booting issues

Asked by Kyle

I recently installed the latest Ubuntu software on to a portable hard drive and I unplugged the hard drive when shutdown. My laptop has Windows XP installed on the main hard drive and it will not let me boot to windows xp without the portable hard drive is there away not need to have hard drive with ubuntu to boot windows xp.

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PeterPall (peterpall) said :

Hello, there!

This somehow looks like a problem I have encountered one day myselves:

Since the external drive if plugged in is the normal drive the computer boots from there is no reason to believe that all the stuff that is needed in order to start up the system has to be installed anywhere but on this drive.

It is hard to tell what you have to do exactly to resolve the problem since I don't know the exact setup of your system, but I assume you want to boot XP from your internal hard disk and your BIOS is set up to automatically boot from the external hard disk if this disk is plugged in or at least to allow to boot from there if you choose so, e.G. by pressing F12.

In this case a

sudo dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc
(on old ubuntu linuxes the suffix -pc has to be left out)

will help you:
It will get you to a screen on which the computer asks for all places the program has to be installed which automatically loads the linux bootloader when booting your system (Here you will have to check the external hard disk itselves - and probably this disk's partition linux is installed on).

This still does not resolve the issue that this program is installed on your fixed hard disk als well - which means you will have to re-install the first stage of the windows bootloader on your fixed hard disk, - which loads windows from the internal hard disk, instead.

I've never done that on newer versions of windows. But on XP it still was the old dos program:

Just open a DOS console (press start/execute program/ and type then cmd.exe to get a DOS console on windows) and type in:

fdisk /mbr

Then the problem should be fixed.

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delance (olivier-delance) said :

The menu, which is displayed at boot sequence, is stored in external disk...and can't be used if this one is unplugged.
You have to make a "/boot" partition on one of internal disk, and install Grub on this partition.
To make this partition, you can under XP, unfragment XP partition, then boot on Ubuntu Live CD, open Gparted, reduce size of XP partition, make with new space a "/boot" partition. Then install Grub on this one.
If you need help for this last one, please post before result of command:
   sudo parted -l
Have a look at

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