Master boot record error

Bud Roth junk at
Fri Jul 18 13:40:12 UTC 2008

This doesn't sound like just a master boot record (MBR) problem.  An MBR
problem almost always stops you from booting one or more OSes at all. 

I'm guessing here, but maybe you put Ubuntu on HD A and Windows on HD B.
You put GRUB on the MBR of HD B but your BIOS is set to load HD A's MBR
first.  (That's what BIOS does.  In your BIOS settings, you tell it what
HD, CD, thumbdrive to go to.  If it goes to an HD, it loads the MBR.)
So, your PC goes to HD A and there is nothing on HD B because you wrote
GRUB over the Windows MBR on HD B (which is okay).  So, the BIOS
complains with a "MBR error" and goes to the next bootable device in its
list, which is HD B.  So, it goes to HD B and boots grub into Windows or
Ubuntu.  (The real point here is not A VS. B, but having BIOS go to an
HD with nothing on the MBR.)

It is after booting Ubuntu that you are experiencing error #2.  If you
are getting to GNOME, but only allowed safeboot, it sounds like a file
permissions problem or faulty install.  Could you have a file
permissions problem with your login name and the home directory?  Did
you change the login name or edit /etc/group or /etc/passwd by hand?  by
other means?  Did you copy over any files from one home directory to

There is some speculation in the above, so if the facts don't support,
repost with additional detail...

Good luck,


On Fri, 2008-07-18 at 08:27 -0500, rpardo wrote:
> Hello, all.
> I am new to Ubuntu. I installed it on a Compaq desktop along with
> Windows XP operating system; the PC has two hard disks, one for each
> operating system. My problem is that I get a message error when
> starting: "Master boot record error". Then I get the booting selection
> window (operating systems options). By now, I have not had problems
> when logging in Windows, but when I try Ubuntu, I am successful only
> logging in into GNOME safeboot. Could anyone help me identifying if
> there is a way to fix the boot record. If so, please be patient and
> give me a detailed procedure (I am not so expert) on how to find the
> problem and how to fix it.
> Thanks in advance for your help.
> Ricardo
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: signature.asc
Type: application/pgp-signature
Size: 189 bytes
Desc: This is a digitally signed message part
URL: <>

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list