Kill GRUB!

, posted: 26-Nov-2006 13:08

My attempt at setting up a new machine with three kinds of Windows and one variant of Linux is only three-quarters successful at the moment. I've got two disks, and the idea was to do it like this:

Disk A
Windows XP
Windows Vista 32-bit (or x86)

Disk B
Windows Vista x64
SuSE Linux 10.1

XP and the two Vistas play along just fine, and installing SuSE 10.1 wasn't a problem either - it's supposed to be possible to boot the lot via GRUB so I tried that. No go though. SuSE booted, but none of the Windows variants. Since none of the suggestions Google threw up for GRUB worked, I thought it's time to start again and maybe find a boot manager... but that turned out to be harder than it seemed.

First, I tried booting off the Vista RTM DVD, selecting "Repair" and Fix Startup Problems. No problems found it told me. But... but... I can't boot Vista or XP! Isn't that a problem? The GRUB loader still came up.

Oh well, there's a utility in the \boot folder on the Vista DVD called bootsect.exe. This is is meant to have POWERS that RESTORE damaged boot sectors, with an incantation like this:

bootsect /nt60 all

You run it in a CMD shell which the Vista DVD handily provides. Bootsect said it updated things on the volumes
but when I rebooted, GRUB was still there. This was getting annoying so it was time for drastic measures. From past experience, I knew that the XP fixmbr command was able to nuke stuff in the Master Boot Record and put its own code in there.

So, I slapped in the XPSP2 CD, rebooted and started the Repair Console. Fixmbr, reboot and XP came up. Deep breath, put in the Vista DVD, reboot... fix start up problems again... reboot and there they were: both Vistas and XP. Phew.

Now to find a boot manager of some kind. Suggestions welcomed.

Other related posts:
Fighting with Windows 8
The Windows Phone 7.5 bouncing tiles bug
Windows Live Essentials betas seem good, but oh so flaky

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