MBR + XP equals BSOD



I had a dual-boot sytem running with windows xp and ubuntu (installed from the live CD) from a single drive with 2 partitions, (which was presumably extended to 3 when I installed ubuntu,) however once I realised that I had no access to change the boot menu, I decided to remove ubuntu, having found a handy guide in the mailing forums, I pproceeded with the instructions, using my windows xp pro disc to fixmbr. However after my first reboot, (which worked fine) I cannot boot to windows, (blue screen of death at load screen, even in safe mode) and even in system recovery nothing seems to have access to the hard drive, I know I have to fix the mbr (again) but after a whole day on the net, it seems there is no (free) way to do it, would it be possible to boot MS DOS from a USB drive and somehow fix it that way?

Any help at all would be appreciated.

Glen Mack

"I don't want another Prehistoric Mineral Extraction exam, I want to be a koala bear"
If you mean editing the boot menu for Grub when trying to gain access to the configuration file, you would use:

sudo gedit <path to menu.lst>

This well open the file with administrative access (Opening the file from the file browser well give you a not sufficent privallages message).

If you perfer to just keep XP for now, boot from an XP CD and enter the recovery console to use:

bootcfg /fixmbr - Fixes MBR
bootcfg /rebuild - Rebuilds boot.ini
Thanks to both of the above for their replies,

Here's how it's worked out so far...

The recovery consolse is unable to locate the windows installation successfully, so any rebuilding of mbr or boot.ini was impossible. Also, when trying to format the drive and re-install windows, the windows cd cannot access the specified drive to format or partition it, rendering the only hard drive I own useless. (GRRRR).

I had previously tried the sudo gedit command, but the required privilidges belonged to the root directory and not the adminstrator, making any change impossible (I believe this only happens when installing to hard drive from a live CD). But I can't get any operating system to start so I'm a bit bummed out.

I was thinking of trying to get a version of MS DOS to run from a USB stick and use something like testdisk (TestDisk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) to fix the MBR before I try to fix the boot.ini, however, making a USB stick bootable and installing DOS to it might be harder than you think, or I might be more retarded than I think!

Thanks again to Makaveli213 and Kairozamorro

Here's hoping it's just that I'm retarded!!!
My instructions also apply to installations from the live CD. I speak from my own experiences of trial and error.

Using sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst should work flawlessly as long as you know and supply the password for root. Think of it as Ubuntu's not so friendly version of Vista's UAC elevation.

There are two possibilities for why the recovery console won't find XP's partition:

1) You are using a SATA/SCSI drive or RAID configuration that requires controller drivers to be loaded when you are first booting from XP's CD in order for XP to read the drive correctly.
2) You deleted or formatted XP's partition by accident as you got rid of Ubuntu..

For problems with formatting to re-install Windows, I incline to think it is explanation 1 that is the cause. You'll need to either:

a) Load the driver for the drive controller on a floppy so that you can load it into memory when you first enter XP setup.
b) Slipstream a new XP CD with the driver integrated into it.

Try loading the driver from floppy. If it works, I'd attempt a repair at the recovery console first before resorting to a clean installation.
Glen, If the XP bootable CD can't even access the HDD to format it, it sounds like you might just have a dodgy connection.
Have you tried something as simple as disconnecting/reconnecting the data and power leads a few times to clean up the contacts ?
OK, here's what's happening now,

Having checked the connection all seems fine, BIOS has no problem frinding the HDD, and I don't have a raid config, (also see bottom) windows still boots to loading screen and then crashes to BSOD, - even in safe mode, the later, I think indicating that the windows installation is still on my HDD.

The only thing that I changed was when I used the windows XP recovery when I was (trying) to remove ubuntu was the MBR I never got as far as re-extending the patrition or deleting ubuntu, as after the first fixmbr (the one that started the problem) I booted to windows fine, and set about removing the partition with ubuntu on, but I couldn't access it and so turned off my computer, when I came back to it, windows won't load, although the grub loading stage is now gone (what I wanted in the first place ironically), I would be happy to just be able to format the disk right now, as having to use my girlfriends computer is super frustrating as it's a 10 year old dell...

Here's my system spec, with an additional note,

ASUS P5K SE/EPU (marvell 88SE61xx adapter, that configures SATA as IDE, so shouldn't have a problem with drivers on XP recovery???) Hitatchi 250G HDD, 8800GTS (my girlfriends comp doesn't even have a graphics card!!!), 4GB OCZ 800Mhz RAM, Intel E6550 @ 1333 Mhz.

Anything else I could do?


OMG! I did it!

Ironically after asking for all of your lovely help, I managed to make myself a USB stick with a version of MS DOS on it, and the dos version of TestDisk, changed the autoexec.bat file in MS DOS to run TestDisk as soon as it loaded, and voila! TestDisk fixed the MBR, and (at my second attempt) both the partitions on my comp with no file loss! Sounds like I work for the people at TestDisk but I don't care! I got all my music and games back!

Here's how I did it in case any of you lovely people have the same problem:

1: Make sure the Motherboard you are using can emulate USB as floppy or can boot from USB

2: Find a floppy disk emulation program, or a blank floppy disk.

3: Install the program and mount a floppy drive or put in the disk

4: Right click on the drive and select format, the options you want to be ticked are quick format and create MS DOS startup disk.

5: Download TestDisk from TestDisk Download - CGSecurity make sure it's the dos version,

6: Format the USB stick to FAT and then copy all the files from the MSDOS floppy you created in Step 4, and the MS DOS TestDisk.exe to the newly formated USB stick

7: Open the USB stick and find the autoexec.bat file, open it with notepad, add the following line of text on a separate line


(If you created a folder to put it in it changes accordingly e.g. A:\TD\testdisk.exe if you put it in a file called TD on your USB stick)

8: Put your USB stick in your computer and boot from it, (this option can be set in the BIOS primary boot = USB/flash drive, or you can call up the boot menu, F8) boot from the USB stick, testdisk will load automatically and takes you through what needs to be done as long as you read very carefully you shouldn't have a problem!

Thanks to those that helped me, and I hope I help those with the same problem!

PS I wish UBUNTU would man up and tell people an easy way to get it off their computer!
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glenmack, I'm glad to hear you got it working.

However, this isn't a bug in EasyBCD or any of its components, so I'm moving this thread to the support section instead.