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gamewolf 04-15-2008 05:35 PM

Booting into Debian without Bootloader
Ok, I am dual-booting XP Home and Debian 4.0. I installed the base system and then asked me where to install GRUB. I have Debian on a different drive than XP. I didn't know if (hd0) was XP or Debian. So I opted out of installing it. It said I could boot into it manually by typing /dev/sdb4 root=/dev/sdb4 (or something like that). Where do I type this in? Is there a map that I can look at that tells me what device is what? Thanks.

yodahome 04-15-2008 06:22 PM

There is (afaik) no way to boot into a linux system without a boot loader. (Same with windows, except it uses a different one and doesn't ask you about it).
You might be able to get into your Debian installation by booting from the installation cd (which uses grub). /dev/sdb4 is obviously the partition where you installed linux (4th partition on the second hard disk). If you know grub a little you should be able to tell it to boot with this parition as root. (the grub manual might be of help

As a smartass-additional note, you should have just installed grub onto master boot record of hd0 (which is the first hd in your computer and therefore the first option you're offered). This is the standard way and it works for almost everybody, it does not destroy any data but it DOES replace a small portion of boot code so the bootloader can do its job.

However you can do that manually from inside debian once you're in.

If you're unsuccessful in getting into debian, just do the install process again (and install grub this time).*g*

gamewolf 04-15-2008 08:24 PM

Ok GRUB is on the MBR of the second HD. I am wanting to have it read the Menu.lst file from a different partition. Is there a way I can have it do that? Thanks.

strikeer 04-15-2008 09:00 PM

11.2 How to specify files

There are two ways to specify files, by absolute file name and by block list.

An absolute file name resembles a Unix absolute file name, using `/' for the directory separator (not `\' as in DOS). One example is `(hd0,0)/boot/grub/menu.lst'. This means the file /boot/grub/menu.lst in the first partition of the first hard disk. If you omit the device name in an absolute file name, GRUB uses GRUB's root device implicitly. So if you set the root device to, say, `(hd1,0)' by the command root (see root), then /boot/kernel is the same as (hd1,0)/boot/kernel.

Quoted from

Check that out some more may help.

gamewolf 04-15-2008 09:13 PM

I don't think you understand. I am wanting to read a totally different menu.lst file on a different partition.

strikeer 04-15-2008 10:14 PM


Originally Posted by gamewolf (Post 3122552)
I don't think you understand. I am wanting to read a totally different menu.lst file on a different partition.

(hd?,?) indicates the drive and the partition [(hddrive,partition)]


hd(0,0) 1st drive and 1st partion
hd(1,0) 2nd drive and 1st partion
hd(2,1) 3rd drive and 2nd partion
and so on...

Hope this helps :)

gamewolf 04-16-2008 03:54 PM

Yes, I know about that. I am wanting to GRUB on the MBR to read a totally different Menu.lst file.

masinick 04-23-2008 12:20 PM

IF you have GRUB installed on one disk, you can reference any boot loader or boot block on any partition of any disk on your system.

The chainloader feature of GRUB allows you to access any boot record on any partition. You use it by first specifying either root or rootnoverify, followed by the GRUB notation for the partition. For example:

root (hd1,2)
chainloader +1

points to the third partition on the second disk (both numbering schemes begin with zero.

Alternatively, you can specifically point to a bootable kernel and initial RAMdisk using a similar method. For example:

root (hd0,5)
kernel (hd0,5)/boot/vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/sda6
initrd (hd0,5)/boot/initrd-

These are just examples. The actual settings would vary somewhat. In the second example, you do not have to specify the (hdx,y) values, (they default to the values on the root line) but I do so because it gives me more flexibility when I am editing GRUB on the fly.

masinick 04-23-2008 12:32 PM

GRUB link searched on Linux Questions
is one useful place to find information about using GRUB effectively. Within that thread there is a pointer to the official GRUB documentation, which can also help you with specific details. Read them, then ask questions if there are areas that are unclear or difficult to understand.

wificraig 04-28-2008 06:54 AM

Reading a different menu.lst
Rather than installing Grub with the installation disk, you can run Grub in two ways...either from the Debian system you have installed, or from a live CD (like Mepis, etc) that has the Grub application.
It's been a while, but you'll open a terminal window (may need su?), and type "grub" (and enter). Then type "root (hd2,3)", or whatever your hard drive is (ie. hd2) and the partition number (ie. 3) where the 3 is partition number 4, since grub starts at 0 for the first partition. Then type "setup (hd2)" or whatever the hard drive number is. If grub was setup properly, you'll see a print out in the terminal window if grub found the correct files needed. Finally, type "quit", and you can close the terminal window. Grub will search the hard drive and partition for the /boot/grub/menu.lst file.

Larry Webb 04-28-2008 07:31 AM

Read this, it should answer your questions, I put grub in its own very small partition on hd0 and chainload all my os's. You can do this with removeable drives then you can disconnect and not loose boot to other os's.

You can also carry a Super Grub cd around with you and boot from it

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