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Does Ubuntu cause problems with the Grub loader?

Sorry about the horrible question title, I could not for the life of me think of how to word it.

Now down to business.

I’ve used Linux before, I’ve used Ubuntu, and Fedora Core. However, I haven’t used Ubuntu on dual boot. I know with Fedora Core, if you install it in Dual Boot with Windows, it works fine until you uninstall Fedora Core, because then it will stop at the Grub loader and complain that it’s missing.

My question is, does Ubuntu also cause the same issues with Grub loader? Right now I’ve got a Notebook, all Windows. I’m thinking about shrinking the partition and putting Ubuntu on the rest of the drive. However, should I decide to uninstall Ubuntu, will Windows work fine with it afterward? Or will I have to go through the annoyance of removing the grub loader like with Fedora Core?

Any answers, help, or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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  1. Kr0w | Dec 12, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve never had a problem with Ubuntu and the GRUB loader in the past. Probably the one problem that I’ve experienced regarding it would be Installing a Windows Partition After the Ubuntu partition, which caused the GRUB loader to stop functioning. As long as you’ve installed the Ubuntu Partition with the GRUB loader after the Windows Partition and don’t delete the Ubuntu Partition, you should be fine with loading Ubuntu. If you decide that you don’t want Ubuntu anymore, and you decide to uninstall it, then you’ll probably get ERROR 22 (depends on the way that you install/delete the Ubuntu Partition) which causes you to not be able to load any OS, unless you remove the GRUB loader.

  2. inclusive_disjunction | Dec 12, 2010 | Reply

    This is universal for anything that uses the GRUB bootloader. Let me explain why.

    At the very beginning of the hard drive is a small section called the MBR (Master Boot Record). A small program can be placed here. In the case of GRUB, this is called “stage 1″, Windows has it’s own unnamed MBR. The MBR then jumps to a specified location on the hard drive and launches another piece of code. For GRUB, this is either Stage 1.5 or Stage 2. In Windows, this is the NTLDR. Stage 2 of GRUB will read a list of kernels / operating systems, and either boot it directly, or it will present a list. NTLDR reads boot.ini, which serves a similar purpose.

    When you install a Linux distribution in a dual-boot, it will replace any previous MBR with the one for GRUB. If set up to do so, it will be able to launch NTLDR as well. But if you delete the Linux partition, the MBR cannot find the stage 2 of GRUB, and will report the “Error 22″ message. Doing the same thing to Windows would have resulted in a “NTLDR is missing. Press Ctrl-ALt-Delete to restart.”

    So, in short, anytime you replace the MBR, and it relies on loading another program, deleting the partition that that program is on will render the system unbootable. Some bootloaders, such as GAG, do not need this extra program, so deleting one system would not render the entire system unbootable.

    EDIT: I drew you a picture to illustrate a possible partition scheme that would eliminate some headache for you.

    http://img100.imageshack.us/my.php?image=partitionschema.png

    It will require slightly more time setting up the partitions, but if you remove Linux, you won’t have to reinstall Window’s MBR. It will cost you about 100 MB of space. It can be used with any Linux distro, not just Ubuntu. Boot partition should be about 100 MB. Spelling errors are intentional.

  3. jlbudweiser | Dec 12, 2010 | Reply

    i just did this! to remove ubunutu i reinstalled XP over iit, bye formatting the ubuntu partion, on reboot ,the boot choices are both XP, i chose the second xp(original) booted up and used reg edit to change boot order. now it shows both XP programs ,but reboots in the original, i shrunk the second partion to regain disk space, but left it there for possible replacement.

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