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Old 05-03-2021, 11:03 PM   #1
jeffry7
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Can't get server to boot with Live CD/USB


Hi folks,

I have this old server. It has Debian on it, but it is an old version of Debian. It needs to be upgraded because things are starting to not work. That is another story.

I wanted to back it up before doing the upgrade and I went and got the latest Clonzilla. The server won't boot Clonezilla. It just skips over the boot media and goes on to the hard drive. I know the USB is good because I can boot another machine with it. Although the other machine is a UEFI machine. I know the server is fine because it can boot an old (many years) Clonezilla Live CD I have.

I used the old Clonezilla CD to back up the server and then tried to upgrade the machine. This failed and I now have a cryptic Grub error message. That is another story. (And don't worry about it. This is why I made the BUP first.)

The solution is to boot with a live CD or USB and re-install grub. (Apparently.) System Rescue CD won't boot. Boot repair disk, another rescue distro won't boot. I already know Clonezilla won't boot.

I tried rufus, and tux boot. I also tried manual methods of preparing the USB stick.

(I strongly suspect that what caused the grub install to fail is related to the reason why these live distros won't boot, ie that this is an old BIOS boot machine not a UEFI boot machine.)

So, my question for this post is where can I get a live CD that will actually boot? Is there some way to prepare a Live CD or USB that will boot on this machine?

Thanks!
 
Old 05-04-2021, 12:51 AM   #2
berndbausch
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It's impossible to help you without further information.

When you say "CD", do you mean actual CDs or DVDs? Or USB thumb drives? If you have used USB media only, is there a way to try physical CDs/DVDs?

You say the server skips over the boot media. If "boot media" is a USB-based device, could it be that USB is not configured as a boot source, or simply not possible?

Since you suspect a link between Grub and the failure to boot live media, why don't you post that cryptic Grub message? Can you describe how booting from live media fails? Is it the same type of failure for all media?
 
Old 05-04-2021, 04:31 AM   #3
michaelk
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What is the make and model of the server?
 
Old 05-04-2021, 02:26 PM   #4
jefro
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Sounds like a 32 bit issue??

Last edited by jefro; 05-04-2021 at 05:02 PM.
 
Old 05-04-2021, 03:15 PM   #5
Grobe
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On some older computers (this is speculation if that is relevant to OP) - there bios was set up so in case you want to boot from usb:
  • Spam Esc key (ore some other key combo, depending on model) to enter boot menu of mainboard.
  • When boot list appear, USB drive isn't visible.
  • But still - select "boot from harddrive"
  • And there it is - listed along with the internal hdd on the mainboard.

Also, there is a spechial software that allows boot from USB on computers that have bios that doesn't support booting from USB :
Plop Boot Manager https://www.plop.at/en/bootmanager/download.html
May or may not work - I've got it to work on a few cases but doesn't work on all old computers I've tested it on this far.
 
1 members found this post helpful.
Old 05-04-2021, 06:30 PM   #6
jeffry7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by berndbausch View Post
It's impossible to help you without further information.

When you say "CD", do you mean actual CDs or DVDs? Or USB thumb drives? If you have used USB media only, is there a way to try physical CDs/DVDs?

You say the server skips over the boot media. If "boot media" is a USB-based device, could it be that USB is not configured as a boot source, or simply not possible?

Since you suspect a link between Grub and the failure to boot live media, why don't you post that cryptic Grub message? Can you describe how booting from live media fails? Is it the same type of failure for all media?
I have tried a DVD in the DVD ROM drive and a USB thumb drive.

The server skips over both the DVD and the USB thumb drive. The USB thumb drive was tested on another machine and was able to boot the other machine. The server has BIOS settings for booting from a USB and these are configured. It says plainly on the screen during boot that it is checking the USB media, the CDROM and then the HD because that is the order of boot set up in the BIOS.

The GRUB message is:
error: symbol 'grub_calloc' not found.
entering rescue mode...

This is followed by the grub rescue prompt. Upon further research of this message it appears to be caused when the update does not take into account custom settings in grub the user may have. I had custom settings to permit using a serial port console.

When it does not boot from live media, there is no error message or special event. All you get is a mesage on the display saying Attempting Boot from USB, then Attempting boot from CD-ROM, and finally Atempting boot from hard drive. It skips the media. As there was an OS on the media, it would boot the OS. Now it gives the grub message.

Every USB image I have tried fails. I do not know if I have ever booted this server with USB. New DVD media, at least the one I have tried fails. I have an old live cd (this is specifically a old CD, not a usb drive) of clonezilla that works on this server.

Last edited by jeffry7; 05-04-2021 at 06:36 PM.
 
Old 05-04-2021, 06:31 PM   #7
jeffry7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelk View Post
What is the make and model of the server?
HP dc5750 microtower
 
Old 05-04-2021, 06:32 PM   #8
jeffry7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Sounds like a 32 bit issue??
The server has a 64 bit AMD processor in it. An old one, but still 64 bit. Or do you mean something else?
 
Old 05-04-2021, 06:54 PM   #9
jeffry7
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Got it

There was another USB drive plugged in to the machine. I had forgotten it was there. Presumably when the server went to boot via USB it was looking at that device rather than the thumb drive.

In any case powering off the other USB drive allowed the server to boot from the USB thumb drive I had been trying.

Thank you everyone for your support. Especially Grobe. It was while thinking about your question that I realized another USB drive was plugged in. (The BIOS settings always showed a USB drive whether my USB stick was plugged in or not. That may be normal, but it got me to thinking...)
 
Old 05-04-2021, 08:13 PM   #10
jefro
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Thanks for the update and solution.
 
  


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