MBRFix


​​Download MbrFix.exe

Copyright (C) 2004-2009 Systemintegrasjon AS

​Usage:

    MbrFix /drive <num> {/partition <part>} <command> { /yes } { /byte }

Requirements:

The program is made for Windows NT, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 and Windows PE. Both 32-bit and 64-bit x64 editions are supported.

You need administrative privileges to make it work!

 

Purpose:

Perform several Master Boot Record (MBR) tasks, like backing up, restoring, fixing the boot code in the MBR, etc. The utility should not be used for GUID Partition Table (GPT) disks. The utility now, by popular demand, also come in a x64-version running unde x64-editions of Windows and PE.

Commands:

    MbrFix /drive <num> driveinfo              Display drive information
    MbrFix /drive <num> drivesize              Returns drive size in MB as return value
    MbrFix /drive <num> listpartitions         Display partition information
    MbrFix /drive <num> savembr <file>         Save MBR and partitions to file
    MbrFix /drive <num> restorembr <file>      Restore MBR and partitions from file
    MbrFix /drive <num> fixmbr {/vista|/win7}  Update MBR code to W2K/XP/2003, Vista or Win7
    MbrFix /drive <num> clean                  Delete all partitions on the selected disk
    MbrFix /drive <num> readsignature {/byte}  Read disk signature from MBR
    MbrFix /drive <num> writesignature <hex>   Write disk signature to MBR
    MbrFix /drive <num> generatesignature      Generate disk signature in MBR
    MbrFix /drive <num> readstate              Read state from byte 0x1b2 in MBR
    MbrFix /drive <num> writestate <state>     Write state to byte 0x1b2 in MBR
    MbrFix /drive <num> readdrive <startsector> <sectorcount> <file>
                                               Save sectors from drive to file
    MbrFix /drive <num> /partition <part> fixbootsector <os>     
                                               Update Boot code in boot sector
    MbrFix /drive <num> /partition <part> getpartitiontype 
                                               Get partition type
    MbrFix /drive <num> /partition <part> setpartitiontype <typenum>     
                                               Set partition type
    MbrFix /drive <num> /partition <part> setactivepartition 
                                               Set active partition
    MbrFix /drive <num> getactivepartition     Get active partition
    MbrFix volumeinformation driveletter       Get volume information for partition
    MbrFix flush {driveletter(s)}              Flush files to disk for partition
    MbrFix listpartitiontypes                  List partition types

 

Drive numbering <num> starts on 0.
Partition numbering <part> starts on 1.

Commands restorembr, fixmbr, generatesignature, writestate, clean, setactivepartition and fixbootsector will ask for confirmation unless /yes is included. All these commands may lead to data loss if used incorrectly or without intention.

If the /byte option is given for the readsignature command, the signature is returned as a byte array instead of as a DWORD. Writesignature requires the new signature to be specified as 8 hex digits.

If /vista is used with the fixmbr command, a Windows Vista MBR is written, if /win7 is used, a Windows 7 MBR is written instead of the default Win2000/XP/2003 MBR. The Vista or Win7 MBR should work with the other OS'es.

When fixing boot sector of a chosen partition, the wanted OS version must be specified. For now, the only valid choices are WIN98, DOS5 and DOS6.
The purpose of the fixbootsector command is to insert boot code for loading DOS from a partition created and formatted as FAT using the Windows 2000/XP/2003 tools, since those tools inserts boot code for loading NTLDR.

 

Return codes:

The program reports an errorlevel as 0 for OK and other values for errors.
The exception to this is the ReadState, GetPartitonType and GetActivePartitions command which returns the state as a return code as well as printing to stdout. Any errors for this command are returned as negative values because of this. The DriveSize command returns the drive size in MB, and 0 in case of error.

Why do I need this utility?

Well, I was testing Windows Embedded XP using a virtual PC, and was booting Windows PE from a CD-ROM to partition a brand new harddisk (quite cheap, since it was virtual !). Using the diskpart.exe utility (found in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, available as a download for Windows 2000), I created the partition, made it Active, assigned it a drive letter. I then used the format.exe utility to format it to NTFS (format C: /fs:ntfs).

DISKPART> detail part
Partition 1
Type: 07
Hidden: No
Active: Yes

 Volume ###  Letter  Lable       Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info.
 ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------   ---------  --------
* Volume 1     C    WinXP        NTFS   Partition    149 MB   OK        System            
            

I then mounted a network drive to my physical computer and copied the boot.ini, ntldr, ntdetect.com, windows folder, program files folder, etc. from the Windows Embedded XP image directory. Everything to make it boot.

Well everything should be OK, so I rebooted the (virtual) computer and expected it to boot up Windows Embedded XP.

But not so! It just sat there with a nice black screen. No error message at all.

Some investigation later on the Internet, I found this very informative page by Daniel B. Sedory: http://thestarman.narod.ru/asm/mbr/index.html, containing a wealth of MBR info. The info on one of the pages states that the MBR code is installed on the drive when the Windows setup program runs and no MBR code exists already. Hmm.., seemed to be right on the mark.

I searched further on the Internet, but the only utilities I found which could install MBR code was for other operating systems, like FDISK.exe /MBR for DOS (but I wouldn't boot to DOS...) or the fixmbr command in the Windows 2000/XP/2003 Recovery Console. Didn't want that either. Wanted something to work on a Windows 32 bit platform, to be able to fix the problem in other cases when using Win PE and just plain copying in the operating system files. So, then I was left to make the utility myself!

Problem solved: After booting up Windows PE from CD again, the command   MBRFix /drive 0 fixmbr /yes   solved it all. Embedded XP booted like a charm.

Samples:

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 listpartitions
# Boot Size (MB) Type
1  Yes     151001    6  DOS 3.31+ 16-bit FAT (over 32M)
2          1623   12  WIN95 OSR2 32-bit FAT, LBA-mapped
3             0    0  None
4             0    0  None

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 savembr Backup_MBR_0.bin

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 restorembr Backup_MBR_0.bin
You are about to Restore MBR,
are you sure (Y/N)? Y

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 fixmbr /yes

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 fixmbr /vista /yes

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 /partition 2 fixbootsector WIN98 /yes

C:\> MbrFix /drive 0 /partition 2 setpartitiontype 14 /yes

C:\> MbrFix flush            (flush all drives)

C:\> MbrFix flush cde        (flushes C:, D: and E:)
C:\> mbrfix readsignature

C:\> mbrfix writesignature 473d4f07

        

Readstate and Writestate:

The commands readstate and writestate use a byte at offset 0x1b2 to store state. This was changed from offset 0x1b0 used in earlier versions to be compatible with Windows Vista MBR. These commands are only useful in a scenario where you use Windows PE to roll out other MS operating systems, and you have no other place to store information about where you are in the installation process. This location in the MBR is unused as far as known, from the days of DOS 3.30 until Vista. 

 

Credits:

Daniel B. Sedory, for his compilation of information on http://thestarman.narod.ru/asm/mbr/index.html#MBR and for his feedback on the program.

User License Agreement:

The program is delivered AS-IS, that is without any form of guarantee. You may freely use the program for any legal purpose, and you may freely distribute it, except for commercial purposes, as long as this file is distributed along the program file. If re-distributed (CD/DVD-compilations or similar, on Web-pages, or with other non-commercial products), credit should be given to Kåre Smith and Systemintegrasjon AS.

Incorrect use of this program may cause loss of all data on your disk-drives. The same applies to any bugs in the program. All use of this program is at the risk of the user. Systemintegrasjon AS does not accept any liability for any damage the program might cause.

If you do not accept these terms, you must delete the program, MbrFix.exe and MbrFix64.exe, at once!

Changes:

Version 1.3.0.0

Fixed bug in the fixbootsector command, which always wrote to drive 0.

Added support for Windows 7 MBR.

Updated by Kåre Smith, 5. august 2009​