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Old 02-15-2012, 04:12 PM   #1
colours67
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Old laptop won't boot, "GRUB loading... Error 18"


Hi. I've read similar threads about this problem, on ubuntuforums and LinuxQuestions, but I'm not sure what to do specifically.

I borrowed an old laptop (pre 2005) from my sister. Years ago, she installed a version of ubuntu onto a hard drive partition, and I think an ubuntu "safe mode" onto another one. There's Windows XP partition as well.

I've been using the Windows partition. Everything was working well.

Then a week ago, I tried to turn on the computer and almost immediately it says

GRUB stage 1.5.

GRUB Loading, Please Wait
Error 18
It refuses to boot. It just sits at the screen. I can't type anything. It's just that screen. Restart and restart - the same error.
I don't know what version of ubuntu it is, but I know it was downloaded before 2006.

I read in the other threads that I need to download a "live cd". Can someone give me a link? I really don't understand what I'm supposed to download - grub, grub-legacy or try and re-install ubuntu or what?

So okay after that then, do I just put the CD in and restart the computer? is there something I need to type?
 
Old 02-15-2012, 04:15 PM   #2
snowpine
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Assuming that you are using Windows as the only operating system, all you need to do is repair your Windows boot loader, no Linux knowledge required.

If you're interested in keeping Ubuntu and "dual booting" with Windows, you may find this helpful:

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WindowsDualBoot

HOWEVER one caveat is that any Ubuntu released in 2005-06 is now completely unsupported. If you want to keep Ubuntu, then you'll need to back everything up and do a complete reinstall of a supported release (10.04 or newer).

Since you sound like a Windows user, I would just repair your bootloader and live happily ever after.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 04:38 PM   #3
colours67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Assuming that you are using Windows as the only operating system, all you need to do is repair your Windows boot loader, no Linux knowledge required.
So is it a Windows problem?
I have to somehow retrieve my files and completely re-install Windows?

I only want my files back. I was using Windows while working on my files.

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
If you're interested in keeping Ubuntu and "dual booting" with Windows ...
Let me ask you to clarify.
After I recover my data, I have to re-install both ubuntu and Windows to get the computer to boot?

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
Since you sound like a Windows user, I would just repair your bootloader and live happily ever after.
I had a user account on Windows XP that I could access. My sister set a password for getting into ubuntu and she's long since forgotten it.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 04:45 PM   #4
theW
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If all you care about is saving windows and the files on it than it is quite easy to reinstall the windows bootloader, this would simply remove GRUB from your MBR, this would not touch your files or windows. However, the system would not be able to boot ubuntu any more unless you reistalled a different boot loader. To do this the easy way requires the windows xp recovery disk that should have come with the computer. If you have that then boot from it by inserting it into the computer then rebooting. When the computer has just turned on press a special key, usually f12 then select the cd reader form the menu that is displayed. Then follow this link and it will give further instructions.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 04:56 PM   #5
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colours67 View Post
So is it a Windows problem?
I have to somehow retrieve my files and completely re-install Windows?
No, I did not say that.
Google search "repair windows vista boot loader" or "repair windows 7 boot loader" etc. depending on your windows version, and you will see it is an easy 10 minute project.
This is assuming you want windows only; if you want to keep Ubuntu then see my advice above.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 05:06 PM   #6
colours67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theW View Post
.. reinstall the windows bootloader, this would simply remove GRUB from your MBR, this would not touch your files or windows.
Okay, so GRUB is unrelated to Windows? Re-installing the Windows bootloader removes GRUB which removes ubuntu?

Look, I'd be happy to delete both operating systems and install a newer Linux operating system. I just want to be able to boot up and retrieve my files.
Since the files are on Windows and it's not a Windows problem, I'm assuming I should be able to to leave the Windows partition untouched and fix whatever it is by using the bootloader...

Last edited by colours67; 02-15-2012 at 05:07 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 05:13 PM   #7
snowpine
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The bootloader is separate from the operating system. Ubuntu has GRUB and Windows has its own bootloader. If you repair the bootloader correctly, it will not change/erase/damage either Ubuntu or Windows, except that your computer will now boot.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 05:36 PM   #8
syg00
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What resources do you have available - XP install CD, Ubuntu CD ?. Another computer you can do connect to the Internet to do downloads ?. ... d'oh you have to be posting somehow

Last edited by syg00; 02-15-2012 at 05:37 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 05:45 PM   #9
colours67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by syg00 View Post
What resources do you have available - XP install CD, Ubuntu CD ?. Another computer you can do connect to the Internet to do downloads ?. ... d'oh you have to be posting somehow
Yes, I do have access to another computer.

I don't have the XP install CD. It's probably at my sister's house or my parents' house - and probably buried under a pile of old CD-ROMs and floppy disks and cables and cords ... :/
I presume Ubuntu was downloaded on-line. If there was a backup CD, it's also lost.

Is that going to be a problem? :S
I suppose I can track a copy down, get someone to lend me theirs.

Last edited by colours67; 02-15-2012 at 06:02 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 06:10 PM   #10
colours67
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Okay, presuming I get a hold of the XP install CD, and I follow the instructions - what'll happen?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theW
reinstall the windows bootloader, this would simply remove GRUB from your MBR, this would not touch your files or windows. However, the system would not be able to boot ubuntu any more unless you reistalled a different boot loader.
Quote:
Originally Posted by snowpine View Post
If you repair the bootloader correctly, it will not change/erase/damage either Ubuntu or Windows, except that your computer will now boot.
? ? ?

My files will be there (no need to bring the laptop to someone and recover the data first?)?
Both Windows and ubuntu will be functional? Or ubuntu won't boot anymore - does that mean it's deleted or just doesn't work?

Last edited by colours67; 02-15-2012 at 06:11 PM.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
snowpine
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Quote:
Originally Posted by colours67 View Post
My files will be there (no need to bring the laptop to someone and recover the data first?)?
Both Windows and ubuntu will be functional? Or ubuntu won't boot anymore - does that mean it's deleted or just doesn't work?
Very simply: If you fix your boot loader then your computer will boot.

If you use a Windows recovery CD to install the Windows boot loader, then you will be able to boot Windows.

If you use an Ubuntu CD to fix your GRUB boot loader, then you will be able to boot Windows or your old Ubuntu.

If you use a new Ubuntu CD to install Ubuntu, then you will be able to boot the new version of Ubuntu. You can choose whether to make Ubuntu the only operating system on the computer, or dual-boot with your existing Windows, or triple-boot with your existing Windows and old Ubuntu.

Always back up; I cannot recommend that you skip this step.
 
Old 02-15-2012, 06:45 PM   #12
colours67
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Thanks for your patience so far. (Can you tell I'm newbie? =___= )

So there's a totally different bootloader just to boot my computer?
And then there's a bootloader for Windows and GRUB for ubuntu?

This DualBoot link talks about reinstalling Windows and then reinstalling ubuntu. Repairing or reinstalling the bootloader isn't the same as re-installing the whole operating system, right?


Wait a minute. I just realized something: I don't technically need Windows to access my files - because my files are just sitting on the hard drive, right? So I can technically access my files from ubuntu (well, if I had the password). I just need the computer itself to boot up and at least one of the operating systems to work?
 
Old 02-15-2012, 06:52 PM   #13
snowpine
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Yes, Ubuntu should be able to access your Windows files (but not the other way around).
 
Old 02-15-2012, 07:08 PM   #14
colours67
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So... I don't need the Windows XP install CD? I just make a CD with the latest ubuntu, run the CD, and install as per instructions?
Will I then have three operating systems until I delete the old ubuntu - though I've heard the process of uninstalling an operating system is a huge pain...
 
Old 02-15-2012, 07:19 PM   #15
theW
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You do not need the win cd to install grub again. Installing grub again would work very well and it is a better bootloader than windowses because it is far more flexible. If you want than you cna uninstall the old ubuntu, it is not a huge pain, simply delete the partition(s) it takes up (note: EVERYTHING in these partitions will die) with a tool like gparted. But if you are willing to try the wonderful world of linux you could download a mint 12 cd or something like that and install it. This woud both fix your bootloader and give you a cool operating system.
 
  


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