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Old 01-16-2007, 09:41 PM   #1
pyn
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help with multi-boot system


hey guys, I want to have a system with WinXP, openSUSE, Mepis, and Debian Etch installed on it. I had everything working fine, until I hooked up the rest of my hds (I disconnected them in case I made a mistake since this is my first time installing linux or working with grub).

I partitioned my 74GB raptor (connected to the on board sata port on my asus a7n8x-3 deluxe) like this: 14GB ntfs and ~10GB fat32 as primary partitions and 14GB ext3, 14GB ext3, 14GB ext3, 4GB swap as extended partitions. I installed the linux distros in this order in the extended partitions: openSUSE, Mepis, and Debian Etch (Debian made it easy to create a multi boot system since it recognized every OS installed without any configuring).

Everything was working practically flawlessly (I'll get to the one problem in just a second) until I connected my 2 IDE drives and plugged in my SATA RAID card. when I did this I kept receiving a grub error (I believe error 23). when I formatted my partitions and started all over with the drives plugged in I was unable to write to the mbr when installing openSUSE (I didn't try inatalling any of the other distros since I figured I would have the same problem).

As for the one other problem I was having, for whatever reason I am unable to properly mount the fat32 partition in openSUSE. I am unable to write to the drive when it is mounted and when I am in openSUSE it says that there are folders present which are not present when I boot into any of the other OSes.

Also, I would really appreciate it if anyone could recommend some other distros that you guys really like. I have heard some negative and some positive reviews regarding Fedora Core and mostly positive reviews regarding CentOS.

Thanks a lot for taking the time to read this.
 
Old 01-16-2007, 10:37 PM   #2
Hadhubhi
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I've never really done the type of multi-booting you're doing here, but I think I know what the problem is.

Basically, when you plug in the extra drives, I think it's screwing up the numbering of the drives that was done during installation. That would make sense with your error 23: error while parsing number.

Your MBR might just have gotten a little screwy in your installation, so perhaps you need to do something with that. The recovery console on your WinXP disk has a fixmbr command that might do the trick.

If that doesn't help, a diagnostic I might try is to attempt to install the way you did it the first time, then plug everything back in, stick in a live cd, and check the contents of your grub.conf (usually /boot/grub/grub.conf or something). Compare that to the output of fdisk -l. (Or just post it here)

There may be something more sinister going on, though, and I may not be able to help.


As for distros, I always suggest some form of Ubuntu for the novice Linux user. It has a truly gorgeous package management system, and an excellent community for support. I use Gentoo and love it, but wouldn't suggest it until you become familiar with some of the workings of Linux. I have some friends who swear by Mandriva, but I'm not really a fan.
 
Old 01-16-2007, 11:09 PM   #3
pyn
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hopefully this isn't a stupid question (I'm sure it is) but, in which partition should I look for /boot/grub/grub.conf ?
 
Old 01-16-2007, 11:24 PM   #4
Hadhubhi
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Didn't you install your bootloader through Debian?
 
Old 01-16-2007, 11:49 PM   #5
pyn
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yes, so I suppose I should look for it in the debian partition. should I just post the contents of the conf file here once I find it?
 
Old 01-17-2007, 07:14 PM   #6
pyn
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I can't seem to find any conf file in /boot/grub
 
Old 01-17-2007, 10:22 PM   #7
bigrigdriver
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In some distros, the grub file is /boot/grub/grub.conf; in others, it's /boot/grub/menu.lst. Same file; same format; different name.
 
Old 01-18-2007, 12:06 AM   #8
pyn
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ahh, this is what I suspected. my menu.lst looks like this:

# 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'.
# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not change this entry to 'saved' or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
default 0

## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
timeout 5

# 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

### BEGIN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS 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 specific 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_2_6_8=root=/dev/hdc1 ro
## kopt_2_6_8_2_686=root=/dev/hdc2 ro
# kopt=root=/dev/sda7 ro

## default grub root device
## e.g. groot=(hd0,0)
# groot=(hd0,6)

## 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

## additional options to use with the default boot option, but not with the
## alternatives
## e.g. defoptions=vga=791 resume=/dev/hda5
# defoptions=

## should update-grub lock old automagic boot options
## e.g. lockold=false
## lockold=true
# lockold=false

## Xen hypervisor options to use with the default Xen boot option
# xenhopt=

## Xen Linux kernel options to use with the default Xen boot option
# xenkopt=console=tty0

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

## 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

## should update-grub adjust the value of the default booted system
## can be true or false
# updatedefaultentry=false

## ## End Default Options ##

title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.18-3-k7
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-3-k7 root=/dev/sda7 ro
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-3-k7
savedefault

title Debian GNU/Linux, kernel 2.6.18-3-k7 (single-user mode)
root (hd0,6)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18-3-k7 root=/dev/sda7 ro single
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.18-3-k7
savedefault

### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST

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


# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sda1
title Microsoft Windows XP Professional
root (hd0,0)
savedefault
makeactive
chainloader +1


# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/sda5.
title openSUSE 10.2 (on /dev/sda5)
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18.2-34-default root=/dev/sda5 vga=0x317 resume=/dev/sda8 splash=silent showopts
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18.2-34-default
savedefault
boot


# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/sda5.
title Failsafe -- openSUSE 10.2 (on /dev/sda5)
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.18.2-34-default root=/dev/sda5 vga=normal showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off noresume nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 edd=off 3
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.18.2-34-default
savedefault
boot


# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/sda6.
title MEPIS at sda6, kernel 2.6.15-26-386 (on /dev/sda6)
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.15-26-386 root=/dev/sda6 nomce quiet vga=791
savedefault
boot


# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for an existing
# linux installation on /dev/sda6.
title MEMTEST (on /dev/sda6)
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin
savedefault
boot
 
Old 01-18-2007, 12:32 AM   #9
pixellany
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Quote:
Your MBR might just have gotten a little screwy in your installation, so perhaps you need to do something with that. The recovery console on your WinXP disk has a fixmbr command that might do the trick.
This is not going to help you boot all those Linuces.....fixmbr gives the mbr back to Windows.

To evaluate what is in your grub config file, we also need the output of fdisk -l (run as root)
 
Old 01-18-2007, 01:16 AM   #10
pyn
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here's fdisk -l:

Disk /dev/sda: 74.3 GB, 74355769344 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9039 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 1785 14337981 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 1786 3175 11165175 b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda3 3176 9039 47102580 5 Extended
/dev/sda5 3176 4960 14337981 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 4961 6745 14337981 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 * 6746 8530 14337981 83 Linux
/dev/sda8 8531 9039 4088511 82 Linux swap / Solaris
 
  


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