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Old 12-31-2005, 08:23 AM   #1
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Problems with Grub rebooting Dell Laptop


I'm using a Dell D610 laptop, dual booting Ubuntu 5.10 (Breezy) with Windows XP Professional.

It's a standard installation, with grub defaulting to booting Ubuntu.

My problem is that grub randomly stops working... the laptop goes through POST and then 'grub loading' appears for a micro-second before the laptop is rebooted. It keeps doing this over and over again, until I launch the Ubutu rescue and re-install grub using grub-install hd0. Grub then re-appears as it should do, except it will eventually stop working again.

It seems to happen mostly after I've booted into Windows, although I couldn't be certain. Partition table looks like this:

94MB FAT partition (Think it's a Dell diagnostic partition)
102MB /boot
9.22GB LVM
18.52GB NTFS partition.

Anyone got any ideas?


Old 12-31-2005, 09:06 AM   #2
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RU chanaging the size of your LVM as that may change your partition table and affecting grub pointing to its booting files?

2) it would be handy to know what that Dell partition is for anyone else know?
Old 12-31-2005, 02:00 PM   #3
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I'm not making any changes to the LVM group - haven't really had chance to fiddle with it in any depth as I want to get past this grub problem!!


Old 01-01-2006, 01:32 AM   #4
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Can you get your hands on a knoppix or kanotix cd?

that way we can confirm what that fat partition is

also post your /boot/grub/menu.lst file output and while you are there you can see what linux thinks which partition needs the chainloader command.

If you have no easy way of getting a live cd, study my troubleshooter try

when grub starts press C for command then its
root (hd0,0) #####targetting fat as possible c drive
chainloader +1

if it boots that is what your menu should have for Windows

if it fails redo root with root (hd0,3) assuming they are all primary partitions which is why a live cd would be handy.

if it fails is hd0,2

(2) while in grub mode you can also put grub into the linux partition (hd0,1) by
root (hd0,1)
setup (hd0,1)
boot ####to test

3) if 2 succeeds you have grub in mbr and grub in second partition and ntldr in either hd0,0 or hd0,3?

Last edited by aus9; 01-01-2006 at 01:35 AM.
Old 01-04-2006, 07:43 AM   #5
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Thanks for your help and persistence on this. Using Knoppix, it appears that the Dell partition is a diagnostic partition, which can be accessed through the BIOS.

My menu.lst is as follows:

# menu.lst - See: grub(8), info grub, update-grub(8)
# grub-install(8), grub-floppy(8),
# grub-md5-crypt, /usr/share/doc/grub
# and /usr/share/doc/grub-doc/.

## default num
# Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
# the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
# You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
# is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
default 0

## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
timeout 10

## hiddenmenu
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)

# Pretty colours
#color cyan/blue white/blue

## password ['--md5'] passwd
# If used in the first section of a menu file, disable all interactive editing
# control (menu entry editor and command-line) and entries protected by the
# command 'lock'
# e.g. password topsecret
# password --md5 $1$gLhU0/$aW78kHK1QfV3P2b2znUoe/
# password topsecret

# examples
# title Windows 95/98/NT/2000
# root (hd0,0)
# makeactive
# chainloader +1
# title Linux
# root (hd0,1)
# kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda2 ro

# Put static boot stanzas before and/or after AUTOMAGIC KERNEL LIST

## lines between the AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST markers will be modified
## by the debian update-grub script except for the default options below

## DO NOT UNCOMMENT THEM, Just edit them to your needs

## ## Start Default Options ##
## default kernel options
## default kernel options for automagic boot options
## If you want special options for specifiv kernels use kopt_x_y_z
## where x.y.z is kernel version. Minor versions can be omitted.
## e.g. kopt=root=/dev/hda1 ro
# kopt=root=/dev/sda3 ro

## default grub root device
## e.g. groot=(hd0,0)
# groot=(hd0,2)

## should update-grub create alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. alternative=true
## alternative=false
# alternative=true

## should update-grub lock alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. lockalternative=true
## lockalternative=false
# lockalternative=false

## altoption boot targets option
## multiple altoptions lines are allowed
## e.g. altoptions=(extra menu suffix) extra boot options
## altoptions=(recovery mode) single
# altoptions=(recovery mode) single

## nonaltoption boot targets option
## This option controls options to pass to only the
## primary kernel menu item.
## You can have ONLY one nonaltoptions line
# nonaltoptions=quiet splash

## controls how many kernels should be put into the menu.lst
## only counts the first occurence of a kernel, not the
## alternative kernel options
## e.g. howmany=all
## howmany=7
# howmany=all

## should update-grub create memtest86 boot option
## e.g. memtest86=true
## memtest86=false
# memtest86=true

## ## End Default Options ##

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.12-9-386
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.12-9-386 root=/dev/sda3 ro quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.12-9-386

title Ubuntu, kernel 2.6.12-9-386 (recovery mode)
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.12-9-386 root=/dev/sda3 ro single
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.12-9-386

title Ubuntu, memtest86+
root (hd0,2)
kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin


# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.
title Other operating systems:

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sda2
title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root (hd0,1)
chainloader +1


Old 01-04-2006, 10:19 AM   #6
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Try commenting out the makeactive and or savedefault options in the windows section to see if that might be causing the problem.
Old 01-05-2006, 01:04 AM   #7
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hmmm. strange setup lets revisit your partition table in grubspeak

0 fat dell
1 /boot
3 ntfs

then look at your grub menu

linux claims /boot partition is hd0,2 ie LVM
MS claims to be hd0,1 ie /boot

and that aint right therefore re-consider getting independent advice from a live cd and me thinks you will find C drive is normally ntfs

0 fat hidden
1 ntfs
2 /boot
3 lvm or something else

I suspect your fat is hidden from XP but only you can confirm pls.

(2) Nothing wrong with using makeactive for your MS menu as it was designed for the old MS-DOS boot flag

3) Often a good idea to get rid of savedefault (which means save last boot operating system as new default) to minimise trouble shooting.

so more questions than solutions and QTParted on knoppix or kanotix will confirm if you have logical and extended partitions etc.

Finally have you ever used this Dell partition....could you use that 94M?
Old 01-09-2006, 07:55 AM   #8
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OK, my apologies...

Partition table looks like this:
/dev/sda1 = 94MB FAT partition for Dell Diagnostics (would prefer to keep this)
/dev/sda2 = 18GB NTFS partition
/dev/sda3 = 8.9GB Ext3 Partition (Not LVM group as previously stated, got mixed up with my FC setup)
/dev/sda4 = 423MB extended Swap
/dev/sda5 = 423MB Swap within Extended partition

I commented out both the savedefault and makeactive comments, but this is still happening. I've taken to carrying a Knoppix CD where ever I go with this laptop!!


Old 01-10-2006, 05:21 AM   #9
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ok now is that dell hidden partition doing any file system checks on a regular defined basis.....a bit like file system check. It may only like MS so may be breaking down as the grub link may be broken causing bios boot up to look for a bootable partition and NOW not finding it so a crash.

if you read the dox on dd (disk dump) command or partimage you could consider trashing that dell tool after making a backup and seeing what happens.

Personally I think it is that tool doing things.

I keep my system healthy by a combination of bios smart health check every boot and using partimage ....backups....etc
No-one expects you to explain why you want to keep it...but if you do is it worth need to reply.

Last edited by aus9; 01-10-2006 at 05:23 AM.


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