Grub error 17 after removed partitions

Micro-star international Wind u100 10 ne...
August 14, 2010 at 00:37:58
Specs: Windows XP
We (me and a friend) wanted to get rid of Ubuntu and use only the preinstalled XP on his notebook. He used to select OS using GRUB. We used XP diskmanager to remove all Ubuntu partitions and create one big NTFS partition instead.
We didn't remove GRUB before shut down and now it keeps telling us GRUB error 17 when we start. Apparently because it is looking for something which is not there anymore. So, we're stuck.
Any ideas would be most welcome.

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August 14, 2010 at 05:30:21
Boot to the Recovery Console with your Windows XP CD and run FixMBR.

That will delete the Grub boot loader in the MBR and reinstate the Windows Boot loader.


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August 14, 2010 at 05:33:52
Yes, the GRUB bootmanager is stored in the Master Boot Record and was not deleted or changed to the Windows XP bootloader.
Therefore, GRUB is searching for the partition, where the information for the two operating systems were stored former.

You can get rid of it by booting from the Windows XP installation CD and choose the recovery console option.

In the recovery console type in:

Then reboot the machine.

The original poster should always write the last response !!!
Let us know, if the problem is solved !!!

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August 14, 2010 at 06:45:16
Thanks a lot to both of you. Much appreciated! I figured something like this might do the trick.
My friends notebook does not have a DVD drive so the strategy will be to move the HDD from the notebook to an external cabinet, connect to another machine running XP, use recover console on that machine and specify our external cabinet as target for the fixmbr.
I'll confirm if it works.

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August 15, 2010 at 13:01:38
Further to this sad story:

Was not able to overwrite and get rid of GRUB in the way specified.The reason is not clear to me in spite of trying not only 'fixmbr' but also - when that failed - fixboot followed by fixmbr on the drive. Both commands confirmed that they had done the job.
The setup was the HDD from the notebook mounted in an external cabinet with USB connection to another XP machine (here called 'host'). When booted from the DVD the host sees the notebook HDD as drive e: and its own system as drive c:. Recovery console asks for logon to one of two systems it can see and we specified the notebook HDD as the logon target. From the resulting command prompt, which is preceded by e: in this case, the fixmbr (and the fixboot) confirm the successful process. fixmbr even gives a warning that the target has a non standard setup and then confirms the succesful action after a yes answer to continue.

Next step will be to borrow a separate external DVD drive and use the recovery console directly on the notebook.

However, one outstanding doubt still remains: I never actually specified any parameter to fixmbr but merely did the logon to the correct system (appearing as #1 in the list of the two systems available) followed by the fixmbr after the logon.

I hope you guys are not out of bright ideas yet. Your advice is really appreciated!

Q1: Is it possible that the setup with the notebokk HDD as drive e: is reflected in the new boot sector (and hence will not work when the same HDD is c: in the notebook?

Q2: Should I add any parameter to fixmbr and - if so - how do I figure out what to write?

Hope somebody can assist.

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August 15, 2010 at 14:46:54
Hmmm, now the question is, how many partitions are on your hard drive?

If there is more then one partition, maybe Grub is installed to another partition, which is actually set to active state which means, this is the partition, to boot from. Linux often uses an extented partition and sets it to active state to boot into Linux. If this happens to your system, you can simply set your windows partition to active state and your problem is solved.

So you may check that first.
On howto manage that, read this:

The original poster should always write the last response !!!
Let us know, if the problem is solved !!!

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August 15, 2010 at 22:51:30
Thanks again for replying to my post.

The HDD actually has three partitions:

1 is an EISA partition (WINRE); cannot manipulate that one. This is the recovery partition created by the manufacturer (shame we did not create a backup disk before all this).

2 is the Windows partition; active. This partition was at first 40 GB but after removing all three Linux partitions we extended it to 120 GB, still active.

3 is now an extra - dynamic - partition taking up the remaining space on the HDD. I guess it is not 'active' since Windows will only accept one active partition (the notebook resides at my friends house and I'm home).

My friend has accepted to loose the Windows system and reinstall a new Windows from all scratch if that is necessary in order to remove GRUB. There is no data to be lost. So maybe we could just ask some low level utility (wonder which?) to reformat 100% of the notebook hard disk thereby also recovering the space occupied by the WINRE partition?

Looking forward to your reply.

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August 16, 2010 at 14:58:01
You can try to use the ordinary fdisk from a dos boot floppy disk.
Boot with such floppy disk and try fdisk /mbr
Then use the windows recovery console for a fixboot and fixmbr.
Maybe that helps.

The original poster should always write the last response !!!
Let us know, if the problem is solved !!!

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August 20, 2010 at 10:38:07
Thanks a lot for your competent answers.

For various reasons - maybe an XP disk not compatible with the hardware in the notebook - I gave up saving my original Windows delivered as OEM.

Instead I removed all partitions and GRUB(!) by using 'killdisk' to write zeroes to track 0 sector 0 onwards. (using killdisk to inspect sector 0 proved that GRUB is actually sitting there even after having used FixMBR successfully).

Then used Acronis TrueImage WD edition to clone the HDD using another laptop as source. (required moving the HDD to a separate USB cabinet connected to the source machine).
After activating Windows with the product key from the source HDD everything works.

So basically we now have the same copy of Windows in two machines but we don't feel guilty of piracy since the notebook also came with a Windows license which is no longer in use.

Case closed with yet another big THANK YOU!

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August 20, 2010 at 11:29:34
I guess a fixmbr e: should have worked, but anyway, you solved it on your way.
That's it,

The original poster should always write the last response !!!
Let us know, if the problem is solved !!!

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