Plugging up Windows disk overwrites MBR?

I do want to make it clear I have fixed the issue, besides one minor thing I do want to know how to fix.

I had an old Windows disk I wanted to see if I could get some files off of. I was a Windows XP installation, but it got a virus of some sort and eventually died completely. I had always wanted to try to get my files off of it so I could wipe it and use it as another drive. Well, I plugged it up in my computer and thought that it would just recognize it as a regular data disk, but instead somehow it got automatically set as the boot drive. The computer went from the BIOS splash screen to blank and back a couple times before booting Windows. I then tried resetting the other drive as the boot drive and also unplugging the Windows disk with the same result: an MBR error screen.

I fixed the issue by reinstalling the MBR with the repair tools in the openSUSE disk but I am really curious if anyone knows why this happened. Is it a Windows issue or a motherboard issue or perhaps something else?. My old computer was about 7 years old but this new one is well, brand new. So I haven’t had much experience with newer motherboards but I know they have come out with a lot of new features so for all I know they may have something that can detect a Windows install and rewrite the MBR or something. I also wouldn’t put it past MS to influence($) MB makers to include such a feature.

The one problem I have now is that the boot options no longer display the kernel version, and the splash screen with the progress bar no longer shows, just the standard text. Well, that’s actually two problems, but they are not that big of a deal just really annoying.

Plugging and unplugging HD’s does mess with the BIOS settings. I understand what you were trying to do, and it should not do as you describe. Though perhaps your mistake was not making sure about the boot order once you had connected it. You said it had a virus! Maybe you should have booted from a live CD with it first, like Parted Magic.

Re your other issue.
Have a look and see if there is a file /boot/grub/menu.lst.old
Compare it with /boot/grub/menu.lst

Does it look like it might be the old one?

On 06/06/2010 01:46 AM, caf4926 wrote:
>
> Plugging and unplugging HD’s does mess with the BIOS settings. I
> understand what you were trying to do, and it should not do as you
> describe. Though perhaps your mistake was not making sure about the boot
> order once you had connected it. You said it had a virus! Maybe you
> should have booted from a live CD with it first, like Parted Magic.
>
> Re your other issue.
> Have a look and see if there is a file /boot/grub/menu.lst.old
> Compare it with /boot/grub/menu.lst
>
> Does it look like it might be the old one?

One other thing to check. Does your BIOS let you set the boot priority
of the hard drives? If so, make your old Windows disk not have the
highest value.