Skip to content

Dual Booting Problem Resolved

A couple months ago I wrote about how Windows wouldn’t boot but linux would. Back then I said I was waiting for Ubuntu 8.04 to be released before I tackled the problem and now I believe I have a better understanding of what happened and how to resolve similar problems in the future.

The Problem

When installing Ubuntu Linux I installed GRUB (a linux bootloader) to the Master Boot Record (MBR). This was not a problem since you can use GRUB to start Windows without a problem. The problem was however that my PC came with a restore partition which I could use to restore the PC to how it was originally and by overwriting the MBR I removed the ability to boot from the restore partition.

My hard drive is also a SATA hard drive and I learnt that unlike IDE hard drives I needed to load drivers from a floppy in other for XP to recognize my drive when installing from a CD. This would explain the blue screen of death I received whenever trying to reinstall before I knew about the drivers. So after I downloaded the drivers and installed windows from the CD came the setup and the Windows Activation. Now since my PC did not come with a Windows CD (only the restore partition) my OEM Windows key would not work with the Windows XP CD I was using.

The Solution

My search for a solution led me to  Dell’s support forums. I had to create a boot CD with a program called DSRFix. This came as an ISO file which included a program called ptedit, so after I burnt the CD image I was all set.  I was able to restore my MBR to its original state (I did have to use the command DSRFIX /F to fix errors found). After that I was able to reboot and press CTRL+F11 to boot into my restore partition and restore Windows to its original state.

Now that Windows was working I diverted my attention to reinstalling Ubuntu. This time I didn’t want to overwrite the MBR so I created my partitions and installed GRUB on the linux partition instead. I then used a program called BootPart to edit my boot.ini file so that Ubuntu would show up in the Windows bootloader. Note: BootPart is a DOS program so you will have to run it from the command prompt and after navigating to the program folder the command bootpart /? will give information on it’s usage.

This experience helped me understand the process of dual booting better but I would not recommend it as an exercise on a machine with mission critical data. I backed up all my data before trying this just in case. It was a time consuming fix but if you find yourself in a similar position it just might help.

Last Updated on August 10, 2022 by Nathan Vidal

Add your comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.