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Hello, I had Windows XP on master IDE drive, Fedora 15 on slave IDE drive. I wanted to install Debian 6 on an external USB hard drive. After finishing Debian ...
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  1. #1
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    Cannot boot PC after Debian installation


    Hello,

    I had Windows XP on master IDE drive, Fedora 15 on slave IDE drive. I wanted to install Debian 6 on an external USB hard drive. After finishing Debian 6, and me carelessly choosing the Debian installation to install its Grub bootloader, I am left with a Grub rescue mode screen according to Grub 2. After doing ls and set commands, I get this information:

    With set command

    prefix = (hd0,msdos5)/boot/grub
    root = hd0, msdos5

    With ls command
    (hd0) (hd0,msdos1) (hd1)(hd1,msdos7)(hd1,msdos6)(hd1,msdos5)(hd1,msdo s4)(hd1,msdos4)(hd1,msdos3)(hd1,msdos2)(fd0)

    I used the rescue mode on the DVD and used the option to reinstall GRUB boot loader on both the Fedora and the Debian partitions. That didn't work. I tried using the shell in my root partitions to get grub setup to do the job. That didn't work either. I tried to make a bootable floppy. I used some linux commands after loading a shell in my fedora root partitions and i was getting fatal error exit code 1.

    I downloaded an image and burned a fedora 15 live cd onto a dvd with isorecorder on a separate windows PC. I checked its hash and it was OK. The Fedora live media just displays an error when I want to login.

    Long story short I have no idea what I'm doing and I would really appreciate some help.

  2. #2
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    What works now? Can you boot any of the systems and if so which?

    and me carelessly choosing the Debian installation to install its Grub bootloader
    Where did you install Grub? The partition on which you have Debian? The master boot record of your external drive? Somewhere else? What Linux commands did you use to try to set up Grub? If you can boot either Fedora or Debian or a Live CD, go to a terminal and log in as root and get partition information to post with the command: fdisk -l (lower case Letter L in the command).

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    What works now? Can you boot any of the systems and if so which?
    I can't boot any system. I just get Grub rescue mode command prompt, a feature of Grub 2. I can use Debian DVD rescue mode to execute a shell in RAM, the Fedora partition, the Debian partition, and in the installer environment which has limited commands.


    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    Where did you install Grub? The partition on which you have Debian? The master boot record of your external drive? Somewhere else?
    I don't know. When I reached the installation step that asked me if I should install grub to the hard disk, the disk had identified Windows and Fedora. I can't remember the details.

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    What Linux commands did you use to try to set up Grub?
    ?
    After running a shell in the fedora partition, I used

    find /boot/grub/stage1
    (the name of the partition e.g., hd1,4)
    root (the name of the partition)
    setup(the name of the drive)
    quit

    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    If you can boot either Fedora or Debian or a Live CD, go to a terminal and log in as root and get partition information to post with the command: fdisk -l (lower case Letter L in the command).
    Disk /dev/sda: 82.0GB, 81964302336 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9964 cylinders, total 160086528 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1*512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x0dfb0dfa

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 63 160071659 80035798+ 7 HPFS/NTFS/ExFAT

    Disk /dev/sdb: 80.0GB, 80026361856 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders, total 156301488 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1*512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes/512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes/512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00029efe

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sdb1 124 58603645 29301761 5 Extended
    /dev/sdb2 58605120 117210239 29302560 6 FAT16
    /dev/sdb3 117210240 121403204 2096482+ c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sdb4 121403205 156296384 17446590 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    /dev/sdb5 * 126 31457405 15728640 83 Linux
    /dev/sdb6 31457407 56506493 12524543+ 83 Linux
    /dev/sdb7 56506495 58603645 1048575+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris

    Disk /dev/sdc: 82.3 GB, 82348277760 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 10011 cylinders, total 160836480 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1*512 = 512 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes/512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes/512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x000df1e5

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sdc1 2046 80076799 40037377 5 Extended
    /dev/sdc5 2048 52733951 26365952 83 Linux
    /dev/sdc6 52736000 74217471 10740736 83 Linux
    /dev/sdc7 74219520 80076799 2928640 82 Linux swap / Solaris

  4. #4
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    i got the Live CD for Fedora 15 to work. The problem was that my computer is old and it couldn't use GNOME 3. I can access terminal and the internet now. I still can't boot windows or the linux distros that are on the hard drives. If you can help me out that would be great.
    Last edited by Artie; 06-12-2011 at 02:56 AM. Reason: Forgot to add that I can't boot OSes that are on hard drive

  5. #5
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    You have three drives, windows only on one and windows/Linux on the second (sdb) and Linux on the third (sdc). They're all about 80GB drives so do you know which is the external you tried to install Debian on? If you do not intend to have the external attached all the time, you will need to have the bootloader of whichever system (Fedora??) you have on the internal drive installed to the master boot record of the internal drive which you have set to first boot priority in the BIOS.

    So, 1: Are you going to have the external always attached?
    2. Do you have or want to have Debian on the external?
    3. Do you want to boot the internal drives with Fedora (?) and windows with Fedora Grub bootloader?
    4. Which drive has Fedora?

  6. #6
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    So, 1: Are you going to have the external always attached?
    No.

    2. Do you have or want to have Debian on the external?
    Yes.

    3. Do you want to boot the internal drives with Fedora (?) and windows with Fedora Grub bootloader?
    Yes.

    4. Which drive has Fedora?
    /dev/sdb, partitions sdb5, sdb6 and sdb7. Windows XP is on /dev/sda.

    I found out that the device uuid that the grub rescue mode prompt displays is the partition that I installed Debian on. I did not use the whole drive as a partition.

    [liveuser@localhost ~]$ ls -l /dev/disk/by-uuid
    total 0
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:44 0a3dcbb7-56c8-43ad-a57c-b0e1aea11abf -> ../../sdc5
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 0bcec18b-cfb1-4b5e-b086-3c18fd0a5695 -> ../../sdb6
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:44 26f834bb-c202-4333-a551-7b3a3d285416 -> ../../sdc6
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 6a9698fe-02b8-43f6-a910-128c024de74d -> ../../dm-0
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 7433b891-b052-41b5-a142-95e38fc2d9ec -> ../../sdb5
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 98C4-E55C -> ../../sdb3
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 a6c227ce-a329-48ff-ba82-0db51f4fbae2 -> ../../sdb7
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 A83A-DC88 -> ../../sdb4
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:43 B02C40202C3FE050 -> ../../sda1
    lrwxrwxrwx. 1 root root 10 Jun 12 12:44 cb5c877b-1f6d-4d8c-9d59-af38a5c663ff -> ../../sdc7
    [liveuser@localhost ~]$
    Last edited by Artie; 06-12-2011 at 06:30 AM. Reason: Add more information about my situation

  7. #7
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    Good news. After making a bootable floppy disk containing GRUB, and using the grub command prompt to boot into Windows XP, I could boot Windows XP. I guess the Debian installation fudged up how Grub runs at reboot.

    Is there any way of undoing what Debian did? How do I setup my computer so that Grub loads when I reboot, and gives me the menu screen where I can select which operating system to boot into, without the floppy disk? Before this happened, there would be a countdown allowing me to quickly boot into windows xp (by pressing any key) before bringing up the Grub menu. I would like that feature as well.

  8. #8
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    Since you were not planning to have your external Debian drive attached at all times, you should have selected to install the Grub bootloader to the master boot record of that drive (I would guess it is sdc?).

    In your first post, you indicate you used the rescue mode on the DVD (not sure which DVD you are referring to?) to reinstall Grub on both Debian and Fedora partitions. I believe Fedora still uses Grub Legacy and Debian Grub2 so that probably messed up your Fedora boot files.

    If your Debian has Grub2, go to the link below and read Section 12 for reinstalling Grub2. It is for Ubuntu but the steps should be the same. You would need to make sure Grub2 is installed on the mbr of your external drive (sdc??).

    You can then google install Grub Legacy to mbr and get numerous sites explaining how to reinstall Fedora Grub.

  9. #9
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    Update: I reinstalled Fedora on sdb, and it works. Now I have a problem with GNOME with a fail whale after trying to login, but at least I've got KDE desktop. I added an entry to the grub menu to chainload Debian and that's when I realised the real problem.

    The real problem is that my BIOS doesn't recognise the USB external hard drive; it's not until I've loaded an OS that the device is recognised. It's strange because the users guide for the motherboard (MSI MS-6566) suggests that it would be able to recognise the drive by listing as a possible boot option the USB-HDD. I tried running Grub in terminal and booting that way but that doesn't do anything.

    I've seen something on the net called PlOP Boot manager. Has anyone used it and is it available on a downloads site like Cnet, FileHippo, etc? I would like to find an alternative way of booting from a USB external drive even if the BIOS won't let me.

  10. #10
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    Update: I used the USB HDD on another newer computer and it was recognised by the BIOS, however it didn't boot when I selected it as the first boot device. I did install GRUB on the MBR of this hard drive when I reinstalled Debian on the hard drive. I ran HP USB Disk Format tool and made a bootable pen drive that would boot DOS. The BIOS recognised this drive as a bootable device. I was able to boot into it. What might be the problem with my USB external hard drive? Is it the drive? The Debian installation?

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