My external drive contains Ubuntu and when I don't have it plugged in, I receive an error message with this grub_rescue > .

I don't know what this means or how to fix it, but I want to make it as such that, Windows will load without using the Ubuntu's bootloader screen. This started happening when I updated to the latest version of Ubuntu.

EDIT: The error I am getting when I don't have my external plugged in is 6e3b2d2e-84f4-45b69a81-2279cf411ea and the German message I got was Drucken Sie eine beliebige Taste, um non CD oder DVD zy starten..... Also I tried the command sudo blkid and rebooted without the external unplugged but still got the same error.

  • What is the error that you get..?? – zubair Shaik Jun 28 '12 at 14:49
  • 1
    The problem is because Ubuntu's bootloader is installed on the External drive, and When your externel drive is removed, grub fails to find the boot files. – Anwar Jun 28 '12 at 14:57
  • @KyleEbinger Are you having trouble logging in to edit your question? Without you logging in, there is no good way for most users reviewing suggested edits to know it's really you. – Eliah Kagan Jun 28 '12 at 17:11

It sounds like grub is installed on the internal drive and needs it's files on the external drive to work. You need to do two things, first install grub to the master boot record of the external drive - so that when you boot that drive you can choose to load ubuntu or windows. Second you need to boot the windows disc and repair the master boot record for the internal drive so that it automatically boots windows when the external drive is disconnected.

The first part I can help you with :

Boot your Ubuntu system, open a terminal, then use the following commands to install grub to the external drive :

sudo grub-install /dev/sdX
sudo update-grub

Replacing sdX with the actual drive, which will probably be sdb, but use disk utility to double check if you are unsure.

Then you need to repair the master boot record of the internal drive to load windows automatically, boot your windows disc and it should be straight forward, but somebody else or google will help with that.


| improve this answer | |
  • No need to google much: askubuntu.com/questions/133533/… – Takkat Jun 28 '12 at 15:00
  • The only problem is I don't actually have my Windows disc. My university installed Windows 7 Enterprise on the system for me so I don't have a copy. I'm wondering if I install the Windows 8 Release Preview (which I was planning on doing anyway) if that will correct the issue. Also, I created a system repair disc in Windows but when I try to load it I receive a message in German (I think it's German, don't understand why that would happen) and then it proceeds to show the usual error message with grub_rescue – Kyle Ebinger Jun 28 '12 at 15:35
  • @KyleEbinger: You should be able to use this System Repair Disk for restoring the MBR. If not, then you won't need a licence to repair your system. Any Windows installation CD/DVD or Recovery CD/DVD will do the job, just take care they have the same architecture (32/64 bit). – Takkat Jun 28 '12 at 18:33

It seems, You have installed MBR on the Internal drive and boot files on the external hard drive. So, whenever grub wants boot files, it fails to load that, since they are on external drive.

Follow this procedure:

  • First boot your Ubuntu system from external drive.
  • Open a terminal, type this command to install grub on the external drive.

    sudo grub-install /dev/sda
    sudo update-grub

    This will install mbr on the external hard drive and put the grub2's files in that drive. Replace, /dev/sda with the value of your external drive. You can see that by using command sudo blkid or sudo fdisk -l. If you see, your external drive as /dev/sdb, you should use that value instead of /dev/sda

  • Reboot after unpluggin the external drive, then put your Windows CD/DVD on it. and run the startup repair process. This will bring you Windows with it's Bootloader.

Note: If you want to boot your Ubuntu from external drive, you need to select the external drive from BIOS menu, In my Laptop it is F12, then select external drive, It will bring you Ubuntu (grub) boot loader, which you can use to boot Ubuntu.

See this question for detailed help on restoring Windows

| improve this answer | |

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.