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A strange occurrence

From: David A. Cobb
Subject: A strange occurrence
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 14:20:20 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9.2a1pre) Gecko/20090613 Shredder/3.1a1pre

This isn't a development question, but I'm hoping the list's knowledge of GRUB will help me understand it.

Running Ubuntu 9.04, everything up-to-date, package "grub-pc" version 1.96+
GRUB-2 was installed after having GRUB 0.9x running for years. The installation involved letting GRUB chainload GRUB-2 until I saw it was ready for primetime, then running an upgrade script. I mention that because it's important to know that there is still a GRUB 0.9x image somewhere.

Trying to get past a nasty problem involving the interaction between a 2003 Phoenix BIOS, and a big 160-GB disk that would not have been available in 2003. I used BIOS setup to change the disk detection to manual, and made sure the numbers that came up were the same as after a successful boot.

Booted, and WHOA! I got the system-selection screen from GRUB 0.9x. But, it included versions of the kernel that were not installed until after I switched to GRUB-2. Actually, the only thing I'm sure was "wrong" was the lack of a colorful splash image. Well, no, actually, I'm fairly sure the console displays were not the same as the "WELCOME TO GRUB" that shows at the start of the GRUB-2 boot; but it goes past pretty quick, and I could be wrong about that.

So, maybe I hosed my GRUB-2 installation. That wouldn't explain how a GRUB 0.9x image was found. Anyway, I re-installed the package and (re)ran grub-install. And rebooted. And got the same screen.

So, eliminate the one variable I knew was changed: I reset the BIOS Setup to do automatic disk detection. Voilla!!
I'm back with the GRUB-2 splash screen, and everything is cool.

But, I'm puzzled [yeah, that is my normal state]. Did the BIOS actually read a different image? Or, did the "old" GRUB fail to chainload, even though there is no visible sign during a normal boot that the old GRUB is still around? If the latter, should I consider writing the GRUB-2 image onto the MBR again? Or, would that be just asking for trouble?

David A. Cobb, computing t-rex.

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