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Re: REWRITE of " Recovering from _misinstall_ of GRUB 1.98"

From: Jordan Uggla
Subject: Re: REWRITE of " Recovering from _misinstall_ of GRUB 1.98"
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 16:42:29 -0800

On Thu, Feb 16, 2012 at 7:10 AM, Richard Owlett <address@hidden> wrote:
> I've received "on list" and "off list" replies which demonstrate that where
> I did not confuse the reader I inspired them to answer questions I wasn't
> asking. So I'll do a complete rewrite using high school journalism questions
> of 50+ years ago.
> Who  - a Linux newbie
> What - two computers - WinXP Pro installed, BIOS allows booting from USB
> device
>       a Lenovo (IBM) ThinkCentre whose only internet connection is dialup
>       a Lenovo (IBM) ThinkPad with dialup and WiFi connectivity
>       "live cd" of Ubuntu 10.10 (includes GNU GRUB version 1.98)
>       a blank USB stick
> Goal - Linux on a bootable USB stick such that I could seamlessly switch
> between
>       machines depending on which was more convenient without context loss.
> *RESTRICTION* - _NOTHING_ written to hard drive (no dual boot)!
> Attempted installation by following menu prompts. I was allowed to install
> to a removable device and specify that all of the space on that device was
> to be used. My assumption (which proved false) was if an OS was to placed on
> a removable device, it would be bootable.
> Symptoms:
> 1. on system boot a menu is presented offering choice of OS.
>   *FAILURE* project specification was "no dual boot"!

You want to set GRUB_DISABLE_OS_PROBER=true in /etc/default/grub

> 2. when forced to dual boot was not given option of specifying default OS.
> 3. when USB stick not inserted boot fails although BIOS is told to boot from
>   internal hard drive - expectation of booting Windows. Grub crashes to
> "rescue mode".
> 4. when USB stick is inserted in second machine and BIOS instructed to boot
>   from external device - it doesn't.
> Diagnosis:
> 1. Grub installed to hard drive where it *does NOT belong*.

This is a bug in Ubuntu's installer which has been fixed in subsequent releases.

> 2. Grub *NOT* installed to USB stick where it is needed.
> Original requests:
> How to remove grub from hard drive and repair MBR if required?

>From Ubuntu, "sudo apt-get install mbr && sudo install-mbr /dev/sdX"
where sdX is the drive (*not* partition) containing Windows. This is
most likely /dev/sda, but be sure.

> How to get grub unto USB stick?

Boot Ubuntu normally and run "sudo dpkg-reconfigure grub-pc". This
command will ask you questions about configuring the grub-pc package.
The first two questions will be about the linux cmdline, simply keep
those at their defaults and press enter to continue (one will probably
be blank, this is fine). When you get to the install devices question,
use space bar (not enter) to check / uncheck drives. Make sure that
only the USB drive is checked (*not* any partitions) then hit enter to

Jordan Uggla (Jordan_U on

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