[ubuntu-uk] mbr

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Sat Jan 28 17:55:47 UTC 2012

On 28 January 2012 17:44, Barry Drake <ubuntu-advertising at gmx.com> wrote:
> I understand the problem.  Windows (any version) refuses to install
> unless you try to install to a drive with a valid boot record.

What? No it doesn't!

Depends on the version. I don't think I have ever met a version that
won't install *at all* but several versionxs, including, I think, XP
pre-SP3, do not rewrite the MBR so leaving GRUB or LILO in there.

OTOH, many versions /do/ rewrite it even if they don't have to,
erasing the MBR & rendering Linux unbootable after installing Windows
on a dual-boot system.

> Reformatting using gparted makes this impossible for Windows.

No it doesn't. I do this frequently, at times on a weekly basis or
more.  No problems.

> I get
> around it by using clonezilla to clone the mbr from another drive onto
> the drive that gparted has blanked and re-formatted to NTFS.

The "FDISK /MBR" method is a *lot* quicker and easier, believe me.

You can also rewrite the MBR from the Recovery Console on a Win2K or
later install disk, or using the free Windows 7 Recovery CD:

However, DOS is quicker and easier and works fine.

If you have >1 physical drive, remember to do this to all of them,
just in case. Again, this is easier with DOS than XP.

>   Windows
> will then install OK.  For some reason known only to Microsoft (must be
> a commercial consideration therefore) reformatting the drive under the
> Windows installer will not overcome the problem.

Not true, but a reformat will not always reinitialise the boot record.
E.g. formatting a secondary drive or partition won't.

> Ah well, twas ever thus ....


Um. If anything, it was more straightforward in the days of Win9x.

TBH I have never dual-booted Windows 3 with Linux - I was not using
Linux that early; I only started in 1995 or so. I have many times
dual-booted Linux with plain MS-DOS, DR-DOS or FreeDOS, though. It's
handy to keep a small (32MB) primary bootable DOS partition for things
like firmware re-Flashing.

Liam Proven • Profile: http://lproven.livejournal.com/profile
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