Need alternate method to restore Vista MBR

#1
Hello, all.

I'm about at the end of my rope. It's a long situation, so please read all the way through to see what I've tried and the roadblocks I'm coming up against.

I have a HP G-60120US, running Vista Home Premium, almost one year old. I partitioned the hard drive so I could run a dual boot with Linux. On the latest attempt, I tried to install Fedora, which failed to boot no matter what nifty work arounds I, and my Linux savvy friend, tried. Now I want the Fedora partition gone so I can use all of my available space. I know not to just delete the partition (yes, that was learned the hard way when we tried to install Ubuntu almost a year ago) because GRUB has taken over my MBR.

I have a Recovery Partition on my drive (created as soon as I got the computer). I made it the active drive and attempted to boot into it. GRUB just sends me back to the regular selection screen between Fedora and Vista and then loads into Vista proper when I select Windows, not the Recovery. Every forum I've searched (and believe me, there have been many) simply says to make the partition active and it'll take over. Not on my computer.

I cannot boot into Fedora. Period. It will not go. If there's a way to manually edit GRUB to recognize the Recovery Partition outside of Fedora, I don't know how to do it. Only Fedora and the one Windows boot selection are available at start up.

I'd love to download the Vista Recovery Disc Download, but I can't access Torrents with my ISP, even if my CD/DVD drive hadn't failed on me so I can't burn the thing. I'm located in a remote environment and can't just run down to the store and buy a new drive.

All I want is to revert/restore/replace/recreate/make new my Vista MBR, thereby making GRUB extinct. I've had nothing but trouble with GRUB every time I've attempted to use it. I think I'm up to seven attempts to run the thing. I'm sure I'm doing something wrong, but for now, I just want to go back to the way things were in the beginning until I can build my Linux system from scratch and not have to deal with Windows at all.

Any suggestions would be appreciated greatly. Thanks,
Stefani
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
Hi Stefani, welcome to NST.
HP accesses its recovery partition with F11 as described here.
 
#3
Hi Terry.

That was the first thing I tried and apparently forgot to put in my original post. Oops. All that does is send me to the GRUB where I can choose to load either Fedora (which never will load) or back into Vista. I've tried pressing F11 as the flash screen appears, holding it as I'm pressing the power button itself and even tapping it repeatedly. It'll act as if it's going to work then laugh at me and load the GRUB screen where the computer starts yelling at me to stop holding down a button. I've tried all of the F-keys during start up and no dice.

The BIOS appears to be okay, from what I can tell, and the "select boot order" f-key only sends me back to the BIOS that I just checked.

Next suggestion, please? :wtf:
Stefani
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#4
Apparently, grub has overwritten the customized extended boot routine.
If you didn't take the opportunity to burn a portable copy to CD when the PC was new, you can always get HP to send you one (for a price of course).
Another user here posted advice on how to get round your problem (for a Dell PC - not HP), which you might be able to extrapolate to your situation if you poke around for information in the recovery partition with a live Linux CD.
 
#5
Hi Shagager,

as you can boot into Vista - what is to stop you marking the partition containing bootmgr active( presumably the Vista partition ) , then use any of the following to rewrite the mbr:

d/l Easybcd, click Manage Bootloader and select (dot) "Reinstall Vista bootloader" then click Write mbr.

Or you could use this free partition manager - boot it , click on the Disk1 at the top and select Rebuild mbr. I believe it writes a standard mbr to the drive - should have no trouble picking up the Vista bootsector.

BEST FREE Partition Manager for Windows supports all 32-bit & 64 bit Windows No-server OS.

Or, d/l this:

View attachment VISTASP2x86bootsect.zip

Unzip it and place bootsect.exe in \Windows\ System32

Open an elevated command and type:

bootsect.exe /nt60 all /mbr

Then press enter.



 
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#6
@ Terry: Thanks again for the great suggestions, but my optical drive died about a little while ago (yes, it doesn't just rain in my world...) and I really want to wait until I'm back in the US to purchase a new one. Shipping to remote areas cost an arm and a leg, that's if you can even find someone to ship to you. The worst thing about the situation? I'm staring at my pretty Recovery DVDs right now. They're laughing at me.

But...

@ SIW2: This was able to boot me into the recovery and then into Vista without any instance of GRUB or Fedora appearing. Thank you! I can't tell you how happy I was to see it work.

Next question for anyone. Is it now safe to delete the Fedora partition and reformat it into NTFS with the bootsect.exe fix in place? I'd hate to have all of these suggestions and forward movement thrown down the toilette because I forgot to type in three lines of code or something.

So far you've made my day!
Stefani
 
#7
Hi,

You now have a Vista compatible MBR on the first track of the HD and Vista compatible bootsector code on the partition containing the Vista boot critical files.

As long as the partition containing bootmgr and the pale yellow Boot folder ( that contains the bcd registry hive) are present and functioning on the Active partition - you are fine to delete/reformat any other o/s partitions.

If you want to see our old friends bootmgr and Boot folder - you need to go to folder options and dot the thing that says "Show hidden files, folders and drives ", then Apply, OK.

Happy it worked for you.