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Vista + Ubuntu on separate drives oblivious of each other....

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February 15, 2009 12:23:54 PM

A long time ago, I had Windows XP MCE 05. A few months ago, I decided to install Windows Vista 32... I must have done something wrong because I ended up keeping XP AND Vista. I didn't have any issues so I thought nothing of it...

This weekend, however, I decided to install Ubuntu. I thought I might as well because 1) I like it better than windows, once set up and 2) I never used windows xp and had almost nothing installed on that partition anyway.

Well, I was dumb and installed ubuntu... and I think the MBR was on the XP partition- so while Ubuntu now worked flawlessly- Vista was unbootable.... I spent a few hours trying to fix it, asking google for the answer.... eventually I just ended up killing Ubuntu too... I can't think of a solution so I think this is what I'll do:

I have 2 hard drives... one 250gb ide and one 500gb sata.

I want to move all the data on the 250gb on to the 500gb HDD, unplug the 500gb HDD, install Ubuntu on the 250gb, move the important files from the 500gb onto the 250gb, unplug the 250gb hdd, and install Vista on the 500gb.

I really don't want to accidentally overwrite my data... it's simply too much stuff to lose- so I unplug the HDDs that aren't getting stuff installed on them.

I was wondering what would happen if I do this. Once both Vista and Ubuntu are installed again, I will connect both HDDs:

What will be the default OS that will boot? Will any/either OS boot? Could I press F11 (in my case) to choose the HDD to boot from and use that method to choose with OS to use... instead of GRUB... I know, it's less efficient, but I want to have a functional system first- and THEN figure out if it is necessary to fix it.

February 15, 2009 1:13:02 PM

The F11 deal works, no problem there.

Moving the data back and forth though is not such a good idea. It is likely something will go wrong.

Backup your data, boot from a windows xp disk and run fdisk/mbr, that should restore the boot record.

You can use your ubuntu live CD to do the backup.

Good luck :) 
February 15, 2009 1:20:40 PM

You can also boot from an ubuntu CD, run /sbin/grub-install /dev/sda and edit /boot/grun/menu.lst to have it boot ubuntu and vista, assuming they are still intact.

GL :) 
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February 15, 2009 2:49:57 PM

oh they are still intact.... but it is a two man operation right now.... my bro (cc7gir from ubuntuforums) was doing most of the "work" trying to fix it actually, and I don't know exactly what he did.... he just told me that ubuntu wasn't bootable anymore either now.

I think that ubuntu is still in perfect condition- just not bootable (sorry, oxymoron there...?) I can mount the 500gb drive which is currently partitioned into 2 sections: one of about 70gb for ubuntu, and 400ish for data (since a 500gb drive is only ~470gb in reality)

However, I cannot mount the 250gb harddrive for some reason... i do think that it is connected... but I cannot see it under "places" while using the live disk... however, opening terminal and typing:

sudo fdisk -l

...it does get detected then.

I am currently typing this from firefox on ubuntu 8.10 live disc.

do you want me to post my menu.lst file? I don't know what to enter... what I was trying before ubuntu got "killed" as well was:

title windows vista
stuffblah blah
stuff blah blah
????? i dont remember this HDD1,0

Or something like that.... because i think vista was detected as the second hdd (hence: hdd1,0 not hdd0,0) the 250gb hdd was just one big partition... hence the hdd1,0 and not hdd1,1.

PS: Hdd1,0 and HDD0,0 were the only partitions that didn't register as "no such partition" however, i have only tested trying to boot vista using hdd1,0 and I kept getting an error like fda123... but i cant remember for the life of me what it was again... it seems to be a common error though- judging from my google search results yesterday)
February 15, 2009 3:29:04 PM

the error I'm getting is actually MBR 123fa
February 15, 2009 11:48:42 PM

Please PM me the output of "fdisk -l" "df" "mount" "cat /boot/grub/menu.lst". :) 
February 19, 2009 11:19:01 AM

FIXED/SOLVED

I just decided to back up the data using a live disc, and then I nuked the hardrives... I left the "data" partition intact on my 500gb hdd, and installed ubuntu on the OS partition of the 500gb and Vista SP1 on the 250gb HDD.

!