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Installing Windows XP on a laptop which had Linux


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#1 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 03:58 PM

Ok, so I had WinXP loaded on my laptop but it got bogged down with viruses, spyware, adware, etc.
I got fed up and loaded Linux.
I now need to load Windows XP again, but of course there is no Windows MBR, which Windows apparently needs in order to install (that seems crazy to me, but oh well).
So I went to bootdisk.com and downloaded the WinXP bootable CD, but I'm having trouble; I've tried wiping the drive and putting a DOS partition on it, but I still can't install XP.
I'm hoping someone here can help. Thanks in advance.

-- Chris

#2 was_jaclaz

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 04:34 PM

How can you say that you don't have a "windows MBR" or that you need to have one to install XP?

Are you using a "normal" XP install disk?

Can you get to the Recovery Console?

Please describe what error message (if any) do you get when you do WHAT.

jaclaz

#3 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 04:59 PM

Well I inserted a Windows install CD and booted from it. It prompts me to hit a key to continue, then it just goes to a blank screen. I did some googling and I suspect that I no longer have a Windows MBR. I've reinstalled Windows plenty of times, but that's always been on a system that previously had Windows installed. This laptop had Windows wiped when I installed Linux though. Thanks for any help you can offer.

#4 pscEx

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 05:08 PM

Well I inserted a Windows install CD and booted from it. It prompts me to hit a key to continue, then it just goes to a blank screen. I did some googling and I suspect that I no longer have a Windows MBR. I've reinstalled Windows plenty of times, but that's always been on a system that previously had Windows installed. This laptop had Windows wiped when I installed Linux though. Thanks for any help you can offer.

Windows install CDs can also work with brand new, unpartitioned or unformatted hard drives.
So something else must be wrong.
Try to check your install CD, e.g. with IsoBuster.

IMHO, the issue really does not depend on the history of your HDD.

Peter

#5 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 05:16 PM

Well I'm pretty sure the install CD is fine, I've used it before on other systems. Actually I have a couple of different Windows install Cd's, and none of them have worked.

Are you familiar with the XP bootable install CD from bootdisk.com, and the tools on it? I am wondering if I can install Windows using that CD, since it's the only one I've been able to boot from. I found the link to this site on bootdisk.com, so I was hoping the owner of that site might post here, or people might be familiar with the tools on that CD and could help me get a Windows installation going from it. Thanks again for your responses.

#6 pscEx

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 05:25 PM

Well I'm pretty sure the install CD is fine, I've used it before on other systems. Actually I have a couple of different Windows install Cd's, and none of them have worked.

Are you familiar with the XP bootable install CD from bootdisk.com, and the tools on it? I am wondering if I can install Windows using that CD, since it's the only one I've been able to boot from. I found the link to this site on bootdisk.com, so I was hoping the owner of that site might post here, or people might be familiar with the tools on that CD and could help me get a Windows installation going from it. Thanks again for your responses.


A different suggestion:

As a 'good' WinBuilder user you should build a WinBuilder PE with mmc on it.
Boot from this CD, try to get access to your HDD and partition and format it.

Peter

#7 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 05:51 PM

A different suggestion:

As a 'good' WinBuilder user you should build a WinBuilder PE with mmc on it.
Boot from this CD, try to get access to your HDD and partition and format it.

Peter


Ok, I am willing to try that. Can you direct me to some documentation?

Also, I just booted my laptop without any installation media in it, the screen says: "GRUB Loading stage 2...", so apparently there is still some remnant of RedHat's GRUB boot loader. Perhaps that is my problem.

#8 was_jaclaz

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:05 PM

Ok, let's start anew, please forget whatever put in your mind that you need a Windows MBR to boot from CD, forget about the bootdisk.com XP disk, forget about Grub, forget about Red Hat, those ARE NOT your problem.

Blank your mind, take a deep breath.

If a CD that is not scratched/defective/etc., and I mean if that exact CD has booted another machine recently and no physical damage was made to it since then, the problem is NOT the CD.

It can be the BIOS or the CD drive or both.

So it's a laptop, are you positive that the CD drive is functional, did you check the lens is clean?

Have you got handy a Linux live CD or ANY other bootable CD lying around?

Do any of them boot?

jaclaz

#9 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:11 PM

Have you got handy a Linux live CD or ANY other bootable CD lying around?

Do any of them boot?

jaclaz


Yes, I can boot from my Knoppix CD just fine.

#10 ktp

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:13 PM

Ok, let's start anew, please forget whatever put in your mind that you need a Windows MBR to boot from CD, forget about the bootdisk.com XP disk, forget about Grub, forget about Red Hat, those ARE NOT your problem.

jaclaz


(Off topic) I believe this situation is called "back to square one" in English language. :-)

#11 pscEx

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:13 PM

Also, I just booted my laptop without any installation media in it, the screen says: "GRUB Loading stage 2...", so apparently there is still some remnant of RedHat's GRUB boot loader. Perhaps that is my problem.

See my post some steps above.
But you can check this by download a DOS Boot Floppy e.g. from bootdisk.com, boot from this floppy and clean everything by fdisk.

Ok, I am willing to try that. Can you direct me to some documentation?

It depends on your laptop.
Whether it is 'standard' with
  • IDE HDD
  • standard (non-USB) keyboard
  • PS2 mouse
Or not.

I assume it is standard.

Then you have to
  • Download WinBuilder and get some more instructions from here.
  • Start WinBuilder and download with 'complete' option nativeEx_barebone (desribed in the above item):
  • Define the path to your source CD
  • Run the project. It downloads some necessary tools and updates some nativeEx files.
    Then it asks you to restart.
  • Restart WinBuilder
  • Navigate to Apps > System > MMC and check it
  • Build the project.
  • If it boots into qEmu:
    Burn the ISO to CD and boot your laptop with it.
  • If there are issues:
    Post here
Good luck!

Peter

#12 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:24 PM

Thanks for the instructions Peter.

(Off topic) I believe this situation is called "back to square one" in English language. :-)

Or basic troubleshooting. My laptop is booted up from my Knoppix CD right now, so this shows that the issue is not with my CD drive, and that my BIOS is indeed set correctly to boot from CD.

#13 was_jaclaz

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 06:35 PM

So, of I get it right, from CD:
Knoppix boots
Windows XP setup disk (1 copy) does not
Windows XP setup disk (another copy) does not

Provided that the CD's are OK, the only difference that can be, but that is almost impossible, is that that CD drive/Bios can boot from El-Torito Floppy emulation CD but cannot from a no-emulation CD.

Does the machine have a floppy?

Can you try booting again from one of the two XP disks and describe EXACTLY what happens?

jaclaz

#14 cjh

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Posted 23 February 2008 - 10:00 PM

Then you have to

  • Download WinBuilder and get some more instructions from here.
  • Start WinBuilder and download with 'complete' option nativeEx_barebone (desribed in the above item):
  • Define the path to your source CD
  • Run the project. It downloads some necessary tools and updates some nativeEx files.
    Then it asks you to restart.
  • Restart WinBuilder
  • Navigate to Apps > System > MMC and check it


It's that last step I had problems with. MMC was not an option under 'System'. So I just went ahead and proceeded with the next step (build the project).

  • Build the project.
  • If it boots into qEmu:
    Burn the ISO to CD and boot your laptop with it.


  • I burned the ISO to a CD, but my laptop wouldn't boot to it. Same issue as with other Windows CD's: 'Press any key to continue' and then just a blank screen.

  • If there are issues:
    Post here
  • Good luck!

    Peter


    Ok, I'm posting. What do I try next?

    -- Chris

    #15 cjh

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    Posted 24 February 2008 - 02:44 AM

    So, of I get it right, from CD:
    Knoppix boots
    Windows XP setup disk (1 copy) does not
    Windows XP setup disk (another copy) does not


    That is correct.

    Provided that the CD's are OK, the only difference that can be, but that is almost impossible, is that that CD drive/Bios can boot from El-Torito Floppy emulation CD but cannot from a no-emulation CD.

    Does the machine have a floppy?

    No, no floppy. But I suppose I could hook up a USB floppy to it. My other laptop came with one.

    Can you try booting again from one of the two XP disks and describe EXACTLY what happens?

    jaclaz


    'Press any key to continue' and then just a blank screen.

    #16 TheHive

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    Posted 24 February 2008 - 06:00 AM

    Yes, I can boot from my Knoppix CD just fine.

    I think you should be able to boot into youre Knoppix Live CD and then use something like a Partition Editor

    qtparted
    http://qtparted.sour...enshots.en.html

    or

    gparted
    http://gparted.sourceforge.net/

    To format the drive into NTFS or Wipe out all the Linux Partitions. From then you can use youre,
    Windows XP CD and boot up to install windows XP. It should be able to see the None formated drive or the Ntfs formated drive, whiever road you chose to use.

    #17 was_jaclaz

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    Posted 24 February 2008 - 05:35 PM

    @TheHive

    Please do not contribute to the spreading of an Urban Legend.

    There is NO POSSIBLE way that the status of a Hard Disk can affect the booting from CD, at least SOMETHING must happen after the "press any key to boot from CD".


    @cjh
    You sure the message is "press any key to continue" and NOT "press any key to boot from CD"?

    Is it possible that, for ANY reason the key press is not sensed, and thus the booting sequence bypasses the CD?

    If this is the case, you need to remove (you'll need to re-burn the .ISO) from the XP or winbuilder based .iso the file BOOTFIX.BIN.

    jaclaz

    #18 TheHive

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    Posted 24 February 2008 - 08:20 PM

    Whats the urban legend. I dont think ive heard it.

    There is NO POSSIBLE way that the status of a Hard Disk can affect the booting from CD, at least SOMETHING must happen after the "press any key to boot from CD".

    That is true. I was thinking he was trying to install XP and that the CD was working, since he was able to see the Press the any key.

    So i was thinking he had left some partions that belonged to Linux. So it would have been better to get rid of them before installing XP.

    Try a different keyboard and see it allows you to 'Press any key to continue'.

    #19 Ove

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    Posted 25 February 2008 - 05:15 PM

    I can think of several situations...

    I have a friend who has an older (cheap) desktop PC, that can ONLY run Windows XP Service Pack 1. I, and other people have tried about 10 different Windows XP SP2 CDs, including modified versions, even with wiping the HDD clean (fill with 0). None would run on it... It was only with my XP SP1 CD that we got his PC to work. The symptoms were this: the CD would boot, text mode install went OK, and then, when the PC restarted and booted from HDD, the Windows XP logo did not show, instead, it was a blank screen (not even the text cursor "_")
    Maybe this laptop is somewhat incompatible with SP2 like my friend's PC (although this is HIGHLY unlikely)

    You can test and see if the HDD is the problem or not like this:
    Go in BIOS, and deactivate the hard disk. Then try and boot the CD. If it boots, the problem is the hard disk (i know this is an urban legend, but this is the way to test it). If it does not boot, it's another problem.

    Maybe the laptop is somewhat incompatible with the XP boot loader. Maybe you can make a Windows XP CD that uses CD Shell or GRUB.

    Some CD/DVD drives don't read some CDs correctly. Try cloning an XP CD on a new CD-R disk, and burning it with a low speed (4x, 8x). That helps. And don't use CD-RW. Also, try and check if the lens is clean. Maybe you can get an USB CD drive and make your laptop boot from it.

    If all else fails, you can install XP like this:
    Use your KNOPPIX live DVD (it should have GParted on it) and format the hard drive (as FAT32!! it's important!!), make the primary partition active.
    Then, copy the i386 folder from the XP setup CD to your HDD (in c:\i386)
    Then, get your USB floppy drive, and use a bootable floppy disk you can get at www.bootdisk.com
    Go to c:\i386 and run winnt.exe (this is what commands you will need to write to do it assuming you copied it in c:\i386)
    c:
    
    cd c:\i386
    
    winnt
    This should get you into text mode setup, and should get your Windows XP installed

    #20 cjh

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    Posted 31 March 2008 - 03:29 AM

    If all else fails, you can install XP like this:
    Use your KNOPPIX live DVD (it should have GParted on it) and format the hard drive (as FAT32!! it's important!!), make the primary partition active.


    That worked (thank God for Knoppix and QtParted)! I was able to install Windows after doing this.
    Of course now I can't get it to recognize my network, but I'll figure that out.

    #21 ilko

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    Posted 31 March 2008 - 06:45 AM

    I have seen other cases, when XP Setup CD or PE would hang right after "press any key to boot from CD". I recall in one case MBR and partition tables were corrupted after several power failures, in the other some Linux flavor was installed, can't remember details.
    At that stage setupldr.bin calls ntdetect.com, which I believe fails when reading disk info, dumb behavior if that's indeed the case. May be BIOS also plays role. The old fdisk /mbr worked in both cases.

    The original problem is solved, hopefully the info above could help someone else struggling with similar problem.

    #22 was_jaclaz

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    Posted 31 March 2008 - 08:41 AM

    What I recommend, when there are problems like this is simply to "zero out" the first 100 sectors of the device, which cover MBR+Hidden sectors + bootsector of first partition + some more filesystem sectors, using a hex/disk editor or dsfo/dsfi.

    Once you have downloaded the DSFOK package:
    http://members.ozema...eezip/freeware/
    unzip the fles to a subdir, open a DOS prompt in it then run:

    fsz zeroes.000 51200
    dsfi \\.\Physicaldriven 0 0 zeroes.000


    where n is the number of the hard disk, Physicaldrive0 is first (boot) disk.

    jaclaz




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