Dell MediaDirect and GRUB (was: how not to initialize HD)

Darr darr at
Wed Aug 4 05:32:05 UTC 2010

On Tuesday, 03 August, 2010 @10:57 zulu, Paul Cartwright scribed:

> On Mon August 2 2010, Darr wrote:
>> However, if that is the hard disk that came in your Dell,
>> MediaDirect is ALREADY installed... you just can't see
>> it because from the factory it was installed in a hidden
>> partition at the end. In that cased all you should need to
>> do is fix LBA0 - the MBR - (but NOT with XP's 'fixmbr'
>> in repair mode, nor with fdisk /mbr), and/or the boot sector.
> so, how come when I press the button now, I get the mediadirect
> logo screen, then it goes right to the grub menu.

Because grub's installer altered the boot sector (which *used*
to make the MediaDirect partition visible+active, and point the
bootloader to that active partition) to point it at grub instead.

Refer to 'how the Dell MBR works' on the site:

> I booted the Dimension recovery CD, no repair.exe. 

It's not the recovery CD... the Utilities & Drivers CDs are
usually blue and they have all the drivers and little utils (like
QuickSet, the Diagnostics util, the Dell Support launcher, et al)
on them that your laptop came with. I've never seen a Dell shipped
without one, but I do understand misplacing them over the years.

The driver CDs are specific to the model (even though Dell
doesn't print the model number on them), so unless your
Dimension also has the MediaDirect button, its Utilities &
Drivers CD wouldn't have the \MD2 subdirectory on it.

Microsoft's XP Pro Support Tools has a util (dskprobe.exe)
that allows backing up and restoring the MBR and boot sector.
I'm pretty-sure dd can do it too, but I have not had the need
to do so yet so I can't tell you the command string offhand.

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