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Disclaimer: Not exactly a newbie, but maybe a bit inexperienced in boot records and such... Here's my deal:
The system in question has 2 hard drives; one 9GB SCSI, and one 80GB IDE. I have made my installation so that the system and boot run from the SCSI drive, as well as allowing Grub to be installed there. The IDE drive (hda) has but 1 partition for file storage.
The issue is that i had a previous installation of Grub on the IDE drive, and if allowed by the BIOS to boot from that device first, it fouls up (obviously: no instance of that installation is left on the system). I have successfully set my BIOS to boot from the SCSI drive and all is fine.
But having to be thorough (maybe to a critical weakness) i would like to remove Grub from the boot record of the IDE drive. While not causing any issues, if the BIOS were to reset and/or allow boot from the IDE drive first, I may have a problem.
For posterity's sake, i am using RH9 on a Dell PowerApp.
Much thanks, and i can't say how much help this website (and its forums) have been.
Actually, the BIOS' default boot order lists both the SCSI and IDE drives, but in the incorrect sequence (i.e., IDE then SCSI). Before i go ahead with MS's fdisk /mbr, can you think of any issues that would arise that there is a SCSI drive in the system? (As far as I know, Win98 boot disks won't load SCSI, but that shouldn't be an issue, because i'm only concerned about the IDE mbr... Right?)
Well it appears here that my 2 options are:
1) pull the SCSI drive/card so the system only recognizes 1 drive, and use the win98 "fdisk /mbr" method. (note, this didn't work with the SCSI drive attached)
2) Use dd from the current working system on there, but i can only follow some sketchy instructions that i've found. I'm worried about doing damage to data on the drive. :-/
Update: It appears an earlier post never actually posted.. so here was the gist of it....
I tried win98's fdisk, but i suspect the SCSI drive being present is causing problems. I get a message to the effect of (and i appologize for innaccuracy; this was last night) "Couldn't access the primary disk" and when i run fdisk with "/mbr" i get a single line error message saying "The master boot record has NOT been altered."
As said, i believe this has to do with the SCSI drive being present, even though not given drivers by win98.
I suppose that i could yank the drive, and put it in another system to perform this, but i almost feel like that would be cheating... I don't particularily feel like un-racking the server, and fiddling around in a 1u. I may have to though...
I tried your dd advice as posted, and it did what I was afraid of. All information on that drive was garbled. Fortunatly, its not the system disk and i had a full backup of everything on it. This was certainly not the correct action to perform.
My question now is: Does fdisk and mkfs clear the boot record, or am i still stuck in the same place?
Distribution: SuSE 8.2, SuSE 9.1 on desktop (besides W2K). SuSE 9.1 on notebook (besides XP).
I also have one IDE and one SCSI disk. I changed from Win98 to Win2k some time ago. This boot CD has SCSI support built in and I was able to clear a linux boot loader from the MBR with the rescue option. So maybe you can borrow a Win2K CD for that purpose...?
But Win98 does support SCSI in principle. So you should be able to create a boot disk (diskette) from your running Win98 system which contains and loads SCSI support on booting from diskette. Now if you also put your fdisk.exe from Win98 (should be in \windows\system\ or in \windows\command) on that diskette, you should be able to clear the MBR with the command
fdisk <DriveLetter:> /mbr
Overwriting the MBR (e. g. with dd from linux) should not damage your data. But there are two more sensible spots:
(a) In the sectors following the MBR on your HD is the partition table. This is important for any OS to be able to find your partition. Maybe that got overwritten by your DD command? In that case, you wouldn't be able to see that that drive from windows (it appears as "unused space" in fdisk). This is easy to fix:
- there are tools around for guessing and restoring a partition table; as you had only one partition they would likely succeed (but might offer suggestions of more than 1 partition, which in your case you shouldn't accept)
- you could also fix it by hand with fdisk (create just one partition for the whole disk but don't format it!) or with a disk editor.
(b) Or maybe you didn't overwrite the MBR (hda) but rather the first sector of your partition (hda1)? In that case, the File Allocation Table (FAT) could be damaged, which is much harder to fix. You would still "see" the partition, but with no files or queer file names. As you had made backups, I would then recommend formatting the disk and restoring the backups.