I installed Ubuntu 10.10 on an external drive, Grub too. Now I cannot boot my laptop without that external device. Could there be a way to choose between Windows 7 bootloader and grub at the same time? I want to be able to boot my laptop without the external driver.

Could it be done without reinstalling Ubuntu ?


I think that EasyBCD is your solution. You can enjoy your Windows Bootloader while keeping GRUB.

  • Dude i read the description and feel it's totally the solution. Are you using it ? I'll try to switch to windows, install and see the magic myself. Appreciated.
    – Istari8th
    Nov 18 '10 at 14:45
  • I used it before, now I'm loving BURG. ;)
    – Reda Lazri
    Nov 20 '10 at 11:17

It seems that Grub overwrite your windows bootloader because Grub is not installed on your external drive but on your laptop drive.

Two things to do :

  • Restore your Windows bootloader
  • Install the Grub bootloader on your external drive so that Grub only appear when you choose to boot on that drive

How to restore your Windows bootloader

  • Start Windows with a rescue or boot disk then run fdisk /mbr
  • OR Start Ubuntu, install lilo and restore your MBR(Master Boot Record)

    sudo apt-get install lilo

    sudo lilo -M /dev/sda mbr (assuming that your boot partition is on /dev/sda)

How to install Ubuntu on your external drive without corrupting your windows bootloader

  • Start Ubuntu installation process with LiveCD
  • Select "Specify partitions manually"

    alt text

  • Choose partition on your external drive for your datas

  • Choose the partition to install your Boot loader : here choose the partition on your external drive Caution : default value is /dev/sda that is your netbook internal drive, you have to change default value !

    alt text

  • Go on with your installation the classic way

Using this method, your system will boot on windows unless you plug your external drive and choose it as boot disk (using F12 or other special key at startup).

I use this system with Windows on my laptop and Ubuntu on a usb key and it works fine.

  • I'll do this every time I got to reinstall Ubuntu. Thx.
    – Istari8th
    Nov 18 '10 at 14:46

What you should've done is keep the Windows bootloader in place, and install grub on the external drive. If you are very new to this, I think there will be people making easier suggestions. Otherwise, try the instructions here: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/33433/restore-the-windows-boot-loader-after-an-ubuntu-update/ and also maybe here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RecoveringUbuntuAfterInstallingWindows

  • Thanks for the answer. I really should learn more about this.
    – Istari8th
    Nov 18 '10 at 13:12
  • You're welcome. Since you appear new here, I'll assume you don't know this yet. If you find a particular question or answer useful , you can click the ^ button to "upvote" it, and vice versa. And if a certain answer actually "answers" your question, then you can click the check mark to "accept" it as the answer . But my apologies if you already knew that.
    – Mussnoon
    Nov 18 '10 at 13:20
  • Yeah but up vote require 15 reputations. My apology for not being able to return the kindness.
    – Istari8th
    Nov 18 '10 at 13:47
  • No apologies needed whatsoever. Glad to be of help.
    – Mussnoon
    Nov 18 '10 at 13:53

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.