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Old 02-27-2008, 10:34 AM   #1
Registered: Feb 2008
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error loading operating system - Debian AMD64 (etch 4.3)

i am getting this weird error message after installation and the first reboot attempt. i am trying to install Debian 4.3 (etch). i did do a md5sum on the ftp download and its fine.

"error loading operating system"

which i have learned means that the bootloader, grub is not loading. the following has been my plan of action with help from other experts on other forums but still no progress, hopefully someone here can guide me.

here are my drives, all SATA.




here is the info from the BIOS
primary IDE master - no drive
primary IDE slave - no drive
secondary IDE master - no drive
secondary IDE slave - drive 1
SATA third IDE master - drive 2 (debian)
SATA fourth IDE master - cd/dvd drive
SATA fifth IDE master - drive 3
SATA sixth IDE master - drive 4

i am pretty sure sda5 is where debian is installed, but i cant even check that because i dont have fdisk available to use on this dvd. is there another way to check? what would the other partitions, sda1, sda2 would be?

the suggestion was to manually install grub and go from there, so this is what i have been doing.

i go into "expert" mode at installation.
go through setting up language and keyboard.
execute a shell.

create a mydrive under mnt. this works so far.
mkdir /mnt/mydrive
then i try to mount the partition. and get the following error message, i cant get beyond this point.
mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/mydrive
[HTML]mount: mounting /dev/sda5 on /mnt/mydrive failed: invalid argument[/HTML]

how is my syntax wrong?

the plan is to do the following once i resolve the mount issue, im not sure if the commands in grub are correct according to my drive designation but im not even that far along yet.

mount /dev/sda5 /mnt/mydrive
root (hd0,4)
setup (hd0)
umount /mnt
Old 02-28-2008, 08:32 AM   #2
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Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Saint Amant, Acadiana
Distribution: Gentoo ~arch
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You have four hard drives.
1. It is very important how the boot order in BIOS is set, the HDD BIOS boots becomes hd0 for GRUB and hda (or sda) for Linux.
2. Under certain conditions even SATA disks can show up as hdx (not sdx as expected). Make sure this is not the case with your rig.
3. This is hard to believe fdisk is not included in Debian DVD. Does it have cfdisk?
Old 02-28-2008, 03:00 PM   #3
Registered: Feb 2008
Posts: 41

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i was experimenting with installing ubuntu 7.1 and was having the same issues, i did manage to get into the grub settings (dont ask me how) and i entered (hd0,0) and it accepted it. but every time i restart i have to go through the same process. how do i save the


in the grub bootloader?
Old 02-28-2008, 03:01 PM   #4
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Registered: Nov 2006
Location: Belgium
Distribution: Ubuntu 11.04, Debian testing
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Edit /boot/grub/menu.lst.

Just start up a terminal from Applications > Accessories > Terminal.
Then type sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst
Old 02-29-2008, 10:13 AM   #5
Registered: Feb 2008
Posts: 41

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great, ill try it out tonite. so its set as (hd1,0) which means its looking at the second drive? but in fact it should be set to look at the first drive? (hd0,0)

while installing ubuntu, at one of the screens it asks to verify the disks where linux will be installed and there is a button, "advanced" on the bottom right and if one were to click on that, it shows where the bootloader, grub will be installed. looks like it was installing it in


i changed it to hd1 the second time around.


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