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Okay, I'm new here so if I've put this in the wrong place please let me know. Here is my basic situation. My computer was running Windows Vista Ultimate, and ...
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  1. #1
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    Can't boot at all


    Okay, I'm new here so if I've put this in the wrong place please let me know. Here is my basic situation. My computer was running Windows Vista Ultimate, and I decided that I wanted to do a dual boot. I used the Vista disk management program to shrink the Vista partition, and then used goodbye-microsoft.com to install a Debian stable release. That went fine and everything was running great, but I stupidly decided to start over and go with the testing release. I wen't back through the process and used debian-installer to format the ext2 and swap partitions and I meant to start over but the installer froze and I stupidly restarted the computer. Of course, now I can't access anything because grub is screwed up. All I get at boot is

    Grub
    error 15

    The biggest problem though, comes because of the computer I'm doing this all on. It's a Dell Optiplex 745 and it has no CD-ROM or Floppy drive, no drives at all except the HD. I have an old external backpack cdrw but it is too old and is not being recognized by the bios. The only other option I have is a 32mb memorex USB thumb drive. I have spent the last several hours trying to turn that into an effective way to boot, but have not succeded in being able access my HD. I have no money to buy anything (CDROM drive, Floppy drive, etc.). Is there any way for me to fix this with the resources I have or am I just going to have to wait until I can afford to buy a cd drive of some sort?

    Thanks for any help you can offer.
    JM

  2. #2
    Linux Guru coopstah13's Avatar
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    for future reference its much easier to install the stable release and then afterwards upgrade it to testing or unstable. You can try to boot supergrub from usb drive somehow, but the easiest way is still to use cdrom or floppy recovery disk. Your machine seems to be reasonably powerful when I look it up, I can't believe it didn't come with a cdrom drive. You can get a cd rom drive for less than $20 these days.

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    Yeah, I bought it from a company that was going out of business, but the case is a Small form factor one, so the only cdrom drive that will work is a special one from dell that is about the same size as a laptop cd drive. But thinking about that made me realize that the floppy drive port seems to be normal size. Maybe I can pick a real cheap floppy drive and stick it in there. Worse come to worse I will take it to my friends house and stick it in his computer. Fix it that way. I was just hoping to not have to go to all that trouble.

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  5. #4
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgmaddle View Post
    Yeah, I bought it from a company that was going out of business, but the case is a Small form factor one, so the only cdrom drive that will work is a special one from dell that is about the same size as a laptop cd drive. But thinking about that made me realize that the floppy drive port seems to be normal size. Maybe I can pick a real cheap floppy drive and stick it in there. Worse come to worse I will take it to my friends house and stick it in his computer. Fix it that way. I was just hoping to not have to go to all that trouble.
    If your machine supports USB boot you could try this Ultimate Boot CD - Overview if you follow the download link there are instructions for usb. Otherwise you could always try installing a different distro which supports pen drive install, fix the boot problem & then re-install.

  6. #5
    Linux Guru Jonathan183's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgmaddle View Post
    Okay, I'm new here so if I've put this in the wrong place please let me know. Here is my basic situation. My computer was running Windows Vista Ultimate, and I decided that I wanted to do a dual boot. I used the Vista disk management program to shrink the Vista partition, and then used goodbye-microsoft.com to install a Debian stable release. That went fine and everything was running great, but I stupidly decided to start over and go with the testing release. I wen't back through the process and used debian-installer to format the ext2 and swap partitions and I meant to start over but the installer froze and I stupidly restarted the computer. Of course, now I can't access anything because grub is screwed up. All I get at boot is

    Grub
    error 15

    JM
    I'm not sure if you can enter commands with error 15 ... if you can then you could try booting windows - GNU GRUB Manual 0.97

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    Thanks for the input. I've still had no luck getting the computer to boot from the pen drive. At any rate I'll just have to take the HD to my friends house and use his computer to fix the problem.
    thx

    Jm

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    New Problems

    I seem to have a habit of screwing my computer up in strange and hard-to-fix ways. I managed to get Super Grub onto my pen drive and access windows vista
    that way. Only I stupidly went and used the vista disk management tool to delete the partitions that Debian had been installed on. My bright idea was to
    install unetbootin (which I did) and install Fedora which would reinstall grub and I would be able to access both partitions again. If only things were truly
    that easy. I have fedora working now. Grub does recognize the partition that has Vista, but when I try to load it it goes to the unetbootin Fedora setup. When I try to use Super Grub Disk, I get the same results. I can't access the Dell Utility Partition, it says there is no loader. And I have yet to be able to create a working windows or dos boot disk on my pen drive. Still without a floppy or cdrom drive I'm at a loss again. What I would really like to do is restore the Vista bootloader to the MBR and get rid linux entirely (nothing against it, I love linux, but I have a ton of stuff on my vista partition, and to be quite honest, I actually like vista.) At some point down the road I will (much more carefully) set up a dual boot. But for now I just want access to windows.

    Since I'm not entirely sure what the exact problem is, I have included screens of my partition table in gparted, and the error message it is giving me for the NTFS partition. Just in case it gives any clues to the precise problem

    Screenshot.png - Windows Live SkyDrive beta
    Screenshot-Information about -dev-sda2.png - Windows Live SkyDrive beta

    JM

    p.s. I realize this isn't exactly debian related anymore, but it seemed logical to continue on this thread since it is still the same problem (sort of).

  9. #8
    Super Moderator devils casper's Avatar
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    Its easy to fix booting problem. Post the contents of /boot/grub/grub.conf file here. Post the output of fdisk -l command too.

    Boot up Fedora, log in as root, open Terminal and execute this
    Code:
    fdisk -l
    less /boot/grub/grub.conf
    Post output here.
    It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.
    New Users: Read This First

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