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Old 04-08-2007, 05:42 AM   #1
Registered: Mar 2005
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/grub/menu.lst file disappeared but computer still boots (grub)

Hello forum,

I have a quadruple boot configeration setup ( Mandriva, StartCom (Fedora Core 5), Debian, Windows) and I am able to boot into either operating system with no problem from the Grub boot manager that Debian installed on the MBR.

But I want to replace Debian with another OS (Knoppix) and I need the menu.lst file for Debian so I can use it as a template when I re-configure the Grub boot loader for Knoppix because I intend to let Knoppix install its grub boot loader into the MBR and then I'll add the entries for the other operating systems listed the menu.lst file. But I can't find the menu.lst file anymore. It used to be in the /boot/Grub directory but no more. Debian is the OS that installed the Grub boot loader onto the MBR.

I have used the "Find Files" utility to try to find the missing menu.lst file but it is nowhere to be found and it is not in the /boot/grub directory where it once was located.

How is my computer able to boot into each operating system without the menu.lst file?


Old 04-08-2007, 07:35 AM   #2
Registered: Mar 2007
Location: Plymouth, UK
Distribution: Fedora Core, RHEL, Arch
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* See if the file /etc/grub.conf exists. It is a softlink to /boot/grub/menu.lst

* Maybe your boot partition isn't mounted, try as root mount /boot (no device necessary if it's in /etc/fstab)

* Maybe your boot partition is mounted, but it's the wrong one!

* Maybe LILO got installed instead?
Old 04-08-2007, 07:41 AM   #3
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Lets do some detective work then.

If your claim Grub was setup in Debian then this Grub would have no fgxmenu (like one used by Suse) and so pressing the "c" key can drop you into a Grub prompt.

Fire up this command at Grub prompt and Grub will report amoung which Linux that has menu.lst
find /boot/grub/menu.lst
The output from Grub should be like
meaning a version of menu.lst has been found in the 2nd partition of the 1st disk (for (hd0,1)).

You do need a menu.lst to host Grub. All the 4 distros you have got use Grub and you should have menu.lst in everyone immediately after their installation. Fedora uses /boot/grub.conf but there could still be /boot/grub/menu.lst which is what the original Grub uses in practice but some distros could have amended Grub to read only /boot/grub.conf.

You could have mixed up yourself using Grub from a Linux other than Debian. It is your God-given right to be able to nominate any of the distros to control the MBR.

You could write your own menu.lst. I wrote mine for 145 systems before I installed any of the OSs. It is in my signature.

Last edited by saikee; 04-08-2007 at 07:45 AM.
Old 04-08-2007, 08:49 AM   #4
Registered: Sep 2006
Location: Canada
Distribution: Gentoo
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I agree with xterminator3 ... I bet your /etc/fstab file has the noauto flag on that partition ... so it is not mounted.

The Linux system will read the contents of the /boot directory to get up and running and then unmount it.

If you remove the noauto flag then it will be mounted after bootup.
Old 04-08-2007, 09:29 AM   #5
Registered: Mar 2005
Posts: 288

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Thank You

Hello again forum,

Yes, I too can now see that Xterminator 3 was right. I was doing my searching in StartCom (FC5) where the Debian partition seemed to be mounted but it wasn't. I mistakingly had StartCom (FC5) mounted twice, thinking one of the mounts was Debian. I realized my mistake when I actually booted my computer into Debian and there saw the "missing" menu.lst file. That also explaines why the "find" utility could not find it. The Debian partition was not mounted and it was searching the StartCom (FC5) partition when I thought it was searching the Debian partition. I'm sorry I didn't do all of my homework before posting.

But thanks to all of you for helping me find my mistake.

All the best,

Old 04-08-2007, 10:02 AM   #6
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In a Grub prompt there is no need to mount any partition as Grub can find the files natively.


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