My Windows partition on my PC fell over last night; not sure why. Might have been something I did whilst trying to mount it (read-only, always read-only) in Ubuntu. Or it could just be sulking because I didn’t put the Windows CD back in for the reboot.
“No problem,” think I. “I’ll just reinstall Windows and put GRUB back manually.”
One corrupted boot sector later, I found myself digging around in my old floppies, trying to find something – anything – which could make the hard drive even usable. I ended up using fdisk off an old Windows 95 floppy. Telling it that I didn’t want large disk support (were small disks really that small?!) did the job, though I’ve lost all the data on the drive (luckily just a few days’ email).
I have now decided to install Ubuntu and Windows on separate hard drives, like two fractious siblings that can’t be left in the same room together.
Ever since 2000, it has been difficult to get Windows and Linux to co-exist on the same hard drive. I blame NTLDR though. It gets very moody when things aren’t going its way!
Two hard drives is obviously the way forward, especially since then I can get a SATA Raid 1 setup and never worry about backups again. 🙂
Except, of course, the off-site backups of my writing in case my house burns down. Some things cannot be replaced.
Just make sure you have an install CD, you can boot into linux off that and manipulate the disk from there. As a rule of thumb WIndows will always rewrite the boot sector, I just boot from CD, mount my old disks, chroot so that I’m running my own system, not the CD’s one, then run grub/lilo.
My Ubuntu install CD will not allow me to boot up into Linux. I think I need to make a better emergency disk; that would help.
The trouble is that with Windows not rewriting the boot sector properly, I can’t reinstall it. No Docs To Go. No really fun games (as yet). At least if I use two disks I can ditch Windows and give the disk to someone who needs it if the time comes.