Need to repair/reinstall windows, how do I make sure OpenSuse keeps working?


My windows just decided to **** a brick and needs to be repaired/reinstalled. Last time I tried this it shafted the grub boot manager, and I couldn’t get to the OpenSuse partition anymore.

Does anyone know how to handle this? How to install/repair windows without messing up the bootmanager?


This is a common problem, Microsoft refuses to accept the existence of any non MS OS when reinstalling/installing.
There are a number of ways around this, according to your sig you are using 11.3, so pre grub2, this wiill work for you Re-Install Grub Quickly with Parted Magic

Bookmarked…that link might come in handy…thanks for help man. You’re a life saver. I’d hate to loose all my uni-work on the linux partition…

Best regards,


On 04/25/2011 03:06 PM, Daqar wrote:
> I’d hate to loose all my uni-work on the linux partition…

backup before disaster strikes…it will strike, you know!

[openSUSE 11.3 + KDE4.5.5 + Thunderbird3.1.8 via NNTP]
Q: What do you get if you divide the circumference of a jack-o-lantern
by its diameter?
A: Pumpkin Pi!

I’d hate to loose all my uni-work on the linux partition…
backup that info!, If you do not allow the windows reinstall/repair routine to mess with anything other than windows partitions you should be safe, but, backup data, honestly!!

As of late, I have been using the somewhat risky ‘dd’ command to backup my PCs MBR before any installation. I say somewhat risky because once the command is sent, there is no ‘undoing’. So it requires 100% accuracy (and/or lots of backups) :slight_smile:

I installed winXP on a PC earlier this weekend, replacing FreeDOS which was on same partition. The PC now has (from “fdisk -l” command run as root):

   Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1       12748   102398278+   7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2           12749       16572    30716280   83  Linux
/dev/sda3   *       16573       18484    15358140   83  Linux
/dev/sda4           18485      182402  1316665344    5  Extended
/dev/sda5           18485       19313     6656000   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6           19313       23775    35840000   83  Linux
/dev/sda7           23775      182402  1274166272   83  Linux

sda1 before the winXP install had freeDOS. As you can see the Boot partition is sda3 which has the / (root) of an openSUSE-11.4 install.

Backup Linux MBR. What I did BEFORE installing winXP was download and burn the liveCD PMagic (currently version-6.0). Then once ready to proceed I booted to PMagic and opened a terminal and backed up the MBR by typing:

dd if=/dev/sda of=MBR-backup-corei7-440 bs=440 count=1

which created the file “MBR-backup-corei7-440”. I plugged in a USB stick and I copied that file “MBR-backup-corei7-440” to the USB stick.

Change partition boot flag to where WinXP will be installed. I also ran gparted from that PMagic liveCD session and removed the ‘boot’ partition flag from /sda3 and instead marked /sda1 as the boot partition. This meant that the PC for the time being would ONLY boot /sda1 (and hence NOT boot Linux).

Install winXP. I then restarted the PC and performed the winXP install, being careful to install on the first partition with winXP (which winXP called C: and linux called /sda1). I confirmed the PC would boot to only winXP (there being no boot manager).

Once winXP was installed, I rebooted to the PMagic liveCD.

backup WinXP MBR. This time, to be cautious, I backed up the winXP MBR from a terminal with the command:

dd if=/dev/sda of=MBR-windows-xp-440 bs=440 count=1

and I plugged in a memory stick and I copied the file “MBR-windows-xp-440” to the USB memory stick. That meant I could always restore the MS-Windows MBR any time. (I did not have to use this backup).

**Restore Linux MBR **. Now that memory stick also still had the file “MBR-backup-corei7-440” from before. So I then using that file from the memory stick, copied that backup MBR onto the hard drive with the ‘dd’ command:

dd if=MBR-backup-corei7-440 of=/dev/sda  bs=440 count=1

Note the entries for ‘if’ and ‘of’ are different. It is ABSOLUTELY important to get that right. Maybe backup the file “MBR-backup-corei7-440” in a second place to ensure you have an extra copy in case one messes this up in a moment of absent mindedness.

**Restore boot flag to Linux **. After I had the MBR restored (with that command) I then in the PMagic session launched the program gparted and removed the boot flag from sda1 and marked sda3 with the boot flag. So now the PC was the SAME as before, with a boot flag on sda3 and the old MBR back in place.

**Restart and all is well **. I then restarted, and I was back to what I had in the beginning, with a bootable Linux on /sda3 and a bootable WinXP OS on /sda1.