Moving My MBR

Posted on 2000-05-08
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-20
I have Windows98SE on my first hard-drive and Linux on my second hard-drive. I have loaded System Commander on the drive containing Windows98SE. When System Commander boots, it recognizes both operating systems and identifies both as being bootable. However, when I select Linux, System Commander says that the MBR is either missing or corrupted. I realize that the MBR for Linux is on the second hard-drive, creating my problem. I would like to know how I could either get the Linux MBR over onto my first hard-drive, so that I could boot either Windows or Linux. Thanks
Question by:NightHawk

Expert Comment

ID: 2788248
ummm, I hope the other experts correct me if I am wrong, but there is only on mbr. It's not on the windows or linux driver. I belive it keeps the boot loader code, but I could be wrong.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 2788310

  I would agree with lauchli on the MBR thing.  I believe that there is only one MBR per physical disk.

  You migh be looking at how to use System Commander to dualboot both of  you OS. Why not try LILO.  LILO is good, except for the UI - pretty boring I would say.  

  If you still insist on maintaining the SC, then boot to your Linux and reinstall LILO onto the Linux Partition.  Then, you can select the Linux partition from SC to go to LILO prompt.  Kind of redundat I would say.

  Or you could use LOADLIN as supplied by you Linux distribution (RedHat does).  Copy you recent kernel to  directory in you Win98SE partition along with LOADLIN.EXE, then to fire up - boot to DOS prompt (Safe Mode DOS Prompt is preferrable), then run

LOADLIN C:\PATH\TO\VMLINUZ root=/dev/hda1 ro

Hints, you can customize you CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT to get  a nice multiboot option for you desktop.

Good Luck,

Expert Comment

ID: 2789820
Yes, there's only one MBR per disk, not per partition, but I'm afraid NightHawk has got two hard drives, not just one, thus he's got two MBR's. But that's not the problem, as the relevant MBR is the one on the boot hard disk.

 I'd suggest installing LILO. It's by far the cleanest way to have a multi-boot scheme. It's very easily customizable too. If you're running Slackware, for example, setting it up would be as easy as running "liloconfig" as root.

 And taking the opportunity that we're talking about LILO, try chaging the line about VGA in /etc/lilo.conf to:


 It will provide you with a nice console experience while you're in text mode.

 Good luck!

 PS: Tell me if you want me to post a sample beefed-up /etc/lilo.conf for you.
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Expert Comment

ID: 2790553
I agree with eatemandsmile(no surprise :).

But if you want to use SC, reinstall lilo to the root partion on the linux drive. This will a void that nasty MBR problem. Make sure that LILO is set to boot right in to Linux or you may find your self selecting OSes twice.

Expert Comment

ID: 2793635
Hmmm, yep, Barn Owl's advice is quite important if you're keeping the other boot manager. You'll still need LILO to load Linux anyway, but set it up to boot straight into it without prompting.

Accepted Solution

twall earned 400 total points
ID: 2794264
You can extract the MBR from the second hard drive like so (assuming your second hard drive is on /dev/hdb):

dd if=/dev/hdb of=boot.lnx bs=500

This will create a file, boot.lnx, which System Commander should be able to point to in order to transfer control to LILO or whatever boot loader is in that MBR.

You may need to copy the boot.lnx file onto one of the windows partitions in order for SC to be able to see it.

Author Comment

ID: 2799068
Thanks a bunch. This is the best answer I've heard yet. Thanks to everyone else who has offered suggestions. I REALLY appreciate it! :-)

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