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Old 02-24-2008, 06:14 PM   #1
bgray
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Son installed Linux Gentoo and now Windows won't boot!


Hi all! I know nothing about Linux, but am in desperate search of help.

My 14-year-old son decided it would be fun to install Linux and see how it works. So he made a disk of Gentoo from the Linux site and installed it.

But now, Windows Vista won't boot. When he takes the disk out and tries to boot, it just says "Error" disk missing.

I've tried to boot Windows in safe mode, but we can only boot Linux and only with the disk (I don't think it is on the hard drive.)

Family computer experts, say that the only fix is to reinstall the Windows OS. However, we bought the computer with Vista pre-installed and it came with no disk. I guess we were supposed to make our own recovery disc, but never did. (It's just like Microsoft/HP to save 10 cents by not including a disc...)

Are we out of luck? Can anyone help?

Thanks so much in advance,

Brenda
 
Old 02-24-2008, 06:51 PM   #2
aus9
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if your son is still alive, ask him if he made gentoo as a dual boot....keeping windows on its partition or did he overwrite windows.

if overwrite....your son will be sorry.

if dual boot, we can fix gentoo so it has a windows entry in the bootloader.

I use grub bootloader....when computer boots do you see grub on the screen and then linux start or what?

you can have a quick read of my signature but we can not help until we know what your son ....actually....did
 
Old 02-24-2008, 07:01 PM   #3
aus9
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find a friend and try this

http://neosmart.net/blog/2008/window...disc-download/
 
Old 02-24-2008, 07:06 PM   #4
voger
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If you can boot Linux can you type in the console
Code:
fdisk -l /dev/hda
or
Code:
fdisk -l /dev/sda
If under the column "System" you see something like HPFS/NTFS then your vista might be still in there.

BTW your son really upgraded your computer. In the future if he wants to try Linux he can download a copy of knoppix http://www.knoppix.org. This way he can run Linux without messing with the hard disk.
 
Old 02-24-2008, 07:11 PM   #5
aus9
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wait on, maybe your son went into bios and changed the boot order to cd but forgot to allow a second device....hard drive....to be the next boot order

so instead of cdrom, hard drive.....he made it

cdrom.....

2) then thats why bios is looking for a disc?
 
Old 02-24-2008, 07:29 PM   #6
jschiwal
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Boot up into Gentoo and post the output of "sudo /sbin/fdisk -l"
If the first partition is NTFS then windows is probably still installed.
If there are one or two other windows partitions such as fat32, you may still have the files needed to create a rescue disk.

---

If you press escape at the grub menu. Look at the entry for Linux. Notice the line like "root (hd0,5)".
Enter the grub shell and try entering:
Code:
    rootnoverify (hd0,5)
    chainloader (hd0,0)+1
    boot
Where the "rootnoverify" value is the same that you saw for the linux entry.
If Vista is on the first partition, then the "chainloader" entry above should work.
The notation (hd0,5) means the fifth partition on the first drive. Grub counts from 0.
You can enter: chainloader (hd0,0)/[TAB] and see if the vista files on the C: drive are displayed. If so, the "chainloader (hd0,0)+1" entry is correct. This tab-completion allows you to try booting even if you don't know which partition Vista is on. Be sure to backspace over the "/" character and enter the "+1".

I don't have Vista, and I don't know if you need to run "fixmbr" or how to get into a repair console without an install disk.
 
Old 02-24-2008, 07:31 PM   #7
jschiwal
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Nice catch "aus9". It could be that simple. I started my post a while ago before post #5.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 01:38 PM   #8
bgray
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More information from original poster

Hi everybody! Thanks for taking the time to try to help. I did not get back online last night after posting. Just couldn't take anymore, I guess!

Anyway, I'm not sure I even know enough to answer your questions, but I'll try.

I seriously doubt that he knew enough to partition the hard drive or set up as a dual-boot. I think he is so used to Windows programs where you just load the disc, and voila, there it is, that he may not have known to do anything else. But he did consult several forums before doing it, so maybe he did. He is at school now, so I'll have to wait until he gets home to know for sure. He is still, for the moment, alive...

I am able to boot the computer with the disc to get Linux up. But I don't see a console to try to type in the information in the second post.

I restarted and watched all the type go by until I had options. First, I pressed "escape" as indicated to get to the boot menu to see if that contained the console. It didn't, but I had two options at that point.
The first was "HDD Group - 3rd master, WD2500JS-60NCB1" The second was "CD-Rom group, 1st master, Atapi DVD A DH16AYH"

So, I picked the first one, thinking that might take me to windows (since the Linux disc was in the DVD drive), but it did not. I got a message that read "Err2Err3".

So, I restarted and when I saw "boot:" with a flashing cursor, I tried to enter the fdisk-1/ dev/hda code, but nothing. So I pressed f2 for options. The words just kept scrolling (maybe I didn't hit f2 fast enough). The next place that I could enter anything was "load key map", but that didn't do anything either.

Next it launched Gentoo, and now here is what I have showing:

Across the top there is a footprint icon, APPLICATIONS, PLACES, & SYSTEM, along with two more icons.

The icons that appear on the desk top are:

gentoo's home
trash
gentoo linux handbook,
computer
gentoo Linux Installer (Command Line)
Gentoo Linux 2007 0amd64 LiveCD
Gentoo Li9nux installer (GTK+)

There did not appear to be a Grub interface and I looked under the system tab at the top of the screen, but didn't see anything like you described I should be looking for.

All in all, I don't think I have really answered your questions, because I can't figure out how to get the information! Does any of this help? At all?

thanks,

Frustrated mom...
 
Old 02-25-2008, 02:09 PM   #9
bgray
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P.S. I'm burning a recovery disc on another computer to try that. Thanks for that link, aus 9. I have a Mac, so I hope that doesn't create additional issues...

Brenda
 
Old 02-25-2008, 02:26 PM   #10
bgray
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Well, that didn't work either...

I downloaded the file for the recovery disc and dragged it to my Burn folder (mac) and burned the disc. But when I tried to boot the pc with it, I got the error message "Please insert system disc..."

So, I tried to download imageburn to see if I needed a different burner to burn an ISO image as the neosmart site suggested, but it is not a mac supported application, so no luck there.

Brenda
 
Old 02-25-2008, 02:35 PM   #11
b0uncer
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Seems like the first question about harddisk and the cdrom was some sort of BIOS question asking from which device you'd like to boot. Harddisk gave you an error, which indicates that the Master Boot Record (MBR) is probably not all right. Not the best sign there is, but not the worst either..

Then you seem to have booted Gentoo off the disc; the first prompt was to allow you to enter some special options to the kernel to be booted (usually simply pressing ENTER is ok). In the keymap you probably could have selected other than a regular US keyboard, but nevertheless in the end you got to the desktop, which from your post sounds a lot like Gnome desktop.

From the desktop you can access command-line easiest by clicking open the Applications menu and launching Terminal from the System-submenu (or if I'm wrong, some other submenu in Applications). Type there
Code:
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda
or if it says sda doesn't exist (or something that sounds like that), try the same but replace 'sda' with 'hda' - this is because some distributions call all primary harddisks "sda", some call IDE disks "hda" and other disks "sda". Anyway when you get it right, you should get a few lines of information about the current partition setup, which you can post here if you can't figure out what it's all about. Primarily we're looking for NTFS (HPFS?) (partition type used by Windows), to see if the Windows partitions still were there and it was just the bootloader that got overrun - if they aren't there, it's possible that Gentoo overwrote Windows, and a reinstallation is the only way to get it back.

Since you faced an error after trying to boot from harddisk (rather than the cd-rom), and not the Grub bootloader menu, all the Grub-related stuff is not important as of now. Post the fdisk output if you can, and we'll see how it looks like.

P.S. I too hate the way they nowadays sell Windows computers without giving the setup disc with the machine even though you've paid for the licence and the software - some give a recovery disc that only fits that specific machine, and that's crap too, but giving no setup disc at all is just stupid - how are you supposed to fix the machine if the on-disk recovery data gets corrupted?
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:00 PM   #12
bgray
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Ok...see if this tells you anything

I found the terminal command line and had to try a couple of things before anything other than an error come up. I had to change the "-1" to some squiggly line linux thing, but when I did, I got this:

Disk /dev/sda: 250.0 GB, 250059350016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
units = xylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot start end blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 13 104391 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 14 274 2096482+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda3 275 30401 241995127+ 83 Linux


Is that anything useful?

I am going offline now to get the offending teenager. I will check back later.

Thanks so much,

Brenda
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:11 PM   #13
voger
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The command is "fdisk -l" where l= the letter L and not the number 1. Looking at the output you posted, I see that the whole disk has been taken over by Linux. You have to reinstall windows. Or even better look at the bright side and keep Gentoo .

Last edited by voger; 02-25-2008 at 03:14 PM.
 
Old 02-25-2008, 03:56 PM   #14
pixellany
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bgray;

First, some empathy with the teenager situation. My son at that age was the family systems admin. When something would not work, he would sit down and start twiddling things at an alarming rate. The system always wound up working, but I had to really fight to ever know what he did. At the ripe old age of 43, he's still doing this, but not to my machines....

Second, I wish I could get to every incipient computer buyer and warn them to never buy a computer without installation media for the SW.

Lastly, your ability to respond to the help given here tells me that would would be a candidate to convert to Linux. Why not treat this whole thing as an opportunity??
(Somewhat counter to this: Gentoo is the last version of Linux. I would recommend to a newcomer.)
 
Old 02-25-2008, 04:18 PM   #15
bgray
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voger View Post
The command is "fdisk -l" where l= the letter L and not the number 1. Looking at the output you posted, I see that the whole disk has been taken over by Linux. You have to reinstall windows. Or even better look at the bright side and keep Gentoo .
Wow...I feel really stupid! It sure looked like a one to me! But, I was afraid this was the case when I saw Linux listed as the system in all three places.

When we reinstall Windows, I guess we lose all the data? Dear hubby has not backed up his. Son can live without his stuff and I usually use another computer. (You can see why...)

Thanks so much for the responses!

Brenda
 
  


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