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Old 12-12-2015, 08:50 PM   #1
Gregg Bell
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What does "grub2" do (to my usb flash drive or computer)?


I was having trouble installing a distro via a bootable usb drive using Unetbootin, so I tried this Multisystem alternative. I got this error: xterm thing so I installed xterm and now I'm going to use Multisystem and there's this big warning (see screenshot) about Grub2 but it doesn't tell you what the danger is. So, what does Grub2 do and what's the danger? Will I be able to use the usb flash drive after the install (for other things)? Will I be able to format it again? Will Grub2 change anything on my computer? I guess I don't get the significance of the Master Boot Record deal either. I mean I Googled it but still it's confusing. Thanks.
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Old 12-12-2015, 09:03 PM   #2
frankbell
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Grub2 is a bootloader. It manages booting a system and, if you have a multi-boot system (more than one OS installed), it allows you pick which OS you wish to run. The Gentoo wiki has a good article about it: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/GRUB2

Every OS has a bootloader, even Windows, but theirs runs in the background because they narcissitically think that there is no other OS.

Last edited by frankbell; 12-12-2015 at 09:04 PM.
 
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Old 12-12-2015, 11:47 PM   #3
sgosnell
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If you want to boot from a drive, it has to have a bootloader installed somewhere in the system. GRUB is the most common bootloader, although there are others. It won't hurt your flash drive. Your internal HDD or SSD probably has GRUB on it, unless it's a newer UEFI model.
 
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Old 12-13-2015, 09:36 AM   #4
yancek
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The message indicates that Grub2 will be installed to the MBR of the 8GB flash drive shown in the window below to allow you to boot the flash drive. Are you going to be trying to put multiple Linux systems on this flash drive? If you manage to get this working, you would need to format the drive after installing whichever system you used to be able to use it as data storage later. Maybe if you had posted what problems you had with unetbootin, someone could have explained.
 
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Old 12-13-2015, 04:20 PM   #5
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankbell View Post
Grub2 is a bootloader. It manages booting a system and, if you have a multi-boot system (more than one OS installed), it allows you pick which OS you wish to run. The Gentoo wiki has a good article about it: https://wiki.gentoo.org/wiki/GRUB2

Every OS has a bootloader, even Windows, but theirs runs in the background because they narcissitically think that there is no other OS.
Thanks Frank. And thanks for the link.
 
Old 12-13-2015, 04:21 PM   #6
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
If you want to boot from a drive, it has to have a bootloader installed somewhere in the system. GRUB is the most common bootloader, although there are others. It won't hurt your flash drive. Your internal HDD or SSD probably has GRUB on it, unless it's a newer UEFI model.
Thanks sgosnell. I'm sure I have the GRUB because my computers are really old.
 
Old 12-13-2015, 04:26 PM   #7
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
The message indicates that Grub2 will be installed to the MBR of the 8GB flash drive shown in the window below to allow you to boot the flash drive. Are you going to be trying to put multiple Linux systems on this flash drive? If you manage to get this working, you would need to format the drive after installing whichever system you used to be able to use it as data storage later. Maybe if you had posted what problems you had with unetbootin, someone could have explained.
Thanks yancek. Okay. So IF (and I haven't yet) I did the Grub2 thing and did whatever I wanted with it but then wanted it for regular storage again, I would just format it in Gparted (or wherever) to FAT32 or whatever format I wanted and then it's good to go for storage again?

And I got Unetebootin working. I'd ignored the 'it needs p7zip-full' warning. When I installed the p7zip it worked fine.

I have to admit having multiple distros on one flash drive might be nice. I might try it.
 
Old 12-13-2015, 06:34 PM   #8
sgosnell
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Yes, you can reformat the drive and it will work. Or you can just use it for storage as it is, but that's probably not optimal, since it wouldn't have that much free space available. Grub will still be in the MBR, but it's harmless. The only possible problem with having grub in the MBR is that it's possible that it could be connected to a computer at boot, and the drive could be selected. It won't boot without the OS being on it, so it could cost you a minute or two of time while it refuses to boot, but that's the worst case.
 
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Old 12-13-2015, 06:43 PM   #9
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sgosnell View Post
Yes, you can reformat the drive and it will work. Or you can just use it for storage as it is, but that's probably not optimal, since it wouldn't have that much free space available. Grub will still be in the MBR, but it's harmless. The only possible problem with having grub in the MBR is that it's possible that it could be connected to a computer at boot, and the drive could be selected. It won't boot without the OS being on it, so it could cost you a minute or two of time while it refuses to boot, but that's the worst case.
Thanks sgosnell.

Quote:
The only possible problem with having grub in the MBR is that it's possible that it could be connected to a computer at boot, and the drive could be selected.
You meant grub2, right? Because don't all flash drives have regular old grub?

So if I format the grub2 flash drive it will revert to regular old grub and be back to normal? (LOL This is getting to be like a tautology or something.)
 
Old 12-13-2015, 07:16 PM   #10
yancek
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Quote:
Because don't all flash drives have regular old grub?
No. Flash drives don't have any bootloader on them until you install one. Generally, most Linux distributions Live CD on a CD/DVD or flash drive use Syslinux to boot rather than Grub or Grub2.
 
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Old 12-13-2015, 08:34 PM   #11
Gregg Bell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yancek View Post
No. Flash drives don't have any bootloader on them until you install one. Generally, most Linux distributions Live CD on a CD/DVD or flash drive use Syslinux to boot rather than Grub or Grub2.
Thanks yancek.
 
  


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