[How To:] Fix the problem when XP doesn’t boot from GRUB

Intro : First, GRUB was erased. After fixing it, XP did not boot from GRUB owing to ‘ERROR 12’. Lastly, How I could fix both, rather discovered work-around for some part.

Recently I faced the first battle arising from the conflict between Windows and Linux. Thanks to Linux, I won it 🙂 .Let me give you a brief history of the problem.

I had to format my friend’s hard disk for some reason and connected it to my comp. Here, the sane me should have relied upon Ubuntu Live CD and formatted the whole thing. But the insane me chose to rely upon Windows. So, I used Partition Magic ver 7.0 and tried to do the job, but failed miserably. After a few more futile attempts, the Insane me decided to rely upon Windows again. I used the WinXP Pro installer CD and wished to format the slave drive through DOS. Voila! It worked. My friend was too happy and left my place cheerfully!

Now, I switched ON my PC after sometime and to my horror, didn’t find the GRUB. (GRUB – GRand Unified Bootloader; somewhat similar in concept to the OS-selection menu in Windows) WTF!!! What did Windows do to my GRUB? Being a newbie to Ubuntu, I was clueless. I tried hopelessly to somehow fix it up by using the live CD. FUCK! No success. Then, I browsed through the web from the Live CD itself and found this link which was very helpful. (Plz go through the link to understand what is written further)

Assuming that u’ve gone through the link I’ve given above, I’ll use a few terms without any explanation. I created the GRUB diskette as described in the above link. After leaving the diskette in the floppy drive, I rebooted the PC.

Run the system BIOS. Make sure you’ve specified the boot device priority in this order : 1st – Floppy drive, 2nd/3rd – CD Drive/Hard disk. Save changes and exit. Now, the PC reboots again and something like this appears.

[ Minimal BASH-like line editing is supported.   For
the   first   word,  TAB  lists  possible  command
completions.  Anywhere else TAB lists the possible
completions of a device/filename. ]


First, I specified the root drive where GRUB has to be installed, by this command

grub> root (hd0,4)

hd0 – My 1st hard disk.
4 – the partition number on the first hard disk where GRUB is to be installed.
Generally speaking, the ‘n’th partition of the ‘m’the hard disk is written as (hd[m-1],[n-1]).

Next, I’d to setup the GRUB, and this command did the job.

grub> setup (hd0)

This command sets up the GRUB on the root drive specified. Simple enough right? 😉 Now, remove the floppy diskette, change the 1st boot device priority to hard disk and reboot. A round of applause ladies and gentlemen, a novice just meddled successfully with GRUB, MBR (Master Boot Register) and a few alien things, of whose importance I know little about! 😀

But my sigh of relief was shortened when booting into XP was not possible 😦 . Ubuntu could not mount the XP drive even at startup and I was left clueless again. Fuck! 😦 I thought about it for a while and tried out something which would turn out successful. Here is what I did.

  • Make the 1st boot device as CD-ROM by following the procedure mentioned earlier.
  • Insert XP installation Disc into the tray.
  • Let it do all the pre-install-setup-bullshit.
  • When it asks if you wish to install XP or repair using Recovery console, press ‘R’ which means the latter option.
  • It scans your hard disk for available XP installation and asks you to select the one you choose to repair.
  • Enter the Number specified against the Installation you wish to repair and press ‘Enter/Return’ key.
  • Type this command and press ‘Enter’  key.


  • This thing checks the apparently inconsistent FAT/FAT32/NTFS/NTFS-3g disk drive for volume errors and fixes them.
  • Now boot into Ubuntu or any other distro and go to the drive where you’ve an installation of XP.
  • Copy the files “AUTOEXEC.BAT”, “boot.ini”, “CONFIG.SYS”, “IO.SYS”, and “MSDOS.SYS” into some other drive. Congrats! You’ve just made an alternate “boot sector” for WinXP 😀 . Please note the partition number of the destination drive.
  • Now, to edit the GRUB menu : open the all powerful ‘Terminal’ and type the following command

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

  • Provide your password. The window opening now is the ‘menu.lst’ file which determines which OS boots from which partition. scroll down to last to find something like this :


# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.
title        Other operating systems:

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sda1
title        MS WinXP Pro
root        (hd0,1)
chainloader    +1

  • I’ve ‘bold’ed the parameter to be changed in the above sequence.
  • Primarily, my XP partition was (hd0,0). But, in the above visual, it shows (hd0,1). That means, I’ve changed the drive, which XP seacrhes for the boot sector to exist.
  • In your case, If the files you’ve to move are in the 1st partition of your first hard disk then it should be as (hd0,0) in the GRUB menu file, initially. If you are copying the files to the 2nd partition of the first hard disk, then change the ‘bold’ part to (hd0,1) as in my case. As said earlier, the ‘n’th partition of the ‘m’the hard disk is written as (hd[m-1],[n-1]). Save the file and close.
  • That said, make the change only in the ‘bold’ed part and NOT anywhere else, because, I CANNOT help you with the problems arising out from that.
  • Reboot your PC and you should be able to boot int XP. (Atleast, I could do it in my case, and so, since there is nothing much to meddle with the hardware, your problem should be solved too.)

Important part : Disclaimer : I’m a novice and did many things (esp the latter half) according to my instinct/intuition and was not guided by any tutorial either on the WEB or on paper. So, it is up to you to believe in me and perform all these, the proof of whose working is the successful re-birth of my PC without any damage, and through which I’ve written this post 😛 .

I do not know the persom whose link I’ve provided here. Whoever you are, thank you very much, man. You revived my hopes 🙂 .

If anyone else faced the same problem and solved it in a different way, Please let me know. If any pro’s or Ubuntu/Linux Gurus find this stupid, please educate me further.

And so ended my first adventure in Ubuntu 🙂 . Hope I see much more and learn much much more! 😀 Thank you for being here.

Ubuntu Moments

This may sound like a pro-Ubuntu campaign. But I have no intentions to lure people into the charm this world has to offer. Please do not take this as a disclaimer, but as a prelude to this post. 🙂

Ever since I was in love with my PC again, I thought Ubuntu was just about a virus free comp and ultra cool graphics. Being with it for nearly a month now, the eye-candy has become the usual thing, and there is no excitement of fighting against viruses! Ah! So much I miss you – Microsoft 😛 . No pen drive is offering me a challenge to inspect it. No disc comes with a risk of crashing your data. blah blah blah.. There are so many places you will read about all of them.

Right now, I’m feeling like a powerful military general with an army to command. But, there is no enemy in sight. And there wont probably be in the near future too. So, I’ve taken up the task of knowing my army better. Currently, it is just the humble beginnings stage. But these are proving to be satisfactory 🙂 .

I sat down to list what all I required to make my PC a darling to me at the most horrid streaks of boredom too. After a good deal of work, all I wanted was a good browser, music player, movie player, pdf reader, chat client, a powerful image editor, a torrent manager, A good substitute for MS Office, a disc burner, a few system tools (like system monitor,) games for entertainment, games for brain activity, few games that run on Windows, and something like communicating more closely with your system with not more than a handful (or two handfuls) of clicks.

Most of the things I wanted came packaged with the OS itself. All I had to do was look out for some means to play games that run in Windows, and a do few updates to satisfy my craze to keep up with the latest packages of the OS (Which i never did in XP 🙂 ). Updating was easy. Just a matter of waking up early one day to download updates when the broadband usage is free. 😀

Notice the new header and my Blavatar? I made it myself with GIMP – a free, very easy alternative to Photoshop, and it comes with the OS itself! So, no extra installation. 🙂
(By the way, are they good? 😉 )

Now, to use games or softwares that worked in Windows, I found a pretty good means too. WINE was the solution. For newbies (as if I’m not 😛 ) Wine is short for WINdows Emulator and what it does is there in its name itself. It simply creates a make-shift clone of Windows 😛 .

That said, I got a chance to play one of my all-time favorite games – Age of Mythology and The Titans Expansion pretty well in Ubuntu too. My joy knew no bounds and my spirits were high and flowing! Something to please me more was in store. There was a game called Worms Armageddon, which was a very good game to pass/kill/murder time. Moreover, it was unlimited fun. Thankfully, a (90%) similar game called Wormux was present for Ubuntu!

Next up, I’m bent upon making another favorite game “Prince of Persia Warrior Within” work in Ubuntu. I found a means, but yet to try it out. I’m just waiting to know how exactly the whole thing works, and then continue with it. 🙂

Games, Songs, Movies, Browsing, Chatting, Learning… and much much more is on my platter. Its just a matter of time before I get down to explore them all. 🙂 But right now, Gaming in Ubuntu has become a very good option for me to ditch the remaining 2-5% of XP usage. Thats all for now, friends. Have a nice time 🙂

PS : This is the first time I’ve been posting with such a narrow gap. Just in case you haven’t read my previous post, here is the easy to reach there – Respect Martyrdom you Fools

I am in Love with my PC… Again!

I dont know how many times i was in love before. Being in and out of love has been a bumpy ride till now. Among the vast occurances of the love bug in my mind, I remember a few very distinctly. First, it was with a girl. Again, with another one. Then with my PC. Then with my Wrist Watch. Then with my Bike. Lately, with my mobile. Now, again with my PC! 😉 I have valid reasons to support my affair this time too. 😛

The first reason : There was a time when I was cursing my time working with a 256MB RAM and a pretty decent Processor-Motherboard Combo. All was well till the “New PC” proved itself to be not so good as new after all. As the Comp became older (of course as time passed), multiple apps didn’t like my 256MB RAM and I was involved in a heated argument with my PC over it. Very recently, the silver lining appeared in the form of a 1GB RAM, presented as a Dushera gift by my Dad! 🙂 My PC was very happy and was ready to serve me seamlessly again. You see, 4 times the power does have its advantages!

The second reason : My father arranged a business deal to purchase a second office PC to handle his extra load and work parallely. As a token of loyalty and appreciation, the computer vendor (from whom I’d purchased my PC and my father, his 1st Office PC), agreed for the exchange of my SAMSUNG 80 GB IDE HDD with a new SEAGATE 160 GB IDE HDD, without any extra charge! Another reason to happy for! ‘Coz, I can have double the number of movies, torrents, songs, games, apps, etc., from now on.

The Third And the most lovable reason : I just got the much needed freedom from viruses, spyware, malware, adware, keyloggers, and everything that a person can dread to have in his PC. Me installing Avast Home edition on my WinXP Pro may appear to be the reason. But it isn’t. I’ve switched over to Ubuntu, almost completely! The time required for the switching over was less than 48 hrs! Now, except for playing my most favorite game “Prince of Persia – Warrior Within”, I never bother to boot up XP.

The third reason holds much more ground for my love affair to be a successful one. That is because, Ubuntu works like a charm even on a 256MB RAM + 80 GB HDD environment. So, working with Ubuntu is what that  makes all the difference. I have solid base to support my claims Readers! First, it is an open secret that working with the most successful OS from the Microsoft stable, XP, can piss you off at more times than Jerry did to Tom, if you are not just an average Joe, as ‘Visio’ a.k.a ‘T’ a.k.a ‘Jit’ puts it. A funny, but an enlightening post in this regard should tell you why!

Switching over to Ubuntu, or Linux in broader terms, has its advantages which are never percived to exist in the computing(with MS-Windows) world. I can share atleast 10 dozen things with you from the experience gained in a meagre 48 hrs. But, I won’t bug you with that stuff. Read it at places where it has been discribed well. For instance, Visio has said it in an amazing way here. Needless to say, all those points go into making a strong ground for my love story!

Now, coming to the love story part again. I dreaded using graphic/theme editors like Style XP because of my RAM. I felt it to be something like earning 20k per month, but desiring to marry Mallika Sherawet. By the time i got a 1 GB RAM, i wasn’t very interested in graphics, just like a 60 yr old man with a 55 yr old wife 😛 . But Ubuntu turned the tables. Here is how!

Showing off! My PC, My Pride!

Showing off! My PC, My Pride!

That was my over expressive self showing up on my desktop! Now, its time to present the actual desktop.

The plain looking, all powerful desktop. That pic is mine and is used as an icon for one of my HDD partition.

The plain looking, all powerful desktop. That pic is mine and is used as an icon for one of my HDD partition.

I just couldn’t resist keeping quite about the mind-blowing graphics possible. So, I set the screen on a Fire Pattern like this…

No! It was not done using some spell from Harry Potter. But, with the small dirty thing under your Palm - The Mouse!

No! It was not done using some spell from Harry Potter. But, with the small dirty thing under your Palm - The Mouse!

If you thought that switching between applications or windows was a boring thing to do, the WinKey+Tab Combo should cheer you up with this…

One possible Alt+Tab anime!

One possible WinKey+Tab anime!

Actually speaking, Multiple windows is a thing of past. How about having a peek into Multiple Workspaces?

Moving Applications from one work-place to another. A window appears to move as if you were tickling it, and it were drifting away!

Moving Applications from one work-place to another. A window appears to move as if you were tickling it, and it were drifting away!


The workspaces (4 in my case) are arranged in the form of a cube so that the whole cube rotates while switching workspaces. The images at bottom and top of the cube are the same. Isn't it matching-matching with the wallpaper! 😛

This was exhilerating! I couldn't imagine my comp was capable of all this! The active workspace having windows sandwiched with 3D effect!

This was exhilerating! I couldn't imagine my PC was capable of all this! The active workspace having 3D sandwiched windows.

I am sorry to have bugged those users who are already using all this, and possibly more. For those of you who are new to this, I’d like to say that, I was new to this 3 days ago, too. So, if you make some very important comparisons with OSes claiming to offer a good XPerience 😉 , I think you’re well equipped to take a good decision!

Very Important : Images are supposed to be Copyrighted to ME. But, in the spirit of FOSS (Free Open Source Software), I would be happy to see my screenshots somewhere else too. 🙂 However, My wallpaper is copyrighted to one Michael Bonnel and I would like to thank him for a great abstract piece!

This isn’t the end of it! It was just a humble beginning. Use an appropriate search phrase and you can see for yourself some amazing screenshots, before which mine may appear to be a dud!

PS : If mine was a love story, my closest pal, Anniyan’s was a battle well fought. Care to take a look?