Mikeri's tech-babble

2010-01-25

Fixing Windows XP MBR without the install CD

I just had a mishap with a failed Ubuntu install (GRUB failing due to the BIOS having problems with large drives) on a laptop and needed to boot back into XP. "Normally" (or rather, in the past) the XP install CD would do the trick, but because the laptop has a SATA drive the install CD couldn't find any disks.

I could possibly have made a custom install CD (the laptop doesn't have a floppy drive for the SATA drivers the install CD needs) but an easier solution was the great SystemRescueCD. This is completely free and works well.

I booted the included FreeDOS image, typed fdisk at the FreeDOS prompt, selected my XP partition, and hey presto, a rebuild MBR option!

So there you have it, free MBR repair without the dodgy XP install CD. As I didn't find this by Googling for a solution I'm posting it here hoping it will help others in the same pinch.

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