[Nelug] GRUB Problems

Richard Patterson richard at helpquick.co.uk
Fri Jul 21 16:26:45 UTC 2006

A Pearson wrote:
> 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.
There will have been a boot loader, just you probably didn't see it do
it's stuff... more than likely, it was Lilo.
> 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)
Linux will probably just remove whatever partitions and re-format them
with their own file system (after asking if it can), so there is no need
to do this under windows.
> 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.)
I think the problem here is that GRUB has been installed with everything
on the Linux partition, but the boot sector on the first disk (Windows)
as the MBR, so when it boots, it would look for the other disk, not find
it, and complain.
> 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.
As Grub's boot sector was installed on the Windows drive MBR, it won't
be able to boot from the linux drive.
> 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?
Everything would be on the only drive in the system (the linux one), I
think i mentioned that this is what you should do to be on the safe
side... This is the way i would do it, then you'll be able to select the
boot drive in the bios as you had done before.

You will need to disconnect the windows drive during the install of
other linux distros too.

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


Richard Patterson          HelpQuick Limited
Tel: 0191 2582888          Fax: 0191 6408666
Web:     http://www.helpquick.co.uk

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