Sorry about the excessively long question, but I figured giving more information would be better.
I recently bought a new desktop for myself, running Windows 7. It has two hard drives, and I wanted to install Ubuntu on a small partition on the second hard drive. I created 25GB "free space" in Windows and ran a LiveCD install. I wanted to select the install options myself but accidentally selected "Install alongside Windows 7," but it seemed to pick up the free space and installed itself there as I wanted it to. However, I was told that the bootloader installation had failed. I chose to "Cancel installation," leaving my computer unable to boot. I wiped my computer and reinstalled Windows.
After that, I tried installing Ubuntu through Windows using WUBI, once using files from my LiveCD and once downloading everything again. Both times the install succeeded, but both times when I restarted and tried to load Ubuntu, it gave me an error - wubildr.mbr was corrupt or missing. I checked in Windows - it was indeed present on the C:\ drive.
I went back to the LiveCD installation, this time going the custom options route. I assigned 16GB to an Ext4 journaling file system and 10GB to a swap file. I got the same bootloader error as before. Being prompted to select a different partition to install the bootloader to, I first tried the partition Ubuntu was installed on. A window came up saying that the install had succeeded, but a second window gave me the same error and choices as before. I went through every single option it gave me, including the Windows partition and the hard drives themselves (dev/sda, dev/sdb). Same result. I then chose to not install a bootloader. Windows still works fine, and I assume Ubuntu has installed but is unbootable.
Knowing that my computer could potentially brick itself again - and, this time around, with a lot of data to lose and hassle to go through if I mess it up - I really don't want to do anything without some advice. So I'll ask this:
- Why did the bootloader fail to install? Can I fix the error and install Ubuntu fresh?
- Is there any way to get around the error, install the bootloader, and point it towards an existing installation of Ubuntu?
- Is there a quicker and easier solution I might have missed?
EDIT: Thanks for the tip, AthloX. After testing the liveCD in Virtualbox with no installation problems, I looked around for some alternate bootloaders but had no success.
I attempted another install, which installed the bootloader and Ubuntu just fine but bricked Windows 7. I wiped both hard disks clean, including some "System Reserved" partitions I hadn't noticed before, before re-installing Windows 7 on one hard drive and immediately afterwards installing Ubuntu on the other.
Now the computer boots into Windows, but I can pop into the BIOS at startup to boot into Ubuntu via it's bootloader, and I'm guessing it'll only take a bit of poking at the BIOS to swap the load order.