Master Boot Record
The Master Boot Record (MBR) is the first sector (sector 0) on the hard disk and contains the program code for booting and the partition table for primary partitions and (optionally) one extended partition. In the extended partition, you can create "logical drives", for the user: more normal partitions. Each of this partitions has it's own partition table in an own Extended Master Boot Record (EMBR).
With WinHex, you can easily go to the partition table(s):
Start WinHex, select Disk Editor. After choosing a Physical Media, the MBR or the sector 0 is displayed.
With choosing Edit -> Copy Sector -> Into New File
you can make copies of the important sectors of the hard disk.
Or, you do this with "Create Backup ..." and save the sector as a .whx-file.
It is recommended, to save the MBR and the EMBR's, if existing. The easiest way to access an EMBR: Choose Partition -> Partition Table with the Access Button.
Example of the MBR of Hard disk 3 (115 MB). The first tree partitions are actually unused, the fourth is formatted with NTFS, see the picture of 3.1.
Boot Sectors: Starting Other Operating Systems Like Windows 98 or Linux with the NT Boot Loader
To start Windows 98 with the boot loader of Windows NT/2000, copy the boot sector of Windows 98 as a file to C:\ (of NT):
Under NT, you go to the boot sector of the Windows 98 partition. (For example,
partition 1, it is normally sector 63 of the hard disk.)
Chose Edit -> Copy Sector -> Into New File
"C:\W98sec.bin" will create a file of the boot sector of Windows 98 in your C:\ directory of Windows NT.
Add the following line to the file boot.ini (NT: Readonly!):
C:\W98sec.bin="partition 1: Win 98"
In the same way, you may start Linux. First, Lilo must be installed in the boot sector of the linux partition. Copy the sector to C:\linuxsec.bin and add to boot.ini: C:\linuxsec.bin="partition <x>: Linux".
There may be differences in counting the partitions.
The first (primary) one is always partition 1. If using logical drives in extended partitions, there are differences between WinHex and the Windows boot loader. For example, if you have a W2K-System on your third partition, and this partition was created as a logical drive, it is the fourth partition for the Windows NT/2000 boot loader. The entry in boot.ini is consequently:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(4)\WINNT="part.4: W 2000"
THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS PAGE IS PROVIDED "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND. MUST NOT BE PUBLISHED WITHOUT PRIOR CONSENT OF THE AUTHOR.
Daniel Groeger 24.8.2001, updated: 22.1.2004 (d.m.yyyy)