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When it comes to linux, all I have known is Red Hat and Fedora. I've now tried to install Ubuntu 9.04. I went thru the entire install, and I thought everything was fine until I rebooted. It will not boot using the hard drive. I have to have the CD in the CDROM drive to get to the Ubuntu main menu, then select Try Ubuntu without making changes to your computer.
When you boot with the live cd, can you mount the partition on which you installed Ubuntu? If yes, what do you see? Also, when you say that "it will not boot using the hard drive," how do you know? What error messages are you getting?
I did choose to manually partition the drive and specify the mount points and sizes, but I don't remember seeing anything about GRUB and the MBR. Ubuntu is new to me, and I'm use to Fedora, but something I did notice with Ubuntu when I installed the server version was that there is a "bootable" flag when setting up the partition, and I don't believe I selected "yes" for any of the partitions when I installed the desktop version.
If I don't select bootable=yes for the /boot partition, does it not prompt or warn me that I don't have some sort of a boot MBR?
Anyway, I ended up installing the server version, and it boots from the hard drive now. However, the server version started a whole other list of issues that took me a while to work thru. One being the sources.list file, need I say more?
I do have to say that the Ubuntu desktop version seemed to be the most compatible OS with my system. Video worked, and sound worked, which in my experiences with Fedora have been a hassle.