EasyBCD not writing MBR

#1
I initially had an HP notebook, one drive, with Vista installed and Ubuntu 8.06 installed, using EasyBCD 1.7, all worked fine from Vista bootloader, using EasyBCD. HP notebook died, got new Dell notebook. Installed old HP drive into new notebook in the second drive bay, never booted into the Vista partition or the Ubuntu partition on that drive. Then, after backing up the primary drive, I used Vista partitioner to reduce the Vista partition, leaving enough space for a linux partition and swap on the primary drive. I installed Kubuntu 8.10, following a set of instructions that had grub install to the boot sector, instead of to the linux partition. While grub was in control of everything, I tried to boot the old Ubuntu 8.06 on the old drive (now in (HD 1,2)), but it had problems, so I decided to do a fresh install of Ubuntu 8.10 to that partition, but this time I had it install grub to the partition rather than the MBR. I have also gone in and had grub installed to the partition of the Kubuntu installation.

After some fumbling around, I finally got grub so that it sees all 3 OSs - Vista on (HD 0,2), Kubuntu 8.10 on (HD 0,4), and Ubuntu 8.10 on (HD 1,2). After some more work, I have EasyBCD NeoGrub so that it can boot into the grub menu as well.

My problem is that right now, when the machine first boots up, it boots into grub. I can get to Vista, and therefore to the EasyBDC menu, from selecting Vista from grub. I have tried to write the Vista MBR in EasyBCD, but on reboot, it just starts up loading grub 1.5.... and I get the grub menu. This would be OK, but I want to be able to boot from LAN and automatically start up my Vista OS by default. Right now, Kubuntu is the default within grub.

I have upgraded to the latest beta build of EasyBCD, and tried multiple times to delete NeoGrub, make entries for the linux items not using Neogrub, etc. all to no avail. The Vista MBR just will not overwrite grub.

One interesteing thing: when I try to do a new linux entry, in the pull down menu for selecting partitions, it identifies the drive that is normally referenced as the primary drive (HD0) as drive 1, and the other drive (in bay 2) as drive 0. Does this have something to do with my problem? The linux entries never seem to find the partitions properly, although if I set up NeoGrub with the entries from the menu.lst files from the linux partitions, NeoGrub will boot into the same grub menu that I initially see on a poweron boot.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Hello Jeff, welcome to NeoSmart Technologies.

Go to EasyBCD | Useful Utilities | Power Console. Use the following command, assuming Vista's drive is C:. If not adjust accordingly:

bootsect.exe /nt60 C: /force

If thats unsuccessful please boot from a Vista DVD or our recovery disc and use startup repair two to three times, instructions can be found here.
 
#3
Please post the output of the following commands run from EasyBCD's Power Console (in the "Useful Utilities" section):

bootpart
MbrFix /drive 0 listpartitions

In addition, please post a screenshot of the Vista Disk Management as well.
 
#4
Thanks, Kairozamorro. When I ran the command, I got:
Updated NTFS filesystem bootcode. The update may be unreliable since the volume could not be dismounted during the update: Access is denied.
Bootcode was successfully updated on all targeted volumes.

Now I need to reboot, it will be a little while yet before I can close down.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#5
Ok, gl and let us know how it went. Use startup repair as mentioned above a few times if it isn't working.
 
#6
I initially had an HP notebook, one drive, with Vista installed and Ubuntu 8.06 installed, using EasyBCD 1.7, all worked fine from Vista bootloader, using EasyBCD. HP notebook died, got new Dell notebook. Installed old HP drive into new notebook in the second drive bay, never booted into the Vista partition or the Ubuntu partition on that drive. Then, after backing up the primary drive, I used Vista partitioner to reduce the Vista partition, leaving enough space for a linux partition and swap on the primary drive. I installed Kubuntu 8.10, following a set of instructions that had grub install to the boot sector, instead of to the linux partition.
I would advise to first check your boot sequence in your BIOS before running Startup Repair. It may be as simple as putting your Vista drive first in the boot sequence, if the Vista bootloader is still installed to the MBR of that drive.
Some of the comments you made have me wondering if the Ubuntu drive is actually (hd1,2) right now, and not (hd0,2)...
 
#7
That did not help. I downloaded the Vista recovery CD from the Neosmart site, and booted from that.

It immediately found a damaged Vista installation and asked if I wanted to have it repaired. I responded yes, and after rebooting, there was a new entry (not only my one Vista entry, but another one, with "Recovered" in the name. When I booted into it, I found that I had booted into the Vista installation on the second bay drive, that was the primary installation for my previous HP notebook. I had EasyBCD installed on that OS as well. It appears that things are getting confused between the two drives -- grub is still in control of the main boot process. I no longer need the HP Vista installation, although it is nice to have around, in case I want to see if I got everything installed from the old drive to the new. But I suppose I could delete off the boot files and windows folders to prevent it from recognizing the OS, to sort this problem out...

Now I am not sure which drive is actually being booted from, and EasyBCD, for that matter, may be having the same problem.

I have only run the Vista Recovery CD once, you recommended two or three times. Based on this info, should I go ahead and rerun the CD one or two more times?
 
#9
I am copying over files from the old Vista installation and then will delete the partition, so that it does not interfere with the process.

I reversed the boot order of the drives, as suggested, and since I had EasyBCD installed on the old drive, it started up as I had it months ago.
The grub problem appears to be on the new drive. I don't want to completely disable the second drive, since I have a linux installation on it that I want to run, and plan on having other OS installations on it in the future.

I'll update after I delete the partition, and run the Vista repair again.
 
#10
I am copying over files from the old Vista installation and then will delete the partition, so that it does not interfere with the process.

I reversed the boot order of the drives, as suggested, and since I had EasyBCD installed on the old drive, it started up as I had it months ago.
Just like I thought...
The drive containing Vista and Ubuntu was your second drive in the boot sequence, not the first, so naturally when you changed it, and put the Vista drive first in the boot sequence again, Vista's bootloader is primary, because you have a Vista MBR on that drive.
The grub problem appears to be on the new drive. I don't want to completely disable the second drive, since I have a linux installation on it that I want to run, and plan on having other OS installations on it in the future.

I'll update after I delete the partition, and run the Vista repair again.
Unless you want to lose Kubuntu all together, you shouldn't do that ! The Vista MBR is fine, the Grub MBR is fine, what matters is you now have Vista's MBR controlling the boot like you wanted, and should be able to boot into all three. Not a problem at all...
Just leave it the way it is now, and your tri-boot should work perfectly ok.
If I'm wrong, and you cannot boot into Kubuntu at the moment, then simpy adding a entry to the Vista boot menu to boot Kubuntu with EasyBCD, remembering to check the "Grub is not installed" box, and it should work first time you try to boot it.
 
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#11
I think I may have misled you: I have Vista installed on both drives. On the primary drive is my "functional" Vista that came with my new Dell, and the Kubuntu OS. On the second drive is the "non-functional" Vista that came with my old Hp notebook, and the Ubuntu OS. The grub is triple-booting OK from the primary drive, but I don't presently have Vista as the default startup OS. Does grub allow that? If so, I could leave grub as the default. I'd prefer to get Vista in charge of things, and optionally boot into the Linux distros.

My plan is to get rid of the "non functional" Vista, since I won't be able to readily get it operational. The worst case, I'll lose the fresh install of Ubuntu that is on that drive, and I'll have to reinstall it. My main goal at the moment is getting the Vista to startup by default.
 
#12
Ok, after review, I believe Startup Repair will work if you have the "non-functional" Vista drive as the first HDD in the boot sequence in the BIOS, though the normal procedure is to run Startup Repair at least 2-3 times, since it can only apparently fix one thing per pass. So go ahead, and put your "non-functional" Vista drive as the first HDD in the boot sequence in the BIOS (accessed by pressing F2, Del, or similar at startup), with only the CD/DVD drive before it, and boot from the Vista recovery cd, perform Startup Repair 2-3 times to fix the issue. Then once that is done, use EasyBCD to add entries to boot your other three OSes, i.e. your "functional" Vista, Ubuntu, and Kubuntu.
FYI, you may need to set your "non-functional" Vista partition to "active" (with Diskpart from the Command Prompt) before running Startup Repair.
You can do this with the following commands:
Code:
diskpart
select disk 0
list part
select part x
active
Note that the "x" needs to be replaced with whatever partition number it is that your "non-functional" Vista partition is, as seen from Diskpart on the Vista recovery cd.

Addendum:

The grub is triple-booting OK from the primary drive, but I don't presently have Vista as the default startup OS. Does grub allow that? If so, I could leave grub as the default. I'd prefer to get Vista in charge of things, and optionally boot into the Linux distros.
Yes, that can be done by modifying the "default" line in your menu.lst. The count for the entries begin at 0, and it will most likely be currently set to boot entry 0 as default, but by changing the 0 to whatever number the Vista entry is in your menu.lst, then that entry will become default. For example, say your Vista entry was number 5, you would change the
Code:
default 0
line to
Code:
default 5
Cheers, and good luck using whatever method you decide, i.e. either using the Vista bootloader or Grub as primary, as its possible either way to have Vista boot by default.

Jake
 
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#13
OK, it's pretty much as I had hoped for now.
I deleted the other Vista partition, and after confirming that I could still boot into each of the existing OSs, I tried the Recovery CD. Had to go to the command line, Step 3 of the instructions to get the MBR back. I then went into EasyBCD from Vista and added an entry for Linux, which boots into grub and allows me to get to the linux partitions on either drive.

By the way, why doesnt Neosmart slipstream the \boot\bootsect.exe command into the CD??? It was a real hassle to go into the bowels of the existing Vista program files to find the file within the bin folder of the Neosmart folder, just to execute part of their instructions.

Addendum:

Thanks for your help, Jake
I was offline for awhile there while you posted, rebooting and the like.
Although I got it to work, I learned a thing or two about grub from your post that I'll be able to use in the future.
If I had known that I can boot Vista first through grub, I might not have gone through the process that I did. But all is good now...
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#14
By the way, why doesnt Neosmart slipstream the \boot\bootsect.exe command into the CD??? It was a real hassle to go into the bowels of the existing Vista program files to find the file within the bin folder of the Neosmart folder, just to execute part of their instructions.
If you take a look at wiki article you well have probably noticed Terry appended a little statement there about it. MS was wishy washy about distribution of bootsect on thier Windows discs and had shipped out copies that didn't contain it.

I believe Makaveli213 had updated the disk if I'm not mistaken but by your problem maybe not or it wasnt posted. MS has started shipping it again with W7 It'll be up to the owner of this site though whether an updated disc is posted.

Anyway, glad you got it working. Let us know if there's anything else we can do for you.

Edit - Heres the text from the wiki:

NeoSmart Technologies Wiki;[URL=http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Recovering+the+Vista+Bootloader+from+the+DVD said:
]

Warning the instructions below assume that the program bootsect.exe is present on the booted Vista recovery disk. It was included on earlier distributions of Vista, but was subsequently omitted. If your DVD contains a copy in the boot folder, the instructions can be followed as listed. If not (and our downloadable CD images do not) you will need to pick up a copy elsewhere before proceeding.
You can find a copy in the Bin folder of the EasyBCD download, or in the HnS download if you already have either of those NST products. You can also find other web sources by use of a search engine.
You will need to adjust the x:\boot path in the instructions to the appropriate path to locate bootsect.exe wherever you have stored a copy.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#15
We could slipstream bootsect technically, but it's a political decision not to do so. We are currently hosting the recovery disk as originally provided by Microsoft, but who no longer do so themselves.
We don't want to be accused of modifying someone else's property.
Guru, who owns the site, has good relations with MS and wants to keep it that way.
Sorry it's a bit of a pain, but that's why we give you a workaround.
 
#16
I understand the concern about messing with microsoft's property. For any that are referencing this thread in the future, I found the bootsect.exe file in my Vista installation, after having installed EasyBCD at the default location, here:
C:\Program Files\NeoSmart Technologies\EasyBCD\bin\bootsect.exe
I was able to get to this while I was booting from the Recovery Disk, from the command line, by first typing in
C:
to get onto the drive, and then cd 'ing to that folder to execute the file. There are other useful files in that folder.
This, of course, assumes that you have an installation of Vista on the HD that you can get to.