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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I was really dumb.

On my Acer Turion64 Aspire 5000, I installed ubuntu. It was far too complex to sort out all the manual disk partitions and stuff - I remember having to do all that at work once and getting really confused - so I opted for the default install which over-writes the hard disk. No problem, I've got the Acer WinXP factory default install disks, and all the applications and data backed up and on various media and other machines. What could go wrong?? (Ahem ...)

Well, I decided after a few days, that ubuntu was too much hassle and didn't feel right anyway, and I'd go back to windows. Perhaps later try a dual install with kubuntu, which looked more like UNIX, even if both were a bit feature-thin compared to Windoze, but that's something for another rainy day.

So, from a working ubuntu, I can insert the Acer WinXP boot disk, then go through the WinXP reinstallation, fine. Then I restart and get a simple error message:

GRUB Loading stage1.5

GRUB Loading, please wait ...
Error 17

Then the PC hangs, and responds to nothing except Control+alt+delete or the off button.

If I reinsert the boot disk, and tell it in BIOS to boot from the disk, it fires up, but doesn't start a reinstall of WinXP. It seems to detect that WinXP is there (??), and simply assumes that you are inserting the boot disk at the end of a reinstall of the WinXP system. (Which is the final thing you have to do during a WinXP reinstall.)

So it goes through the same process it does when you reinsert the boot disk at the end of installing the factory default WinXP: Updating files ... Recovery finished. In other words, it seems to think that you are simply reinserting the boot disk at the end of a reinstall.

I can reinstall ubuntu okay, but of course that takes me back to where I started.

I see from various places

http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/slackware-linux-help/54246-grub-error-17-a.html

that, I quote "Error 17 claims that the partition that you're attempting to boot is of a format that GRUB does not recognize." so somehow not all of the linux / ubuntu system has been deleted (??).

Am I posting this on the right forum and how do I get rid of the linux system and reinstall Windows?
 

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I've seen this happen before. I think it's a problem with the master boot record.

The easiest thing to do would be to zero the drive and start over, but you might be able to use the fixmbr command of the windows installer to see if that would help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I've seen this happen before. I think it's a problem with the master boot record.

The easiest thing to do would be to zero the drive and start over, but you might be able to use the fixmbr command of the windows installer to see if that would help.
Thanks Fox, for getting back. I think I've been trying to delete everything on the drive (again). I did it once to install ubuntu, and before I run the Acer WinXP install disks it warns me that it is going to reformat the C: drive and I'll lose everything there. I'm cool with that, so long as it reinstalls as it came from the factory.

How do I get to the fixmbr command of the windows installer? I can get to the BIOS window, but once the installer starts up, then it just runs through 4 CDROMs until it's finished. Then it reboots with the GRUB error.
 

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With a regular XP disk (like Fox said, I also have no idea what options you get with a restore disk) you just boot to the XP disk, and enter the Recovery Console. It brings up like a DOS prompt and all you do is type "fixmbr" (without quotes). That removes GRUB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Yeah, it's an automated install. I looked on here

http://www.bootdisk.com/popfiles.htm

for what seems to be a generic bootdisk if such a thing exists, but for some reason that site's paypal account isn't accepting my credit cards (no-one else has a problem with them unfortunately, and my bank thinks they're okay ....) so I suppose I need to work out how to get a boot disk ....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Now that has given me an option to open it in safe mode with command prompt. I've tried that, but it produced an error message saying that "The system is not fully installed, please run the setup again". I'll try again tomorrow morning. (Yawn...)

Thanks for your time, everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks evryone!!

Thanks everyone with lots of great suggestions. :pray:

:sleep: This morning with a fresh brain I rebooted after the attempted install with the Toshiba Satellite automatic installation disk. This gave me Safe Mode (w/wout netowrking and command prompt) which sounded promising, and managed to get as far as the WinXP splash screen. However, at that point it popped up a window saying that "Windows failed to install properly, please reinstert installation disks", and restarted.

So I put in the Acer boot disk again. I hadn't really been expecting the Toshiba disk to work, just hoping that it would be a sufficient jolt to the system that it might get rid of GRUB. Sort of like a virtual thump on top of the monitor.

Now, to make the story long and complex, I actually have two sets of Acer install disks. One set has nice printed Acer labels. These are marked

Disk 1 (Bootable)
Disk 1 of 3 (XP Home)
Disk 2 of 3 (XP Home)
Disk 3 of 3 (XP Home)

and came in the box. The others are ones I created when I first got teh laptop from a backup utility that was on the machine. It suggested labelling them

Factory Default Acer Backup Disk 1
Factory Default Acer Backup Disk 2
Factory Default Acer Backup Disk 3
Factory Default Acer Backup Disk 4

or something similar, as that is what i ended up putting on them.

Earlier I had tried with both sets of disks, various combinations. Well, this time I first tried with the fancy officially labelled ones.

Start with Disk 1 (Boot). It gave the usual installation start up splash screens (language / sure you want to overwrite C drive / etc) and then said "insert CD 2". So I put in Disk 1 of 3. This it seemed to like, and started with the automatic installation window, which has a progress bar and a box labelled "installing file" which has the names of the files flickering through it. It seemed happy chugging through this. Then it said "install the next installation disk" (or some such), so I put in Disk 2 of 3. It thought about that but then spat it out and repeated its "install next installation disk" demand. I then tried all 8 disks one after the other, but it didn't like any of them, and repeated the same message.

I then hit cancel in that dialog. It came up with a dialog box labelled 'Recovery 32' which said

Can't find preload.tag for SetBootIni

with exactly that punctuation etc. I had seen this message earlier, before I came to all of you, when first trying to reinstall with the fancy Acer labelled disks. One help forum had suggested contacting Acer at that point, but I hadn't found anything last night on Acer sites about it. Well, I can still try a couple of things before I get that drastic, I thought.

So, dismissing that dialog box, the machine restarted. I put in the fancy Disk 1 (Bootable), and it went through the same process as before. This time however, when it asked for "Disk 2", I put in the homemade Backup Disk 2 which I had created myself from their utility. This it accepted and whirred happily through the installation progress bar window etc. I put in the handmade Backup Disk 3 and 4, and then at the end, when it asked for Disk 1 again, I put in the fancy Acer labelled Disk 1 (Bootable) again.

Recovery Complete, it said, and it restarted.

Lo and behold, it came back with the Acer splash screens and the Windows XP splash screens, and then on to teh Windows XP desktop, looking like it was in pristine factory condition. :smile: :smile:

Everything looks fine, although I still have to check all the functionality. One thing that it is a little odd is that Ubuntu had stretched the display slightly so it appeared horizontally elongated, and it still looks a bit odd, but I think that is easily fixable in the Windows controls.

Thanks everyone for helping me out and talking me through this. I've bookmarked all your sites and suggestions for if and when I do something demented again. I've put down all the gory details of what i've done, in case someone has a similar problem in the future and wants to risk trying a solution as daft as mine.

Thanks and take care!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The hard disk has been reformatted so that it has no partition in it. And the hidden disk images that Acer puts on its drives are lost (I didn't realise these existed until I started researching after failing to reinstall Windows).

The Windows defragmenter utility suggested that the hard disk might be corrupt and running chkdsk on it. I did this on a restart, and it seemed to be fine, from what it said. I also discovered how to display the Recovery Console.

To do that, it said I should run D:\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons from the install CD-ROM, but it wasn't there. On any of them. So I decided to run it from the i386 directory on the hard drive. This produced an error message saying that it could not run the application as some .dll was missing. I dismissed that dialog, but then suddenly another dialog came up asking if I wanted to have the recovery option available on startup, so I said yes, and then it was. Very strange.

I wonder if it might be an idea to get a proper WinXP startup disk. Do you have any idea where I would get that from? Would it have to be from Acer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
OOops, looks like I didn't read the Recovery console thing right....

Now, when I ran it before, I didn't actually go into the Recovery Console, but in a way that I can't remember exactly, I set it up so that it ran CHKDSK on restart, and printed out the result. This gave a nice sounding result, so I left it, especially as I would have had to rerun the setup again and restart to run another command. Don't ask me how I did it, I can't remember, but the laptop just offered me the option of doing it that way: only later did i discover the way to get the recovery console to appear.

Now, running the Recovery Console properly, I see that:
C:\WINDOWS>chkdsk
The volume serial num ... is ....

The volume appears to be in good condition and was not checked.
use /p if want to check the volume anyway.
.....
C:\WINDOWS>chkdsk /p
the vol ....
CHKDSK is checking ....
Found one or more errors

C:\WINDOWS>FIXMBR
** CAUTION **
This computer appears to have a non-standard or invalid Master Boot Record
FIXMBR may damage your partition table if you proceed.
This could cause all the partitions on the current hard disk to become inaccessible.
If you are not having problems accessing your drive, do not continue.
Are you sure you want to write a new MBR?
I decided I didn't want to risk that... So what am I doing wrong?? Should I contact Acer and ask them for the proper XP boot disk? Or can I get a valid boot disk from someone else?

Or is there a much better idea of what I should do?
 

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You go ahead and overwrite the MBR. The reason you get that message is because Windows doesn't detect GRUB as a valid bootloader...I've seen that message many times and continued and nothing bad has happened.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
You go ahead and overwrite the MBR. The reason you get that message is because Windows doesn't detect GRUB as a valid bootloader...I've seen that message many times and continued and nothing bad has happened.
Okay. I'll wait until tomorrow morning though and a fresh head on me again. Thanks kbalona for the help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Bingo, thanks, kbalona, done what you said, and it all looks like it's fine. A bit of a hairy experience? For me at least.

What is the deal with these startup environments? If I get a proper, non-automated startup disk, do I have to get one that is specific to my individual machine, to my model of laptop, or one that is specific to my WinXP Product Number, or one that is completely generic?

I'm going to have to put some partitions back in , at least if I am going to try to install a linux environment again. I'm hoping to start an IT MSc next year, and that will involve using gcc in linux. Is there a good thread here on how I should put a partition in? Especially as I only have the single partition now, and Partition Resizer, for example, said that I could not run it on the partition that is being moved ...? Sorry to have so many questions and to know so little.
 

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Hi, I know how that experiance was:grin: The first time I installed Linux and did partitioning, etc I was shaking in my boots until I tried whether XP still worked...I was foolish and hadn't backed up data, and I was afraid I'd lose something. Now it's gotten to be kinda routine:smile: You'll get there.
Non automated startup disk. I imagine you're talking about disks like come with most cheaper computers, called "Restore" disks. What I have is just a regular XP installation disk that would work with any computer, laptop.
On partitioning, the best way to do it would be using software like Norton Partition Magic, (not free), or a free equivalent like System Rescue CD which in my opinion is just as good or better. (I've never used Partition Magic). With either of those programs, you can resize, delete, create partitions from free space. Another option is to use the built-in partitioner that most Linux distros include on the disk.
When you make partitions, you'll actually need 2. One partition for swap space (like virtual memory) and one for the actuall Linux OS. The swap space should be twice the size of your installed RAM, and the Linux partition as big as you like.
Hope this answers some of your questions.
 

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I have a dell inspiron 1420.
It has Ubuntu Hard heron 8.04

I want to remove ubuntu and install Windows Xp
When I tried doing it using Windows XP installation CD
I get the message "HD not detected"
Setup fails to install Windows

Please help
 

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prince -
I had a similar adventure with an Acer 5920. Well, similar in some ways.

I bought the laptop with the specific intent of installing Ubuntu.

The laptop came with four primary partitions. I knew that would be a problem.

The first thing I did when I got home with the laptop was make those recovery DVD's. The next thing I did was try to shrink the Vista partition with a GParted LiveCD. Vista wouldn't boot when I was done. I should have used the Vista partitioner but didn't know about it.

Not exactly off to a good start. I ran the recovery DVD's and got Vista working again.

There was only one partition when it was done. The recovery partition and the other two were all gone.

Although I'd gotten to that point by screwing up Vista, the funny thing was the laptop was now ready for Ubuntu. It wasn't before with all those partitions in the way. I shrank Vista again using GParted. This time Vista ran chkdsk, then successfully started up.

From there, creating an extended partition with logical partitions inside for Ubuntu was easy.

So what you and I saw after running recovery discs is apparently how Acer wants it - the original partitions are destroyed. I'm sure they do that as some sort of anti-pirating scheme. For those of us who just want to install Linux, the recovery discs might be seen as a good way to get the PC ready for installation. Not exactly what Acer had in mind, but they shouldn't be getting in our way with four primary partitions.
 

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socrates -
XP doesn't see the HDD because it's formatted to the Linux file system, ntfs.
Get a friend to download and burn a bootable GParted LiveCD. Use it to reformat the entire HDD to ntfs file system.

The XP CD should then work.
 
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