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Hello, I've got a computer running Windows XP Professional SP2. I first had a few problems getting linux to work on this machine, since it would usually lock up during ...
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  1. #1
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    [SuSE 9.2] Grub Geom Error


    Hello,

    I've got a computer running Windows XP Professional SP2.
    I first had a few problems getting linux to work on this machine, since it would usually lock up during USB detection.
    I eventually solved this by disabling USB legacy support in the BIOS.

    Then I've installed SuSE 9.2 (DVD) successfully onto /dev/hda2 (18Gb ext3)
    The problem I am having is that I cannot access the bootloader at all.
    That is, upon booting the system I get an error saying 'GRUB Geom Error'.

    I've tried installing other distro's, but no luck with that. Either one of that had this problem on this particular machine (all using GRUB, though)
    (I've installed SuSE 9.2 on my laptop as well, which runs flawlessly, dual-boot.)

    I have then entered the SuSE installation again and tried to install LiLo.
    This didn't solve the problem either, as LiLo would constantly display 02 02 02 02 02 on the screen (with a minute delay between each 02).

    According to the SuSE portal this problem could be caused by several BIOS settings.
    I've checked the BIOS settings, and the HDD is set to LBA mode, and is primary master.
    (With another hdd in secondary master and a cd/dvd-rom on secondary slave)
    Also, I've checked the CHS settings in the BIOS and added 'hda=1024,255,63' to the boot options and the reinstalled SuSE again.
    This didn't solve it either unfortunately.

    The system specifications are:

    AMD Athlon XP2200+ @ 1700Mhz (FSB lowered to 125Mhz due to frequent lock-ups in combination with this type of motherboard)
    Asus A7V133-VM BIOS 1008 (latest BIOS)
    512Mb 133Mhz CAS2.5 SD-Ram memory
    Asus AV7700 (Geforce II GTS 64Mb)

    One thing I suspect of causing this problem is the harddrive.
    This is a 200Gb 7200RPM / 2mb cache Western Digital harddrive.
    I have resized this HDD its NTFS partition from 190Gb to 175Gb to make room for the Linux installation, however, I've placed the linux installation at the end of the HDD.
    Now, if I look in the BIOS it displays 'Maximum LBA capacity 8455MB', would I be right in assuming that this can cause the bootloader not to see the Linux installation, and because of that, hang?
    (Ofcourse, I am just guessing, since I wouldn't know what else can cause this right now)

    The distro's I've tried:
    SuSE 9.2
    Fedora Core 2 (no Core 3 CD at hand)
    Debian Sarge (unstable)

    The SuSE installation *does* boot when loading the SuSE installer and selecting 'Boot installed system'.

    I'm quite running out of options right now, so any pointers in the good direction are greatly appreciated.
    As long as I can get the Windows installation to work again, since it's my fiancee's pc and she's missing her online game. :o

    p.s.
    I've posted this topic in the 'Installation' forum because I seem to have this problem with either distro, and it (for me) happens after/during installation.

    12:08AM CET: I will try 'grub-install --force-lba /dev/hda' and 'grub-install /dev/hda' in a console right now.
    12:25AM CET: grub-install didn't solve anything, it only caused error 17 to appear. (nothing else, just error 17).
    After this I tried a few options in the SuSE setup, such as 'Replace code in MBR', but alas, this didn't solve it either.
    02:02AM CET: Setting the CHS to 16383,16,63 in the BIOS manually causes a "GRUB _" message to appear, nothing else.
    Physically disconnecting the CD/DVD-rom and the other HDD doesn't work either.

  2. #2
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    Another day, another chance.
    Used Windows XP's fixboot and fixmbr and at least got Windows to run.
    (Strangely enough this exact same Windows CD decided not to work yesterday evening.)

    So, now I've got a pc running Windows flawlessly but unable to access SuSE.
    I've decided to remove both linux partitions (ext3 and swap) and give it another try on this pc later, using a different distro.

    Thanks, aka_druid and ohgood for trying to help out on IRC.

  3. #3
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    Re: [SuSE 9.2] Grub Geom Error

    Quote Originally Posted by Xionax
    Now, if I look in the BIOS it displays 'Maximum LBA capacity 8455MB', would I be right in assuming that this can cause the bootloader not to see the Linux installation, and because of that, hang?
    There's your problem. There's a physical limit with some of the older BIOS chips. Check the manufacturer and see if they have a flash update for your BIOS.

    I was running into the same issue when I first installed SUSE. Drove me nuts until I figured out it was a hardware issue and not Linux. Once I updated the BIOS and it didn't have any issues with my large drive, I was able to load GRUB.
    Registered Linux user #384279
    Vector Linux SOHO 7

  4. #4
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    Re: [SuSE 9.2] Grub Geom Error

    Quote Originally Posted by retired1af
    Quote Originally Posted by Xionax
    Now, if I look in the BIOS it displays 'Maximum LBA capacity 8455MB', would I be right in assuming that this can cause the bootloader not to see the Linux installation, and because of that, hang?
    There's your problem. There's a physical limit with some of the older BIOS chips. Check the manufacturer and see if they have a flash update for your BIOS.

    I was running into the same issue when I first installed SUSE. Drove me nuts until I figured out it was a hardware issue and not Linux. Once I updated the BIOS and it didn't have any issues with my large drive, I was able to load GRUB.
    Problem is there's no BIOS update for this motherboard. I'm already running the latest BIOS (100.
    Which I also stated in my topicstart.

    Thanks for the help though.

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