
ESP (UEFI) MBR VBR Floppy Hard disk Second Hard disk Logical partitions CD-ROM Floppy USB Zip LAN

Operating system support

Name Can boot
MS-DOS Windows 9x/Me Windows NT series before Vista Windows Vista/7/8/10 Linux ReactOS MenuetOS *BSD Mac OS X
Acronis OS Selector Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes
AiR-BOOT Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ?
AKernelLoader ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ?
Barebox ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ?
BOOTBOOT No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ?
BootIt Bare Metal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ?
BootKey Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ?
BootManager Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Calls GRUB or LILO ? ? ? ?
BootX (Apple) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes
BootX (Linux) ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ?
Clover ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes
Darwin Boot Loader ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes
Das U-Boot ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? Yes (FreeBSD) ?
Easyboot Yes (FreeDOS) No Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes Yes Yes (KolibriOS as well) Yes (FreeBSD, OpenBSD) No
FreeBSD loader ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes (FreeBSD, TrueOS) ?
FreeLoader (ReactOS Boot Loader) Yes Yes Partial[3] Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes Yes ? ? ?
GAG Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Calls GRUB or LILO Calls bootloader Calls bootloader Calls bootloader No
GRUB Legacy and GRUB4DOS Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes Calls FreeLoader Yes Calls bootloader for some kernels Yes
GNU GRUB Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes Calls FreeLoader Yes Yes Yes
Grub2Win Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes ? ? Yes (FreeBSD) Calls Clover
Gujin Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Yes Yes ? ? ? ?
systemd-boot / Gummiboot No No Windows Server 2013 64bits with UEFI only Calls Windows Boot Manager[4] Yes ? ? UEFI only Yes[4]
iBoot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes
LILO ? Yes Calls NTLDR Yes Yes ? ? Calls biosboot (FreeBSD, PC-BSD, ...) ?
loadlin with MEMDISK No No No Yes No No ? ?
Limine Calls bootloader Calls bootloader Calls bootloader Calls bootloader Yes Calls bootloader Calls bootloader Calls bootloader Calls bootloader
MasterBooter Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes ?
NTLDR Yes Yes Yes No Calls GRUB4DOS ? ? ? Calls Darwin bootloader[5]
OpenCore ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes
OSL2000 Boot Manager Yes Yes Yes Yes Calls GRUB or LILO ? ? ? ?
PLoP Boot Manager Yes Yes Yes Yes Calls GRUB or LILO ? ? ? ?
quibble ? ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ?
RedBoot Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes Calls FreeLoader Yes Yes Yes
rEFInd (fork of rEFIt) ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes
rEFIt (not maintained) ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes
Simpleboot No No No No Yes No ? Partial ?
Smart Boot Manager Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ? ? Yes ?
SPFdisk Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
SYSLINUX Yes Yes Calls NTLDR Calls Windows Boot Manager Yes ? Yes via mboot.c32 module [1] ?
Tianocore EDK II No No No Yes Yes No ? Yes (FreeBSD,OpenBSD) Yes
Windows Boot Manager ? Yes Calls NTLDR Yes Calls GRUB or LILO ? ? ? ?
XOSL Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ?
Name Can boot
MS-DOS Windows 9x/Me Windows NT series before Vista Windows Vista/7/8/10 Linux ReactOS MenuetOS *BSD Mac OS X

File-system support

Non-journaled

Name FAT Minix ext2 btrfs HFS APFS AFFS F2FS ZFS NILFS YAFFS
FAT12 FAT16 FAT32 exFAT YAFFS1 YAFFS2
Acronis OS Selector ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
AiR-BOOT ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
AKernelLoader ? ? Yes ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Barebox Yes Yes Yes ? No Yes No No No No No No No ? ?
BOOTBOOT No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootIt Bare Metal ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootKey ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
bootload ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootManager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootX (Apple) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootX (Linux) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Clover ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
Darwin Boot Loader ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
Das U-Boot Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ?
Easyboot No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
extipl ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
FreeLoader (ReactOS) Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
GAG ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
GNU GRUB 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ?
GRUB Legacy Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No No No ? ?
Grub2Win ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
GRUB4DOS Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No No No No No No ? ?
Gujin ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
systemd-boot / Gummiboot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
iBoot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
LILO ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Limine Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No No No No No No No No No
loader (FreeBSD) Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ?
loadlin Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
LOLO ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes Yes
MasterBooter ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Multiple Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
NTLDR ? Yes Yes ? ? No No No No No No No No ? ?
OpenCore ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ?
OSL2000 Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
PLoP Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
quibble ? ? Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
RedBoot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
rEFInd Yes[a] ? ? Yes[b] Yes[b] ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
rEFIt ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Simpleboot No No Yes No No No ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Smart Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
SPFdisk ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Syslinux Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No No No No No ? ?
Tianocore EDK II Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Windows Boot Manager ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? No No ? ? ? ? ? ?
XOSL ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
yaboot ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Journaled

Name NTFS ext3 ext4 ReiserFS Reiser4 JFS XFS UFS UDF HFS+ BeFS AFS SFS UBIFS JFFS2
Acronis OS Selector ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
AiR-BOOT ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
AKernelLoader ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Barebox ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes Yes
BOOTBOOT ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootIt Bare Metal ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootKey ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
bootload ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootManager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootX (Apple) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootX (Linux) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Clover Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ?
Darwin Boot Loader Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ?
Das U-Boot ? Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ? Yes Yes
extipl ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
FreeLoader (ReactOS) Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
GAG ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
GNU GRUB 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ?
GRUB Legacy No Yes patch[a] Yes[b] No Yes[b] Yes[b] Yes[b] No No No No No No No
Grub2Win ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
GRUB4DOS Yes Yes Yes Yes[b] No Yes[b] Yes[b] Yes[b] ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Gujin ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
systemd-boot / Gummiboot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
iBoot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
LILO ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Limine No Yes Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No
loader (FreeBSD) ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
loadlin Yes[c] No No No No No No No No No No No No No No
LOLO ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
MasterBooter ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Multiple Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
NTLDR Yes No No No No No No No No No No No No No No
OpenCore Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? ?
OSL2000 Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
PLoP Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
quibble Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
RedBoot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes
rEFInd Partial[d] Yes[d] Yes[d] ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes[d] ? ? ? ? ?
rEFIt ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Simpleboot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Smart Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
SPFdisk ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Syslinux Yes Yes Partial[e] No No No Yes Yes Yes No No No No No No
Tianocore EDK II ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Windows Boot Manager Yes No No No No No No No ? No No No No No No
XOSL ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
yaboot ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Read-only

Name cpio tar ISO 9660 romfs SquashFS cramfs
Acronis OS Selector ? ? ? ? ? ?
AiR-BOOT ? ? ? ? ? ?
AKernelLoader ? ? ? ? ? ?
Barebox ? ? ? ? Yes[a] Yes
BOOTBOOT Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
BootIt Bare Metal ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootKey ? ? ? ? ? ?
bootload ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootManager ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootX (Apple) ? ? ? ? ? ?
BootX (Linux) ? ? ? ? ? ?
Clover ? ? ? ? ? ?
Darwin Boot Loader ? ? ? ? ? ?
Das U-Boot ? ? ? ? Yes[b] Yes
extipl ? ? ? ? ? ?
FreeLoader (ReactOS) ? ? ? ? ? ?
GAG ? ? ? ? ? ?
GNU GRUB 2 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ?
GRUB Legacy ? ? Yes[c] ? ? ?
Grub2Win ? ? ? ? ? ?
GRUB4DOS ? ? Yes[c] ? ? ?
Gujin ? ? ? ? ? ?
systemd-boot / Gummiboot ? ? ? ? ? ?
iBoot ? ? ? ? ? ?
LILO ? ? ? ? ? ?
Limine No No Yes No No No
loader (FreeBSD) ? ? ? ? ? ?
loadlin No No Yes[d] ? ? ?
LOLO ? ? ? ? ? ?
MasterBooter ? ? ? ? ? ?
Multiple Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ?
NTLDR ? ? ? ? ? ?
OpenCore ? ? ? ? ? ?
OSL2000 Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ?
PLoP Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ?
RedBoot ? ? ? ? ? ?
rEFInd ? ? Yes[e] ? ? ?
rEFIt ? ? ? ? ? ?
Simpleboot Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Smart Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ?
SPFdisk ? ? ? ? ? ?
Syslinux ? ? Yes ? ? ?
Tianocore EDK II ? ? ? ? ? ?
Windows Boot Manager No No Yes No No No
XOSL ? ? ? ? ? ?
yaboot ? ? ? ? ? ?

Other features

Name Advanced command Scriptable Supported architecture Supported executable Supported protocol Supported decompression Others
GRUB Legacy Yes No x86 (PC) Multiboot 1, Linux zImage, Linux bzImage and others TFTP gzip
GRUB 2 Yes Yes x86 (PC, EFI, UEFI, coreboot, OLPC), IA-64, ARM (U-Boot, UEFI), PowerPC (OpenFirmware), MIPS, SPARC (OpenFirmware) Multiboot and others[6] TFTP, HTTP[7] gzip, xz[8]
LILO No No x86 (PC) Linux zImage, Linux bzImage ? bzip2, gzip
loader (FreeBSD) Yes Yes x86 (PC, EFI, UEFI, coreboot, OLPC), ARM (U-Boot, UEFI), MIPS, PowerPC (OpenFirmware), SPARC v9 (OpenFirmware) FreeBSD ELF kernel image, Multiboot (incomplete, for Xen image only)[9] TFTP, NFS gzip, bzip2
loadlin No No x86 (PC) Linux zImage, Linux bzImage ? gzip
LOLO (Logic PD) Yes Yes ARM7, ARM9, ARM11, Cortex-A8, StrongARM, SH, ColdFire ELF, binary, BIN (WinCE), SREC TFTP ? Supported devices: MCF54xx, MCF5329, MCF5373, LLH7A400, LLH7A404, LLH79520, LLH79524, LSH7727, LSH7750, LSH7760, PXA270, PXA320, IMX31, IMX27, OMAP35xx, OMAP37xx
SYSLINUX via cmd.c32 module via lua.c32 module x86 (PC) Linux zImage, Linux bzImage,[10] Multiboot,[11] MBR image[12] TFTP gzip, bzip2, lzo, zip, lzma, ?
AKernelLoader No No x86 (PC) ELF, Binary ? ?
BOOTBOOT Yes No x86-64 (PC, UEFI, El Torito CDROM, BSS Expansion ROM, UEFI Option ROM), ARM AArch64 (Raspberry Pi 3 and up) ELF64 / PE32+ serial gzip comes with a multiplatform, dependency-free bootable hybrid image creator (FOSS)
Easyboot Yes No x86-64 (BIOS, UEFI), ARM AArch64 (Raspberry Pi 3 and up) ELF32, ELF64, PE32+/COFF, a.out, Multiboot2, MZ, Linux zImage, Linux bzImage, FreeBSD BTX, OpenBSD ELF kernel image ? gzip comes with a multiplatform, dependency-free bootable hybrid image creator (FOSS), Multiboot2 extensions (clean 64-bit, higher-half, embedded-tags-free, EDID and SMP support)
Yaboot No No PowerPC (Open Firmware) Linux ELF image TFTP No
RedBoot Yes yes (boot only) ARM, ColdFire, H8300, x86, Freescale/Motorola 68000, MIPS, PowerPC, SH, SPARC, SPARCLite ELF TFTP, serial (X-modem) gzip
Das U-Boot Yes Yes PowerPC, ARM, AVR32, Blackfin, ColdFire, IXP, Leon2, m68k, MicroBlaze, MIPS, NIOS, NIOS2, PXA, x86, RISC-V, StrongARM, SH2, SH3, SH4, ... EFI, ELF, U-Boot image format, Linux zImage, raw TFTP, NFS, serial (S-Record, Y-Modem, Kermit binary protocol) bzip2, gzip, lzma
Barebox Yes Yes ARM, Blackfin, NIOS2, MIPS, x86, PowerPC ELF, U-Boot image format TFTP, NFS, serial (S-Record, Y-Modem, Kermit binary protocol) bzip2, gzip, lz4, xz, lzo
Linux kexec Depending on user space Depending on user space x86, ARM, ARM64, PowerPC, PowerPC 64, IA-64, IBM Z, RISC-V[13] Linux bzImage, Multiboot, other ELF image Depending on configuration and user space The kexec system call can start another kernel, replacing the current running Linux, thus turning a Linux-based operating system into a fancy bootloader.
NTLDR No No x86 (PC) Windows NT kernel image (PE), MBR image ? ? default bootloader on Windows NT
Simpleboot Yes No x86-64 (PC, UEFI) Linux zImage, Linux bzImage, ELF32 / ELF64 / COFF / PE32+ with Multiboot2 ? any comes with a multiplatform, dependency-free image creator (FOSS), supports 64-bit higher-half kernels with Multiboot2
TianoCore EDK II Yes Yes ARM, RISC-V, x86 EFI HTTPS ? UEFI reference implementation
Windows Boot Manager No No x86 (PC), ARM (only on Windows Mobile remake) Portable Executable ? ? Successor of NTLDR; used on Vista and up.
FreeLoader (ReactOS) No No x86 (PC), ARM, PowerPC ? ? ? clone of NTLDR
extipl ? ? ? ? ? ? IBM IPL upper compatible
Multiple Boot Manager ? ? ? ? ? ?
bootload (Technologic Systems) ? ? ARM ? ? ? Proprietary
Limine Yes No x86 (PC, UEFI), ARM Multiboot 1 and 2, Stivale 1 and 2, Linux zImage and bzImage TFTP gzip
wolfBoot No No ARM, RISC-V, PowerPC, x86 Binary, ELF32/ELF64, Multiboot2 No No Open-source, OS-agnostic (run along-side RTOS, Linux or bare-metal), ARM TrustZone-M support, Hardware Security Module support (including TPM 2.0), Integrity and authenticity verification of firmware images. Roll-back to previous image, Encryption, Self-update
Name Advanced command Scriptable Supported architecture Supported executable Supported protocol Supported decompression Others

Notes

  1. ^ Daniel Kiper (20 December 2023). "GRUB 2.12 released". Retrieved 20 December 2023.
  2. ^ "stage2/dosstart.S". GitHub. 2014-10-12. Retrieved 2021-06-24. Since we have copied the Linux kernel code and the Linux kernel follows GPL2, so only GPL2 is adoptable and it rules here.
  3. ^ http://www.reactos.org/newsletter-37 - Freeloader can load Windows Server 2003 directly, as long as it is on a FAT32 partition
  4. ^ a b Rod Smith, "Managing EFI Boot Loaders for Linux: Using gummiboot", 5 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Chain0 - OSx86".
  6. ^ "GNU GRUB Manual 2.06: Supported kernels". GNU. Free Software Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  7. ^ "GNU GRUB Manual 2.06: Device syntax". GNU. Free Software Foundation, Inc. Retrieved 2021-06-24. If you enabled the network support, the special drives (protocol[,server]) are also available. Supported protocols are 'http' and 'tftp'.
  8. ^ "GNU GRUB Manual 2.02: Features".
  9. ^ WHR. "An experiment to make a Multiboot-compliant kFreeBSD i386 image". SourceForge. Rivoreo. Retrieved 2021-06-24. Since 10.3-RELEASE, the BTX loader included in distribution supports Multiboot, but only for Xen (the Xen image is a Multiboot-compliant kernel). ... Because this multiboot support in BTX loader is designed for Xen only, it requires the first Multiboot module be original kFreeBSD image. Trying to load a Multiboot kernel without loading any Multiboot modules would resulted in BTX loader complaining 'No FreeBSD kernel provided, aborting'.
  10. ^ "Can SYSLINUX Handle Large Kernels?". Syslinux Wiki. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  11. ^ "Mboot.c32 - Syslinux Wiki". www.syslinux.org. Retrieved 2018-10-12.
  12. ^ "Comboot/chain.c32". Syslinux Wiki. Retrieved 2021-06-24.
  13. ^ "Documentation for Kdump - The kexec-based Crash Dumping Solution" (text/plain). The Linux Kernel Archives. Retrieved 2021-06-24.