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Old 07-23-2008, 11:00 PM   #1
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Registered: Jul 2008
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Question How to overwrite old Windows XP bootloader?

Hi.. totally clueless Linux newbie here, please be patient.

Previously I had been running a copy of Windows XP Pro on this box.. I got it hosed up but good with a virus/spyware infestation.. but I recovered the data I needed to other drives.

I decided, instead of reinstalling XP, to install the latest Kubuntu distro instead. I want to be Microsoft Free.

Unfortunately, I was not wise enough in the ways of The Great Migration to thoroughlly wipe the drive before installing Kubuntu.. And the Kubuntu installer program for some reason didn't overwrite the original Windows XP Bootloader..

So here I am, using the Kubuntu Live Cd bit.. with Kubuntu installed on my hard drive.... and accessible, I might add, but only if I go through the Live CD's option of "boot from the first hard disk".. Attempting to boot into Kubuntu with no CD in the drive brings about a failure message from the original XP bootloader.

Can anyone out there perhaps clue me in (in very newbish terms) how to make the XP bootloader go away and nestle GRUB in its new home properly?

I've tried googling for this one.. but I keep getting thousands of hits relating to dual booting with xp... I just want my Kubuntu!

Thanks in advance,
Old 07-23-2008, 11:25 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2008
Distribution: Debian Testing, OSX
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You should be able to install grub from the live cd by either chrooting into the drive where you installed linux, and running grub-install (see the man page for grub), or by running grub-install directly from the live environment.

You may also be able to just do dpkg-reconfigure grub, but I'm not sure that would work from the live cd. Again, you may have to chroot into your linux install (see the man page for chroot).

Good luck.
Old 07-23-2008, 11:30 PM   #3
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Welcome to LQ!!
(And thank you for asking a relatively easy question....)

Boot into Kubuntu as you described, open a terminal and do as follows:

su <<to take on root powers>>
fdisk -l <<to confirm the device ID of your Linux partition. If you did a simple install, you'll have one partition mounted at / (aka root), and one for swap.
Let's assume that Linux is on hda1 (or maybe sda1). To GRUB, this is hd0,0>>

grub <<opens the GRUB shell>>
root (hd0,0) <<tells GRUB where to find it's files>>
setup (hd0)

Now we need to setup the GRUB config file (menu.lst)
cd /boot
note the name of the kernel file (vmlinuz--something**) and the initrd file**.
cd grub
nano menu.lst

Make (or edit) an entry to read as follows:

title kubuntu
root (hd0,0)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-something root=/dev/hda1 <<or sda1---see earlier>>
initrd /boot/initrd-something

re-boot and everything should work.

** What I typically do is to alias these files so that I don't have to remember their exact names.
Like so:

ln -s vmlinuz* vmlinuz
ln -s initrd* initrd

Post back if you get stuck somewhere----and/or look at the booting link in my sig. below.


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