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El Torito booting on older machine

From: Christian Jones
Subject: El Torito booting on older machine
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2004 19:56:40 -0700
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:1.6b) Gecko/20031205 Thunderbird/0.4

I've been playing with^H^H^H^Htesting El Torito booting with a CVS version I checked out yesterday. I've got it working nicely, except on one older Packard Bell Pentium MMX 233MHz (yeah, I'm a bit of a packrat).

That machine does seem to work with ISOLINUX (as indicated by booting Slackware 9.1 installation CDs). However, I seem to have some problems getting it to work with grub. For testing, I followed precisely the steps in the manual:

mkdir iso &&
mkdir -p iso/boot/grub &&
cp /usr/share/grub/i386-pc/stage2_eltorito iso/boot/grub &&
cp /boot/{vmlinux,System.map} iso/boot &&
mkisofs -R -b boot/grub/stage2_eltorito -no-emul-boot \
-boot-load-size 1 -boot-info-table -o grub.iso

All worked fine without warning or error. Recorded to cd; boots and works as expected on all other (read: more modern) computers I have. However, on this one:

grub> root
(hd31): Filesystem type unknown, using whole disk

grub> root (cd)
Error 23: Error while parsing number

grub> root (hd31)
Error 12: Invalid device requested

grub> root (<TAB>
grub> root (hd0, [backspaced over, didn't press enter]

grub> kernel (<TAB>
Error 12: Invalid device requested

grub> kernel (cd)/<TAB>
Error 23: Error while parsing number

grub> kernel (hd31)/<TAB>
Error 12: Invalid device requested

grub> kernel (hd1)/<TAB>
Error 21: Selected disk does not exist

And similar variations on that theme. Interestingly, though other machines booted appropriately enough with it, there was no change after adding a menu.lst (presumably because grub couldn't locate root and therefore just went to the prompt). Other minor changes didn't help, either (there have been reports of broken BIOSes needing -boot-load-size 4, which didn't make things worse or better, and leaving -boot-load-size off, which implies in this case -boot-load-size 156, leaves the disc completely unbootable, as in stage2_eltorito doesn't even load). Adding grub stage1, stage2, etc. doesn't make a difference.

As I said, I'd be willing to just strike this up to "This BIOS is broken and has no El Torito support"---except that it *does* boot CDs. I was unable to get it to work with floppy emulation (not surprising), but it works with Slackware, which used:
mkisofs -R -J -V ... -hide-rr-moved -v -d -N -no-emul-boot \
-boot-load-size 4 -boot-info-table -sort isolinux/iso.sort \
-b isolinux/isolinux.bin -c isolinux/isolinux.boot -p ... -P ... -A ...
(I purposely left out the ...s).

Phew.  Any other info I can give which might help sort out the problem?
Thanks for all the work---El Torito support in grub is a wonderful addition!

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