Debian boot disk problem

I knew it would happen if I screwed around with it long enough I would break it.

Messed up the boot disk. I have Debian 5.0 installed on the second hard drive in a 90 gig partition. Still have over 200gig left on that second drive that has no other paritions or software on it.

The first drive has XP.

I have been booting Debian off floppy because it is far more likely that I will have to re-install XP than have to mess with Debian. Since an XP re-install takes out the MBR, it makes no sense to put the Grub loader in the MBR where an XP re-installl can overwrite it. So, we depend on the boot disk to get to Debian.

Very simple, really. Boot order is floppy, cd, harddisk. If the floppy is inserted, Debian boots. Actually, Grub boots and the default is Debian. XP can be selected from the Grub loader too.

If we know in advance that XP is desired, all we need to do is pop the floppy out of the drive and reboot. That takes the system to the MBR of the first drive and XP boots normally like it would without all this nonsense.

This may not be the best way to do this but it works and I have gotten used to it.

While trying to make sure that I had a good spare Grub boot floppy, I ended up destroying the only copy I had.

There is all kinds of help on the web and specifically on Debian help sections explaining how to make a grub floppy, how to duplicate a grub floppy, how to use dd to do everything, how to use non-Debian CDs as rescue disks, everything leading to complicated proceedures and tricks when all that is needed is the original Debian 5.0 install CD.

Load the CD and boot from it. On the opening screen will be an option to choose ‘advanced’. Choose it and proceed as though installing Debian all over again. A very small and basic Debian system will be loaded to memory. When it gets to the partitioning option it will ask which partition contains the system you want to recover. Select that partition, then select re-install Grub.

When the Grub install screen comes up you can select where to install the Grub boot loader. I chose (fd0). Once that was done, I was taken back to the restore screen, selected install Grub again, and installed it to a spare floppy.

The entire process took all of two minutes. Mission accomplished and I am still wondering why none of the help on the web or Debian help sites recommended doing it this way. Perhaps they assumed you had already tried it the easy way without sucess. Perhaps they need help too.

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