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  1. #1

    Grub kills XP boot-up after Mint 9 USB flash full install


    I just finished creating a non-persistence Mint-XFEC 9 full install on a 8gig flash drive and while it works amazingly, my XP PC which I used to install it now won't boot-up without the flash drive engaged. All the screen says when I do F12 for normal XP boot is "error: no such device. Grub Rescue"

    There was no alert or heads-up or opt-out on the Mint installer CD that Grub would alter the boot system of my PC such that I can only boot XP from my Mint flash drive now or else I would've avoided this as a newbie. Only now am I getting word not to use the Mint live CD to install Mint on a flash drive but I sure wish the installer said that.

    I found a Macrium "emergency" XP boot disk that was created long ago along with back-up disks and it did boot then, but when I just tried to on my machine I still got the "Grub Rescue" alert but it seemed like it was struggling to do that. How can I use this boot disk to fix my machine's boot up problem? I also got EasyBCD as recommended by linux mavens, but not really sure how to use it or should, not without the advise of people in the know here.

    Thanks for any assist!

    Jim in NYC

  2. #2
    You could re-install grub, and put it it on your winxp drive instead of the flash drive. then you could boot into winxp without having the flash drive connected.

  3. #3
    Linux Newbie glene77is's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Memphis, TN
    to Jim WG,

    Mint is based on Ubuntu.
    Ubuntu will install a new MasterBootRecord (MBR)
    over-writing the Microsoft MBR (which seeks 'ntldr').
    Ubuntu MBR will seek the grub.cfg and run a Grub2 menu system.

    If you Install 'Mint' or 'Ubuntu' , then you must do it to the HD,*
    and you will end up using the Grub2 bootloader method. *

    So, as you found out,
    Now, If you boot the computer,
    it will run the new Mint/Ubuntu MBR,
    seek the Mint/Ubuntu grub.cfg (which is on the PenDrive),
    and run the Mint/Ubuntu Grub2 menu system.
    It is now dependent on your PenDrive as the "bootable" device.

    There is no Repair Disc that will help.
    If you want the Micrsoft MBR booting system,
    you need to install M$-XP again. Not a good idea.
    You just need to start over using Linux methods.
    If you Install 'Mint' or 'Ubuntu' , then you must do it to the HD,*
    and you will end up using the Grub2 bootloader method. *

    Have used Ubuntu, Mint, Lubuntu, Edbuntu, Kubuntu,
    Knoppix, TinyCore, Slack, and finally Puppy Linux.
    Have settled on Puppy because it is Simple,
    and downloads apps from the huge Ubuntu repository.
    Now Use Fire-Fox and Open-Office.
    Have installed 12 Linux OS onto one computer disk,
    in 12 partitions, and setup 'mutli-booting' for them !

    - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - -- - - - - - - -- - - - - - - -- - - - - - - -- - - - - - - -

    Here is what I have done many times to repair computers.
    This method is the "simplest" method I know of !

    You could use the Puppy Linux Live-CD
    and install the "grub4dos" booting system to the HD.
    That would be my choice,
    From the Puppy Live-CD,
    the "grub4dos" install will write a syslinux MBR to the HD,
    which will seek a "menu.lst".
    The install will also 'scan' all devices seeking "bootable" files,
    and build a preliminary 'menu.lst' file for you.
    This list willinclude everything that looks 'bootable',
    including your 'Mint' Linux and M$-XP.

    Commonly I use these steps
    as I salvage computers from purgatory:

    (0) boot a Puppy Live-CD (not a Ubuntu or Mint or any other!) .

    (1) From the Live-CD, Install Puppy Linux (4 files) (called a "frugal" install)
    in a subdir inside of the M$-XP system (such as C:/puppy/).

    (2) From the Live-CD,
    Install the 'grub4dos', by selecting /"menu"/"System"/ "Grub4dos bootloader config" ,
    (a) which will write a syslinux MBR,
    (b) which will scan all devices for all Operating System files, and write a preliminary 'menu.lst',
    (c) which will allow you to select "Puppy Linux" and "Microsoft-XP" .

    (3) Shutdown, remove the Live-CD, then Reboot !
    The MBR will read the 'menu.lst' and you are 'dual-booting' from the HD !

    I have done it dozens of times to salvage computers for folks.
    Microsoft makes billions hiding all these interesting things from computer users.

    Then, You Need to Get Into a User Group
    for the Linux OS that you Installed !
    Try to understand what the system is doing,
    don't just blindly follow advice from 'mavens'.

    For whatever reason you have,
    if you want "Mint" linux, then you MUST install it to the HD,
    and you will be using the "Mint/Ubuntu" bootloading system.

    Last edited by glene77is; 05-22-2012 at 03:18 AM. Reason: long wirds

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  5. #4
    Linux User martinfromdublin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Dublin, Rep. of Ireland
    I would recommend you first try the 'fixmbr' option on the XP installation disk so you can boot Windows and then use the live Mint cd to restore Grub2 only this time make sure you install in on the internal HD.
    LINUX: Where do you want to go.......Tomorrow!

    Registered Linux user 396633

  6. #5
    What martinfromdublin said: First try to restore the original MBR by booting from your Macrium "emergency" XP boot disk (or from a Windows XP installation disk) and running the "fixmbr" command.

    After that, a easy way to install Linux on a USB drive is thru the Universal USB Installer found at

  7. #6
    Oh happy days!!
    People, talk about customer service!

    I e-mailed Macrium just to ask whether some the procedures mentioned on these forums could make use of my Macrium XP backup emergency boot disk and they said "Sure! It can replace and repair MBR and lots more things and there're all kinds of free PC disk repair goodies there that many are clueless about! So I just did the two button MBR fix thing and whammo, good as new! A free PC disk repair disk right under my nose that I only thought was good for bad full backup days! I'm sold on Macrium as a company now!

    I REALLY appreciate the aid you have offered me and it was definitely a learning experience that will get me out of a jam one day! Now the only thing Macrium CAN'T help me with is fixing Grub so I can boot up my Mint flash because now it won't run anymore even though I never touched it!

    (irony of ironies, my flash Mint works FAR faster and crisper on my 512meg RAM system than XP, whether it's Libre Office or Firefox and Thunderbird or Gimp or just maneuvering around! I miss getting to Mint already!)

    You guys are great! I wish the top Linux honchos had people like you on their publicity team!

    Jim in NYC

  8. #7
    Hello Friends!

    Well, maybe in part it was too good to last, but we might have a culprit.
    Everything was going swimmingly using Mint flash on the XP PC, even after repeated detachments and rep-attachments. Then -- and just speculating -- Mint decided to do a full update, which ate up almost .5 gigs on the flash!

    ++ Launching mintUpdate in user mode
    ++ Testing initial connection
    -- No connection found (tried to read and to ping - sleeping for 30 seconds
    ++ Starting refresh
    ++ Auto-refresh timer is going to sleep for 0 minutes, 24 hours and 0 days
    ++ Connection to the Internet successful (tried to read )
    ++ Successfully downloaded new safety rules using proxy: None
    ++ System is up to date
    ++ Refresh finished

    Wish I can actually SEE and feel what it did under the hood because I sure don't! (I think I did catch a flash of Grub 2-something in the running update list).

    Anyway, it was shortly after that update when I detached the drive to start XP and it was Grub Rescue all over again! I got out the Macrium backup boot disk to fix/replace the MRB again but on its list of partitions to work on it now listed two entries:

    Microsoft Windows XP
    Microsoft Winds XP (1) 5.1 Windows

    I didn't know which to pick or both so I chose the second entry (simply because it seemed to have more title info) to fix the MRB as before and rebooted and Windows popped up:

    Please select the operating system to start:

    Microsoft Windows XP
    Microsoft Winds XP (1)

    I picked the second and XP normally rebooted. I tested things by rebooting again and selecting the first entry but that only circles back to the boot-up screen -- which is the new "default" if I don't select the other entry first. I tested things out with the flash on and off and no change, even when I used Macrium again to "fix" the MRB in the first entry. No dice.

    I'm happy enough that XP still boots, but is there any way to delete one of these selections so it's back to defaulting to boot on its own again, and is this updated Grub most responsible?


    Puzzled Jim in Queens

  9. #8
    Possibly helpful addenum:

    Re: Grub kills XP boot-up after Mint 9 USB flash full instal

    New postby mintybits on Sun May 27, 2012 12:27 pm

    breaker wrote:

    OK. Hold up. Some of this doesn't make sense without more information. I really don't think a Mint update should trigger GRUB to install new code in the MBR, if this is the newest trend, I would be surprised and shocked. So, for the moment, I will assume Mint isn't taking this really horrible approach.

    The Grub package installer is configured to install Grub to a particular location. If a Grub upgrade occurs the installer will re-install it to the same place. In this case, the internal HD MBR. To fix this requires running "sudo dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc" which will do both a grub-install and update-grub and make any change of location permanent.

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  10. #9
    Linux Newbie glene77is's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Memphis, TN
    [QUOTE=jimwg;892205]Possibly helpful addenum:
    Re: Grub kills XP boot-up after Mint 9 USB flash full instal

    New postby mintybits on Sun May 27, 2012 12:27 pm


    "I would be surprised and shocked."
    is a logical fallacy ad misrecordum (sic)
    "So, for the moment"
    begs the previous question.
    "I will assume"
    is based on the above problems.

    I believe JIM is right.
    Further testing is in order.
    Therein is the solution.

    Have installed Mint two times.
    Have installed Ubuntu on four machines
    (Ubuntu OS were 9, 10, and 11).
    and each time I Was Surprised .
    Had to reload the grub4dos bootloader system.

    To apply my 'solution':
    When I get a free computer,
    I'll install again,
    this time with MINT,
    just to see.

    Thanks for the pique

    Just installed a Mint Linux OS to a computer,
    and noticed that during the 'normal' install
    it ran "Update-Grub" (sic)
    which installed the MBR and bootloader.
    Now I have to re-install "grub4dos" MBR and bootloader
    so the user can run my custom menu.

    (This user has Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, Puppy Linux, PartedMagic, TinyCore, and now "MINT"/Ubuntu linux.)

    Guess that answers your questions about "Mint" installs
    and killing 'Mint' grub2.

    On my computers,
    I killed off Ubuntu's MBR & grub2
    and reverted to grub4dos.
    Much easier to work with.
    Last edited by glene77is; 05-28-2012 at 03:28 AM. Reason: long wirds

  11. #10
    Thanks for all the assist, guys!

    The later posts here might also be of interest and help to you:

    http /]


    Jim in NYC

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