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Current Grub2 & problem with /boot on different drive

From: Dean Loros
Subject: Current Grub2 & problem with /boot on different drive
Date: Sun, 20 Sep 2009 09:32:46 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/20090918 Shredder/3.0pre


Ubuntu has been testing Grub2 for a number of months now & a
"interesting" problem has surfaced. If your /boot is on a different
drive than the MBR, you will have several minutes of drive use before
you get to the Grub2 menu. My current timing is 3min 50sec to menu--this
is with a i7-920 system with four internal drives--all SATA-II. My first
bug report on Launchpad was dated 8-28-2009 & this had started a few
days earlier. Before that date, Grub2 would take only 3~5 seconds to get
to menu. Updates after this have not cured this issue. The current
"work-around" in the bug report is to re-set MBR & /boot to the first
drive. This problem only shows up in multi-boot/multi-drive systems.

During the 3+ minutes, there is constant drive activity. Colin had asked
at one time for me to do a debug run which was one of the most painful
times I have had in current memory--the system worked for more than
20min without going to menu & required booting with a LiveCD to repair
problems from the outside.

It looks like Grub2 needs to scan all the drives for all the supported
filesystems several times before it "finds" the /boot that works. I will
also note that I do not have any other grub installs other than my main
Grub2 install, so there is only one /boot in the system. MBR is on SDA
(storage drive)--I also have one install on SDB, my /boot is on SDC with
a second install & two more operating systems are on SDD for a total of
five operating systems (Two testing Karmic & several other installs).

My thought is: Is there a way to "tag" the Grub2 /boot so time to locate
is acceptable? Or is there another way to scan filesystems? Maybe a way
to "tag" the type of filesystem in use?

Bug report is:
With supporting information. IF you need more information or want me to
do further testing, please contact me @ ubuntu1user at

Thank you for your time in this matter.

Dean Loros
autocrosser at
Performance by Design Ltd.

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