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Kamoflauge 01-28-2008 05:48 AM

GPT, MBR, GRUB and rescue software
I need help in understanding GPT, MBR and GRUB.

I'm having problems installing a Linux on a SATA disk.
The disk checks out as clean and formatted under HUTIL
2.03, and I think the problem must be with the MBR or
the GPT.

When I switch on, I get the BIOS splash screen, so I
guess that must be OK.

Then I get a text screen with

NVIDIA Boot Agent 244.0538
Copyright ....

CLIENT MAC ADDR ...........

GUID ........

DHCP ... (progress indicated)

and after a couple of minutes,

PXE-E53: No boot filename recieved
PXE-M0F: Exiting NVIDIA boot agent


I typed the error codes into Google and it seems that
these are Windows messages. I did have XP on this disk
previously but wiped it.

Here's what I don't understand:

==> If my MBR/GPT/whatever has been corrupted by
XP (or anything else), how do I install a new clean one?

===> The wikipedia page about GPT,

describes BIOS and MBR as `relics' but my impression
is that most rescue software doesn't consider GPT.
For example sysrescuecd has tools for correcting
partition tables and installing GRUB but I don't
see anything about GPT. Can I just have MBR and
GRUB as in the past, or do I have to use GPT now?

Wikipedia says that GPT includes MBR for compatibility with old systems, but how do I tell whether my box has GPT present or not?

BTW I don't need to rescue data. What I need to do
is get an OS working on the disk.

Thanks in advance.


aus9 01-29-2008 12:31 AM

I have seen your partition thread but will reply here.

according to this was your choice of partition tool that stopped your success.

now that gives you correct partitions...but still does not address knowing which distro will recognise GPT and install....and that relates to kernels.

2) looking into my Mdv /boot/config under # Partition Types I can find no GPT support so that rules out Mandriva 2008.0 32 bit....not sure about 64 bit which may be the clue.

3) so according to

you need a motherboard-bios that supports 64 bit GPT

then you must install a 64 bit distro....which has a initrd or fully compiled GPT support in the kernel.

I suggest you look at frequently updated distros or bleeding edge like suse or fedora....64 bit

aus9 01-29-2008 12:32 AM

if you have the bandwith can I suggest you d/load a live cd that is 64 bit....altho I have a 64 bit cpu I still use 32 bit...bit of a dinosaur. good luck

Kamoflauge 01-29-2008 11:43 AM

That's very interesting. Thanks a lot. It'll take me a few days to get 64 bit distros (I haven't got a DVD burner), but I'll let you know how I get on.

Good links!


aus9 01-30-2008 07:07 AM

well if you have no each distro that has 64 bit kernel for support GPT.
if the home pages do not help...consider a post in the forums but do not double post as the mods will not like explain that your question is for users of 64 bit kernel distro "X" and you need GPT support.

of course with < 2TB hard drives you don't need can still use mbr.

and do not buy any dvd from a download site until you are happy with what you are getting. so I am not going to make any recommendations sorry.

I still think live cds 64 bit may be an option if you have the bandwith and a cd burner

saikee 01-30-2008 07:22 PM

I could be wrong but the error message of the OP appears to suggest the Bios was asked to boot from a "Network".

If this is true then telling the Bios to boot from a hard disk should cure it.

Don't used Guided Partition Table myself as it is another management layer introduced to the hard disk. I believe one can find it out from listing the partitions of the hard disk. GPT uses up one primary partition as method of control. Not sure if XP would create it but Vista can be instructed to set it up. I view the new GPT as a relic because it will gone with time whereas MBR will be here much longer. I think it is just an option in Vista and the other PC OS that uses it is Mac.

Installing Linux in Sata I and Sata II is never a problem.

Kamoflauge 01-31-2008 04:59 PM


Originally Posted by saikee (Post 3040477)
I could be wrong but the error message of the OP appears to suggest the Bios was asked to boot from a "Network".

If this is true then telling the Bios to boot from a hard disk should cure it.

Yes, the third boot device was `NVIDIA boot agent', after the CD and the HDD. I've disabled that and the nuisance has now ceased. Many thanks Saikee.

I'm still investigating 64 bit distros. More soon.

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