Monday, March 23, 2009


Yesterday I was installing the final version of Internet Explorer 8 on my Windows Vista Business machine and everything went fine until the OS prompted me to reboot.

As this is generally a usual request for new installations of IE, I just pressed the "Reboot" button with confidence.

Here was the inflexion point of my installation experience: after the machine rebooted, and the POST checks succeeded, the monitor's screen got completely blank and the main hard drive just stopped working!!! Not sound, no flashing lead, nothing.

Meaning, the OS was unable to boot; and trust me on this: turning the machine off and on after a while, didn't help at all.

If this happens to you, just don't panic. For some unknown reason -at least, for us mere mortals- the "Master Boot Record" (MBR) of your HDD may have been somehow overwritten during IE8's installation.

Maybe using the installation disks of your OS could work, by selecting the "Repair" option and then let the tool do its magic. But in my case, I used a shorter path.

I cannot assure the method I will describe will work for you; I can only state that it did work for me, therefore USE THE METHOD AT YOUR OWN RISK!

You have been warned now, so read on:

To solve this situation you don't have to reinstall your windows OS (since it's still there on the hard drive); the only thing that you have to do is find a way to write the proper MBR again to your HDD.

To accomplish this task, I searched for an old tool called Max Blast, which I used to execute when I wanted to prepare a HDD (Maxtor or Seagate) for a new Win OS installation or "sort of" repair a faulty disk. In this particular case, my main HDD was a Samsung one but I tried my luck, anyway.

I found on my archives an old Floppy Disk with version 4 of Max Blast, so I used this disk to try to reboot the system.

Then, when Max Blast executed I entered the section named "Maintenance Tools" of the main menu and then selected the option "Update MBR". After choosing the target HDD and waiting for the process to end, I finally rebooted my machine to witness that it fully worked!!!

Windows Vista was booting up again and IE8 was completely installed. Everything just got back to normal. And it only took me like 3 minutes or so to fix.

Well, this is it. I hope you find this post useful ... if you ever happen to find your-self in a situation like this :(

'till next time!

> Link to Spanish version.