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Old 02-02-2008, 02:03 AM   #1
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Angry Big Trouble

My son downloaded Ubunto and created a CD ROM to boot out XP home computer as Ubunto from the CD drive. It worked fine. We were able to cold boot and go back to XP no problem.

Then he asked me to "load" Ubunto on the computer and not thinking I said yes. He was in the process of installing Ubunto where it talks about disk partition when I stopped him and made him cancel out.

However, now the computer will not boot up as XP and I cannot access any of the documents or more importantly the Outlook Express Emails and document folders I need. I have recovery disks for the HP Pavillion PC but they are not being recognized by the CD and they will overwrite the my document folder.

Have I lost my XP partition? HOw do I get it back?

Please advise...ASAP!
Old 02-02-2008, 02:49 AM   #2
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Perhaps your son has damaged the WinXP installation; perhaps not. You said this:
He was in the process of installing Ubunto where it talks about disk partition when I stopped him and made him cancel out.
That's very vague. How far into partitioning did he go? Was it far enough into the installation process to write the Ubuntu bootloader to the Master Boot Record (MBR) of the hard drive? If so, you can't boot widows because it's bootloader in the MBR has been overwritten. Had the installation actually begun? Did he start installing without creating a seperate partition for Ubuntu, seperate from Windows?

Check the documentation for your PC. How do you get into the BIOS? It's probably something like 'hold down the delete key during power up when you turn on the computer'. It may be a bit more involved as to what key(s) to press during power up to get into the BIOS. Go into the various menus until you find the one in which you specify the boot order (the order the BIOS will poll various devices looking for a bootable operation system). Make sure that your CD drive is polled before the hard drive. If the cd drive is polled first, then your recovery disk should boot. You want to restore the WinXP boot loader to the MBR.

I'm not a windows user anymore (gave up the habit years ago). I beleive the command is 'fixmbr' to restore the MBR. You might want to use another computer and point the web browser at and search for 'fixmbr' to see what comes up. You could also try and search for 'fixmbr'. At any rate, once you can run fixmbr from the recovery cd, you should be able to boot windows.

For future reference, you need to resize the windows partition to create free space to install Ubuntu, or any other flavor of Linux. Then, during the installation process, select that free space as the place to install Linux. That way, windows isn't affected.

Last edited by bigrigdriver; 02-02-2008 at 02:52 AM.
Old 02-02-2008, 03:11 AM   #3
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You may be able to get the partition back or not depending on just when you stopped the process. If the new partition table was written out to the disk then it will be almost impossible to get the partition and the data back - or at least it will require low level disk editing which I don't know anything about. First put the ubuntu cd back in the computer and boot with it. Open a terminal - xterm - I'm not quite sure what the ubuntu desktop will call it - and type

sudo fdisk -l /dev/hda

If the output lists a partition something like
/dev/hda5 142 1844 13679316 7 HPFS/NTFS

then your windows partition still exists. Type exit in the terminal window to close it, and shutdown Ubuntu. Reboot with a windows XP install disk and select rescue or recovery mode -- I forget which. I believe there was a menu that let you boot to command prompt - dos prompt. Type fdisk /mbr in the dos prompt and then try to shutdown and reboot without the windows install disk. Failing this you will probably have to re-install windows.

Last edited by joel_k; 02-02-2008 at 03:12 AM.
Old 02-02-2008, 08:35 AM   #4
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If all that happened is that a new partition table was written, then that is recoverable. I have not personally used it, but the application commonly recommended is "testdisk".

The important thing at this point is to not do anything which would write to the disk.

We need to know exactly what happens when you attempt to boot into Windows---if you stopped the Ubuntu process at partitioning, then nothing was written to the MBR, and "fixmbr" won't help.
Old 02-02-2008, 12:42 PM   #5
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Testdisk will save you, if you didn't go too far. You cannot do the kind of repair needed using Windows; just forget about that. However there is a very good chance we can restore your Windows installation. Not guaranteed, but a very good chance.

First thing to do is get a Linux Live CD and boot your system with it. After you have done this, open a shell window, and as root run the command fdisk -l, and post the results here.

Since you use Windows, if you do not understand the commands or how to do what you are being told to do, by all means ask for clarification.
Old 02-04-2008, 12:01 AM   #6
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Big Trouble

Thx all.

I'm not sure how far my son got with the "install" process except that when one tries to boot from the Harddrive one gets the BIOS where I can go in and change the boot order etc using F1 and then when you get past it, you get "the black screen of death" as we used to call it with Windows 95...just a blinking dot.

I tried the suggest Joel had about opening a terminal and typing the
sudo fdisk -l /dev/hda
command line.

I did not get the /dev/hda5 142 1844 13679316 7 HPFS/NTFS response.

I am now trying the download a Linux Live CD disk as suggested.

Is there a best version to download and from where?

Thx again for your help and timely responses...
Old 02-04-2008, 12:30 AM   #7
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You could look at 'The LiveCD List'.

This link and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links' .


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