[Nelug] GRUB Problems

A Pearson a.pearsonx at zen.co.uk
Fri Jul 21 14:41:38 UTC 2006

Hi All

Got some problems relating to the GRUB bootloader.

Previously on aWin98SE machine I had a second HDD dedicated to Linux
without bootloader and just selected which disc to boot from through my
BIOS. All worked well with SUSE 8 and Mandrake at seperate times.

As metioned at this weeks NELUG meeting with Richard I thought I would go
one step further on a machine using WinXP (NTFS) primary HDD, with a second
Linux dedicated HDD mounted in a removable caddy. I proposed to select the
drive through the BIOS as before but was wary any bootloader may cause
problems. My aim was to insert caddies with different Linux distros thinking
the distro would be self contained on the linux disk. However GRUB (which I
did not ask for) spoilt all that, so far.

My idea was to have several distros to hand so I could try them out  and
compare as I gained confidence and experience.

I installed Ubuntu 6.06 on the Linux HDD (Previously formatted /u {non
bootable}FAT32 with an Extended DOS partition and Logical partition - reason
to stop letter changes on old W98)
I assumed this may not be a problem with Linux doing its own partitioning.
OK everything went in and I could access WinXP or Ubuntu through GRUB until
I tried to run with the Linux HDD caddy removed whence I gould not get into
either OS.
( I was not given any option to avoid GRUB during the install, the only
option being on partition sizes.)

Selecting which HDD to boot from in the BIOS did not help as it was thought
that making Windows the second drive if it did not find the removed Linux
drive it would boot to Windows. It did not. I had to have windows drive as
the first option otherwise it would not get to grub selector. ( The other
way round the it would just get to Verifying DMI Pool Data followed by
Missing Operating System then freeze)

Windows would not load without the Linux drive so I concluded there was
something now in the Windows route calling for GRUB. Decided this must be in
the MBR.

I decided to rewrite MBR for the Win HDD using the recovery option with
fixmbr. This has given me the direct route to Windows which I need to have
but the Linux route is now blocked at: Verifying DMI Pool Data.   Boot from
CD.   Missing Operating System.
Clearly there still needs to be some link with windows.

Summarising: Windows is now the first boot HDD and it boots to Win
automatically. NO GRUB or Linux
  If Linux is first boot HDD it sticks at Missing Operating System.
  (I have more results but dont want to make this any more long winded)

As the Linux HDD was FAT 32 it does not show on Windows XP so I have no
means of accessing it, without putting it in a W98 machine and using DOS to
Format it, hopefully.

Wonder what happens if I tried to reinstall Ubuntu with the Windows disc
removed? Where would Grub go then and with what dependancies?

Anybody got any bright ideas how to get round this one please so I could use
alternate distros?

Alan Pearson

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