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Bug#394963: installation: Problems with dual booting Dell D600 with winXP pro in the first partition (hd0, 0). After installing the Dell Etch Beta 3, Windows fails to boot and I get the blue screen of death.

In reference to RC bug #394963; I really think it's a "pebkac" issue. though
the newest postee (with this same issue - petes-bugs@thegoldenear.org) kind of
confirms it's a real issue. 

    some observations;

1) it's a Laptop, yes?
2) Dell usually tries to install a Dell Diagnostics Utility partition on the
very first partition (a Hidden FAT16 one, ~24-32MiB in size). Why Sarge
installs don't seem to have that affect for the orig poster I can't say.

..but, neither does he (nor petes-bugs@thegoldenear.org) tell us if s/he ever
wiped the MBR completely, prior to starting his many installation attempts.
(this can be done using; "dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1")
..substitute with your correct "/dev/xxxx" name.

It would be nice to hear back from both of you ..

   more thoughts;

Here is a known good Dell D620 (not a 600 exactly, I guess, but he used Sarge
here though). 
yet you can clearly see the Dell Diag Util partition in the 1st position (from
the "fdisk -l /dev/sda" output) .. Windows Boot.ini file handles that (as you
know). However, I suspect a broken MBR.

Needless to say, Windows users all over the place have had the same exact error
messages, so it's not a "Linux" or "Grub" issue AFAICT. Here's atleast one ex
where a FIXMBR (XP Recovery Console) cured the problem.   


That said; that would mean the issue lies somewhere within sectors1-64 (CHS
001) , and more likely isolated to the MBR itself (sector1, first 512bytes of
the HDD), and even maybe just bytes 440-446 of the 1st sector (the MBR/MPT
location occupies the 64bytes 446-510, and bytes 511 and 512 are the bootable
flag "Magic bytes" 0x55aah, also seen as marked '0x80' from Linux's
More information about Windows 98/2K/XP MBR, Partition tables, Boot Sectors and
such can be found here;

I suspect the "NTFS specific Signature" bytes (440-446, CHS,001) that mark this
area at the end of the end Boot code, but right before the partition table
layout starts, may be the problem area .. but it's just a hunch so far.

with regards;

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