• Creator
  • #2224609

    Copying or replacing a MBR – is it possible?


    by bubble_boy ·

    I just want to know if it’s possible to create a mbr on one hard disk, and somehow copy it to another hard disk, in order to get the second disk to boot.

    They are both running XP Pro – and I have given the second installation the exact same details as the original one.

    When booting with both disks in place, it works fine – booting into the original disk (Even though this disk is the slave & the new disk is the master).

    I want to copy the MBR from one to the other, but don’t know how to go about it – e.g. What files would I need to copy ?

    I hope this makes sense to you folks.

    PLEASE Help me

All Answers

  • Author
    • #2617485


      by bubble_boy ·

      In reply to Copying or replacing a MBR – is it possible?


    • #2617480

      Navigate here

      by gary56789 ·

      In reply to Copying or replacing a MBR – is it possible?

      The MBR you are trying to replace needs to be set up as the master (not slave) and you need to boot from the XP setup CD into Recovery Mode.

      • #2617475


        by bubble_boy ·

        In reply to Navigate here

        I just Tried this approach, but it didn’t work for me. Still getting the “Error Loading Operating System” message, after POST.

        Although, it’s still an interesting piece of information that will almost certainly come in useful in the future.


    • #2617478

      Copying, not sure.

      by mylittlemansanidiot ·

      In reply to Copying or replacing a MBR – is it possible?

      Replacing, certainly. If I’m understanding correctly, you have 2 drives in the same machine, both with XP installations, and you want to change which drive windows is booting from?

      Try removing the original drive altogether and seeing if the 2nd drive will boot. If it does, replace the original drive and see what happens. It may force the bios to look to the 2nd drive for the MBR.

      If the drive doesn’t boot, then it’s MBR is either missing or corrupt. You can do a number of things. One is to boot from your XP disk and select to run the recover console. this will take you to a command prompt, where you type fixboot. This will either fix the boot commands stored in the MBR, or tell you to use fixmbr. To use fixmbr you type in fixmbr (you’ll get a warning that completing the task may make the partition table unreadable, you might just have to risk this), once you’ve done that then run fixboot again.

      Another option is to go into your BIOS, under the boot sequence you might find you can change the preference given to which drive is used for the MBR.

      Hopefully this is helpful for you.

      • #2617472

        To clarify the problem ….

        by bubble_boy ·

        In reply to Copying, not sure.

        OK – tried the recovery console stuff, but it didn’t work.

        Here’s the situation, as clearly as I can put it….

        Originally, there was one hard disk which ran XP Pro. Everything worked great.

        Then, for whatever reason, it wouldn’t boot. There was a message that stated “Unmountable Boot Volume”.

        I then tried installing a second hard disk, with XP Pro. I had intended to do this, so that I could gain access to files, and back them up on DVDs.

        I powered on the machine, expecting it to boot into the new installation on the master disk, but instead, it booted straight into the old installation.

        When I removed the second disk, I recieved a message that said “error loading operating system”.

        I have tried the fixmbr and fixboot.
        I can see through DOS that all the Files are still on the original disk, but It just won’t boot up on that disk alone.

        I could go in through the second installation, and burn off the files to DVD, as I had planned to do earlier, – but after seeing that the original installation is still there, I just want to avoid the hastle of formatting the drive, & re-installing XP & all of the applications that were previously installed.

        Hope this clarifies the situation.

        Thanks for your help

    • #2617470

      you can backup and restore the MBR

      by cg it ·

      In reply to Copying or replacing a MBR – is it possible?

      basically saving it to a floppy or even just print it out with prtscn when looking at it in an editor.

      # dd if=device of=mbr.bin bs=512 count=1

      to save it run the command above which creates the file mbr.bin. then copy to floppy ….

      but I don’t think that’s the problem. corrupt mbrs are few and far between.

      even if you fix a broken MBR using a DOS Fix MBR, windows XP uses NTldr, NTdetect and boot.ini

      see this article.

      and this one in creating boot floppies for XP. Boot floppies are good for fixing MBRs boot.ini but are not good for problems that happen after the startup screen.

      so on the first article, you can do the boot.ini editing on the slave drive that has the bad copy through the good bootable partition.

      • #2617314

        :) :) :) This Worked :) :) :)

        by bubble_boy ·

        In reply to you can backup and restore the MBR

        This worked fabulously for me.

        Thank you VERY much.

        To think, I was all ready to format.

        Thank you again.

        I have promptly made a ghost image of the hard disk, so next time I’ll be prepared.

    • #2879934


      by utility57 ·

      In reply to Copying or replacing a MBR – is it possible?

      I was repairing a mini 10 and got everything cleaned up on it, but the MBR, I have tried to boot to an external liteon dvd drive, with cd, and tried with an boot-able sdcard, system does recognize both external storage devices but i have tried everything to boot either of them. and it keeps going to windows, I am unable to reset/setup bios, very little amount of items in bios are able to be changed.. so how can i boot to something to fix the mbr.. the system had received a virus and that is what i was doing,was cleaning it up..
      I have tried ctrl-f11, f12, f10 f8 , i dont remember what else trying to get access to those devices to fix it, can anyone assist me

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