GRLDR in Dual Boot of Windows


I bought a used laptop at a garage sale recently that has two partitions on it. Each one has XP loaded on it, so it dual boots. (Why two bootable of the same OS version, I have no idea).

Anyhow, just before it presents the normal Microsoft OS selection screen, a message flashes VERY briefly about GRLDR. I mean like 1/10 of a second or so; FAST. I see a file named GRLDR on the C: partition. I'd like to get this program to pause so I can at least see what the message says before I format the whole dang drive and start over.

I've read that this GRLDR is associated with something called GRUB which I've never used


Is it GRLDR or NTLDR being the NT boot loader file there? The likely reason for seeing two XP installations is one may be the Home edition while the other is XP Pro, XP MCE, XP Pro 64. You would have to ask the original owner about that. Most will simply wipe the drive before sale however unless transferring.
A format/reinstall shouldn't mess anything up in regards to grldr since you're getting rid of it.
Once you reformat or even go further and remove the existing primaries to see new ones you will starting over entirely fresh without worry about anything remaining. With a clean install of Windows or any other OS you would need to download the drivers needed but not run into any problems from things remaining on the drive.
If you're interested just in satisfying your curiousity, look around for a menu.lst file which is what Grldr will be using as its equivalent of NTLDR's boot.ini.
It presumably has a timeout(0 or 1) if you're seeing a flash, but if you find it you should see it deaulting to chaining NTLDR.
Only inspection will reveal what else it used to do.(if there's anything else there still)
Hey, thanks all for the answers.....

Terry, I AM interested in what is going on. There is no menu.lst file; I've set the Windows OS to show hidden, system, etc files.

I do believe that this GRLDR is in fact chaining to NTLDR since NTLTR, NTDETECT.COM and boot.ini are there on the disk. There is also a file called bootsect.bak, so I assume somewhere along the line, someone has "fritzed" with the MBR.

Like I said, I intend to eventually just FDISK and format, but my curiousity is peaked.



Well, I made a menu.lst file containing timeout 60 and rebooted. Sure enough, the system stopped showing a banner for GRUB4DOS and a prompt of GRUB>

No way to get out that I could figure..... So I booted from a CD, removed the menu.lst file and system was back to original.

So at least I know...... It's GRUB4DOS, but why it's there I have no idea..... Not really important, I'm just going to FDISK, format and re-install.


Last edited:
The previous owner(s) probably had Ubuntu linux on there at one time or another and not all of grldrs information was erased from the mbr.
No need to format and reinstall.

Stick your XP CD in the drive, boot from it, when prompted hit 'R' to enter the recovery console.

Type in

And restart. Should do the trick.
You'll find the configuration for it in your boot.ini files.
It's and added in line or maybe two or three lines saying to initiate grub, a menu accessed bootloader that has a LOT in common with ntldr.

Since it's not on your boot menu in ntldr, it's really likely that the person reformatted his probably Linuix partition to make room for the "other" XP.

If you want to find out if there IS a Linux partition on your drive, Windoze won't tell you, if you boot it from a lightweight Linux like Puppy or DSL CD (or flash drive) you can see everything on your Windoze drive from Linux... just not the other way round. You'd be running Linux in live mode, instead of installing it. Which is always an option too.

  • Basically your menu would say something like
  • WinXP home edition

  • WinXP Pro

  • GRUB
or "Ubuntu" or "SuSe" or whatever Linux the guy has or had installed on it.
Normally people who use Linux, like myself, will have the Linux as the default.
You can start winDuhs from GRUB using the chainloader option.

It's pointless to assign human emotions like conceit or hubris to a series of 0 and 1 but Windoze is stuck on itself. It works best if it sees itself as the only operating system on your computer.
grldr chainloads grub from the ntldr.

For a specially neat trick, you can chainload windoze from the grub which you chainloaded from ntldr.

Not that there's any need.

You might just have a Linux already on your disk, fdisk will show it as "unknown filesystem" and you can nuke it off your system same as if it was unassigned disk space.


This is the page I was looking for when I stumbled on this forum.


It's a way to boot Linux (or BSD, MacOS, Solaris. etc etc) from within Windows without ever writing over the mbr. Meaning, you still have the mbr that Windows assigned in the first place.
You can boot a Linux Live CD from within Windows, keep your CD/DVD drive open, (you'll want to, Linux has some NICE media players) and still not have to repartition or, again, mess with the mbr.
Last edited: