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Seriously though we are probably going to need more info than that. Can you post the exact error? Also how about the output of "fdisk -l" If I had to guess I'd say it was a problem with the partition table.
ok this is what i tried to do, i am install ubuntu to an external drive, and in the advanced i change the grub install from hd0 to sda, and when it goes through the graphical install it says grub couldnt instsall and that it is a fatal error. so i try to run grub-install sda, and i get the previously mentioned error. i have tried sda and sd0 and neither work. the partitions are all along the lines of sda1 sda5 etc. so im not sure what to use as an install target for grub
You keep referring to running grub-install sda. Post the actual command you used. "sda" isn't a device name. "/dev/sda" is. I can't tell if you are making an error running the grub-install command or if you have an error in your menu.lst file. Are you adding an additional linux distro? You could simply add entries in menu.lst for a new distro and not have to run grub-install at all.
ok, this time what I did was during the ubuntu graphical install, i clicked advanced on the last page, and when it said where to install grub I put /dev/sda . it said everything installed fine, and when I try to boot from that drive, my comp just kind of sits there then loads windows