We help IT Professionals succeed at work.

We've partnered with Certified Experts, Carl Webster and Richard Faulkner, to bring you two Citrix podcasts. Learn about 2020 trends and get answers to your biggest Citrix questions!Listen Now


Windows XP boot problems after Linux partition deletion

PeterJK1983 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-01-09
Hey everyone,

My problem is this - I have a dual-boot machine, one partition with Windows XP, and one with Fedora Core 4. I decided to delete the partition with FC4 using Norton Partition Magic, to make room for FC5. Seems this was a 'school boy error', as upon rebooting, the regular OS selection menu no longer appears, but simply lands me at a command line for GRUB. I didn't understand what I could do using that to get back into Windows, so I restarted with the Windows XP CD in my drive, booted from the CD drive, and went into the recovery console. After looking at the available options, I tried bootcfg /scan, to find existing Windows installations I could add to the boot sequence, but it said "Error: Failed to successfully scan disks for Windows installations. This error may be caused by a corrupt file system". It suggested to use chkdsk, which I did, which reported an error on the disk (though it did not mention if it had fixed it). I tried bootcfg /scan again, but with the same result. Then I tried fixboot. It said the bootsector was corrupt, but that it had successfully written a new bootsector. I restarted - the problem was not fixed - so I went back into the recovery console. Now, when I loaded the recovery console, it seemed to detect my Windows installation, and asked me if I wanted to logon to it. I said yes, but this still leaves you at the recovery console prompt (but this time at C:\Windows). I'm kind of stuck for what to do now to reinstate the proper boot sequence to get into Windows. I tried bootcfg /rebuild and bootcfg /add, and it still gives me an error about a corrupt file system, even though the recovery console has successfully detected my existing windows installation.

Any ideas how to fix this? Thanks in advance!
Watch Question

hmm a few ..
You need to go into the BIOS and set the CD to be the first device to boot, put the hard drive second.
Do you have Windows installed already? If so, boot from the CD, enter the recovery console (press R when it asks you whether you want to install windows etc.) When you're at the console, type:

Try a windows repair below.
and that will remove GRUB from your system.

Here is my 3 R's as a starting point.

Rebuild configuration thru recovery
  Boot from a Windows XP CD.

    2.       At the next screen press "R" to repair using the Recovery Console.

    3.       Press the number correlated with the Windows installation you want to fix. Typically this will be #1.

    4.       In the Administrator password press [ENTER] if you have not set a password for it.

    5.       Type bootcfg /list to see all the entries in the boot.ini file.

    You could get the message:

    “There are currently no boot entries available to display”

    6.       Type bootcfg /rebuild to fix it.

    You will be prompted to answer the question

    “Add installation to boot list (Yes/No/All)” press “Y”

    7.       Under “Enter Load Identifier:” type the name of your operating system (i.e. Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition).

    8.       For “Enter OS Load Options:” usually the value is “/fastdetect” (without quotation marks).

    9.       Take out the Windows XP CD and type exit.


Suggestion 2:

    hal.dll file missing


    1.       Boot from a Windows XP CD.

    2.       At the next screen press “R” to repair using the Recovery Console.

    3.       Press the number correlated with the Windows installation you want to fix. Typically this will be #1.

    4.       In the “Administrator password” press [ENTER] if you have not set a password for it.

    5.       Type:

    expand x:\i386\hal.dl_ y:\windows\system32\hall.dll

    where “x” is the letter of your CD-ROM and “y” the letter of the drive your operating system is installed on.

    6.       Take out the Windows XP CD and type exit

second choice REPAIR:
perform a reinstallation of Windows XP, sometimes called a repair installation?

Configure your computer to start from the CD-ROM drive. Then insert your Windows XP Setup CD, and restart your computer.

When the Press any key to boot from CD message is displayed on your screen, press a key to start your computer from the Windows XP CD.
Press ENTER when you see the message To setup Windows XP now, and then press ENTER displayed on the Welcome to Setup screen.
 Do not choose the option to press R to use the Recovery Console.
In the Windows XP Licensing Agreement, press F8 to agree to the license agreement.
 Make sure that your current installation of Windows XP is selected in the box, and then press R to repair Windows XP.
 Follow the instructions on the screen to complete Setup.

 Here is some extra help illustrating the steps look below the typing.


Not the solution you were looking for? Getting a personalized solution is easy.

Ask the Experts


Thanks, I will try your solutions when I get an opportunity. Unfortunately I won't have access to my machine for a number of hours, but as soon as I do, I will try these and report back. If any work, I will of course accept your solution. Thanks again!
Author of the Year 2011
Top Expert 2006

Try this method:


With a  Winxp or win2000 CD  you can uninstall GRUB as follows:
Boot from the  CD and press the "R" key during the setup in order to start the Recovery Console. Select your installation from the list and enter the administrator password. At the input prompt, enter the command "FIXMBR" and confirm the query with "y". The MBR will be rewritten and GRUB will be uninstalled. Press "exit" to reboot the computer


hmm  did I miss something in my suggestion younghv
apart from the >enter the administrator password< your suggestion doesnt really show any new ideas.

Author of the Year 2011
Top Expert 2006

Gee Merete,
I don't really know - I got kind of confused trying to read through your 35-40 lines of 'Suggestions' and 'Choices'.

You have a real nice day.

Just a thought ... since it appears to be your  boot loader that is having a problem, what about just doing the FC5 install onto the partitional that used to have FC4 ... this should restore your MBR and get you back up and running.

If you don't have the FC5 yet, try just going back to FC4.

Just thought it might be easuer than trying to fix this with so many other steps.
Top Expert 2006

Young is correct all they did was load the boot loader into the MBR and now grub fails out because there is no linux partition that it is looking to boot from.  FIXMBR from the recovery console will get the job done.


Thanks for all the responses guys - fixmbr worked. Merete was the first to suggest this solution - thanks again to you all for the contributions, it's much appreciated.

cool :)
Access more of Experts Exchange with a free account
Thanks for using Experts Exchange.

Create a free account to continue.

Limited access with a free account allows you to:

  • View three pieces of content (articles, solutions, posts, and videos)
  • Ask the experts questions (counted toward content limit)
  • Customize your dashboard and profile

*This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.


Please enter a first name

Please enter a last name

8+ characters (letters, numbers, and a symbol)

By clicking, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.