re-Re-Restoring grub on MBR

randhir phagura rsphagura at
Mon Sep 22 06:03:38 PDT 2008

Wolfgang wrote on 22 Sep 08:

>Hi Randhir,
> that is correct that you cannot boot if the MBR is gone or corrupt. But 
>in this case you need only a bootable medium e.g. LFS live CD/DVD and 
>then you can repair the MBR with dd command.
>Another alternative is if you have a discete drive to write the MBR to a 
>discete with dd.

Hi Wolfgang,

That is very good. I have checked and seen that your first command does, in fact, copy the MBR on to the file: /boot/mbr_$TS.
However, I am not very clear whether, it will copy the file back to MBR from within the 'Live LFS CD/DVD', without first chrooting into  your linux installed on /dev/hda. I shall try it next time when I have a similar mishap.

Have not understood "Another alternative is if you have a discete drive to write the MBR to a discete with dd." Do you mean a disket?

Anyway thanks a lot for the responses. It is a pleasure to converse with you!



>>>In a multi-OS boot system, booting is done from MBR with Grub or such boot-loader. In case the MBR is corrupted or over-written>>>because of any reason, such as re-installing Windows, the booting through Grub can be restored from MBR, without need to>>>re-install Linux.
>>>1. Download an LFS live DVD image from, and burn the iso image onto a DVD. (This is a very handy tool>>>and, hence, should always be available). If it is not with you presently, use your windows or other installation to download and>>>burn. Boot from the live  LFS DVD.
>>>2. Type the command 'net-setup' and setup your internet and download or read online the LFS Book. Open with lynx for reference,>>>if
>>>3. Give the following commands in succession: (These commands are from the LFS book - only selected here for the limited job>>>to be done)
>>>	export LFS=/mnt/lfs
>>>	mount -v -t ext3 /dev/ $LFS                           (where  is the partition on which your linux exists that you wish to>>>boot.)
>>>	/sbin/swapon -v /dev/                                      (where  is the swap partition on your hard disk.)
>>>	mount -v --bind /dev $LFS/dev                                (mounting and populating /dev)
>>>	mount -vt devpts devpts $LFS/dev/pts                       (mounting virtual kernel File System)
>>>	mount -vt tmpfs shm $LFS/dev/shm
>>>	mount -vt proc proc $LFS/proc
>>>	mount -vt sysfs sysfs $LFS/sys
>>>	chroot "$LFS" $LFS                                               (entering the chroot environment - this command will show root prompt on>>>the
>>>                                                                                      partition that was mounted above. Check and ensure that it is the>>>right one.)
>>>	/bin/bash --login +h                                                 (shall bring the same prompt as above but with its environment)
>>>4. Installing Grub on to MBR: Give following commands:
>>>	grub                                                                      (Note that grub does not recognize scaci drives etc. For it everything is>>>'hd'. So
>>>                                                                                      if you have drive such as 'sda', for grub it shall remain as 'hd' only)
>>>        root (hdx,z)                                                            (Where 'x' is the number of the drive starting at zero and 'z' is the>>>number of
>>>                                                                                       linux partition on that drive)
>>>	setup hdx                                                                (If you had a working system before the mishap and you already had>>>the 
>>>                                                                                       'stage1' and 'stage2' in place, grub will show success.)
>>>5. Unmount the various virtual kernel file systems mounted at Step 3 above as also the $LFS partition and reboot the system.
>>>6. The system should boot normally unless something else had also gone wrong. The things can go wrong in that the splash>>>screen may not be the same what you had earlier. For example, I boot from openSUSE and its splash screen is different but what>>>I got after rebooting above was different and after booting with that grub menu I got kernel panic at some stage of booting. But>>>the grub shall be available and you could give it the commands by pressing 'c' on your keyboard. Like earlier, give it the following>>>commands, in succession:
>>>	root (hdx,z)
>>>	kernel (hdx,z)/boot/vmlinuz (or whatever is the kernel name in your boot partition)
>>>	initrd (hdx,z)/boot/initrd      (or the specific name of your initrd file in boot partition)
>>>	boot
>>>The system should boot. After booting the system you could carryout whatever further correction you wish to do. For example in>>>my case, the X refused to start. So I had to setup grub again here through 'YAST'. After that the normal booting came up with its>>>normal splash etc.
>>>If any such mishap ocurs, there is no need to panick. The good old LFS is there for your rescue. Needless to say that there are a>>>number of other means available for rescue. Personally, however, I find this simple. I have used these steps a number of times,>>>mainly because of the need to re-install windows Vista, which goes off pretty often, in my case.
>>Date: Sat, 20 Sep 2008 18:00:30 +0200
>>From: Wolfgang Messingschlager 
>>Subject: Restoring grub on MBR
>>To: LFS Support List 

>>Hi Randir,
>>very interesting info. But if you install often or sometimes Windows I 
>>prefer to create the partitions on Linux and then save the MBR in a file 
>>with the dd command e.g.
>>TS=`date +%Y%m%d`
>>dd if=/dev/hda of=/boot/mbr_$TS bs=512 count=1
>>This can be done on a regular basis e.g. as a cron job.
>>Then you can easily restore your MBR with dd as well e.g.
>>dd if=/boot/mbr_... of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1
>>Randhir Phagura wrote

>>Hi Wolfgang,

>>That is a smart one. It can, probably, be done from within a linux system after it boots. But once the MBR is gone, booting into linux>>is not possible.


>>Randhir Phagura

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