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Old 02-01-2010, 05:53 PM   #1
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grub, ubuntu9.10 and XP with encryption: bad combo!


my first post here.
Unfortunately to report a bad experience just happened.

I have a laptop with XP and software encryption on it (Safeboot).
Safeboot used to load before XP.

I had an USB HDD where I wanted to install Ubuntu9.10. So I booted from a liveCD and installed the Ubuntu distro on the USB disk. Right? Wrong.

Now there is grub on my laptop internal HDD and when the USB disk is disconnected I get the grub rescue prompt.
If I insert the USB disk I get the safeboot prompt complaining that it has been corrupted.

I feel there isn't much to do but I will ask anyway: is there a way to remove grub from the internal drive and recover safeboot as it was?

Thanks for everyone replying.
Old 02-01-2010, 06:11 PM   #2
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I expect you installed Grub stage1 file to the master boot record of the internal hard drive inadvertently which is why you get the error. The last time I installed Ubuntu, there was an option as to where to install Grub bootloader, mbr, root partition, not at all but I believe the default is to install to the mbr of the first harddrive. I don't know anything about Safeboot but usually to repair a windows mbr with xp, you would use your installation CD and get to a Rescue/Recovery prompt and run the commands: fixmbr and/or fixboot consecutively.

If you don't have the xp CD or the above fails, post back with that info and someone should be able to explain how to overwrite your mbr.

Last edited by yancek; 02-01-2010 at 06:18 PM.
Old 02-01-2010, 06:53 PM   #3
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I don't have the XP CD since it was imaged by IT (company PC).
I imagine that GRUB copied the original MBR and sectors somewhere else. Is it possible to undo it?

The encryption works trapping the hard disk calls and encrypting/decrypting the data as it gets written/read.
I can't re-install the XP MBR since it wouldn't have the safeboot program. Is there a way to move
physically the previous MBR/boot program from where it is now to where it was?


Last edited by tangomar; 02-01-2010 at 07:08 PM.
Old 02-01-2010, 07:06 PM   #4
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As an alternative...

I believe that you can use EasyBCD to repair an XP bootloader, but I would think that the closer you hue to original XP tools in this case the better.

Google has told me that since Smartboot loads before any MBR, any attempt to repair the MBR before dealing with Smartboot is likely to make things worse.

It appears that there is a CD that can be used with a special key to restore Safeboot. You or the IT department should perhaps be in touch with McAfee for help and instructions. Google also mentions that if a backup of this Smartboot installation was made, it will fix the problem. Was whoever did the installation so thorough?

Might I strongly suggest that you make a cloned copy of the HDD using either Clonezilla or the linux command "dd". I don't think that you can make any misstep with this problem without getting in deeper trouble. A clone will let you try, then try again from the same point, if not a better one, then one none the worse

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 02-01-2010 at 07:28 PM.
Old 02-02-2010, 02:59 PM   #5
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I found out that if I but from the liveCD and then I select
"boot from hard drive" option I get to the grub menu.
Is there anything I can learn from here?

How can I copy my laptop HDD partition (I have a disk big enough)?

Old 02-02-2010, 04:19 PM   #6
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You can get to GRUB, but can you boot? You can also boot a live-cd, but as I understand Safeboot, it acts as a scrambler on any input or output, and no live-cd will read the files.


Can you try to with the Safeboot CD and an access code from McAfee?


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