Long story, a short answer I hope...


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I have a Dell workstation, bought it on Ebay for a couple hundred dollars, had an EE quad core processor, which was an upgrade to my own machine. So I slipped my old processor into the dell, and it works fine. The machine came with Ubuntu 12.04, and worked nicely before and after the processor swap. Now I'd like to load up win 7 and pass it along to a friend who needs a machine. But I'm having a bad time getting win 7 to install. So far, I have been tryng to use a dell oem full install dvd with sp1. When I boot from the dvd, it does the initial loading of files, then either reboots the computer, or freezes at some point while building the splash screen. I have tried three ways: first just straight over the ubuntu partitions. Next, I booted from gparted and wiped all the partitions. And lastly, I again booted from gparted and made the whole disk a single ntfs primary partition. But the results with the win 7 installation are the same, as described. Does anyone have any insight into where I might be going wrong? Thanks
 
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TrainableMan

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I believe the issue is probably that a GRUB bootloader is on the hard drive. Remove GRUB first then try to install W7.
 
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TM i'm not having any luck with these methods. I do have an old win98 rescue floppy, and an XP install cd or dvd, whatever, and neither one will respond in the expected manner, based on the website above. Neither will allow me to get to a c:\ prompt. The XP cd does the initial file load and then bsods. The floppy flashes the drive light and gives back "error: unknown file system, grub rescue> , which is what it also does when there is no floppy in the drive. The disks are ancient, of course, so maybe they're not happy. or mislabeled. If the > is a prompt of some sort, then perhaps there is something i can do from that? Also, in the wording of the site's instructions they use the expression "with hard drive attached", which makes me think i should be sticking this drive into a working machine, but then the drive will not be a C drive, obviously. I wonder if you have any further thoughts, and thanks.
 

TrainableMan

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You must be actually booting the system to the DVD; the fact you see that message "grub rescue" tells me it is getting to the hard drive for its' boot instructions so either the DVDs you are trying are not "bootable" or you have your BIOS set incorrectly so the DVD is not the first drive checked.

Make sure your BIOS is set so the primary boot device is the DVD, put in the Installation DVD, then shut off the computer and turn it back on. If it is correct then it will boot from the DVD. At that point you do not install, instead you choose other options and find a way to a DOS command prompt >.
At the command prompt type:
# fdisk /mbr
note the spaces before and after fdisk.
 
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no, not so, i'm only seeing that with the floppy. The dvd bsods. After the initial system check, then offer to load raid drivers (f6) it then loads files across the bottom. finishes, then bsod. this is same with win7 disk also, except instead of bsod, it reboots. I have boot order set properly. it will load from optical, usb stick, floppy, all before the hd.
 
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TrainableMan

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But those other things shouldn't load at all if you have in a bootable DVD. It should boot up to the DVD menu and from that DVDs Installation menu you would choose other options, command prompt.
 
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i disagree. what else could it be booting from. the hard drive is wiped, freshly partitioned, with no os on it. i've installed every version of windows since the first one, and while i can hardly remember them all, since theyve gone to optical media this is how its always worked. it loads files, it gives the windows splash screen, and then you get options to install or repair. i just cant get that far, it bsods or it loops a reboot before it gets there. and since both the xp full install disk and the win 7 full install disk do the same thing, the problem must be, as you have already said, this grub thing. i will keep looking for some way to deal with the mbr. perhaps the hard drive mfgs have something. they used to all have a low level disk utility, but its been so long since ive needed one, i don't know anymore. tomorrow i'll try running the cd/dvd on a different machine, to see how it responds there, but i believe i'm correct. and don't take me wrong, i'm certainly not trying to argue with you, and am very grateful for your input. till tomorrow....
 

TrainableMan

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Windows doesn't use GRUB so at least that part of the message has to come from the hard drive; and just because you wiped the data partition doesn't mean you wiped the bootloader. If you properly boot from the DVD then the hard drive would never be touched before you get the DVD's installation menu. That's the point, you are getting through the BIOS post sequence and the next step is that it looks for boot instructions. It looks for those instructions based on the boot order you have set up in the BIOS so if the DVD is the primary boot device in your BIOS then whenever a bootable DVD is in the drive that is where boot instructions come from and no other devices including the hard drive would be accessed.

Now it is possible you have bad RAM or something so just as a test (you won't be able to fix the HD this way), could you disconnect the hard drive (just unplug the SATA cable from the MOBO) and then try booting from the DVD. Without the hard drive will it boot successfully to the W7 installation menu? If not then the computer has other issues besides the hard drive.

But if it does boot to the menu then shut down, reconnect the hard drive, and make sure it boots from the DVD as the primary boot device listed in your BIOS.
 

TrainableMan

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BTW. Apparently you could also remove the GRUB using the Linux OS. See if THIS has any other methods that could help you?
 
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If Grub is stored in the MBR a simple partition wipe will not clear the loader.

I haven't been following all the details. Has the partitions all been deleted? If the partitions have all been deleted, I don't understand where grub would be prompting during a Windows installation. Perhaps transferring the system from the floppy boot disk would clear the MBR. If it is not the MBR causing the issue, I'm at a loss without looking at the system for myself.

I am wondering why the use of floppy boot disk? The Windows installation media is bootable by itself, and has been since Windows 95. I've not used a floppy boot disk since Windows 98. With the introduction of NTFS in Windows XP, I had to re-think my habits of how I installed an OS.
 
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You guys are missing the fact that its only the floppy boot that gives the grub msg and the floppies are ancient, who knows what state they're in. When i boot from xp or 7 dvd i don't get that msg or anything related to the hard drive. only a bsod or a reboot loop. And the floppy bit comes from the post from above as one of the 3 ways to clear the mbr. As to bad ram, I don't think so as the machine worked beautifully under Ubuntu before I wiped it. TM I will pull the sata plug and see what happens and I will try working it thru linux and see what i can do that way. That post does in fact refer to a "immediate reboot" as a symptom. Film at 11, thank you both again.
 

TrainableMan

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only the floppy boot that gives the grub msg and the floppies are ancient, who knows what state they're in. When i boot from xp or 7 dvd i don't get that msg
OK that wasn't clear to me before; then the floppies might not be "bootable" so after it checks the floppy it would proceed to the hard drive.

Any way, hopefully you can use the Live CD or one of the other methods to get GRUB off the hard drive.
 
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If you have any non-essentials such as media readers, sound, or wireless cards, try removing or disconnecting them.

Another thought would be to install Windows while only using one RAM module. It's a long shot but you never know when one of the modules are causing issues.

Setting the BIOS to default settings could also help. I recently had an issue upgrading RAM modules. After inserting faulty modules, the BIOS was lockup somehow and wouldn't boot even with the previous modules. Removing the battery was the only way to clear the glitch. Another long shot and I'm not suggesting you have a similar glitch, but it is worth a try as well.
 
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i guess i'm not too concerned with hardware at this point. It all worked nicely under ubuntu. But I do hear you, and I appreciate it. I've spent the day on the honey-do list, maybe I'll get some time to play with it during second game. thx all
 

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