At first, Windows 7 was the only OS in the drive.

Then I installed Linux Mint. I accidentally formatted the sda1 partition (where the Windows 7 bootloader was stored) as ext4, being the mount point of /boot. As a result, I couldn't boot Win7 any more.

(By the way, Mint was installed in the sda5 partition)

Afterwards, I repaired the Win7 bootloader successfully, which deleted the GRUB(2?) loader, resulting in me being unable to boot Mint.

I tried running:

sudo mount /dev/sda5 /mnt
sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/ /dev/sda

Resulting message is:

grub-probe: error: cannot find a device for /boot (is /dev mounted?).
Installation finished. No error reported.

And after reboot, I get the grub> prompt, but no OS options whatsoever.

(Keep in mind, there's no partition assigned for /boot)

2 Answers 2


Don't use grub-install, enter the grub interactive shell and use these commands to install the bootloader correctly. Use your correct partition numbers.

root (hd0,0) (where is /boot with /boot/grub/grub.conf and grub stages files ?)
setup (hd0) (where do you want to install the bootloader?)

grub-install probably needs a /etc/mtab. If you wish to use grub-install, firstly copy /etc/mtab into /mnt/etc/mtab (don't worry about overwriting the older file, it's updated on every boot) then chroot into /mnt, and run your MINT grub-install script, inside the chroot.

  • 3
    A note on partition numbers: hd0 = sda, hd1 = sdb, etc.; (hd0,0) = sda1, (hd0,1) = sda2, etc.
    – Kevin
    Aug 17, 2012 at 22:09

First, make sure that you have grub (if using Mint, apt-get install grub). Then run what Spidey posted. If you get error 15, quit the shell and run update-grub. It should ask you if you want to make a menu.lst, confirm yes. After that, try what Spidey posted and it should work.

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