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Old 01-04-2005, 12:37 AM   #1
Registered: Nov 2003
Distribution: Fedora Core 3; Debian sarge 3.1
Posts: 37

Rep: Reputation: 15
Debian GRUB gives error 18; Fedora works perfectly; why?

I have a Pentium II 300Mhz Dell OptiPlex GXa. I installed Debian sarge 3.1 on a 125GB single partition as recommended in making single partitions for newbies. It worked perfectly.
Then, I decided to install a second installation of Debian on the same hard disk, and decided to reinstall the boot loader to update it so that both installations could be accessed through GRUB boot loader.

When I booted up, after installing the second instance of Debian, it gave me error 18 at the Grub boot. I tried with a boot floppy, but the same problem.

I then tried to install Fedora to see if it would fix the boot loader problem by reinstalling the boot loader with the new fedora installation alongside the debian installation. tTo my surprise it worked perfectly.

Note: I have an updated BIOS that has been flashed with the latest BIOS upgrade. The max capacity for the BIOS is 60GB, but Debian recognized the full 250GB on the first install. I decided to use a partition of 125 GB because of the 137 GB limit for my EIDE controller, since I could loose data if I used a larger than this partition.

Should I report this bug of the Debian GRUB boot loader? If so, what information do I need to provide in order to report this issue? Is there anyway to fix this problem? Why is Fedora working past this problem without any difficulty and Debian is unable to update / reinstall the GRUB boot loader properly. Why did it work during the first install of Debian? It seems strange since I'm using GRUB in both Fedora and Debian, but it has different results.

Last edited by jariep; 01-04-2005 at 12:39 AM.
Old 01-04-2005, 12:19 PM   #2
Registered: Mar 2004
Distribution: Debian Sarge
Posts: 169

Rep: Reputation: 30
hmmmm, i've never used GRUB. Lilo always worked great. You should try it. Perhaps have Grub boot Lilo?
Old 01-26-2005, 08:48 AM   #3
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Debian, OpenBSD 3.9 & 3.7
Posts: 79

Rep: Reputation: 17

Don't know if this is any consolation but I've just done a default install of Ubuntu with a single root partition and the swap partition
and that gives an Error 18 on boot.

Previously the machine has run Suse 8.2 fine and Debian in command line mode only (couldn't get a GUI up in Debian).

A quick google on 'Grub 18' indicates a partition problem so now I'm thinking to do a low level format of my HDD so that I can at least check for bad sectors etc. Just to make sure the HDD is ok. It may have suffered from a parted problem during an automatic update from SuSE when running 8.2.

But it is interesting that you report an Error 18 from Debian Grub. (Ubuntu is a Debian based distro.)

I'm in the situation I can't say if this is a hw fault (HDD based) or a sw fault (Grub based).

Maybe Fedora copes with bad sectors in real time?

Sorry I can't fix your problem, just here in a 'yeah me too' sort of way.


Old 01-26-2005, 10:37 AM   #4
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Debian, OpenBSD 3.9 & 3.7
Posts: 79

Rep: Reputation: 17
futher to my previosu reply

shows there may be a bug in the way GRUB gets it's info under the Ubuntu distro.

As Ubuntu is Debian based perhaps it's there too?

The bug indicates that it occurs for older machines and the reports seem to be for older machines with larger hdd's using a large partition.

I've tried swapping from LBA to AUTO on my BIOS and then rebooting wuthout re-installing but I still got the error.

A suggested solution is repartitioning to smaller partition sizes (which I do want to do anyway) but I may test other solution paths first.

Old 01-26-2005, 03:30 PM   #5
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Debian, OpenBSD 3.9 & 3.7
Posts: 79

Rep: Reputation: 17
Final posting

I reinstalled using disk access set to AUTO and still got GRUB Error 18 using a 15.3 GB IBM disk with one large / partition and a small swap.

I then partitioned up the disk :

/boot - 500 MB
swap - 512 MB
/ - 2G

all as primaries


as logicals

... and got no problem with Grub error 18. The installation process continued successfully.

Would be good to know if this GRUB bug (?) appears elsewhere.

What would be the difference between the GRUB obtained from Fedora and the GRUB obtained from Debian?




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