I work for a very tiny charity. I was given 2 Dell Dimension 1100
computers with Debian installed originally, used as test machines.
Their hard drives were wiped on purpose by an external company (long
story, that I'm not too fully aware of) and I was told to try and
recover the (luckily not too critical) data. Taking the first
computer, when starting it up, it showed a GRUB error message. I
booted up Knoppix, downloaded TestDisk, recovered the partitions,
restored from superblock backup and ran fsck. It repaired all
errors, and put all recovered folders in lost+found. I moved all
folders back to where they were and renamed them. I then rebooted
and first machine worked perfect. Taking the second machine, on boot
up, it showed five random characters (always the same one every time
though) and stopped there. Did the same procedure with the first
machine, used Knoppix, recovered the partitions, restored from
superblock, used fsck, and moved all folders to where they were. I
rebooted, but got the same 5 random characters. I figured they wiped
the MBR in the second machine, while they didn't with the first one.
Don't know why. Anyway, rebooted into Knoppix, ran GRUB and then
used the following commands as root:
It installed everything OK, and everything passed, with no error
messages. Seemed to work OK. I rebooted, and this time, I can see
random characters flash rapidly upwards on the screen and then it
stops with a line on the bottom, with "PCMP" and then 4 gibberish
characters (of which one is a smiley face) and then "DELL Dell
DE051" and nothing else. I've tried reinstalling GRUB a few times to
no avail. I suspect the MBR is a bit flakey, and needs wiping, but
everything that I could find about wiping the MBR also claims will
wipe the partitions which makes me a little nervous. How do I fix
GRUB so I can boot Debian again? I can access and mount the hard
drive via Knoppix fine and can read all data on there.
BTW when the BIOS splash screen shows, I get a "Dell DE051 series"
above the loading bar which sort of explains the "Dell DE051" part
when the BIOS tries to find a bootloader.
Any ideas how I can fix the MBR without having to buy a second hard
drive and move all data off, and wipe the first one?
Thanks very much for your help in advance - very much appreciated!
Regards - Piers