Most of the Linux distributions I use allow me to override where GRUB is installed, but I now need to install Ubuntu on some Dell Latitude laptops, and on the test install I did on my old Vaio netbook, it installs GRUB2 on the MBR of the drive without offering any alternative.
While I could still get to both the recovery partition and to Windows from GRUB2's boot menu, further attempts to recover my original boot setup failed (e.g. after force-installing GRUB2 to the /boot partition and writing syslinux's mbr.bin to MBR, pressing F10 which normally boots the recovery partition now just yields a blank screen).
So the question is: - do manufacturers like Sony, Dell etc. use a special MBR, or will Windows' bootrec /fixmbr do the right thing? - would backing up the first 446 bytes suffice, or do I have to do something more?
Edit: One of the auto-suggested question has more details: GRUB MBR vs Windows MBR