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I dded the hard drive with zeros as a simple way to clear out the sensitive data (yes, I'm aware there are better ways, but it was fast and easy). I am now attempting to install Ubuntu Server 12.04, but I run into an issue when I get to installing GRUB.

I issue grub-install /dev/sda and get a fatal error back.

My question is, are the two things related or "happy" coincidences?

If the two are related, is there a good way to solve the issue?

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Filling a hard drive with zeros is enough, by the way. See zero fill vs random fill. – Dennis Mar 31 '13 at 4:41
up vote 6 down vote accepted

The command

grub-install /dev/sda

attempts to install GRUB in the Master Boot Record (MBR) of /dev/sda.

The problem is: A freshly zeroed hard drive doesn't have an MBR!

To create an MS-DOS partition table / MBR, use the following command:

parted /dev/sda mklabel msdos
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Doh! Thanks. Let me verify this works and the vote is yours. – Dan Mar 31 '13 at 4:42

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