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Hello folks! Very strange events are taking place on my laptop. Since it was given to me by work, I have to have a running version of XP, but I was dual-booting with Debian. I built XP on half the single hard drive first, then installed Debian and grub on the 2nd half of the drive. My /boot/grub/menu.lst had 3 choices; Deb 2.4.25 (normal boot choice, comes up if nothing is pressed during boot), Deb 2.4.25 (recovery mode), and Windows XP. It could boot into both normal Deb and XP with no problems prior to today, and I never needed the recovery mode.
Waking up this morning, I thought I should try and upgrade the kernel. I followed the guide on the debian forum, and installed the 188.8.131.52 kernel. That process went fairly well. Not perfectly, as I couldn't get my network card functioning in the new kernel when it was fine in the old one, but other than that I was ready to call it a successful upgrade. I rebooted, and noticed that Grub came up, but now had 4 choices; 184.108.40.206 (normal), 220.127.116.11 recovery, 2.4.25 normal, and 2.4.25 recovery. Windows had been removed from the /boot/grub/menu.lst file. Not a problem, I booted into the 2.4.25 kernel, added The Windows XP info to the file, and rebooted. I scrolled down to the 5th choice, Windows XP, and it started normally. I logged into Windows, and then proceeded to reboot to go back to work on the 18.104.22.168 issues. I walked away during the reboot, and came back not with 22.214.171.124 Debian as I would have expected, but I came back to Windows XP.
Susbsequent reboots with me paying attention showed no sign of grub at all. As soon as I get the report that all of the RAM is present and functional, it lists the hard drive and DVD, then Windows starts. I didn't do anything in Windows, no software or hardware installs, and didn't doing anything with grub that would turn it off.
It gets stranger still. Windows now hangs on the startup screen. I don't even get as far as my login. It hangs and dies. When I reboot, I am again given no choice of OS, then WIndws starts, reports that it failede to load last time, and asks about safe mode. If I select safe mode, it will boot into it, allow me to sign in and use the safe mode options. I don't see any problems (no reported hardware conflicts, nothing strange in the event log). Trying to reboot into normal windows still hangs on the title screen. Safe mode continues to work and show no problems.
I get the idea that I should use The Deb install CD to repair things. Rebooting with that disk in the drive, it goes to the Debian start screen, then hangs and won't proceed. I have Knoppix 3.4, so I tried that, and it always hangs on finding USB devices.
I know the DVDrom drive works, as that is what I used to Install both XP and Debian. I can't imagine what could simultaneously wipe grub out, and paralyze the DVDrom boot. Even if the hard drive was trashed, I should still get the Deb CD or certainly the Knoppix CD to load and run. Right now the only "functionality" I have on the computer is safe mode of windows XP, which is about the most useless thing I could ever Imagine. Boot disks aren't an option, the laptop supports popping out the DVD and putting a floppy drive in its place, but the drive itself has been lost and not replaced.
Any ideas that people have would be greatly appreciated!
Why it wouldn't boot into windows I don't know, but that problem resolved itself. When I booted the box at work Monday morning, it went directly into XP. From there I booted into Knoppix, modified the write permissions on the hard drives, and looked in /boot/grub. Everything looked to be in place and the menu.lst file was fine. I typed "grub" to get a grub prompt, gave the commands:
grub>find /boot/grub/stage 1 (it was found right where it should be, in /boot/grub/)
It said it was set, I rebooted without knoppix, and all was good. I still don't know what happened to grub before, but it just needed to be re-initialized.