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Old 31st August 2010, 02:34 PM
Miktal_GM Offline
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Win 7 and Fedora Boot Loader Conflict?


A friend of mine had Windows 7 installed together with Linux Mint 9 on her Alienware laptop. Apparently there are some new-ish programs (in this case, Dell Datasafe) that create a conflict between Grub and the MBR ... seems like in a nutshell, the Dell security software together with the MBR together with Windows 7 didn't like the fact that Linux and Grub were on the computer, and the two boot loaders canceled each other out (I guess!). The computer as a result couldn't boot into anything, and after a long and frustrating fix, I killed the Linux partition. The exact error message was "No module name found. Aborted. Press any key to exit."

I want to dual boot Windows 7 with Fedora 13 on my HP laptop, and I was wondering if it is possible this would happen again. Has anyone had any problems like this with Windows 7 / computer manufacturer software hating on Linux boot loaders in a Fedora dual boot? Apparently it is a fairly common affliction for Windows 7 + Ubuntu-based distros dual boots. Sorry about the vagueness of the question, but any advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks,
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Old 1st September 2010, 01:58 AM
stoat Offline
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Re: Win 7 and Fedora Boot Loader Conflict?

I don't know anything about Alenware products, Dell Datasafe, etc. But it wouldn't be the first time that installing GRUB in a proprietary computer's MBR broke something. Just as an example, I give you the old Dell System Restore feature that was activated by pressing certain keys during the splashscreen. Installing GRUB in the MBR of those broke that feature. Just an example. Such things may or may not be the case for your friend. Besides, it's not unthinkable that your friend simply did something wrong during the installation. It wouldn't be the first time for that either. Anyway...

How about this idea... Configure the existing Windows boot loader to boot the Linux system. To do that, don't install GRUB in the master boot record. Instead, choose the option to install it in the first sector of the Linux system's boot partition (all of them will do this). That will not disrupt the master boot record or the existing boot loader in any way. Finish the installation and reboot. The machine will boot as always as though nothing has happened. Now edit the existing boot loader to add a boot menu entry for Fedora. For Vista and Windows 7, the free and popular software known as EasyBCD will simplify that procedure.
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Old 1st September 2010, 10:28 AM
glennzo Offline
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Re: Win 7 and Fedora Boot Loader Conflict?

Just as an FYI, seems that some of the newer Dell laptops have some code on one of the restore or system partitions that rewrites the MBR if there were any changes to it such as the installation of another boot loader. I went a few rounds with this when I had installed Ubuntu along side Win7 for a friend. Everything was fine until Windows was loaded. The next time I tried to boot Ubuntu there were issues that could only be solved by reinstalling Ubuntu's grub. Then I was able to boot Ubuntu. As soon as Win7 was booted again this whole Ubuntu thing started over. I never solved the problem. I did this on someone else's laptop, as a favor and they eventually decided that Linux was the problem and not worth the effort. I restored things as they were originally and gave the laptop back. Had I had more time to research I believe that I would have found a solution. I'm confident that there are ways around this MBR rewrite fiasco but since I had no need to research further I didn't.
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Old 1st September 2010, 02:34 PM
Miktal_GM Offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 5
Re: Win 7 and Fedora Boot Loader Conflict?

Most of the solutions seem to be getting rid of / altering Grub. Once inside Windows after being able to boot, getting rid of the likely suspects (Datasafe, Dell System Restore, etc) seems to help as well. Either way, I would prefer to avoid the boot loader issues altogether. Thanks for the advice stoat, I will try that :-)
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