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Old 04-28-2004, 10:54 PM   #1
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Exclamation MBR with WinXP and Linux Dual Boot Ruined...!

I am very new to Linux and had it dual booting up with WinXP until one day I decided to try and reinstall WinXP. What ended up happening is that my partition (I have three partitions and finally successfully deleted the latter) became too small (the partition that is bootable) to run/load anything. I tried to reinstall WinXP but I get errors when it begins to copy, obviously because the MBR is ruined and the partition is too small to load anything onto. Now when I try to run the computer, WinXP startup screen comes on and immediatly tries to load WinXP Setup again and again and again... always leading to a failure. I have no way of being able to format it (that I know of since I do not have a floppy drive in my laptop to try and load a bootable disk) . I only have a CD-ROM drive and one HDD. Is there anyway that I can get a bootable disk that will enable me to run FDISK or something so I can completely wipe my hard disk and start over from scratch? I have already considered this computer hosed and will use any method to at least get back to a Single partitioned clean HDD. Anyone know how I could go about this using my CD-ROM? I've tried many things but still, the computer always tries to continue the WinXP setup where it left off even though it will not complete the setup since the partition is too small now to put anything on it. How can I make a bootable CD so I can override the WINXP setup and get str8 into a command prompt to run FDISK and delete all partitions on the HDD? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Old 04-28-2004, 11:38 PM   #2
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Sounds like you'll need to burn a bootable CD and use that to get you to a command line with various utilities like FDISK, etc. to redo your HDD. Obviously, you'll need access to another machine with a burner (that can boot to a point where it can actually burn files. I believe there are downloadable Win98 startup disk files available all over the net.
Old 04-28-2004, 11:42 PM   #3
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cant u use winxp's rescue thingy on the cd? I'm pretty sure that most laptops' cdrom drives would be bootable, so you could just have the equivalent of what is on the floppy disk burnt to a cd. How did this partition become too small exactly? Im kind of confused on this matter. Also, you might want to have this moved to the laptop forum, where you might receive more assistance.
Old 04-29-2004, 03:24 AM   #4
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Anytime you reinstall Windows, it will rewrite your MBR, which could be bad news if you've installed your Linux bootmanager to the MBR (as I have). Never fear though, things look worse than they are. Go here: and burn yourself a copy of Knoppix. Put your new Knoppix CD into your PC's CD, reboot (making sure that the BIOS attempts to boot the CD prior to the HD) and you'll be up and running under Linux. If you desire to start completely from scratch, then Yes, you could drop the existing partitions and reinstall from scratch. My advice would be to drop all your partitions, allocate "x" amount of space for Windows and "y" amount of space for Linux, then reinstall Windows first, then then (beloved) Linux. If you're using lilo as the bootmanager, install it to MBR, and you should be sitting pretty with a dual boot box. -- J.W.
Old 04-29-2004, 03:34 AM   #5
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I've tried all of WinXP utilities, there is nothing that I can do, it always boots up the WinXP Setup, not matter what... do you know of any way around this freakin problem?! It is soo annoying!
Old 04-29-2004, 03:37 AM   #6
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Thanx J.W.; I'll try that n' get bak to ya...

Old 04-29-2004, 08:54 PM   #7
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Press F8 or maybe another key in your case constantly while booting then select command prompt use fdisk to delete partitions and remember the command to format.
Format c: (letter drive could be different)

Hoping to be helpful.
Old 04-30-2004, 12:49 AM   #8
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You need access to fdisk some way, either from a boot floppy, Win 98 is a good option, or be able to boot from your XP CD, if your box is recent you can set this in BIOS.

If you can get a Win98 boot floppy, boot from it and type fdisk /mbr after it starts , this should set up a fresh MBR.

If you have the XP you can boot from a startup floppy disk or from the CD-ROM, choose repair option during setup, and run Recovery Console. When you are logged on, you can run FIXMBR command to fix the MBR.

Also you can use third party MBR recovery software or if you've created MBR backup, restore it from there (Active Partition Recovery has such capabilities).

Good luck


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