[ubuntu-uk] mbr

Liam Proven lproven at gmail.com
Sat Jan 28 21:13:00 UTC 2012

On 28 January 2012 19:02, Barry Drake <ubuntu-advertising at gmx.com> wrote:
> On 28/01/12 17:31, Liam Proven wrote:
>> On 28 January 2012 16:27, Ted Wager<ted at trufflesdad.plus.com>  wrote:
>>> I am not bothered. abt the data..All I want is for the machine to boot
>>> from the hdd so the buyer can install an os. If they want a Linux system
>>> I will install it but if they want Windows they are on their own.
>> Use a DOS boot floppy - or USB stick - and type:
>> fdisk /mbr
> Thanks for the link.  I'll try to make a dos boot stick or boot cd.  I no
> longer have a floppy drive.

Fair enough. Many don't. I still find them jolly useful myself.

> Actually, I did find that after re-formatting a
> drive using gparted, a Windows 7 installer disk refused to do anything
> because it declared that the target drive was not a valid bootable drive.

That may be the case, I am not denying it, but it's not GParted's
fault. I have installed many *many* copies of Windows onto disks
partitioned with Gparted. It must have been something else - perhaps
an invalid partitioning scheme, or out-of-order partitions, or

>  Before re-formatting, it was bootable into Windows XP and I re-formatted to
> get a fresh start.  I was not trying to use grub or set up dual boot.  I
> simply wanted a fresh install of Windows 7.  Ubuntu was quite happy to
> install to the same drive.

Ubuntu is a lot less fussy about partition layouts than Windows is.
Ubuntu will happily boot from a secondary (logical) partition, a
secondary drive and so on, so long as a bootloader gets the kernel
into RAM.

Windows, for a simple life, wants a primary bootable partition on the
first hard disk, and Win Vista/7 insist on it being formatted with
NTFS. XP & earlier will happily boot off FAT16 or FAT32.

You can install it into a logical partition, but it needs to write
some files into a bootable primary partition on the 1st drive if so.
I.e. the "\WINDOWS" folder and so on could be in partition D: on the
2nd disk, but the bootloader etc. have to be in a bootable primary
partition on disk 0.

> In addition, I tried a Win XP install disk, and this failed with the same
> error message.

Definitely a screwy partitioning setup, I suspect.

>  There seemed to be no way to get it to work until I restored
> the mbr.  As I had no dos or Windows to work from (using fdisk)

FreeDOS will do it and is a free download.

> Clonezilla
> provided me with a (slower) easy way to do the job.  I finished the day
> disliking Windows even more intensely than ever before.

I can understand that!

> Win 95 did at least
> let you use commandline tools such as fdisk and format from the install
> disk.  Then things got worse.

It was easier in some ways. There are tools on the NT/XP/etc boot CD
or DVD to partition, format, set partitions bootable, rewrite the MBR,
the bootloader and so on but they are not easy to use. The
command-prompt partitioner, in particular, is a complete pig. I am
something of a specialist in this area and I've never got it to work
for me.

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