I just had a 3-4 hour fight with my computer because I'm into playing with other distros, but to me, liveCD's and VM/parallels stuff is useless. So I went to try FreeBSD, who's boot loader did not play nice (froze up) with my computer (DV9000). So I used a program called unetbootin through windows which changed the boot.ini file to boot FreeBSD without their gay boot loader. So it installed, and put their boot loader back on, and then I was stuck.
Here's where things got bad: I tried to put GRUB on, though there was no distributions installed to get it from - I was trying to install it from live CD's, I couldn't even compile it from source because gparted doesn't have a C compiler and I didn't have any distros handy.
Finally I went to Ubuntu's live CD to skip the install and install GRUB - well it didn't skip the install, so I got Ubuntu on it (not sure if I'm going to keep it or not, 10Gb is kinda small for what I'd give Ubuntu, though it'd provide some Linux stability..) - I use Ubuntu daily on my desktop, afraid to upgrade I'm playing in gutsy.
That's all irrelevant, the point is I need a fast way to restore GRUB in case I put any other bad operating systems on that rape my boot record, which begs an interesting question.
I knew I wanted to use GRUB when I formatted the computer, so I put Windows XP Pro (Vista's bootmgr was killing me with GRUB) on the second hard drive (it runs dual 80's), but ONLY the primary was bootable. My premise for this was that I could install GRUB on the primary boot record and point to the windows part on the second hard drive..Though while I didn't have GRUB installed, XP still booted fine. If my computer can't boot off the 2nd hard drive (you can't switch the options around in the BIOS), how the heck was it booting the second disk? Only answer I could come up with was if it couldn't load the boot record in the first drive, it went to the second, since the first drive was blank it defaulted to the second.
With that in mind, I thought it would be rather important to take note of the fact that I NEED GRUB installed because of the amount of partitions + I want windows to stay alive and the like - So I need a fast, quick, (don't really care if it's easy) way to install GRUB back on that first boot record.
I ran into some instructions online that said I can simply copy the drive (without specifying a partition) and it'll copy the boot rec - like:
dd if=/dev/sda of=/media/USB/grub.bin
Would that work? I need like a guaranteed way of backing up or restoring GRUB in case this crap happens again.
Sorry for making the post so long.
Thanks for your time.
I don't believe in bad operating systems, simply that certain operating systems are better at doing certain things.