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Old 10-05-2003, 09:23 AM   #1
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Scrambled MBR

hey people, I got a semi-junker computer the other day and after installing winxp pro on it to use for school, i decided to play around with an old copy of linux i had(rh-mandrake 6.2).After installing it, i tried to put lilo on the 2nd partition i created for Linux.It said something about too many cylinders, blah blah. When i go to reboot it prints LI and stops.I have a boot disk to boot into Linux with, but i can't get my WinXp to boot. Im guess LILO overwrote the MBR, but i tried wipe the MBR with FDISK, all to no avail. The partitions for WinXp and Linux/Linux swap are all there, I just can't get the MBR to be written with the ntldr thing for XP. Does anyone know how i can get winxp to boot again?thanks in advance.
Old 10-05-2003, 09:37 AM   #2
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which partition is set to active? use the dos fdisk to find out, make sure the xp partition is set to active.
Old 10-05-2003, 09:38 AM   #3
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old faithful "fdisk /MBR" in dos will reset it. no idea what "rh-mandrake" is meant to mean though....
Old 10-05-2003, 09:45 AM   #4
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lol excuse my lack of linux knowledge, im still learning most of the stuff in linux mostly because if your a programmer it helps if you have knowledge of alot of os's ....rh-mandrake is meant to mean red hat mandrake, some distro that i bought at a cheap store about 2 years ago, and the XP partition is shown to be active..I tried using the fdisk /mbr command, to no avail, the lilo boot still comes up printing "L I " and then stopping.I think i'm going to reformat the linux partition and find a better distro to put on...Can anyone recommend a good one?I've heard RH9.1 was a good one, but you people probably have a much better idea than i do...thanks in advance.
Old 10-05-2003, 09:48 AM   #5
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trying booting with xp cd to the recovery console, then do fixmbr and fixboot
Old 10-05-2003, 09:49 AM   #6
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Boot from the Windows XP CDrom and on the first screen after loading drivers, instead of pressing Enter to install Windows XP - press R for the repair mode and after XP searches for existing installs - select the repair MBR option.
(I'm not 100% sure that the repair feature is still in Windows XP - it was there in NT 3.x and 4 and 2000 so I will assume it is still there !?)
If there is not repair feature then I would suggest a reinstall of XP?


Other info .....

Windows will totally trash your old MBR when installed / reinstalled
Linux will add an option in Grub / Lilo for the old boot parameters and Linux
(Morale - allways install Windows first - Linux second)

Also if you want to try Linux again you can backup your MBR on a floppy and restore if / when you need to.
Do a Google on ..... backup restore mbr ...... there are some free utils that will do this.
Or perhaps download a newer version of your distro?

Hope this helps ..... Svha
Old 10-06-2003, 08:55 AM   #7
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like demonbane said, go to recovery console and fixmbr and fixboot. Make sure you have linux startup disk first. Windows will wipe out lilo from mbr but u can reinstate it with linux startup disk. Also you shoud try newer versions of linux distro- mandrake 9.1 should be good if u have minimal linux knowledge...also make sure that your second partition is set to active (or else it wont boot). Hope you get it working..good luck
Old 10-06-2003, 09:34 AM   #8
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Try "FDISK /MBR" - that should fix it.
Old 10-06-2003, 10:33 AM   #9
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I had the exact same problem with a corrupted MBR just last week. I would recommend the XP way. It is there. If you dont know the command, after you are in recovery mode type HELP and it will list the commands and there should be FIXMBR and FIXBOOT then you should be able to boot into windows and then try the linux install again. I would advise updating your distro to something a little newer such as RH9 or Mandrake 9.1 goto to get the ISO's and I think there are some links to some sources of pre-burned CD's if you dont have a always-on fast connection that I am blessed with
Old 10-06-2003, 11:50 AM   #10
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thanks to everyone who's what i ended up doing...LILO would not get off my mbr, no matter what i did, fdisk /mbr rewriting it manually through debug, nothing, not sure why...anyway, I deleted the linux partition and created a fat32 partition on it.I copied the i386 folder from the winxp pro cd onto that patition and ran winnt and just reinstalled xp(it's the "volume" edition, so i didn't have trouble with product activation or anything) then i removed the files i had from the old ntfs partition and resized them with partition magic once i got back into windows. It was an interesting experience overall, i've never seen the mbr get that messed up before..I think im going to download rh9 and have another go with linux, this time i'll be backing my stuff up onto a seperate hd before i go messing with stuff...until next time...


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