Bypassing work admin rights to clean up my own bootloader mess

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by baldmosher, Feb 23, 2012.

  1. baldmosher

    baldmosher MDL Novice

    Feb 20, 2012
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    #1 baldmosher, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
    Here's the situation - apologies for waffling for a bit, skip to the end for the actual questions if you like.

    I have a work laptop with Windows XP x86 and no admin rights. I can boot from CD-ROM. I used to have admin rights, but then they took it off me because I installed some unathorised software. (Teracopy.) Bizarrely, they left Teracopy on the machine, but that's by the by.

    Edited:
    Whilst I had admin rights, I thought about installing Windows 7 x64 on a separate partition, so that I could dual boot and use the laptop for other purposes, with the intention of deleting that partition before I hand back the laptop to IT. But instead had a little go at installing it on an external disk via eSATA. Windows 7 seemed to install OK, but it wouldn't boot, presumably because the main XP boot partition is locked somehow, yet the Windows 7 bootloader still appears before the Windows XP bootloader, so that is a bit scary. Not a major issue, as IT don't ever watch it boot up.

    I then installed W7 on an external HDD, via eSata, which worked, but again, it wouldn't boot from eSATA for some reason, not even if the internal drive is removed.

    So the only way I can use Windows 7 on the laptop is to swap the internal HDDs over, which is starting to make a mess of the flimsy internal HDD bracket, and all the screws are starting to show obvious signs that I've been hacking into it.

    So

    1. any clues how I can reset the main bootloader to XP without having admin rights? (FDISK /MBR doesn't seem to work)

    or failing that

    2. any clues how I can install Windows 7 on the main disk?

    or failing that

    3. anyone think I'd be able to install Windows 7 as the main OS on my own HDD, and then clone the XP drive to a secondary partition? Or is that just asking for trouble? Of course, since it's my own HDD, I am of course free to experiment with this.

    I may not need guidance or advice for any of this, but I would like someone with experience to give me a shove in the most appropriate direction :biggrin:
     
  2. 100

    100 MDL Expert

    May 17, 2011
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    #2 100, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
    You need admin rights to do this, so you'll have to boot from the Windows 7 DVD to write an XP boot sector (C: being your XP drive, and D: your DVD drive). You can get a command prompt by pressing Shift+F10 or by using the repair options.
    Code:
    d:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 c:
    Perhaps, but you'll have to describe your problems better than saying "it wouldn't boot".
     
  3. nodnar

    nodnar MDL Addicted

    Oct 15, 2011
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    a word from the wise, my friend..;)

    i have been working on networks of many multinational companies
    since the ninetynineties, always without admin rights.

    in those circumstances, there are some things to avoid at
    any price.

    -don`t mess with IT; they got a responsability to keep
    the companies`network running.

    -don`t risk infecting their network by installing your own s**t.
    you could not possibly survive a lawsuit, if you happened to
    do that.you are a guest there, and you should behave as such.

    that said, what can you do?

    you have got a choice.

    -1,get your own laptop to do your own thing, with admin rights,
    and avoid any risk to the network of the company that you
    log into...[ the only thing to do, imho..]

    -2.try to circumnavigate the restrictions imposed by IT on your
    company machine. the risks are pretty heavy, and the benefits
    are small.

    you have evidently chosen the second path.
    i am not repeat not with you.

    if you must do it anyway, for reasons best known to yourself,
    -1. you use the companies`harddisk, and os.
    -2. you unplug the companies`hd and use your own instead, with
    your own os, and with admin rights.

    mix the two at your peril..
     
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  4. baldmosher

    baldmosher MDL Novice

    Feb 20, 2012
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    #4 baldmosher, Feb 23, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
    (OP)
    EDIT: I realise my original post wasn't quite correct, I didn't actually TRY installing W7 on a separate partition, as I was too paranoid to do it. I tried to install W7 on an external HDD via eSATA... but with the original internal drive still installed. That was my error!


    I take it you mean boot from a x86 Windows 7 DVD? I didn't expect that would even be possible, and I still don't understand how that will restore the XP bootloader to its former glory? Does the /nt52 parameter specify an XP boot sector write?

    Sorry, n00b oversight. It was the fabled "corrupt or missing bootloader" error. I originally put it down to the main OS drive having some sort of protection on it, but with hindsight it was probably just that it didn't let me boot from eSATA for some reason. I had a lot of fun trying different SATA ordering configurations before I just gave it up and swapped out the work drive. That worked great. Unfortunately I should have removed the work drive in the first place, I didn't anticipate that the boot order on SATA wasn't configurable, nor that W7 would overwrite the XP bootloader. Whoops.

    Forgive me for putting you outside quote marks, I'm being lazy

    -don`t risk infecting their network by installing your own s**t.
    That's not going to happen, I'm doing harmless things with the laptop, and not connecting to their network (I couldn't anyway, it's totally locked down).

    -1,get your own laptop to do your own thing, with admin rights
    That's precisely what I'm trying to avoid here! :biggrin:

    -2.try to circumnavigate the restrictions imposed by IT on your
    company machine. the risks are pretty heavy, and the benefits
    are small. you have evidently chosen the second path.

    Not an option, and I haven't. It's locked down tight. Hence the need to use a separate OS install so I can use the laptop. They are pretty cool with me using Firefox, 7zip, and other things for work that have free business licences, but Teracopy apparently isn't free for business use. Yet they left it on! Funny, but as I said they are pretty cool with me. They know I'm not an idiot, but that means they are equally wary and understanding of me.

    -2. you unplug the companies`hd and use your own instead, with
    your own os, and with admin rights.
    mix the two at your peril..

    Quite!! It's a good solution, just a worrying amount of wear and tear on the screws (I could just buy some more screws) and the caddy is the really annoying bit - because of this, it's a 10 minute job just to swap the drives over, which is easy enough, but it forces me to limit myself to using it for essential purposes only as I can't be bothered.

    It seems that the best solution is to buy some brand new screws before I hand it back to them. I just can't believe that there isn't an easier way!
     
  5. baldmosher

    baldmosher MDL Novice

    Feb 20, 2012
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    The BIOS is already set to boot from eSATA (don't ask me why this isn't disabled by IT, as there should be no reason to allow users to boot from other drives on their laptops) but it simply doesn't seem to like doing it, whatever I do. And besides, with the SATA0 (internal) drive present and bootable, I gather that Windows will simply always boot from that drive first if it can, so I'd need to remove the internal drive even if I could get it to boot from eSATA.

    (My HP Microserver is quite happy to boot from eSATA, but the eSATA channel is enabled for AHCI via a hacked BIOS, so I wonder if there is hidden protection in the BIOS after all.)

    Thanks for clarifying the /nt52 switch, I will give that a go. It should work, after all I managed to overwrite it with the W7 bootloader :rolleyes: will pop back to report relative success/failure
     
  6. PhaseDoubt

    PhaseDoubt MDL Expert

    Dec 24, 2011
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    Came to this late, but I can hardly wait to see how this turns out.