Hi- deja vu all over again!
Got this old machine I'm tuning up, its got an obsolete Mandrake 9.2 distro on it dual-booting with XP sp2. Whatever the root passwrd was is long gone. In the meantime, across the border, its accumulated a jillion XP updates & such, as well as going thru at least 3 different IS suites.
There's a lot of advice online about fix mbr but it all seems quite dated.
Also there's the circular prob as well.
So- first I can't seem to find out if Mandrake 9.2 used LILO or GRUB, & its not mentioned on the boot screen.
I have recalled a user login & password, but not the root password.
I'm unsure if the original MBR is still stored somewhere, and whether its still best practice to retore the MBR, then reformat the partition.
I'd like to get into the LILO/GRUB setup screen, if it has one, so I'd have to recover root. The original 9.2 install discs are somewhere in my gravity feed filing system.
Any insights or advice? Ironically, I'd like to install Ubuntu instead but it won't fit well in that partition.
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I'm a little hesitant to give advice here because this is a dodgy subject, I had a dual boot on a PC I now use as an HTPC, I wiped the Linux partition because XP worked much better with my Cap Card. (I sure miss the Totem Movie Player though) I used the "GParted" LiveCD (www.distrowatch.com) to delete the Linux and Swap partitions and resize the XP Partition to fill the empty space. I then tagged the XP partition as "boot" in the GParted GUI and used an XP Install CD to boot into the Repair Console and restore the MBR with a "fixmbr". It worked with no problem at all, however since it was a large disc it took a LONG time to delete and resize the partitions. Proceed with Caution!
Thanks GMaq, wish there was a multitude of counselors! I'm downloading GParted now.
I'm hoping it will tell me if the 9.2 boots from LILO or GRUB; if I could just get into there, could I change the boot order?
I'm not very familiar with Mandrake, but in many distros you have to edit the "menu.lst" file found in /boot/grub. There is a disk driver tool you can get to allow read/write access to ext2/3 drives from Windows here: http://www.fs-driver.org/download.html
If it is Grub being used for the bootloader you could access it from the Windows side and edit the menu.lst file. Generally there are instructions in the menu.lst file that will tell you what to change to make a different OS the default. In my dual boot I sometimes do similar things to move or delete folders or files from the Windows side that Linux is giving me permission headaches about. One thing for certain is if you can view the Linux filesystem from Windows you will only have to look in the /boot folder to know if it's grub or lilo. Grub is certainly a lot more common.
Just me, but I would download and burn a LiveCD ISO, and then you can easily browse your partitions for files like menu.lst located in the /boot/gurb directory.
Grub generally announces itself when booting (at least in newer versions, I can't really say for older versions).
What is it that Ubuntu doesn't like about your system preventing an install?
well, progress, sorta; it turns out to be the LILO bootloader...
I got the root password reset, but the mouse & arrow keys didn't work, then a freeze up, so I went in as a regular user and found a KDE 'Drake' graphical computer config panel- it wanted the root password and then I was looking at BOOT options that included both GRUB and 2 versions of LILO, half dozen desktop choices, but no simple uninstall route. There were cancel buttons to lead me back out to rethink things.
The tip was to hit ESCAPE during the graphical boot screen- not Cntrl/F8.
CR- It was Kubuntu most recently; its not an actual install problem, its a run from LiveCD; modules like say KPPP for the dialup modem want to write a file and can't, so they can't be tested for what I need without an actual install. If I knew more I could prob'ly come up with a workaround, but...
... lest you think I'm whining, I've made a dozen trips to the coffeeshop for 2 hour downloads and burned all the ISOs and about half got as far as a desktop- Mint, Kubuntu, Puppy, Xubuntu, Mandriva One, Mepis. Of those, most are too much for either of my old computers.
Good thing I'm stubborn!