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Rad Community Technical Discussion Boards (Computer Hardware + PC Software) >> PC Hardware + Software (except Cloning programs) >> Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
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Message started by Rad on Mar 26th, 2009 at 7:19pm

Title: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Rad on Mar 26th, 2009 at 7:19pm
I have a 20-gig EXT3 partition on my laptop drive (160-GB), which I'm thinking about converting to NTFS, so I can use that space for virtualized installations.

I think I would be able to spend more time in/with Linux this way.

But I'm concerned that if I do (reformat EXT3, where Ubuntu 8.04 is currently installled), GRUB might get 'confused' (for lack of a better word) and give me boot problems.

What would be the best way to go about this? I mean, I know how to reformat .. I'm talking about how to deal with grub, which I think is installed in the MBR. It pops up first-thing right after the BIOS, and givs me the option to boot either to Ubuntu or WXP.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by MrMagoo on Mar 26th, 2009 at 9:15pm
Yes, reformatting that will give you boot problems.  

GRUB stage 1.5 boot loader is on the MBR.  Stage 2, which is the menu you actually see, is most likely on that partition.  Reformatting it will break GRUB.

You can remove GRUB and go back to the Windows boot manager, but that means rewriting your MBR.  It's not hard, but it takes a few mins. of messing around.  You could reinstall GRUB so that it gets Stage 2 from a different partition, but I think that could get confusing.

Probably your easiest option would be to boot from a LiveCD (Like the Ubuntu install CD), remove all the data on that partition EXCEPT the /boot directory, then shrink the partition to something like 100 MB and make a new partition in the empty space.  That way, GRUB will keep working exactly like it does now but you will have nearly all of that space to work with in another OS.

I'm not a big fan of dual-booting anymore, either.  Rebooting the computer just to get to a different program or check something out is just no fun.  Virtual machines are much better if you are only occasionally using another OS.  I have a Windows VM for my poker game and PayPal Virtual Debit Card plugin.  

Personally, I didn't feel like I ever got over the hump of the Linux learning curve until I made it my primary OS.  It did take a chunk of time.  In some ways, I felt like I was re-learning how to use computers, which was frustrating at times since I had thought of myself as an 'advanced user' for so long.  But, considering what it did for my career, I can say that it was well worth it.

If anyone on this forum is interested in taking the leap, feel free to email me if you have any questions.  Sometimes it can be really helpful if someone helps get you started with the most basic stuff.  I remember spending an entire evening on one of the first days trying to find the Linux equal of 'dir /P'.  Any Linux user with 5 days of experience can tell you 10 ways to do it ('ls | more' is a common one) but on day 1 it can feel very foreign.  Once you get over the hump, it gets a lot easier and you start to feel like you can do just about anything in Linux with enough Googlefoo.

I recently set my Radified email address to filter into my Gmail account, which I check about multiple times a day, so I should be able to respond in a reasonable time ;)  

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Brian on Mar 26th, 2009 at 9:57pm
Rad,

I'm wondering why you need grub if you will only have WinXP.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by NightOwl on Mar 26th, 2009 at 10:39pm
@ Brian

I think Rad was asking how best to get rid of GRUB and revert back to using a standard boot MBR without causing boot problems.

I though there was an uninstall routine included with GRUB so you can revert--No?!

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by NightOwl on Mar 27th, 2009 at 12:27am
@ Rad

Here's an outline:

How to Uninstall the Grub Bootloader from a Dual Boot XP System With an XP CD

Here's a Google Search:

how to uninstall grub bootloader

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Brian on Mar 27th, 2009 at 1:06am
Rad,

Or from your new Partition Work BING CD. 3 clicks.

View MBR, Std MBR, Apply.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by NightOwl on Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:01am
@ Brian


Quote:
your new Partition Work BING CD

Not familiar with the reference--is *Partition Work* the name of the partitioning tool that comes with BING?

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Brian on Mar 27th, 2009 at 3:54pm
@ NightOwl


NightOwl wrote on Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:01am:
is *Partition Work* the name of the partitioning tool that comes with BING?  

That's correct.

You can make either of two BING boot disks. A full one and one that has the boot manager missing. The latter one boots straight into Partition Work and is the preferable disk if you don't want BING installed on the HD. With the full disk there are a few Install screens where you have to click Cancel before you get to Partition Work.

http://radified.com/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1237655769/15#16

There is a one month fully functional trial if you would like to play with it.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Rad on Mar 27th, 2009 at 9:56pm
Thanks. You guys rock. Was busy playing dad for a few days.

Next question, how best to REFORMAT.

Normally, using Microsoft tools would be best.

I opened 'Disk Management' in WXP (right-click My Computer > select 'Manage' > Disk Management) .. but when I right-click on the EXT3 ("unknown") partition, only option I see is > 'delete'. All others (including 'format') are grayed out.

EXT3 = 18 gigs (primary, right after C drive, just b4 extended logical) ; Linux swap = 1 gig (inside of extended logical)

What say ye experts?

I'm guessing I should delete it, then create new NTFS, but wondering if MS tools will have trouble deleting EXT3.

Screen shot attached:


Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Rad on Mar 27th, 2009 at 10:28pm
Test attachment:
radDisk2.gif (19 KB | 619 )

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Rad on Mar 27th, 2009 at 10:43pm
I see 3 Ubuntu 8.10 virtual machines at VMWare:

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/57922 (512 MB RAM, 637 MB)

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/54735 (512 MB RAM, 893 MB, TuxDistro)

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/55429 (only 320 MB memory, so I think this would be least favorite. I think MB RAM is only tweakable if I have the Workstation version of VMWare, right?)

Can Magoo/somebody tell me which would be best?

Source page:

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/cat/508?page=46&sort=title

I am using the latest freebie VMWare Player (v2.51). I have 2GB RAM.

I think the top one would be best. Most standardized; most allotted memory.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by NightOwl on Mar 28th, 2009 at 12:43am
@ Rad


Quote:
Next question, how best to REFORMAT.

Normally, using Microsoft tools would be best.

Personally--I have been using PartitionMagic for years--v8.xx--it's never let me down.  I've used *Fdisk* and the WinXP *Disk Mgmt*--but, mostly for testing.

You could also use Ghost's *Gdisk*--there's a DOS and Windows version (gdisk32)--a command line only utility like *fdisk*.  Again, I've only used *gdisk* for testing--but, it has always worked!

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Brian on Mar 28th, 2009 at 1:50am
Rad,

I haven't used WinXP Disk Management to delete partitions for ages so take this with a grain of salt. Delete Partition, Create Partition, Format will be a subsequent choice.

In BING it's Delete, Create, choose NTFS File System and Size. Boot to WinXP and format (Disk Management) as NTFS for reasons outlined by Dan.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Rad on Mar 28th, 2009 at 2:05pm
Okay, I tried BING Boot CD loaded with 'Partition Work' to reset the MBR like Brian suggested and indeed it does work and is incredibly simple. Rebooting is the worst part.

One small caveat, after you click the 'Apply' button in the pop-up window that appears after you click the 'Standard MBR' button, you have to *again* click the 'Apply' button on the main big window .. after you've already clicked the 'Apply' button on the small pop-up window (that says it applies your changes to disk). I wasn't sure what the second 'Apply' would do.

In other words, you gotta click the word 'Apply' TWICE.

I was looking for a button to close the big window after I "applied" the changes to disk, but saw none, so I clicked the next closest-looking button, which was 'Cancel'.

Think I canceled these changes, cuz GRUB was still there on subsequent reboot.

But after I clicked 'Apply' AGAIN (twice). GRUB was gone.

I also deleted the Linux Native and Linux swap partitions and and created NTFS partitions in their place.

Going to format them both now inside of WXP Disk Management.

One small question, when I was deleting the Linux native partition, I saw a small checkbox for "Clear Boot Sector". Wasn't entirely sure whether or not I should check that box. I knew the Linux partition did have boot info which I wanted cleared, or which the upcoming formatting would clear. I *did* check that box for Linux native but not for Linux swap.

I will say that I was impressed with the BING prgm and the interface. Very clear. Easy to see why folks like it so much.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Rad on Mar 28th, 2009 at 2:24pm
Okay, formatting done. Everything looks hunky-dory. Was surprised to see that the former Linux swap partition (extended logical) receive drive letter b4 the former Linux native (Primary partition).

Gonna extract my Virtual Machine onto new 18-gig NTFS partition. Surprised to see that a 637-MB 7-Zip file extracts to nearly 3 Gigs. That's some good compression.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by Brian on Mar 28th, 2009 at 3:05pm

Quote:
after you click the 'Apply' button in the pop-up window that appears after you click the 'Standard MBR' button,


That is an “OK”. So I should have said the sequence is

View MBR
Std MBR
OK
Apply
Close

Still, it's pretty simple. 5 quick clicks.





Quote:
I saw a small checkbox for "Clear Boot Sector".


It’s up to you. I usually clear the boot sector it but if you leave the checkbox not ticked you can undelete the partition if you later realize you made a mistake. “Undelete” appears in the Actions column on the right side of Partition Work when you select the Free Space where the partition used to reside. If you create a new partition after deleting the old partition, the old boot sector is overwritten and the old partition can’t be undeleted.

Title: Re: Magoo Ubuntu Linux GRUB EXT3 removal
Post by MrMagoo on Mar 28th, 2009 at 10:39pm

Rad wrote on Mar 27th, 2009 at 10:43pm:
I see 3 Ubuntu 8.10 virtual machines at VMWare:

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/57922 (512 MB RAM, 637 MB)

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/54735 (512 MB RAM, 893 MB, TuxDistro)

http://www.vmware.com/appliances/directory/55429 (only 320 MB memory, so I think this would be least favorite. I think MB RAM is only tweakable if I have the Workstation version of VMWare, right?)

Can Magoo/somebody tell me which would be best?


As I mentioned in the other thread, VirtualBox is probably better.  You get to set up the virtual machine yourself and tweak the amount of memory anytime the virtual machine isn't running.  

It also gives you access to the physical CD drive and physical USB devices (although USB can be buggy in my exp.)  There is also a Remote Desktop type features where you can access your virtual hosts from another machine.  I've never had use for that, but it could come in handy.

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