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Dear forum users, I'm troubled with installation of grub on an external USB hard drive (Iomega Prestige SuperSpeed series). This drive has sectors of 4096 bytes instead of 512 (and ...
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  1. #1
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    Grub installation on external USB hard drive


    Dear forum users,
    I'm troubled with installation of grub on an external USB hard drive (Iomega Prestige SuperSpeed series). This drive has sectors of 4096 bytes instead of 512 (and this generates size issues with the latest Ubuntu installer). Just to make sure, I removed from the hard drive the virtual CD Rom and I reformatted the entire hard drive.

    Installation of OpenSuse 11.4 works fine unti it fails on grub installation.

    The system has no other hard drives.

    This is the partition table (from fsck):

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 * 256 32255 128000 83 Linux
    /dev/sda2 32256 1076479 4176896 82 Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda3 1076480 122096639 484080640 f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5 1076736 14185471 52434944 83 Linux
    /dev/sda6 14185728 122077951 431568896 83 Linux

    During system setup, grub fails with "error 17: cannot mount selected partition".

    YaST bootloader configuration shows error message: "Because of partitioning, the boot loader cannot be installed properly".

    Do you have any idea of my mistakes here?

  2. #2
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    If I understand correctly, you have no other internal/external drives, only the one on which you installed Opensuse, correct?
    The errors you get are from improper installation of Grub, pointing to a partition in cannot mount which in your case would be sda2 or sda3. Boot the install CD, mount your Linux partitions (probably only need to do sda1) and navigate to the /boot/grub/menu.lst file to see what the entries are. Did you create a separate boot partition (sda1). If you are not sure, post the menu.lst file here. If you do not know how to mount directories/filesystems, post back and someone will explain in detail.

  3. #3
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    Trying to answer to the questions:
    1) Correct, there are no other disks;
    2) The bootloader cannot be installed in (hd0) in the MBR. The menu.lst is as follows (removed comments):

    title Desktop -- openSUSE 11.4
    kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz root=/dev/disk/by-label/suseroot splash=silent quiet showopts vga=ask
    initrd /initrd-2.6.37.1-1.2-desktop

    title Failsafe -- openSUSE 11.4
    kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz root=/dev/disk/by-label/suseroot showopts apm=off noresume edd=off powersaved=off nohz=off highres=off processor.max_cstate=1 nomodeset x11failsafe vga=ask
    initrd /initrd-2.6.37.1-1.2-desktop


    The problem should be that hd0,0 cannot be accessed. Probably there is a protection feature in the hard drive. I noticed that, after formatting again the drive, there are about 100Mb of used space. I think that this drive is definitively not bootable. I've tried with an older hard drive and it worked out of the box...

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  5. #4
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    What are your three Linux partitions? sda1, sda5, sda6. /boot, /, /home respectively??

    Did you use all defaults during the install? Are you sure you selected to install Grub to the mbr? I can't think of any other possibilities, maybe the drive is bad??

  6. #5
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    grub fails with "error 17: cannot mount selected partition"
    Just wondering yanek. Wondering if

    kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz root=/dev/disk/by-label/suseroot
    Might be better served by going with

    kernel (hd0,0)/vmlinuz root=UUID
    Instead. The OP can use the

    Code:
    y# blkid
    /dev/sda1: UUID="a880708b-8fc3-4caf-89a8-54cdabff1813" TYPE="ext4" 
    /dev/sda2: UUID="42ccf9af-b8f0-43b5-b9e4-9c83129de2ca" TYPE="swap" 
    /dev/sda4: UUID="feecc28c-4e47-4e3d-bd3b-1459a554738b" TYPE="ext4" 
    /dev/sda5: UUID="18949258-e345-4f62-80c3-500ee7644655" TYPE="ext3"
    instead to find that partition to boot maybe. Just Wondering though.

    Edit: Mine as a example

    Code:
    title		antiX-M11, kernel 2.6.36-1-mepis-smp
    root		(hd0,0)
    kernel		/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.36-1-mepis-smp root=UUID=a880708b-8fc3-4caf-89a8-54cdabff1813 ro nosplash quiet nouveau.modeset=0 
    initrd		/boot/initrd.img-2.6.36-1-mepis-smp
    Last edited by rokytnji; 07-24-2011 at 09:17 PM. Reason: added menu.lst

  7. #6
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    I would expect it would work better with the uuid. Don't know why the OP seems unable to install Grub to the mbr?

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    I would expect it would work better with the uuid. Don't know why the OP seems unable to install Grub to the mbr?
    Yeah. What gets me confused is OP has a /boot/grub/menu.lst and a grub error 17 yet says grub is not installed. Kinda a wonderment/conundrum there.

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    Tamk you for interest in my posts. There are several issues here I found in ony one installation process:

    1) Current UBUNTU installation scripts does not detect correctely 4096 bytes HDD sectors on my hard drive. Maybe it calculates size as they were 512 bytes long). I have no time to test the issue on an hard drive from different producer (maybe internal). If someone will find the same error on his hard drive, may be he could add a new bug to the list. Suse installation program works fine.

    2) I tried more than once with different installers and different settings; I never had success (even leaving default settings). Keep in mind that my system is USB bootable (tried with different USB HDD with same setup). I'm now pretty sure the hard drive is not usable to install any bios bootable OS (even if I don't understand why).

    3) Here is more information, if you need it:
    a - I'm abosolutely sure that sda is the hard drive I need to use. Size is correctely detected by gparted, and installed files are detected into the partitions by the live CD OS.
    b - Partitions are, in order: /boot, swap, extended, /, /home.
    c - grub is not able to detect the correct filesystem on 4096 bytes HDD (may be, it's my opinion), or the partition table gets corrupted here. It should not answer to root (hd0,0) with "filesystem type unknown, partition type 0x82"
    d - The bootloader fails to be installed in both MBR (I'm sure it was enabled into the installer and in boot partition (when both are enabled, I get two equal errors).
    e - I do not know why the bootloader installer fails with error "Because of partitioning, the boot loader cannot be installed properly". Any idea?
    f - (Wrong information... See below)If grub cannot mount the partition, it cannot read them. Once partitions are mounted on the system, I can access grub settings from nautilus...(Wrong information... See below)

    Thank you for answers...
    Last edited by widgetX; 07-25-2011 at 01:08 PM.

  10. #9
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    Sorry, I made a mistake. I did not access menu.lst from nautilus with the live CD. The information given above was only related to the files available from the installer under the bootloader section (edit files manually).
    I've tryied to keep standard settings (using /dev/disk/by-id/...) or to change them using the setup dialog. This was the menu.lst I wrote in my second post. Since I had to format the drive, I am no more able to address this. The only thing I can confirm is that /boot partition was not empty nor unmountable, since I was able to open it with nautilus from the live CD.

    Just wanted to see if there is someone that has this kind of problems.

    I'm sorry I placed misleading information in my posts...

  11. #10
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    Interesting. In your fdisk output, sda1 (hd0,0) is a Linux partition, sda2 is swap and partition type 0x82 is swap. So why this error, don't know??
    I noticed in installing Opensuse 11.3 there were more options than other distributions. In the Live Installation Settings window, clicking on the Booting heading opens a new Bootloader Settings window which has two tabs where additional settings can be made: Section Management and Bootloader Installation. I'd tried installing several times before I found this.

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