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Help!!! I've messed around with Windows NT and Linux on the same hard drive and now my Master Boot Record is messed up beyond repair!!!!!!!!

Have you ever said this??? We have, unfortunately.  One of our hobbies is building computers from spare pieces and parts.  On a recent adventure, we took an almost new 4.3 gig hard drive with Linux installed on it and put it into a new system we were building that we wanted to install Windows NT Workstation 4.0 on, (ok guys, don't get all  in a frazzle, we love Linux and are learning it with great joy, but we still find a use for other proprietary products, even the big M from time to time).  We attepted to reformat and install Windows NT on it.  Big mistake!  NT would not boot properly and was complaining about a corrupted Master Boot record and it was still trying to boot up the LILO from the Linux install.  Not even FDISK/MBR would work. After much searching and impatience, (we wanted the NT box up and running as soon as we could), we resorted to using an older 4.3 gig hard drive from a spare machine that was running Windows 95.  NT installed and ran fine then. 

We then decided to put the almost new 4.3 gig hard drive back into the Linux box we had taken it from and tried a clean re-install of Linux.  To our surprise it would not boot up without the boot disk and still complained of a corrupted Master boot record. We once again tried the FDISK/MBR to no avail.  After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, (and frantic messages to the Basic Linux Training list), we found a solution to our problem.  It isn't pretty and you need to back up any files you want to keep before you do it, but it does work to clean out the MBR.   It is a debug script to clear the partition sector of the hard drive including the nasty first sector that FDISK doesn't always get squeeky clean.  You can find the DEBUG file on most Windows or DOS recovery disks.  Insert the recover disk into the computer and reboot.  When the A:\> prompt comes up type in DEBUG and then follow the script. Click on the link to Micro Firmware for the debug script.  Once you have done this, reboot you system and do a clean re-install of Linux.  It worked for us and I hope it will work for you.


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