Unloading GRUB without bootdisks

They say “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop“. I guess I became a devil on last thursday. Everything was fine till two weeks before. The Red Hat Linux and Windows 2000 existed co-cooperatively on a single hard disk! But then, some days before, I was unable to boot into Linux. The GRUB loader was not responsive to the keyboard commands. And that was it. I lost the patience. I installed Partition Magic 8, deleted the Linux partitions, one by one, and then re-formatted the whole unallocated space to FAT32. I was happy at my “kartoot” and kept on browsing. Shortly after power went off and I had to restart in the night, during my free time. There it was, the black screen with GRUB Hash command mode edition (or something similar), mocking at me, asking me, “don’t you dare play with me!” 😐

There was no floppy boot diskette. Even if it was there it was of no use, as the floppy disk was not working. I didn’t had a bootable installation cd of any Windows. Recently I had taken the essential software kind of DVD from home, which also contained Win XP SP2 installer image. But there was no CD/DVD writer in the pc. I had just a backup laptop for surfing the net. Now what to do?
1. Logging to Windows from command line GRUB

As usual, Google helped me in providing tips n tricks. This forum contained a same problem topic as I had. The responses said to login to Windows from GRUB like this:
<grub> rootnoverify(hd0,0)
<grub> makeactive
<grub> chainloader +1
<grub> boot

These commands I assume, direct the GRUB boot loader to select the Windows primary partition as the active one, and boot from that selection.

2. Installing the Recovery Console.

Within Windowz 2000, I loaded the XP installer image and ran the Setup. In that WIndows XP SP2 installer, I couldn’t find any “Repair” option or to access the Recovery Console as Google advised me to do. But I remember playing with the Recovery Console long back during my early years of installation expeditions. Another search revealed how to install this console onto the existing Windows system, without XP installation.

At the DOS command prompt(Run -> cmd), type in i386winnt32.exe /cmdcons
This will popup a window asking for confirmation of installation of Recovery Console files. Complete the installation and restart the system.

3. Repair Using the Recovery Console.

Now after restart, you login to windows through Step 1, and you will provided with a dual boot option, to login to either Windows 2000 or to Windows Recovery Console. I selected the latter.

At the promt, enter the fixmbr command
C:> fixmbr
There would be a warning and confirmation, where in we need to give “y” for yes. And its done.

Now restart again and you have your Windows back. Yay!! 😀

I have now left the recovery console on startup, just for precaution, (downloading Ubuntu and preparing for another installation). But those who doesn’t want it to be removed from startup, try this.

Phew, Back to blogging now! 🙂


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

%d bloggers like this: