Sudden Grub2 Failures, What is going on?

On newer laptops I’m seeing a sharp increase in sudden grub2 failures, where grub2 is completely failing to load from start. It’s causing all sorts of problems with new converts not even being able to get into windows, let alone Ubuntu. I don’t have any know how with grub2 so I have no way to debug exactly what is going wrong.

So I need to come to you guys. These installs are all Ubuntu 9.10 with recent upgrades, it seems to happen after updates but I can’t confirm since one person I know is on his 4th failure and is asking for me to uninstall ubuntu. Which would be particularly terrible since he’s in my systems admin class and such a deficit would prevent him from completing homework.

I’m going to try two things for the time being for these cases: upgrade to Lucid beta and downgrade to 9.04. Since I can’t pinpoint the exact nature of the problem, I have no idea if either will work.

Extra Info: It’s regular duel boot installs, not Wubi, and the systems are fresh installs, not upgrades.

Update: So the community consensus is that grub2 is larger than grub-legacy and certain windows tools such as backup, anti virus or OEM Recovery tools write data to the end of the MBR because they mistakenly believe that the MBR is only a certain size (i.e. they assume a windows boot system), so this trash data kills the grub2 boot loader resulting in lots of different errors to appear. There are four ways to fix this issue:

  1. Uninstall the windows programs that write to the MBR and then reinstall grub2 to the MBR
  2. Revert the boot loader to grub-legacy and purge grub2 (including ALL grub2 configurations)
  3. Use the windows boot loader and point it at the linux partition where you install grub2
  4. Fix grub2 so that it only installs very minimum amounts of code to the MBR and the rest in either the linux partition file system or boot record.

Any ideas?