Is this a Grub error?

Posted on 2009-12-19
Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I managed to kill windows XP to the extent that it would no longer boot in "safe" mode. I use Grub to select between an old Suse Linux and Windows XP. This is a portable computer with one hard disc. My partitions are(in order):
Partition 0 FAT16 Primary ,act. 47Mb  not bootable
Partition 1 ntfs Primary, 24.41Gb Windows XP
Partition 2 ReiserFS Primary 14.65Gb Suse linux 8
Partition 3 none, logical, 502Mb Linux Swap
Partition 4 NTFS, Logical, 250Gb Data partition not bootable.
I use Acronis and had a backup of the entire disk as of September last. Since I do not store any personal data on the Windows XP partition, after using Acronis to back up the entire hard disk by plugging it into another computer (so I can get back to the "bad" Windows Xp if I want to), I recovered the September copy of the Windows XP partition. With the disc plugged into another Windows XP computer, I can mount and read the FAT and NTFS partitions with no trouble.
After replacing the drive in the original computer, it would not even go into Grub. It seems that Acronis screws up the mbr. I then recovered the mbr using acronis and now Grub boots. I can use the grub menu to boot into Linux with no problem. When I select "Windows XP" in the grub menu the screen reads:

Booting "Windows XP"
root hd0,0
filesystem type is FAT
Partition tye 0x6
Chainloader +1
Invalid system disk
Replace system disk...etc.

My question is this... Are the above a set of Grub errors because Grub is now misconfigured for some reason OR are some/all coming from the Windows partition boot loader ie, the Windows partition still not correct???
I really want to know whether to start fiddling with reinstalling grub or figuring out what is wrong with my recovery of the September backup.

Some observations
1. the hd0,0 above looks suspicious since I am trying to boot the second partition on the hard drive. It looks like it is trying to boot the first partition - but why? I have not edited any grub files to my knowledge.
2. The backup that I had acronis use as the source of the Windows XP partition was a backup of an entire drive. BUT it was a smaller drive. In september I used the backup to load an image of my (failing) small drive onto a much larger disc then used Partition Manager 8.0 to extend the last partition on the disk to give me more space for partition 4. I did not change the sizes nor the position of either the linux or the Windows partition. That is what made me think that I could recover the windows XP partition OK.
3. I absolutely do NOT want to re-install Windows since I have a  LOT of expensive programs installed on it and do not wish to go through the hassle of re-installations since in Windows XP installed programs are married to the operating system. On the other hand I have installed more or less nothing since September...
4. I note that the unbootable partition is labelled "active" - I thought that Grub set which partition is active when booting???

In summary, I am a bit lost as to where to go next. My default strategy would be to wipe the whole disc with the September image, then re-extend the 4th partition, then recover the 4th partition from the latest backup. I am a bit loath to go down that route until I have exhausted others.
Question by:Sanktwo
    LVL 8

    Expert Comment

    Invalid System Disk is not a GRUB error, its a windows XP bootloader error. Its clear that GRUB hooks into the Windows XP partition fine, but Windows bootloader doesn't initialize.

    Restoring from an image won't help, as the image very really include bootloader settings. The easiest thing for you to do is probably a Windows XP repair install (not a full install) which will simply reinstall all the Windows System files including bootloader etc.

    Copy the instructions here to perform a repair install
    LVL 6

    Accepted Solution

    I fixed the problem, please remove the question if possible. Sorry to bother anybody.
    I really answered my own question - it was trying to boot the unbootable FAT16 partition. I eventually found menu.1st and it DID have hd0,0 as the windows partition.
    How on earth that got changed, I have not the foggiest idea, certainly not deliberately by me. I just used YAST to change it back to the correct partition and Windows sprang to life. Now to apply the service patches from last September.

    Sorry to inconvenience anyone....
    LVL 6

    Author Comment

    Our comments crossed, sorry. I suspect that grub just chainloads the first block of the FAT16 partition which gives a Windows error. Once I got the correct partition all sprang to life. Grovelling apologies for wasting your time.

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