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jrtayloriv 01-15-2008 05:28 AM

How to repartition drive if I can't boot from CD or floppy?
 
I have a laptop (Compaq Evo n600c) which, ever since installing GRUB, is unable to switch boot devices (the boot device selection menu does not appear anymore), so I cannot boot from a CD. I have CDROM set as the primary boot device, and when I press F12 for the boot menu, it asks me, but boots from the hard drive, regardless of what I pick. I tried asking Compaq, but they don't "support" this model anymore.

So anyhow, I want to repartition my root filesystem, and I can't boot into a LiveCD to do it...

I have everything on three partitions:

/dev/hda1 --> /boot
/dev/hda2 --> swap
/dev/hda3 --> /

I originally wanted to chainload with grub to boot into a LiveCD, so that I can partition the drive differently. I found a guide called "Chainloading a bootable CDROM from GRUB", but it requires the use of a floppy drive, which I don't have.

Here are my questions:

1) Is there any possible way for me to resize a mounted root partition?

The parted manual said I couldn't do it, but is there anything else out there that can?


2) Is there any way that, from a running linux system, I could chroot into a USB storage environment for rebuilding?

I was thinking about maybe using an external USB hard drive, and creating a temporary / filesystem on there to chroot into. Could I do this? What would I need to put on there?


3) In the link I mentioned above, the author mentions a method for using a loopback device instead of a floppy. I couldn't find anything on this. Has anyone done this? Can you point me to some resources on this?


I would appreciate any help or suggestions that you all might have to help with this situation.

Thanks,
jrtayloriv

kilgoretrout 01-15-2008 07:34 AM

Can you get into the bios setup? If you can, try setting the boot order sequence to the cdrom first and see if that works.

If you have access to a usb floppy drive, you can also try booting off of that if your laptop supports it; most do.

pixellany 01-15-2008 07:41 AM

Installing GRUB is not going to affect the ability to boot from CD. The latter is a BIOS function. How about going into the actual BIOS setup and changing the boot order?

Note that--regardless of how you tell it to boot from CD, If it cannot do so, it will simply revert to trying the hard disk---typically without any error message. This can happen if the CD is not actually bootable or if the CD drive is malfunctioning. I would try several different CDs that are known to be good---if none work, then you may need to clean the CD drive.

When trying to boot from CD, watch closely during the process to be sure the BIOS is actually attempting it (you may have to hit some key to get the verbose narrative of the process).

masterclassic 01-15-2008 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pixellany
Note that--regardless of how you tell it to boot from CD, If it cannot do so, it will simply revert to trying the hard disk---typically without any error message. This can happen if the CD is not actually bootable or if the CD drive is malfunctioning.

I fully agree to this. It happened to my old computer. I noticed a strange behaviour of the cdrom drive, especially in the booting process, little after this the tray remained always out, and in the next step it remained always closed! Of course w!ndow$ certified that the drive is good and working *LOL*

jrtayloriv 01-22-2008 10:15 PM

Quote:

Installing GRUB is not going to affect the ability to boot from CD. The latter is a BIOS function. How about going into the actual BIOS setup and changing the boot order?
As I said earlier: "I have CDROM set as the primary boot device, and when I press F12 for the boot menu, it asks me, but boots from the hard drive, regardless of what I pick."

I have gone to the BIOS menu, and told it to boot from CD. The CD works fine -- I have booted from it on other computers, and the CDROM drive works fine as well, otherwise I wouldn't have been able to do the original install off of it. It stopped working right after I installed GRUB, so I am thinking that maybe some genius in the Compaq engineering department decided that they need some proprietary Compaq bootloader software in the MBR..

Anyhow,I've gotten some good ideas, one of these is to use a program called "Smart Boot Manager" and grub's chainloading feature. I'm also working on figuring out a way to chroot() into a root filesystem built onto a USB storage device.

Anyhow, any suggestions about this would be helpful.

Thanks,
jrtayloriv


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