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fixmbr vs fixboot

Posted on 2012-03-25
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Last Modified: 2012-04-01
Not sure the difference of fixmbr and fixboot. From my understanding, FIXBOOT writes a new boot sector onto the system partition; The FIXMBR command lets you repair a master boot record (MBR)

MBR is not located in boot sector? if I run fixboot, won't it replace the mbr as well? very confused.....
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Question by:okamon
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9 Comments
 
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by:akahan
akahan earned 240 total points
ID: 37763996
The master boot record and the boot sector are two different things, and neither is a part of the other.  The MBR is a copy of the boot record contained in the EEPROM of the drive, and is "lower level" than the boot sector.  It is not operating system specific; it is drive/hardware specific.  The boot sector is the sector at the beginning of each partition that provides such information as whether that sector is bootable, and where to look for the boot code in that sector.

So fixboot won't affect the MBR, and fixmbr won't affect the partition boot sector.
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by:senad
senad earned 120 total points
ID: 37764130
MBR is a sequence of 512 bytes located at the first sector of a hard disk,It holds the partition information of the hard drive, disk information (serial number of the drive etc.), and a boot loader (which loads the operating system). More info on MBR can be found here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record
The fixboot command is a Recovery Console command  that's used to write a NEW partition boot sector to a hard drive partition. So you can see the difference.
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by:noxcho
ID: 37764639
To put it into nutshell: MBR is a sector 0 of HDD and Partition Boot Sector is a first sector of partition. Its copy is stored for NTFS file system normally at the last sector of partition.
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by:Jackie Man
ID: 37764668
What is the OS? XP, Vista or Windows 7?
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by:okamon
ID: 37780210
thanks. so there is a chance that both get corrupted? and usually what will be the signs? and if I were to run the 2 commands, which one should I run first?
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by:akahan
ID: 37780239
You'd always run fixmbr first, then fixboot. But if your system boots, there's probably no need to run either.
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by:senad
ID: 37780468
You only run them if you need them otherwise let go ...
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by:okamon
ID: 37785122
thanks, can you tell me when is the situation I would need to run them? ex, what error message? if I couldn't see windows logo, that doesn't really mean it must be the mbr or the boot sector corrupt right?
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akahan earned 240 total points
ID: 37785219
There are many situations where you'd need to run them, and many error messages.  Sometimes, a master boot record problem will cause the same error message as might be caused by some other problem.  A particular symptom might be the result of different causes.   If you can't see the Windows logo, it might be because you need to run fixmbr, and it might be because your monitor is turned off.

Typically, though, if you have something wrong with the master boot record, you'll turn the machine on and get a blinking cursor, and nothing else.  Or, you might get "master boot record not found".  Or "cannot find boot media".  or "Reboot and Select proper Boot device or insert Boot Media in selected Boot device and press any key."  Basically, anything that indicates your computer is having trouble finding where to boot from.  If it's able to start booting Windows, even if it is unable to FINISH booting Windows, then your problem probably lies elsewhere.

But if you are getting "cannot find boot media" type errors, it could be because the machine literally CAN'T FIND THE BOOT MEDIA.  That is, maybe the hard drive is disconnected, or the cable is damaged, or the jumper is set incorrectly, or the disk is corrupted.

In most cases, it's not as simple as "if the error message is X, then you fix it by doing Y."  If the error message is X, then you usually need to do more diagnosis to find out which of several possible causes is producing that error.
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