Debian Grub 1.99 alters BIOS (confirmed after formatting hard disk)

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Thread: Debian Grub 1.99 alters BIOS (confirmed after formatting hard disk)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013

    Debian Grub 1.99 alters BIOS (confirmed after formatting hard disk)

    Hi, I am a long time Windows user and recently try this Debian Wheezy OS. Burn Debian ISO in Windows environment and then select DVD ROM drive to boot first in BIOS.

    The first installation of Debian (GNOME) was with multi-boot option that allows booting from hard disk and DVD drive. I then realise my BIOS was altered when the ACER Phoenix BIOS F2 button fails to response but there is the F12 button to select a unique multi-boot environment. I was then able to boot to FreeDOS to install a DOS environment which I then use to load a CD containing DOS BIOS which I then use to flash the ACER provided BIOS. My ACER Phoenix BIOS was restored. I still don't think Debian OS installation can actually alter my BIOS.

    The second installallation of Debian (KDE) was only with hard disk booting option. I use ReFIND, hoping to boot to CentOS DVD but the Anaconda boot to command line interface and I don't know what to do do initiate the CentOS disc installation. I then use Live GParted to partition and format the hard disk, hoping the Grub 1.99 will be removed and my original BIOS restored. When I reboot, my BIOS F2 continue not to work with no multi-boot selection (F12) and then the BIOS shows "Operating System not found".

    Is the BIOS altered to BIOS-UEFI?

    what can I do now? Use my other computer to:-
    Try to boot USB operating system?
    Try to boot USB Grub?
    Try to boot Phoenix Crisis (WINCRIS.exe)?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Newcastle upon Tyne

    Welcome to Justlinux!

    AFAIK no operating system would amend the Bios.

    What you have experienced is Grub 1.99 being installed into the MBR from a previous installation. By nuking away the partition, even re-formatting it will not touch the MBR.

    As a rule a boot loader information in the MBR can only be overwritten by another bootloader.

    The MBR of your hard disk is the first 512bytes containing the partition table. It does not belong to any partition. When a PC completes the POST operation it always read the MBR and hand over the control of the PC to whatever system the MBR pointing to. In your case it point to an area reformatted.

    Every PC boot loader has two parts. Part1 is always inside the MBR. The purpose of Part1 is to load Part2 which is the actual intelligence of the boot loader residing inside the partition of the parent OS.

    MS Windows part1 has no output and it only search every primary partition and boots the one marked "active". Thus if it doesn't work no one knows.

    Having Grub 1.99 left is MBR doesn't do any harm. Windows' boot loaders will do the same thing but nobody notices it.

    If you install another OS successfully the hard disk will work perfectly.
    Last edited by saikee; 09-10-2013 at 02:38 PM.
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