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Big boot problem!





Urban
Hey!

Since almost 5 days I'm trying to fix my new computer but nothing is working! I was bored of Vista so I installed Ubuntu (linux) with the installation cd on dual boot, everything worked, except that my USB Adapter for my router wasn't compatible and after some searchs, I wasn't enought skilled to "make it work" (by changing some codes, etc, or maybe it's not even that Razz). After one week, I wasn't using linux and the dual boot was pretty annoying (example : I boot the computer, I go open the lamp, I come back, linux has started because I hadn't choose to boot Vista..) so I decided to delete Ubuntu and I tought just deleting the partition where linux was installed would have worked, but it haven't.

Just to resume :

I installed Ubuntu from the installation CD
I decided to delete Ubuntu
I deleted the partition where Ubuntu was installed
I extended the Vista partition (with the space of the old linux partition)

After this, I booted the computer, but GRUB, the dual-boot thing loaded (I tought it wouldn't) and I got this message "Error 17" (I searched and this error is when GRUB can't find the partition/os) and I wasn't able to choose which OS to boot. My computer came with vista installed on it and I don't have any installation CD except my backup but after A LOT of try, this backup isn't working neither. I can access the BIOS and the boot options (in fact it's the same) but that's all. I tried to install Ubuntu again with the installation CD but I can't, Ubuntu is loading, I can use it but I can't install it nor make/modify current partition. I asked one of my friend if he had an installation cd for vista and he gave me his backup but for a different version of vista, the backup loaded but I got an error message because this version of windows wasn't supported by the computer. And now I'm waiting for an installation CD (My technology teacher said he will have it for the next week..) but I would like to fix the problem asap, I really need my computer and I'm not even sure if the installation cd will work..

(Resume..)

I booted my computer
I got an error message from GRUB (Error 17)
I wasn't able to boot any OS (nor vista, nor linux)
I can access the BIOS
I tried to install linux again but I can't modify the current partition and I can't install Ubuntu again
I don't have the vista installation CD because it's a "vista ready" crap so they don't give me any cd
My backup cd isn't working but the one of my friend is working but it's not the good version so I can install it
I will get an installation cd for vista the next week


If you have any questions or you need more informations, please ask, I really need your help!

Thanks, Jp.
djclue917
Actually, the problem and solution are both pretty simple:

1. You installed Ubuntu and GRUB too, which overwritten the previous contents of the MBR.
2. Now you removed Ubuntu and eventually, the partition which GRUB uses for configuration (/boot/grub)
3. However, you forgot to remove GRUB from your MBR and restore Vista's MBR, so now, everytime your computer boots, GRUB loads only to find out that it can't find its configuration (and other stuff, actually) anywhere. So that's why you get the error.

Now, time for the solution. You only actually need to restore Vista's MBR. I haven't actually done it before because I'm using Linux like 95% of the time now so whether you succeed or not is still up to you.

* Just in case you can obtain a copy of a Vista installer, you can do the steps outline here:
http://auscoder.com/2007-05-18/restore-vista-mbr-bootloader.html

* If not, then you can use mbrfix and just follow the instructions outlined here:
http://www.sysint.no/nedlasting/mbrfix.htm

PS: you can actually change the default OS that GRUB loads so that you won't have to select your preferred OS everytime you (re)boot. Wink
securnet
djclue917 wrote:
Actually, the problem and solution are both pretty simple:

1. You installed Ubuntu and GRUB too, which overwritten the previous contents of the MBR.
2. Now you removed Ubuntu and eventually, the partition which GRUB uses for configuration (/boot/grub)
3. However, you forgot to remove GRUB from your MBR and restore Vista's MBR, so now, everytime your computer boots, GRUB loads only to find out that it can't find its configuration (and other stuff, actually) anywhere. So that's why you get the error.

Now, time for the solution. You only actually need to restore Vista's MBR. I haven't actually done it before because I'm using Linux like 95% of the time now so whether you succeed or not is still up to you.

* Just in case you can obtain a copy of a Vista installer, you can do the steps outline here:
http://auscoder.com/2007-05-18/restore-vista-mbr-bootloader.html

* If not, then you can use mbrfix and just follow the instructions outlined here:
http://www.sysint.no/nedlasting/mbrfix.htm

PS: you can actually change the default OS that GRUB loads so that you won't have to select your preferred OS everytime you (re)boot. Wink


I'd like to add that it is also possible with grub to decide to use the last used OS or to wait until a selection will be done. Wink
Urban
Thanks for the answers. I tried to use mbrfix (I downloaded the .zip file, extracted the MBRFIX.EXE and I made a dvd with only this file on it) but it's not working.. I booted my computer (cd/dvd boot) but nothing happened, the computer is reading it (I hear it) but GRUB load and I get the same error.. Maybe I did something wrong..?
securnet
Hi Urban, You said
Code:
I was bored of Vista so I installed Ubuntu (linux) ...
so If You are no more interested on Windows Vista then You could boot with a WindowsXP (for example) bootable CD and then when it asks You about where to install You have first to delete all partitions on your hard drive. Then You have to create at least one new partition to install WinXP to.
Otherwise if You want to keep your current Vista installation You have to boot with a bootable CD or DVD that will allow You to use a command propt shell, then type "FDISK /MBR" it should fix your MBR.
You can choose also to boot with a "WindowsPE" bootable CD or an "Hiren's Boot CD" and use one of the very usefull utilities you'll find on it (I suggest to use the Hiren's Boot CD that you can find googling the web).

Bye bye
8dmn
If you want MBRFIX to work, you need an operating system. You can also download the FreeDOS Base CD(~7.9 M). Boot it, and use XFDISK to install a bootmanager.
Urban
I think I made something wrong with MBRFix and that's why it's not working, I just made a normal dvd (not a boot cd). I tough it was the right thing to do because when I was clicking on MBRFIX.exe, It wasn't loading anything except a DOS window (and few seconds later the window was closing).

I will try to use MBR Fix again and I'll see.

@securnet : Installing XP wouldn't be so easy.. My computer have the vista's driver.. erm.. I don't know how to explain it but if I use XP without uninstalling all these drivers then XP won't run correctly. (And if I delete vista's drivers I won't be able to get vista again, no installation cd!).
8dmn
Ok, my last post was not so precise...

Install the XFDISK Boot Manager with FreeDOS
This should give you the ability to boot Vista
Click on Start->Run (Or whatever that menupoint is in English, it should be the last in the right side, but before the shutdown things)
Enter "cmd" and click OK
Use CD to change to the Directory with the MBRFIX.EXE in (or copy it into your user home directory, C:\users\whatever\)
You should have a help file in the MBRFIX ZIP. Read it.
With some Command-Line options MBRFIX should repair your MBR...
If not, use XFDISK to set the Bootmanager Delay to 1 and set the default Patrion to your Vista patrion... Better than nothing, you can boot up Vista...

I hope that helps, I haven't testet it, but be careful when using XFDISK, help for it should be out somewhere...
Urban
Hey wait, I can't boot nor vista nor anything, I can't install any programs because I can only go on the BIOS, that's all. But maybe I misunderstood your post, are you telling me to install "XFDISK" on my current computer (using XP) and to also install FreeDOS, then.. I will be able to load Vista.. what?
rvec
grub has a faq you know Razz
http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/grub-legacy-faq.en.html#q12
8dmn
Eh... Yes forgotten...
Burn the FreeDOS ISO on a CD and put it in the PC with the dead GRUB. FreeDOS will boot. Go through the menus until XFDISK starts. XFDISK comes with an bootmanager, Just press ENTER on the Vista patrion and then choose INSTALL BOOTMANAGER. This should uninstall GRUB. Then go to your Vista Patrion, Press Enter. There should be an "Add to Bootmanager" option. It should at least give you the ability to boot Vista.
Now exit XFDISK, a menupoint for this should be somewhere. You will get 3 questions.
On the question "Write patrion table (and some other text follows)" answer yes.
On the question "Write to the bootmanager now" answer yes.
When you got the question to reboot, do it.
Maybe you get an other question. If yes, read it. If it contains text like "... all data will be lost..." answer NO!!! (You don't want to lose all your data, do you?)
Remove the FreeDOS CD. When you reboot, the new Bootmanager should appaer. Press ENTER and Vista will boot Very Happy
I don't know how to delete this bootmanager, if you use the option MAYBE GRUB will come back... I don't know...
Be careful with XFDISK.
Urban
Ok! I did what you said and it wasn't exactly the same but something has changed! Now I'm getting Error 22 (with GRUB) instead of Error 17 ! Very Happy

I will try to make a new backup because when I made the it I made a normal dvd and not an iso one .. (see what I mean..? Rolling Eyes )

I will also search what could be this new error.

Ty! Atleast something is working!

Jp
8dmn
Ok, maybe this one.
In the FreeDOS boot menu there should be somewhere an option for booting from CD. Do this. Then enter
"fdisk /mbr"
I haven't tested it out, but it should uninstall grub.
If there isn't an option for booting from CD, go to XFDISK again and exit without rebooting. Should take you also to the shell.
Urban
Wait, I will tell you what I've exactly done.

When I booted FreeDOS, I got four choice, 1) Continue FreeDOS from CD 2) Boot from first harddisk 3) Boot from floppy disc 4) Boot FreeDOS from CD (I think it's the same as #1). I chose 1, continue FreeDOS from CD. I got another menu asking me my disered language then a got another menu with these options : Install XFDisk (something like this), Boot from FreeDOS CD (I tried that just to see and I got a console (the command was X:\_) but I closed it) and the last option, Create a floppy disk (or boot) with FreeDOS. I chose the first option as you told me and the 3 partitions on my hard drive appeared. I chose the biggest one with Vista and I clicked Enter, there was ap. 6 options : Hide Partition, Delete Partition, Change Boot Settings (When I clicked on that I had three choice : Linux something, Linux sawp, and another thing but I can't remember the name + "Others".), Install Bootmanager, Save Configuration, Load Configuration. I chose Install Bootmanager and I was able to modify the boot manager setting (options like "Remember the last os used" etc). I quit FreeDOS by pressing f3, I got 2 windows "QUERY! : Do you want to write table on harddisk 1, blablabla" : YES and "QUERY! : To complete the changes you must reboot your computer" : YES". I chose YES so the computer booted, FreeDOS launched, I wrote H (H is to load the first harddisk) and GRUB loaded then I got Error 22. I tried again and this time I chose NO when they were asking me to reboot but it was doing nothing (I was going back to the menu of XFDisk).

So I already done what you just said, I tought it was what you had ask me the first time.. But maybe you're talking about the console I got with X:\, I will wait your confirmation just to be sure and to not make something bad.


Again, thank you a lot!
8dmn
Yes, in the console with the "X:\" prompt enter "fdisk /mbr". This should work.
Urban
Okay, done but nothing appear, it's just changing line.

X:\ fdisk /mbr
X:\ _


Any idea?
8dmn
I'm trying out now, but can it be that it worked? Reboot your PC and see if GRUB is now there.
Urban
Ok, I booted and now GRUB isn't loading, in fact, nothing is loading. It's the same as before but now instead of "Loading GRUB 1.5... Couldn't load GRUB 1.5 Error 22" the computer is just rebooting again and again (I shut it down now).


Oh and maybe this will help : I have an installation CD of XP Home Edition
8dmn
There were also no changes at my PC (the FreeDOS bootmanager was still there).
---------------------------------

Ask the shop where you get your PC for a recovery Disc. Usally they are good for things when the OS won't boot up.

Or google for "Smart boot manager". I think it is on sourceforge.net. It is another boot manager.

Or boot XP from CD and look for a FDISK command in the CMD. Do the same as in FreeDOS - "fdisk /mbr"
Urban
Yeah, I don't have a lot of choices anyways.

Thank you very much for the help and by the way, welcome to Frihost, I wish you'll like the community! Wink
Urban
Awwww... Finally I don't even have an installation CD for XP, I only have the FULL Recovery disk from HP. So I will ask you another question : If I 100% format (I don't know how but we probably can..) my hard drive, could I install something else like XP and it could run properly (Because I know a lot of peoples who tried and their computer isn't running fine because they still have the vista's drivers).

FutureShop time........
eXon3
Urban wrote:
Awwww... Finally I don't even have an installation CD for XP, I only have the FULL Recovery disk from HP. So I will ask you another question : If I 100% format (I don't know how but we probably can..) my hard drive, could I install something else like XP and it could run properly (Because I know a lot of peoples who tried and their computer isn't running fine because they still have the vista's drivers).


I'd like to answer this question.

I've been following the thread, and I must say the people here are really helpful.
Yes, you could 100% format the computer and install anything you'd like on it. The main problem is to really wipe the hard drive, so there'll be nothing in it (and not the plain format/re-format type of wipe-out that the Windows CD offers).
For this kind of job, you'll need a tool that wipes the hard-dirve completely. I've been using a small program that's called DBAN (Darik's Boot and Nuke) for a while now. I used it on a big number of different computers (including pre-built computer units - some from HP), and it's proven to be working each time perfectly.

For more information and instructions: http://dban.sf.net
Urban
Thanks, but it won't be necessary. Yesterday, my parents WITHOUT my permission took my computer, bring it to FutureShop and paid ****** 100$ to FORMAT it. The guy from FutureShop bullshitted my father "Yeah, this computer is completly broke, bla bla bla" and he told to my father that while my linux installation, I deleted some important windows file (Oh yeah, did I?). Seriously, this is so pathetic, it's so frustrating to see how big company like FutureShop use the ignorance of their customers to make money. 100$ to format an hard drive, what a SCAM!

Anyways, thank you all for your help and thank you eXon3 for the program, I'll keep the link just in case.

Urban.
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