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restore MBR without optical drive

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Haines Brown, Mar 4, 2008.

  1. Haines Brown

    Haines Brown Guest

    I have a Thinkpad X61s and went to install a new operating system
    (sidux). I tried to create an initial 1Mb partition, before partitioning
    the drive, but my utility (cfdisk) wouldn't allow me to do it, and so I
    went ahead and deleted the Vista partitions and created my own.

    When I rebooted, I found that the grub bootloader wouldn't work. Initial
    grub error was 25, which was not a problem with grub menu.lst (which
    worked before), but access to HD, which I presume is because linux needs
    to put kernel BIOS into some initial space (although isn't the first
    unformated partition such a space)?

    If I delete partitions, would that have deleted the MBR as well?

    I tried to boot again, and this time got error 16, which I gather tells
    me there's no MBR. So my problem is either to create some space at the
    beginning of the drive or somehow to boot a system without the benefit
    of an optical drive (which the X61s lacks).

    I have an old NT installation disk. Can I copy some utilities from it
    to a USB that would allow me to create a MBR space on the disk, perhaps
    by deleting the partitions first? I have also have old DOS installation
    disks; could I do something like that with them? Or OS/2 Warp, for that
    matter. Or download a utility that can be put on the USB-stick?
    Haines Brown, Mar 4, 2008
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  2. Haines Brown

    Pen Guest

    Fdisk /mbr will restore the master boot record on the 1st hard disk.
    For a fuller explanation see here.
    Pen, Mar 4, 2008
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  3. Haines Brown

    Haines Brown Guest

    But how does one do fdisk if the install medium can't be booted? I
    presume I can't just copy fdisk onto the usb-stick and execute it ;-)
    Haines Brown, Mar 4, 2008
  4. Haines Brown

    BillW50 Guest

    In Haines Brown typed on Tue, 04 Mar 2008 21:32:36 GMT:
    There are free/shareware programs that can rebuild the MBR. But I don't
    think there are any program within Windows that can do that anymore. And
    they don't use FDISK.exe or FDISK.com anymore. I believe that ended with
    the Windows 98SE and ME line. And the MBR isn't the same for different
    Windows versions anyway.

    With Windows and I assume Linux when you install the OS, it changes the
    MBR anyway. Since you are going to do this anyway it sounds like. You
    have nothing to worry about. If you are installing multiple OS, install
    the older Windows first.
    BillW50, Mar 4, 2008
  5. Haines Brown

    Pen Guest

    Use a USB floppy drive.
    Pen, Mar 4, 2008
  6. Haines Brown

    Haines Brown Guest

    Thanks. I'm beginning to suspect my problem is not with a MBR, but
    something else that prevents my boot loader from seeing the right files
    or more likely the wrong drive directories.
    Again, thanks.

    As for Pen's suggestion to buy a usb cdrom drive, I could do that,
    although I'm trying to avoid an otherwise unnecessary expense.
    Haines Brown, Mar 5, 2008
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