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Old 12-01-2017, 03:00 AM   #1
tonyawards
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Registered: Jun 2008
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HP ProBook "non system disk error" Won't Boot into HDD or Live USB


Non system disk error - won't boot into HDD or USB

I have a ProBook 6550b, and am getting a "non-system disk or disk error, replace and press any key" error message. This shows after a long Intel Boot Agent PXE Base Core and client Mac address and GUID boot error message set.

It occurred after installing a new Linux distro (manjaro) on the HDD (I had pclos on there already, running fine for 3+years but it would no longer update kde4). When going to reboot into the new OS (after partitioning and installing) I got the errors and it would not boot. I have gone into the bios, and readjusted the boot order so the HDD now boots first instead of the USB stick, as I had set it for the live USB install. Still get the same message. I replaced the original HDD (dated 2010) with a brand new 1tb disk, still the same. Also, btw, both the numlock and caps lock indicator lights flash together for several seconds before the error messages show on screen.

I went into the bios and tried to perform all the HP startup tests, but no luck. HDD tests failed, does not find any disk installed in the laptop at all. I know it's a blank drive but it first failed with the older 160gb drive as well. Did I wipe the MBR or GRUB in some way with the manjaro install? I thought I gave it the correct boot flags when partitioning but maybe not...? I don't know how to get to see that now since my live USBs won't read either.

With only a brand new primary HDD installed, and no cd, sd, or usb connected, what else might give this message that i can check for? It does not see any disk at all, and even the live USBs of both arch and manjaro now don't read. I was still using it as a bios with gpt machine, not using the optional efi settings since it was created during that transitional period and I didn't trust the efi not to be buggy.

Thanks for any help or info you can provide.
 
Old 12-01-2017, 12:55 PM   #2
business_kid
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Talk to us about EFI/UEFI. That would cause your problems nicely.

On my (2012/2013) BIOS, for instance, a gpt disk invokes a very restrictive UEFI implementation regardless of BIOS setting, whereas to disable it I need to have a disk partitioned with fdisk. There's only so big that can go in MBR disks (As always). Have you tried with a live iso on cdrom, dvd, or usb?

Have you tried the same device in another box and does it boot there? Some faults wreck things, usb in particular. Lastly, can you set up a network boot? A few pints bought for the right guy would get you going here.
 
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Old 12-01-2017, 02:30 PM   #3
tonyawards
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Hi business kid - -

I'm actually writing this on the laptop via the manjaro live cd (which I burned onto an SD card, as for some reason usb sticks don't boot but SDs do, and nothing in the bios boot order will fix that. USB sticks read fine once I'm in the desktop, but I can't make the laptop read them to boot from. Go figure...) I am currently trying to download an HP diagnostic tool through the live cd environment onto a USB stick which currently shows normally in the manjaro live's file system (see the situation as mentioned above). Not holding out too much hope for it since the built-in bios diagnostic doesn't detect the HDD, but HP's tool is worth one shot I guess.

This AM I tried to install a straight-on basic manjaro, just one big partition plus swap installation, to the new blank 1TB HDD. It seemed to work but the laptop still won't read or see the disk on reboot. Going back into the live 'SD' to look with gparted shows that manjaro has partitioned and (I assume) installed itself on the HDD but my ProBook still gives the non-system disk error.

I'm not (consciously) using any gpt for these tests, I just let manjaro pick what it wanted this time, which (I would guess) is a standard mbr-bios scheme, and there is no UEFI set in the bios (never have as I don't trust it, as I mentioned in my first post). GPT worked with BIOS here before, with pclos and sabayon, but I'm trying to KISS and eliminate any potential weirdness...

Unfortunately, I don't have another setup to try my HDDs in, only this laptop, and I don't know how to go about using a network boot either. The USB sticks read in another computer though, and seem ok. Now would that be Guinness, or Harp, or something else...?
 
Old 12-01-2017, 03:22 PM   #4
business_kid
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I wasn't hinting on the 'few pints'. I'm decrepit and a liability in the boozer.

Glad to hear you're running. I would presume gpt unless you run fdisk manually. To get mbr, delete the partitions with gpt, then create them with fdisk, THEN install something. I usually do this for the main system
1. boot (sda1)
2. swap
3. /
4. extended.
5. home.

Any other distros just need a / drive, and can reuse partitions; and I've taken to a partition (whatever's left) for VMs.

With usb drives, they can go ropey, and if you even put one partition, they'll never boot. Dead stupid original bios systems just started reading at track 0, sector 0, etc. So the command to make a bootable drive is:
Code:
dd if=some.iso of=/dev/sdb
If you have it /dev/sdb1, you write a 2048 byte partition table, and it never boots.

On slackware mirrors, there's slackware distros with a subdir 'usb-and-pxe installers. My local mirror is ftp://ftp.heanet.ie/mirrors/slackwar...xe-installers/ which gets you the lowdown. The bottom line is: to do pxe, you need another box.

I'm suspecting hardware at this stage, but it's a little early to call anything dead yet; it could be @$%&! stubborn or cantankerous.
 
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Old 12-02-2017, 02:35 AM   #5
tonyawards
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Ok, will wait until Bezos' drones can drop ship pints, then we'll see...

I figured I couldn't do a network install, thanks for confirming that. And I'll think I'll see if I can still use the SD card as my installer, though if I have to go get a fresh USB stick I will, could well be corrupted.

However, I took a look at the 1TB HDD while inside my manjaro live sd using fdisk and it sees:

Quote:
[manjaro manjaro]# fdisk -l
Disk /dev/loop0: 61.3 MiB, 64319488 bytes, 125624 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Disk /dev/loop1: 251.2 MiB, 263397376 bytes, 514448 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Disk /dev/loop2: 899.9 MiB, 943607808 bytes, 1842984 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Disk /dev/loop3: 403 MiB, 422588416 bytes, 825368 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes


Disk /dev/mmcblk0: 1.9 GiB, 1977614336 bytes, 3862528 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x00000000

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/mmcblk0p1 * 64 3422895 3422832 1.6G cd unknown
/dev/mmcblk0p2 3422896 3431087 8192 4M ef EFI (FAT-12/16/32)


Disk /dev/sda: 931.5 GiB, 1000204886016 bytes, 1953525168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x915f9771

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sda1 2049 1936625946 1936623898 923.5G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 1936625947 1953520064 16894118 8.1G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Partition 1 does not start on physical sector boundary.
Partition 2 does not start on physical sector boundary.
But - what does that mean in the fdisk report: Partition 1 (and 2) does not start on physical sector boundary? Does that mean anything odd, like the HDD is written wrong, or is that normal? Could that cause it not to read and boot?

And according to gparted, my rudimentary partition table that manjaro created when I left it alone to install as it saw fit has:

1MB unallocated at the front of the drive, /dev/sda1 with 923GB (with the 20GB OS install), 8GB swap at /dev/sda2, and 2.5MB unallocated at the end of the drive... seem ok?
Also, gparted is giving it an 'msdos' partition table label identifier - so can I assume that it did get set up for mbr-bios this time?

Your preferred partitioning is almost identical to what I usually like to do in bios-gpt though, just with the addition of that little ef02 bios-grub partition in front for the gpt in bios. But I think I'll do yours if I can just get it to read the drive at all, probably with the arch os disk using fdisk or gdisk. I'm no expert at this (duh), but it's honestly easier for me to see it and have control over it in a terminal rather than give it up to a gui installer.

So then, should I wipe it all and redo the partitioning with fdisk inside the live cd, then install again, or does this data say to you that it already is set for mbr-bios? And if it is already partitioned as it should be, am I looking at something else like hardware, or is it... I'm not sure what. And my older original 160GB drive may well have been ok all along.

Thanks very much for your attention to this, I'm rather at a loss.

Last edited by tonyawards; 12-02-2017 at 02:51 AM. Reason: editied a bit for clarity and better explanations...
 
Old 12-02-2017, 05:57 AM   #6
business_kid
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Quote:
Ok, will wait until Bezos' drones can drop ship pints, then we'll see...
There's always demi litres, nobody in Ireland misses the extra (a pint is 568ml vs 500 in a demi) as I said I wasn't hinting. I merely meant top point out that you'd bring the beer to the local head and share it with him while he whipped up a tftp server and ran your install as a favour.


On the disk, it definitely MBR partitioned. Again, sadly, it's track0, sector 0 that is the 512 byte boot record. That can provide an offset, so 1MB allows adequate space for partition table, boot loaders, etc. I am inclined to let fdisk do the thinking, and it hasn't failed me yet. Here's my disk (boots fine)
Code:
sudo fdisk -l /dev/sda
Disk /dev/sda: 223.6 GiB, 240057409536 bytes, 468862128 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0xe9db2110

Device     Boot     Start       End   Sectors   Size Id Type
/dev/sda1  *         2048   2099199   2097152     1G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2         2099200  14682111  12582912     6G 82 Linux swap
/dev/sda3        14682112  67110911  52428800    25G 83 Linux
/dev/sda4        67112958 468862127 401749170 191.6G  5 Extended
/dev/sda5        67112960 130027519  62914560    30G 83 Linux
/dev/sda6       130029568 182458367  52428800    25G 83 Linux
/dev/sda7       182460416 468862127 286401712 136.6G 83 Linux
As you see, I have a meg clear also. The star means it's bootable.The stuff about partition boundaries is a nicety. You can only make disks with fdisk that go to a cylinder boundary. There's also a bootable flag without which you can't boot from it. I would check with the command above that sda1 is actually bootable. It could be that simple. If not use fdisk on the device. There's a command to 'toggle the bootable flag' and /boot should be there. You can see the first 5 partitions listed previously. I use sda6 for Kali Linux, and sda7 for VMs, largely to have windows, and to install dependency heavy crap like freecad. The one requirement of a distro there is that it handles dependencies automagically. I backup regularly.
 
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:31 AM   #7
tonyawards
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On the run today, but I'm going to check that later. I did discover that the USB legacy setting in my bios was NOT checked, and now USB sticks are loading and being read at boot (umm), so as you said, maybe it's something simple like the flag I'm missing. Hope so. Will post back as soon as I can get to it to check. Thanks again.
 
Old 12-03-2017, 05:26 AM   #8
tonyawards
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Just got back and took your advice, kept the file system I had already installed, but went into it through the live cd. I used fdisk to set a boot flag on the large single partition:
Quote:
Desktop]$ sudo fdisk -l
Disk /dev/sda: 931.5 GiB, 1000204886016 bytes, 1953525168 sectors
Units: sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 4096 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 4096 bytes / 4096 bytes
Disklabel type: dos
Disk identifier: 0x915f9771

Device Boot Start End Sectors Size Id Type
/dev/sda1 * 2049 1936625946 1936623898 923.5G 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 1936625947 1953520064 16894118 8.1G 82 Linux swap / Solaris

Partition 1 does not start on physical sector boundary.
Partition 2 does not start on physical sector boundary.
and after a reboot, with the flag set, it loaded right in to the manjaro hdd installation.
Now I will be fixing my partitioning to get back separate /, /home, swap, /boot, maybe using gdisk to get a gpt table, but regardless, it looks like your suspicion of
Quote:
There's also a bootable flag without which you can't boot from it. I would check with the command above that sda1 is actually bootable. It could be that simple. If not use fdisk on the device. There's a command to 'toggle the bootable flag' and /boot should be there.
was absolutley correct, business kid. And I'm happy to look a bit clueless here in trade for an installation that seems fine, with no notable hard- or software boot issues. I see a couple of weird messages on bootup, but that's another subject; it boots just fine and reads the disk.

Thanks again for steering me in all the right directions, business kid, I really do appreciate it. I will gladly mark this one as [solved].

Last edited by tonyawards; 12-03-2017 at 05:28 AM. Reason: spelling typos
 
Old 12-03-2017, 12:16 PM   #9
business_kid
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Good to know I can still fly by the seat of my trousers
 
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Old 12-03-2017, 05:06 PM   #10
syg00
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Note that the boot flag was a Microsoft requirement that certain BIOS manufacturers wrote into their firmware. The blind leading the blind.
It is not required for booting by all systems - but is usually worthwhile setting just in case your vendor is as brain-dead as M$oft.

Last edited by syg00; 12-03-2017 at 05:07 PM.
 
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