View Full Version : Switching Back To Windows

13th July 2006, 09:46 AM
ok. We have Windows XP as our OS . So my friend installed FC5 Linux, because he wants to dual boot, however, once he's installed it, he doesn't know how to switch back to Windows.

I've been doing some research and I think that he may have done it incorrectly. I'm not sure which HD he installed it to, and I know he didn't use Grub or anything like that. He just popped the installation disk in, rebooted and let it install from there.

When we reboot the computer, it takes us to the Fedora login screen where we can choose to load whatever "Other" is (it never loads) and then Fedora Core. Sooo.. if anyone can help two morons out, we'd appreciate it greatly.

13th July 2006, 11:37 AM
Okay, boot into Fedora and then sign into a terminal as root (su -) ... yes, that space and minus sign are important... then password and then type: "fdisk -l" (that's the small letter L). That will give him the partiion scheme for his computer. Hopefully he will see that Windows XP is in place on the other drive and that it is not overwritten by Fedora. If things are okay there, post the results on this thread and we'll see about giving details to get "other" (yes, that's for Windows) booting correctly. In any case, you now understand why it's so important to back up your data before any adventure.

13th July 2006, 05:41 PM
Disk /dev/hda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 * 1 510 4096543+ 83 Linux
/dev/hda2 1021 9729 69955042+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/hda3 511 1020 4096575 83 Linux

Partition table entries are not in disk order

Disk /dev/hdb: 40.0 GB, 40020664320 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4865 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdb1 * 1 2295 18434556 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/hdb2 2296 4865 20643525 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)

There's the results of what I typed in. I'm not sure what any of that **** means (as this is all new to me). Thanks for replying, btw.

13th July 2006, 06:11 PM
Looks like you may still have your windows, can you now post the contents of /boot/grub/grub.conf? To edit this file you will have to be root again like Bob said, su - password then
gedit /boot/grub/grub.conf
There are two approaches here, one is to modify your grub "easiest" sometimes and the other would be to tell you computer in the BIOS to boot to the drive you want to use.

13th July 2006, 07:03 PM
I'll bet that this gets solved by modifying Windows (Other) as follows:

First, as root, again type the code that LLS provided, which will open that window to edit your grub.conf. Next, at the bottom, you'll find Other (which is Windows - and you might as well change the name while you're at it):

title Windows
map (hd0) (hd1)
map (hd1) (hd0)
rootnoverify (hd1,0)
chainloader +1

Then hit 'enter' after 'chainloader +1" to add a blank line underneath the last entry so that it's read correctly. Save and exit that window, then type 'exit' to leave root and save your work. Reboot and test.

What you've done is given your computer mapping instructions on switching from one drive to the other and then to boot the first partition of your second drive which should be Windows. A couple of notes here: The computer counts from zero when looking at drives and partitions, so the first partition of the first drive (hda) will be equivalent to (hd0,0) while the first partition of your second drive (hdb) will be equivalent (hd1,0). And that * next to a partition indicates it contains 'boot' so, in your case 'boot' for fedora will be on hda1 and 'boot' for Windows will be on hdb1.

13th July 2006, 10:45 PM
lol. I knew that would never be as easy as it sounds. So I did the steps you two have given me, rebooted, selected windows xp and it too me to the "Microsoft Windows 98 Startup Menu" which I thought was weird, because I was running WinXP.

So I chose to run Normal (option 1) and this came up

Warning: Windows detected a registry/configuration error. Choose Command Prompt Only and run SCANREG. So I rebooted, selected Command Prompt Only (option 5) and got this...

The following files were missing or corrupted

Cannot find WIN.COM


13th July 2006, 11:19 PM
Uh-oh! That doesn't sound good. We thought that Windows was on hdb1 and at one point some version was...but not now. Anyway, if Windows XP was also on hdb, we still have a chance. When the grub menu appears at boot, stop it and then go to the Windows boot and type 'e' to edit. Then, highlight the line 'rootnoverify (hd1,0)' and try 'rootnoverify (hd1,1)' which is the only other Windows partition that's mentioned. Hopefully XP is hidden there. After the edit, hit Enter and then 'b' to boot and see if you get XP. If correct, you can then go back and modify /boot/grub/grub.conf to make the change permanent.

If not....you've overwritten XP with the Fedora install and your data is toast.

13th July 2006, 11:32 PM
ok, so i did that, and it told me to remove any media from the drives. there was nothing in the drives, so i hit enter to continue, and it told me insert a boot disk. i put in my windows restore cd, and i had the option to restore windows, and go to a command line. when i chose to restore windows, it began to reinstall windows, so i canceled it, because i don't think that's what i'm ready to do yet..

i'm probably screwed, but i'm glad you're being so patient.

13th July 2006, 11:34 PM
Here's one other option that we should try: Go into your bios and look for the boot section and find a place where you can switch the boot order from the first drive to the second drive. If you haven't overwritten Windows and it's on the other drive, it should boot normally and ignore Fedora. That's bios-switching to dual-boot. If that fails, eep! Grab that Windows install CD and get ready to reload it. You'd be installing it on hdb, not over-writing Fedora.

13th July 2006, 11:38 PM
lol. i'm really sorry, but you'll have to baby me through this process. before last night, i've never touched a linus OS.. where are my bios? :(

13th July 2006, 11:58 PM
That's the Basic Input Output System that tells your box of parts that it's a computer! When you start to boot, you'll see a flash screen that gives you instructions (quickly) about what key to hit to go into the bios (might call it 'startup') .

14th July 2006, 12:33 AM
oook. so. i went into my setup. i had tons of options, but i'm sure these are the two i should be concerned with, so here's what I had..

"Standard CMOS Features" which took me to a screen with..

IDE Primary Master WDC WD800EB 11DJF0
IDE Primary Slave WDC WD400BB OOCXA0
IDE Secondary Master LITE-ON COMBO LTC-48
IDE Secondary Slave None

and then I had "Advanced BIOS Features" which gave me this screen

Hard Disk Boot Priority (which, when selected gave me the option to switch the two below, which i tried)
Pri. M WDC WD800EB 11DJF0
First Boot CDROM
Second Boot Floppy
Third Boot Hard Disk

I could switch out the boot order with Floppy, LS120, Hard Drive, CDROM, Zip100, LAN, and Disable.

I tried switching the order of the hard disk boot priority, which, when restarted, took me to a black screen with a GRUB prompt. Didn't know what to do with that, so I switched them back.
I switched the order of the First, Second, and Third Boot, but nothing different happened, so I put them back the way they were.

14th July 2006, 02:04 AM
Well I'm convinced that your Window$ install is toast. Anyone have any more voodoo for him to try? Anyway, if you don't have a backup, you may want to boot to Linux and browse the data on those two Window$ partitions in case you have important data there. You can then back it up somewhere (CD, Floppy, your Linux partition, the Internet) because installing Windows would probaly wipe hdb clean. You are in for a bit of a wild ride if I'm right about what I think bob has in mind. You probably won't understand half of it at first. Another suggestion, you may want to download and burn a copy of Knoppix (http://www.knoppix.org/) (a Linux distro that runs from CD) so if you destroy your Fedora install you can still boot the computer to get online and ask for help :) .

14th July 2006, 02:18 AM
Run XP off the DVD. I think the first screen has an option to repair on the command line [R]. Choose that. It will give you an option to choose which Windows install you want to boot into (assuming my first assumption is correct). It should be 1. Choose that. If you have a Administrator password it will ask for it. The steps I have outlined here I have not done in a long while. I'm hoping they should be obvious when you meet them.

At the prompt run: fixmbr


Grub should be deleted and XP should load. Place the FC5 DVD/1st install disc into the drive while in XP.

Reboot with the FC5 install disc/DVD in the CD/DVD drive (I assume that your BIOS boots from the CD/DVD drive before the main HD). - It would be helpful if you gave us what your boot order sequence is in your BIOS.

When the linux disc comes with a screen where you have options, type: linux rescue

Follow the prompts.

Once the process finishes, at the prompt type type: chroot /mnt/sysimage

Then: grub-install /dev/hda1


It would seem unusual for XP to be on hdb if the user is not computer (or even Linux) savvy. Given that I would suspect a XP install would be on a NTFS drive, it leads me to also believe that XP has been wiped from this computer.

MS OSs' have a tendency of wanting to take over the primary master. Inmost cases, the MS OS will be there unless you purposefully put it elsewhere. Of course it could be elsewhere by mistake.