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Hi all - I'm in a bit of a jam and need any assistance/suggestions on the following problem: I've had a dual-boot XP/Red Hat 9 system running fine now for ...
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  1. #1
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    GRUB (XP and Red Hat 9) fails after Dynamic Disk conversion


    Hi all -

    I'm in a bit of a jam and need any assistance/suggestions on the following problem:

    I've had a dual-boot XP/Red Hat 9 system running fine now for close to a year (via GRUB 0.92). I had originally installed XP first, followed by Red Hat 9 using Grub as OS loader. No problems.

    Last night, in XP (now in there about only 20% versus Red Hat!) I decided it would be a fine, fine idea to convert my 'basic' disk (only disk in my PC) to 'dynamic'. This was/is my downfall.

    Upon restarting, instead of getting the familiar Red Hat (logo) operating system selection screen, all I get now is a GRUB prompt. So, I tried rebooting to the Red Hat install CD and creating new grub loaders at both the MBR and at 'first sector of boot partition (the 2 available options when re-installing or upgrading Red Hat), hoping to get my familiar OS selection screen again, but to no avail. No matter what I try, every re-install of Linux (to the /dev/hda3 partition that setup detects the existing installation of, which is correct) and trying to re-install Grub (or even Lilo) results in the following message: "No kernel packages were installed. Your boot loader configuration will not be changed."

    I just want to get back to where all was working fine before I made the (apparently fatal at least to some extent) change within XP from basic to dynamic disk. I've read a good deal via Google searches about how Grub has some problems with dynamic/LDM disks, and other no-no's about converting basic disks to dynamic on similarly configured Grub/dual-boot systems (should have checked before I took the plunge, I know!) but no true 'solutions' to my problem. Any ideas? I have a couple of my own but being a newbie I thought I'd consult the experts before I make anything, um, worse. Thank you!

  2. #2
    Linux Engineer Nerderello's Avatar
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    first, there is a grub tutorial in this site , in the tutorial section ( http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/topic-19999.html ), have a look at this.

    Sounds from what you are saying that you still have the MBR bit of grub working (that's what's giving you the grub> prompt. To get beyond that you will need to follow the instructions in the tutorial to find and then boot your linux.

    My only worry is that the pretty menu screens come from /boot/grub/ folder, and if this has been erased by WinXP, then it could also mean that your boot stuff (kernel etc.) has also been erased.

    But before putting out a hit on Uncle bill, try the instructions in the tutorial (and only if they fail to find any Linux should you consider adding your name to the ever increasing list of people who want Uncle Bill to be no more).

    Good luck

    Nerderello

    ps. is it Snowing in Boston? Nothing to do with your problem, got friends out there is all.

    Use Suse 10.1 and occasionally play with Kubuntu
    Also have Windows 98SE and BeOS

  3. #3
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    and other no-no's about converting basic disks to dynamic on similarly configured Grub/dual-boot systems
    That is what I would have said. I would love to help but you do understand what dynamic is right. In general I would tell you to mount the drive to a path and use free space that way. Dynamic disk are fake.. it's not real. I'll read the above also and if I come across any thing that may be of good help I will tell you. I part it might be eaiser to use data recovery and reinstall. That is only a suggestion.

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    Nerderello -

    First off, thanks for furthering my own Linux education with your fine tutorial on Grub/booting that you made reference to in your response. Nice piece of work and great knowledge sharing!

    Second, it's not CURRENTLY snowing in Boston, although on the 26th we had about a foot of snow that we've just dug out from and it's plenty cold. A decent local broadcaster's web site will give you our weather any time you care to take a look: www.whdh.com/weather

    Finally, I've been through your tutorial top to bottom, including all error messages that you had noted. Unfortunately, it didn't include the one I came across when attempting to re-install grub on the MBR as su and from within a Linux shell (thanks to your CD recovery approach---I used my Red Hat boot CD/s for this which worked just fine to get me to the shell).

    After I changed to su, my prompt looked like this: [root@localhost /]#

    I then typed the command you had specified in the tutorial, for re-installing grub, which reflects my hard disk layout likewise as hda, so: grub-install /dev/hda

    Unfortunately, here's what resulted after about 5 seconds after entering the install command: "The file /boot/grub/stage1 not read correctly". I don't see this listed in your noted error messages at the bottom of your tutorial so I'm not certain where to go from here (short of the dreaded re-install/re-partition everything route!).

    More info. about my system if this helps you for any further feedback you may have to offer:
    1. Just 1 disk drive, as master IDE device on primary IDE channel.
    2. Total of six partitions (no dedicated boot partition).
    3. WinXP Setup (I ran it just to confirm that XP's cui portion of setup would still see all the partitions) sees all the partitions as 'dynamic'. Seems to me that poor Grub died as soon as I let Uncle Bill convert the disc type from basic to dynamic (it had to have been that, since that first boot after the basic to dynamic process spawned my problem with Grub prompt).
    4. Note that when I issue a 'find /boot/grub' command from the root prompt, the result is the following:
    /boot/grub
    /boot/grub/grub.conf
    /boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz
    /boot/grub/menu.lst
    /boot/grub/device.map
    /boot/grub/stage1
    /boot/grub/stage2
    /boot/grub/e2fs_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/fat_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/ffs_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/jfs_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/minix_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/reiserfs_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/vstafs_stage1_5
    /boot/grub/xfs_stage1_5
    (So, per your original reply, it would appear WinXP hasn't erased!)

    Please let me know if there is further hope prior to my re-installing (ack!) XP's 'boot loader' onto the MBR instead. Thank you!

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    Lessons learned, lessons learned, lessons learned... folks, I may have trashed things (excuse me, UNCLE BILL may have...) to the point where re-installs of grub (within/without Linux), attempts to 'fix' the mbr, and so forth just won't work in this case.

    In my continuing 'research' on my particular dilemma, I found that the following applies: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, EVEN CONSIDER CONVERTING BASIC WINDOWS XP DISKS TO D-Y-N-A-M-I-C DISKS (VIA XP'S DISK MANAGEMENT UTILITY) ON A SINGLE DISK SYSTEM THAT IS ALREADY HAPPILY DUAL BOOTING WINDOWS XP AND LINUX.

    Given how XP 'modifies' physical disks via a special 'database' when creating 'dynamic' disks, I can now see (sadly in hindsight) why I appear relegated to blowing away this disk and starting from scratch (where the NTFS partitions are concerned----of course, I can still get to the Linux partitions!! Thank heaven for being dutiful with my backups).

    What I'm likely going to do at this point is to bring up this system's disk in an XP system as a secondary/slave disk and get to any data I might need since a previous backup that way. Then I'll blow it all away and start from scratch. Sigh.

    *****

    The following is from MS Technet article #283421.

    When Windows XP Setup deletes a partition on a dynamic disk, the disk reverts to basic. All dynamic volumes are deleted, and data is lost. Before it deletes a partition on a dynamic disk, Windows XP Setup generates the following warning message:
    The partition you attempted to delete is on a dynamic disk. Deletion of this partition will make all other partitions on this disk unusable.

    Do not delete this partition if you need to keep any of the data on any of the partitions on this disk.
    Install Windows XP to a Partition That Resides on a Basic Disk or on a Retained Dynamic Volume
    If another disk is installed on the system, a disk that is basic or that is a dynamic volume that has been retained, you can use this disk to install Windows XP.

    When disks are converted to dynamic while you are running Windows XP, the only MBR information that is retained is information about current system and boot partitions. This is unlike Windows 2000, where all existing MBR information is retained upon conversion from basic to dynamic.
    Use the Diskpart Command RETAIN to Create MBR Partition Information
    If you have access to a Windows XP graphical user interface (GUI) that is already on the system, you may be able to use the Diskpart retain command to create the MBR partition table information.

    The retain command prepares a dynamic simple volume to be used as a boot or system volume by writing the flag that states that the partition is retained in the dynamic disk database and then putting an entry in the MBR partition table for that partition.

    On an x86-based computer, the retain command creates an MBR partition entry on the dynamic simple volume with focus. To create an MBR partition, the dynamic simple volume must start at a cylinder aligned offset and be an integral number of cylinders in size.

  6. #6
    Linux Engineer Nerderello's Avatar
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    oh fusk (might be a typo! )

    When you come to do your re-install, you may want to upgrade to one of the Fedora Core distros (this is where free Redhat is now ). Fedora Core 1 still uses the 2.4 kernel, FC2 and FC3 make use of the 2.6 kernel.

    have fun
    Nerderello

    Use Suse 10.1 and occasionally play with Kubuntu
    Also have Windows 98SE and BeOS

  7. #7
    Linux Engineer Nerderello's Avatar
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    Can you give this a try?


    Can you boot, using a CD into Linux, then try entering fdisk /dev/hda

    Press m to get the menu and then p to print out the partition table. If this works and the partition table looks reasonable , try writing this away to the partition table.

    Hopefully this will allow grub to find the files as before, must admit that I don't know how WinXP will react to this.

    Nerderello

    Use Suse 10.1 and occasionally play with Kubuntu
    Also have Windows 98SE and BeOS

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