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Re: Dual Boot System Problems!!!! AGAIN

From: Felix Miata
Subject: Re: Dual Boot System Problems!!!! AGAIN
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 2010 03:20:51 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (OS/2; U; Warp 4.5; en-US; rv: Gecko/20100403 SeaMonkey/1.1.19

On 2010/04/05 14:29 (GMT-0400) Ken Rutledge composed:

>  *Multiboot System Boot Failure?*
> ------------------------------
> OK so I've had this problem before and never got resolution for it that I
> could work with and so here I am again with a Windows drive failure on a
> multiboot system that now renders ubuntu 9.10 un-useable also?

Hardly uncommon.

> You'll have to pardon me for my candid opinion on this but just why in the
> world would someone write a linux OS boot loader that was DEPENDANT on
> WINDOWS to boot? With the boot loader acting this way, ubuntu is no better
> than the Windows OS it requires to boot?

This has nothing to do with boot loaders, much to do with legacy PC BIOS
limitations, and ultimately to your choice to use more than one HD in your

> I had a Windows xp drive fail yesterday and afterwards ubuntu will not boot
> either? I've done Google.com searches out they yeng-yang with references to
> "ubuntu live" CDs that are pretty much non-existent. All I can find is the
> regular install CD that is referenced here? I did find one site that had
> another "flavor" of ubuntu v10.04 that I downloaded but that one IS NOT 9.10
> either and all the documentation I've read specifies ubuntu 9.10 "live"?

If you'd choose some other distro that comes on a DVD instead of a CD, then
you'd have fewer installation limitations. The standard installation DVDs
from such distros as openSUSE and Mandriva would enable you choose to either
"boot installed system" or "repair" the existing installation the same way
you should be able to if you had managed to find *buntu media incorporating
those functions.

> So since I can't find a simple solution to fix grub I now have a multiboot
> computer that I can't use without wiping out the ubuntu load that's on it
> and reinstalling and having to do a gazillion updates, reinstall add ons,
> etc?

For now, if you can, find an appropriate *buntu CD, and perform a repair,
assuming it incapable of simply booting the already installed system. Next
time, configure so that a repair would be less likely necessary....

> So I need some help on how to configure grub to let ubuntu boot itself
> WITHOUT a Windowz XP drive in that box? And it would also be nice to have a
> way NOT to have grub depend on Windows to boot ubuntu!

It needn't have been that way, but *buntu's default installer, as any others
I've encountered, doesn't have the intelligence to do any different than what
it did, at least not without significant help from a highly experienced human
OS installer.

> Any help anyone? Oh, and please make it simple as I'm just not a command
> line person.

When you install operating systems on multiple HDs on a system with a legacy
BIOS, you complicate the boot process beyond the capability of operating
system installation programs to prevent the problem you encountered. What's
necessary is to install a fallback boot loader in addition to the primary
boot loader so that it can take over when the primary boot loader disappears
due to failure of hardware carrying the primary boot loader. IOW, Grub needs
to be installed in multiple locations when there are multiple HDs, a process
that isn't necessarily simple even for an expert, much less for an
installation program.

Almost assuredly you can recover *buntu bootability prior to installing a
replacement HD for Windows by using a repair boot. If you cannot find a
dedicated *buntu disk to do it, you can do it generically with Knoppix or any
Linux capable of installing Grub.

Even though I personally _never_ install Grub to any MBR, for your particular
case, since I have 0 knowledge of the partitioning on your functional HD, if
I had your system here I would try:

1-boot a recent Knoppix that contains full support for your installed Ubuntu
2-start mc on a vc
3-delete the /boot dir (which is a symlink)
4-mkdir /boot
5-mount the Ubuntu /boot or / partition (as applicable) to /boot
6-copy the contents of /KNOPPIX/lib/grub/i386-pc to /boot/grub
8-find /boot/grub/stage1 ; confirm location of grub's files
9-root (hd0,x) ; x is whatever partition contains stage1
10-setup (hd0) ; puts Grub 1 on MBR of only HD
12-find /boot/grub ; at this point there is no boot menu for Grub 1
13-kernel (hdx,y)/boot/ ; use tab completion to get installed kernel filename
onto command line, then type in any necessary cmdline parameters, e.g.
root=/whatever noresume splash=verbose single
14-initrd (hdx,y)/boot/ ; use tab completion to get matching initrd onto
command line

>From this point would be booting into a normal operational Linux, from which
the operating system _could_ perform a normal Grub 2 reinstallation. I
probably wouldn't though, instead opting for the manual boot method above
until the other HD is place, and leaving Grub 1 on the MBR of the normally #2 

Multiboot as limited by a legacy PC BIOS is really much easier if you don't
install any operating systems anywhere except on the first HD. The basics of
that methodology, including the very significant step of putting Grub on a
primary partition instead of the MBR, are on:
"Suppos [sic] a nation in some distant region, should
take the Bible for their only law book, and every member
should regulate his conduct by the precepts there
exhibited. . . . What a Eutopa, What a paradise would
this region be!"            John Adams, 2nd US President

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/

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