missing mbr-helper

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Palancar, Jul 9, 2015.

  1. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    Guys I have been beating my brains out trying to figure out what I am doing wrong. Normally, I could do this task in my sleep but not today.

    Task - simply to create a bootable USB for running grub4dos and some menu files I have used for quite some time. This is to be used on a windows machine and I even want to prepare the flash on the same machine.

    Before you tell me its the hardware (USB flash) please note that I have been using this exact hardware for many months without issues. I decided to grab a current version of grub4dos to be able to employ some of the newer grub functions not available in older versions. That said I formatted the flash using windows and did it the slow way not quick format.

    In the past I used the grubinst-gui.exe and created this bootable version directly to this flash, but not using this computer. grub4dos has always worked well on this device. I used the same method to create the new flash but when I try to use it I get the "missing mbr-helper" flag and the process stops. Next, I formatted the flash again and tried to write back the older (exact same) version that has always worked. Again, same missing mbr-helper flag.

    Frustrated I grabbed Easy2boot and install it directly on my system disk. Fire it up and to my surprise it doesn't even see any USB at all. It doesn't see any of my flash OR usb external drives at all. Darn it! Then I grab RMprepUSB portable. I fire it up and same thing. No flash is seen at all. WTF?

    You guys think this machine has something going on? I can't get to another machine until tomorrow. Would this machine being 64 bit have anything to do with this process. It may be that the flash was created on a 32 bit machine some time ago.

    Answers or ideas appreciated.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  3. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    I used a partitioning tool to re-format and partition this device a few times. As mentioned earlier I also formatted in windows 7 to FAT32.

    The link you used is exactly how I did it with respect to running the grubinst-gui. I was able to go through the process quite easily as I have done it numerous times years ago. The software recognized the flash all the way through the short and simple process. One of these flash devices I have used with grub4dos for a long time so I know its compatible so to speak. None of my NAME BRAND flash devices are working. Computer/7 Pro?

    Last time I did these devices this way was Vista or older! Still,even though they weren't created on this computer they worked fine on it until I decided to re-do them earlier today. Should have just copied over the newer gldr, but live and learn!!

    I saw the affirmation that the MBR was successfully written during the process, and then I clicked ENTER as commanded. Should be good to go but it keeps pulling the "missing mbr-helper" flag when I try to boot the flash. Hmmmmmmmm!

    Maybe I'll remove the entire partition from the flash and do a thorough WIPE of everything. Then I will create a new partition and start from scratch. Stay tuned.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I gather diskpart "clean" is the key as it wipes the MBR.

    This doesn't alter or wipe the MBR.
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
  5. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    I shut that machine down for the day. I'll give it a go tomorrow and report back. I am on linux all day so diskpart should take seconds.

    Thanks, stay tuned tomorrow! LOL!!
     
  6. Palancar

    Palancar Registered Member

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    I used a computer (didn't want to wait until tomorrow) with Win 7 and did an Admin Priv -- Diskpart Clean All.

    Worked like a charm! Booting flawlessly now.

    Brian, your suggestion was GREAT. Thanks!!
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I'm glad it worked.
     
  8. SteveSi

    SteveSi Registered Member

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    Easy2Boot has a QEMU_MENU_TEST (run as admin).cmd script which will boot the USB drive inside QEMU.
    RMPrepUSB has a QEMU button also. If it boots using QEMU then there is nothing wrong with the flash drive - so you should look at your system and BIOS settings.

    But here is the 'Gotcha'...
    Some BIOSes 'remember' the type of flash drive (i.e. FDD/ZIP/HDD) that is connected when you turn on the system with the flash drive connected - e.g. if you format a flash drive as a floppy (no MBR) - connect it to a system and try to boot from it, the BIOS will recognise it as a 'floppy' flash drive and boot from it as if it was a floppy or ZIP drive. Now - AS LONG AS YOU DON'T TURN OFF THE SYSTEM - it will always try to boot from the same flash drive as a floppy/ZIP - EVEN IF YOU REFORMAT IT AS A Fixed Disk with MBR.
    It only happens with some types of BIOS, and I can tell you it nearly drove me mad trying to figure out what was going on!
    In other words, the BIOS code that tries to identify what type of USB media it has (FDD/ZIP/HDD) is in the cold-boot code but it is NOT run when you do a warm-boot.
    On some systems, you just have to unplug the USB drive, reboot, and then plug it back in again and reboot.
    So if you are having trouble booting from a USB drive, do NOT use Restart or CTRL-ALT-DEL to reboot to the USB drive. Always switch off the system first.
     
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