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My work laptop is an HP EliteBook with one hard drive in it. On that hard drive is a encryption program that boots up called "safeboot", you enter your username and password and then Windows boots up. Wanting to use this for personal use I removed the CD drive and installed a 2nd hard drive bay instead. On the 2nd hard drive I loaded Linux Mint 14 and was using it for months. Then I wanted to try Ubuntu 12.10 so I partitioned the 2nd hard drive and installed 12.10. Now when booting up if I choose to boot from the first hard drive it goes straight into the grub boot loader. If I remove the 2nd hard drive and boot up it says grub is missing. Any thoughts?

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The title is now very misleading now that it has been edited. I dont care about the grub boot loader missing after I removed the second hdd. I NEED my windows installation back since it is my work laptop. I no longer have any access to my windows installation or the encryption program "safeboot" – gbkabitz Mar 4 '13 at 0:27
You need to mention that, which you didn't. Feel free to edit it back, but you certainly didn't mention all you wanted was windows, so I misunderstood. – Seth Mar 4 '13 at 0:38
So is the problem the fact that Windows isn't showing up in Grub or that it isn't loading? – Nathan Osman Mar 4 '13 at 0:38
Origionally before windows even loads, there needs to be a program called "safe boot" that pops up. "Safe boot" is an encryption program for sda1, sda1 has windows xp on it. Issue = safe boot never loads since i installed 12.10. – gbkabitz Mar 4 '13 at 5:32

"Now when booting up if I choose to boot from the first hard drive it goes straight into the grub boot loader."

In order to understand what's going on here, you need to understand exactly how Grub works. Because a bootloader installed to a hard-drive's MBR (Master Boot Record) must not be larger than 512 bytes, Grub is divided into two stages:

  • Stage 1 consists of a very small program. This program's sole purpose is to load and run Stage 2. The actual process for doing this depends on your version of Grub. An important point to note here is that Stage 1 must be able to find Stage 2 in order to run it.

  • Stage 2 is responsible for displaying the menu you see when you boot and actually passing control over to the selected operating system.

When installing Ubuntu, the installer typically copies Stage 1 to the MBR of the first disk. Because you installed Ubuntu to the second disk, Stage 2 was likely installed there.

"If I remove the 2nd hard drive and boot up it says grub is missing."

This is because Stage 2 (which, if you remember, is responsible for actually displaying the menu) is located on the disk you removed.

"Any thoughts?"

Grub is capable of chainloading Windows - this means that Grub simply invokes Windows' own bootloader as if it had been directly invoked by the BIOS. If Windows isn't showing up in the Grub menu, then the problem is that Grub isn't detecting the Windows installation.

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I would have to guess that Grub isnt detecting the Windows installation because it is encrypted, correct? – gbkabitz Mar 4 '13 at 5:36
@gbkabitz: Yeah, I'm guessing that your encryption program isn't being detected by Grub. – Nathan Osman Mar 4 '13 at 8:15
So might there be a way to remove grub? I would like to avoid going to my boss and telling him i screwed up my work laptop and now need him to spend hours setting it back up for me – gbkabitz Mar 4 '13 at 14:58
@gbkabitz: That might be relatively straightforward if it weren't for the encryption program. You need to copy the SafeBoot bootloader back to the MBR of your first disk. I did some quick searching and came across this page that might be of assistance. You might also try searching for "safeboot restore mbr" for some more suggestions. – Nathan Osman Mar 4 '13 at 21:51
Thanks for all your suggestions, I ran out of time and had to go to my boss and have him rebuild my laptop. Security is so tight that he is the only one able to do it. I got a stern finger shook at me lol. Anyway thanks for all the help! I will bookmark that link for next time! – gbkabitz Mar 8 '13 at 0:19

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