Nessa, thanks for the reply.
I got it sorted out yesterday and think I stumbled upon a solution along the lines of what you'd suggested.
I'm dual booting but from 2 separate drives, Mint 5 on the IDE and XP on the SATA.
I was getting errors for both Oses and it wouldn't boot to either. Fixmbr from XP's recovery console wouldn't fix the MBR. Oh, irony!
I found a piece of software online that would from http://www.dtidata.com
. It correctly identified the SATA drive as a bootable drive so I unflagged and reflagged it as I suspected that's where one error was. SATA then booted XP but ignored the IDE drive so I knew MBR was fixed.
I re-installed Mint on the IDE but manually set sda rather than any specific partition of the IDE drive for placement of GRUB through the advanced settings button. sda is the IDe drive and was set to boot before the SATA, sdb.
So far, so good. No initrms error etc. Even got Photoshop CS2 installed via Wine this afternoon. if only I could do the same for the Palm Desktop software....