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Old 05-24-2010, 12:44 PM   #1
scoobydo
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Registered: May 2010
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Unhappy BIOS Does not Load Oracle Linux from USB HDD


Hello,

Any guidance / help on the below will be greatly appreciated.

My Setup:
Dell Laptop (BIOS allows boot from USB) - Vista 32 bit installed, 4 GB memory

External 500 GB HDD (iOmega) - Partitioned as follows:
NTFS: 50 GB
/boot: 1 GB
below two on one logical volume:
swap: 5 GB
/: rest ~ 440 GB
I installed Oracle Enterprise Linux on the external HDD. Did not install the Grub bootloader as I don't really want a startup boot option.

The way I was planning to make it work was: When USB HDD connected and laptop powered up, it'll boot to the Oracle Linux. When the USB drive is not connected and laptop powered up, it'll boot to Vista.

Issue:
When I boot with the USB HDD connected, nothing happens. I get a blank screen with a blinking cursor... What am I missing here? The USB HDD light comes on though.

Question:
Is the above plan possible, or do I have to have a Boot loader installed?

If I have to have a boot loader installed, how can I just install the bootloader and not have to reinstall Linux on the HDD.

NOTE: The Linux drive is currently empty, so I'm open to any good suggestions to partitioning it. I want to keep a small amount of NTFS space on that drive to store some windows files and documents that I can carry around. The rest 450 GB is open for Linux. And I Plan to install Oracle Database and Apps on Linux (which takes about 350 GB of space).

Thank you all in advance. Look forward to a solution to this, have been struggling with this for a week now.

I'm a nubie with Linux, though I have past UNIX (not admin) experience.

Last edited by scoobydo; 05-24-2010 at 12:57 PM.
 
Old 05-24-2010, 01:22 PM   #2
PTrenholme
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Well, since you deliberately failed to create a MBR on your USB drive, you should not be surprised that it will just sit there and blink when you tell your BIOS to load the MBR from the USB drive.

The simplest thing for you to do is to boot from your installation media in rescue mode and run grub-install on your USB drive, or just reinstall you Linux system, but this time install GRUB in the MBR of the USB drive.
 
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Old 05-24-2010, 01:27 PM   #3
ronlau9
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Yes you need a boot loader .
Why not install the boot loader in MBR of the external drive .
When you do that be sure that the external drive is the first Boot HD
But you have to realize that to change OS you have to change the boot priority in the BIOS
Use a live CD to install the boot loader without reinstalling linux or use SuperGrub to do the trick
 
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Old 05-24-2010, 02:18 PM   #4
scoobydo
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Thanks for the quick response guys.

PT: The reason I didn't install Grub the first time was becoz 1> it was optional on the Oracle Linux distribution. 2> It wanted to install grub on to my primary HDD (Windows Drive) and I didn't want it there. So my decision to go forward without grub...


Thanks to ronlau, I now understand that grub or some kind of boot loader is required.


Here is what I have achieved based on your good advise:
1> Started Linux Rescue from CD; It mounted my Linux system under /mnt/sysimage
2> did fdisk -l, my Linux HDD is on /dev/sdb1, 2 and 3. with sdb1 being the /boot partition.
3> did 'grub-install root-directory=/mnt/sysimage/boot/grub'
error grub not found... lol
4> cd to /mnt/sysimage
5> did 'grub-install root-directory=/mnt/sysimage/boot/grub' grub not found - lol
I know grub and grub-install are both there under ./sbin/
6> did grub
goes to bash like shell 'grub>'
7> did install /mnt/sysimage/boot/grub
Error 12: invalid device requested...
8> Same error for install /dev/sdb1


Any ideas?
 
Old 05-24-2010, 03:34 PM   #5
scoobydo
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Another Update:

Since I was stuck going down the path trying to do a rescue / grub-install, I tried doing a Linux reinstall on the USD HDD, this time selecting the grub boot loader will be installed option.

However, there is no option to load grub onto the usb hdd, install screen says that grub will be loaded on /dev/sda (my windows hdd)...


Any thoughts / direction will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
Old 05-24-2010, 04:05 PM   #6
PTrenholme
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  1. chroot /mnt/sysimage when the suggestion is made by linux rescue
  2. Identify where your USB drive is located. (Do a mount and see where / is mounted. Should be /dev/sd followed by a letter and a number.)
  3. Enter the command grub-install (hd0) if the letter is "a," (hd1) if "b," etc.
Reboot, and you should be running.
<edit>
Some explanation of the above. (Omitted because my wife was calling me away to remove some "Deadly Nightshade" growing in the alley behind our house.)
  1. You need to do the chroot before you do the grub-install unless you over-ride the grub-install defaults. If you're interested in how grub-install works, look at the output of the man grub-install command. (And look at man man for how to use the man command.)
  2. Here's what a mount command for this laptop shows, with the line identifying the root (i.e., /) boot drive highlighted in red:
    Code:
    $ mount
    /dev/sda8 on / type ext4 (rw)
    proc on /proc type proc (rw)
    sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
    devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,gid=5,mode=620)
    tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,rootcontext="system_u:object_r:tmpfs_t:s0")
    /dev/sdb2 on /boot type ext3 (rw)
    /dev/sdb1 on /Samsung type ext4 (rw)
    /dev/sda5 on /Jaunty type ext3 (rw)
    /dev/sda1 on /Vista type fuseblk (rw,allow_other,blksize=4096)
    /dev/sda3 on /Vista/Recovery type fuseblk (rw,allow_other,blksize=4096)
    none on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw)
    sunrpc on /var/lib/nfs/rpc_pipefs type rpc_pipefs (rw)
  3. GRUB uses the old (hd...) notation to identify drives and partitions, and starts "counting" drives (and partitions) from zero, not 1. Thus (hd1) indicated the second hard drive. Since you're trying to install a MBR, you want to do it to the whole drive, not the partition where you've placed your boot information. Thus (hd1) rather than, for example, (hd1,5) for the sixth partition of the second drive.

Last edited by PTrenholme; 05-24-2010 at 04:51 PM.
 
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Old 05-24-2010, 05:12 PM   #7
scoobydo
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PT, Thanks a TON. The detailed info has been very helpful

I have it running now, just booted up - thanks, thanks, thanks.

And very impressive now... totally unlike the Linux of 5 / 7 years ago... this is something I can live with on a daily basis too. Just got to get thru the learning curve.

Couldn't have done it without your detailed help and this forum for support.

Thanks.


Next Steps: Figure out how to get wireless n/w to work... seems I only installed the wired option - lol.
 
Old 05-24-2010, 07:45 PM   #8
PTrenholme
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Re the wireless network, right click on the Network Manager icon, and follow the prompts. (I haven't tried the Oracle distribution, but I believe that it's a re-branded version of an older Fedora release. If that's true, you are probably using the GNOME desktop, and the Network Manager icon is towards the right side of the screen-top status bar. If you're using the wired network, it will be showing that traffic by default.)

Note that most of the hand-holding network applications (NetworkManager, wicd, etc.) will only let you use a single network interface at a time. If you want to simultaneously use your wired and wireless interfaces, you'll need to learn how to set up and manage your own network configuration. Unless your need is compelling, I'd suggest letting that slide 'till you're further along the learning curve.

Oh, to see if you're wireless device was detected and the correct drivers installed, open a terminal window (in the "System" submenu of the main menu) and enter the command nm-tool. If you still have problems, it would be better to start a new thread.
 
Old 05-25-2010, 10:27 PM   #9
scoobydo
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Thanks again PT.

Guess it'll have to be a new thread you catch the drift...

Did some poking around and found a N/w connections dialog and the terminal window (Under Applications/Accessories) nm-tool says NetworkManager appears not to be running....

Thus new thread.

Thanks for your help with the boot loader

Thanks.
 
  


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