[Techtalk] Installing XP without affectin Linux

Miriam English mim at miriam-english.org
Sat Apr 4 01:55:11 UTC 2009

David Sumbler wrote:

> I say "think" and "seem" because I'm not sure if it has really worked  
> yet.  That is because I am now getting an error message: "The file / 
> boot/grub/stage1 not read correctly."  That has me really stumped!
> Any ideas?  I really want my Ubuntu back!

My guess is that grub is looking in the wrong place for the boot menu. 
It should be in the /boot folder of the Linux bootable partition. But 
which drive and partition is that?

The recent change to how (some? all?) new linuxes see drive names is a 
bit annoying. It has 2 main results:

1. SATA drives have the same naming system as other, older types of 
drives -- all drives are sda, sdb, sdc, and so on, but with the SATA 
drives first in the list. If you have a mix of drives like I do, grub 
will likely see a different drive order than the new linux system. For 
instance one of my machines has 4 hard drives and a DVD drive. Three of 
the hard drives are ordinary IDE drives and the fourth is a SATA drive. 
I have 5 different flavors of Linux installed on that machine and most 
see them as the same order:
	hda, hdb, hdc, hdd (the DVD), and sda (the SATA drive).
Grub sees them in this order too (except I'm not sure if it sees the DVD 
drive). But my newest Linux versions see the drive order differently:
	sda (the SATA drive), sdb, sdc, sdd, sde? (DVD drive)
I'm not sure of the DVD drive name because I'me writing this on an older 

2. It can distract from the fact that grub still uses a naming 
convention superficially similar to the older linux names, but where the 
numbering starts from 0 instead of 1. That is, the first drive's first 
partition hda1 would be hd0,0

Of course if the system uses the new naming scheme for drives then the 
SATA drive looks like it is first in the system, but grub still sees the 
old order. Confusing? Yes. They didn't think this through properly. But 
you can work it out if you sit down and note it down carefully on a 
separate machine or paper (so you have it to refer to while you fix the 

If everything still fails I'd try downloading the latest version of 
Puppy Linux, burn it to CD, then boot from that CD, and use it to 
install grub to the MBR of the first bootable hard drive. Puppy will see 
all the drives on the computer in the same way Ubuntu does and it 
explains the points of potential confusion.

You may wish to use the Ubuntu live CD instead, but I have no experience 
with it so can't say if it would be helpful.

Best wishes,

	- Miriam

My time wasn't completely wasted last year.
I went on a 940 million kilometer journey.
Website: http://miriam-english.org
Blog: http://miriam_e.livejournal.com

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