• Boot issues


    I use a USB HDD to boot into an installed Linux distro.  When I do not want to use Win 7, I shutdown and lug in the USB HDD.  Not problems until yesterday when I was logged in and checked for updates.  Some of the updates had the word Grub in them which I know is the boot loader.

    If I did not have the USB HDD plugged in my PC would boot into Win 7.  Ever since this update, I now have to have the USB HDD plugged in and select the partition that has Win 7 on it in order to get to Windows.  If I do not have the USB HDD plugged, I get a blank screen with a cursor in the upper left and have to shut down and insert the USB HDD.

    This update also hosed my Linux install, but I can get into it by booting into advanced options and choosing a different version to boot into.

    I would like to get Windows boot issue fixed before I do anything with the Linux boot issue.

    Do I need to do a boot sector repair?  Never done this.


    Viewing 5 reply threads
    • #2209070

      The update has installed the boot info on the external disk and removed it from the internal.

      You need to re-run the Grub installer and tell it to put the boot sector on the internal disk.

      More info Here

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #2209077

      I never installed Grub.  It looks like it was done while I was booted into Linux and installed recommended updates.  The link you supplied looks like the opposite of what I want to do.  I am a noob when it comes to the cryptic commands used in Linux.  Seems similar to doing things in DOS, but I never learned that and this stuff is all Greek to me.  If I needed to do something in DOS or Linux terminal, I would have to look up what to do and then hope it works as planned.

    • #2209155

      Do I need to do a boot sector repair? Never done this.

      I think you can repair the Windows boot sector on your Windows partition from a Windows repair disc. Booting directly into the repair menu should give you an option for that.

      Been a while for me, so I would suggest Googling for Microsoft’s instructions.

    • #2209160

      What seems to have happened is that the Windows bootloader on the internal hard disk has been replaced with the Linux GRUB bootloader.  In a dual-boot setup, the GRUB bootloader is the one that initially performs the boot, and the person selects Windows or Linux from that, and from there it will either chain-load the Windows bootloader (meaning that one bootloader, GRUB, calls another bootloader directly, and that’s the one from Windows) or continue with the Linux boot.

      GRUB was installed on the external hard drive as part of Linux (it doesn’t show the menu if there is only one OS to choose, but it’s still there, doing its thing, behind the scene), but for some reason the update put GRUB on the main hard disk instead.  When you turn the PC on, it begins to boot from the internal hard drive, but that points to the /boot folder in the Linux installation on the external drive, which is where the GRUB files are located.  If you select Windows, that points it back to the internal hard drive.

      I’m assuming that the PC in question is using a MBR setup on the internal disk, performing a legacy boot, as that is the typical setup in Windows 7.  If it’s actually UEFI, it should be sufficient to go into the settings and select Windows boot manager from the list of bootloaders on the disk… easy peasy!  It’s probably not this way, though.

      To restore the original mode of operation, you will (as you mentioned) need to restore the Windows bootloader to the internal hard drive.  My go-to tool for this is to use the Macrium Reflect rescue media (USB or disc) and use the option “Fix Windows boot issues.”  It’s able to fix things that the built-in Windows repair can’t.

      Reflect has a free version, so what I would do if this were my PC would be to boot Windows through GRUB, download and install Reflect (if you already have it installed, great!), then use that to create a rescue USB flash drive or optical disc.  If you boot from that and use the aforementioned option, Windows should once again work as expected.

      You could also try the Windows boot repair function.  To do that, boot to the GRUB menu as you described, then be ready to press F8 (finger poised over the key).  Select Windows in the boot menu, press enter, and then immediately press F8 (I usually just hit it a bunch of times to make sure).  Windows 7 should have the function of F8 still intact without having to enable it first (unlike 8.x or 10), so that should present the Microsoft boot menu.  From there, you should be able to follow the prompts to attempt to repair the boot function.

      In my experience, the MS boot fixer failed more often than it worked, which is why I began suggesting the Reflect media instead.  Reflect’s boot fixer is very good, and it works the way that I think the MS one should.

      Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
      XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, OpenSUSE Tumbleweed

      • This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Ascaris.
      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2209263

      Thanks to all who replied.  I used Ascaris suggestion as I already had a Macrium boot disk.  I knew I had seen a way to do this somewhere.  Thanks for jogging my old age memory.  Worked perfectly except that it changed the drive letter where I keep my programs.  I was able to after searching the correct way to get to disk management to change the drive letter back to what it was.

      The Linux distro on the removable HDD also works normally for now.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2209280

      I remember having to do this to a friend’s PC (HP with XP Media Center) once. But that was like 5-6 years ago, and I’ve forgotten exactly what I did.

      He had a persistent trojan or something similar, that had infected the boot sector. No matter what I did to clean up Windows, it came back every time I rebooted.

      So zapped the boot sector with a new one from a repair disc, and all was good again. 🙂

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