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Hello all, I have been trying to install linux (Ubuntu 5.10) for my main computer for last two weeks. This computer has XP installed on SATA drive (/dev/sda), and two ...
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  1. #1
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Riihimäki, Finland

    Unable to boot linux (GRUB and hard drive geometry problems)

    Hello all,

    I have been trying to install linux (Ubuntu 5.10) for my main computer for last two weeks. This computer has XP installed on SATA drive (/dev/sda), and two IDE disks, one for file storage (/dev/hdb) and one for Linux (/dev/hda). Originally, idea was to make dual-boot out of this machine, but I was unable to get it work. Ubuntu installation went fine, but when rebooting it said

    GRUB Loading Stage1.5Read Error
    So I fiddled around with Live-CDs (Knoppix and Ubuntus Live-CD), re-installed GRUB on various places, changed my menu.lst, but nothing helped (I did manage to blow up my Windows disks MBR, though. It was very educational experiance). So I decided that I'll just install single-boot linux and worry about dual-booting later.

    So, I disconnected my Windows drive and re-installed Ubuntu (again). Installation went fine, again, but when I rebooted, it reported same error. Apparently, this means that GRUB can't read filesystem correctly, so I used partition magic to inspect my linux drive, and found out that partition table written by Ubuntu was corrupt. It was too large (160 GB table for 160GB disc.. Windows sees this disk as 149 GB, and if I understand correctly, this is how it should be). I found this about 12 days ago.

    I have since tried to do great many things. I have re-installed Ubuntu about 20 times, tried to install Mepis (MEPIS Live-CD can see drive size correctly, but GRUB doesn't work anyway), I have tried external bootloader (GAG). I have also tried to partition hard drive before installation from Partition Magic and from MEPIS, but this doesn't help, as Ubuntu partitioner sees drive sizes incorrectly (for example, my 40 gig / partition is displayed as 42 gigs). I presume all this has something to do with a kernel bug reported in, but none of the fixes presented there seems to work.

    I attempted to use GRUB boot disk, but it had great difficulties to even see my linux drive (I couldn't even root (hd0,0) to it). I tried to boot my linux by using knoppix CD, but when I tried to load initrd, it gave me some kind of an error about "Filesystem inconsistency".

    Physically hard disk should be okay, as it is completely readable from live-cd and I had Windows 2000 installed on it before I got my new machine.

    At this point, I don't have a slightest clue as what to do. Any input or help would be appreciated. Sorry about long post, but as I said, I have tried to fix this for quite a while now, and I tried to give as much infomation as possible .

  2. #2
    Linux User Stefann's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Boise, ID
    Here is how you should structure your partition setup, the problem is most BIOSes in PCs don't boot anything past the 1024 cylinder mark, so that creates the biggest hassle for dual booting.
    0MB-50MB /boot "The boot partition for Linux"
    50MB-whatever Windows Partition "DUH, your Windows Partition"
    whatever-whatever / "Linux root partition"

    Set up etc... however you want. Now, windows has to be installed in it's little hidey-hole first(because it will nuke any MBR besides its own on install) so make the partitions in the Windows Setup or using the install disk for your distro, whatever works for you. Next of course, install Windows into the partition you made for it, blah blah, it will still boot when we are done with it. Next install your linux distro, make sure that the partitions are as described as above(AKA. make sure to map /boot to that first partition), install the distro, and install grub to the MBR, your distro should detect windows and configure GRUB for it. Now you can boot your system into either once you reboot. Because the /boot and windows partition starting points are in the 1024 cylinder(~8.5GB) area, they will boot just fine, this is because the windows bootloader is installed at the start of its partition, and the kernel will load off the /boot partition without issues. Questions???
    Nothing is worse than ten penguins fighting over which is better, vi or emacs.
    Registered Linux User #404402
    Finally I'm back on LF after a long while.

  3. #3
    Just Joined!
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Riihimäki, Finland
    That won't work in my case, as my Windows is on completely separate hard disk, and besides I am unable to boot even single boot Linux. My /boot partition is at the beginning of disk, but it is still unable to boot from it. I don't think that dual booting is the issue here, as GRUB is completely unable to load, I haven't got even far enought to test my menu.lst configuration.

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