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Old 02-25-2005, 07:12 AM   #1
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Registered: Feb 2005
Location: Amsterdam
Distribution: RedHat, Gentoo, Fedora
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Question Newly installed HDD boot problems using GRUB

Hello everyone,

Decided to swallow my pride and share this issue, that has kept me busy for the better part of a week now, with all of you in the hope that someone out there might be able to shed some light on all this....

I'll try to be brief yet informative.

I have a Fujitsu Stylistic LTP 600 Tablet. No Floppy, so I can only boot from the built in HD (or PXE - but I don't even want to get into that).

The original HD was 15GB and contained a windows 2000 and Linux (Gentoo) dual boot environment. Grub was the boot loader.

I bought a new HD (Toshiba 40 GB GAP) and migrated everything from the old drive to the new drive using partimage and an external USB hdd bay which contained the 40 GB HD.

I kept the partitions on the new drive as similar as possible to the old drive - did not change the order of partitions to keep the migration as simple as possible. So the structure of the two drives is similar, except the newer one's partitions are slightly larger.

What's the bottom line? It won't boot from the new drive. Oddest of all though is the way in which it does not boot: The Fujitsu BIOS comes up, checks and finds the HD, does not report any errors, the screen says "Detected Toshiba MK.....GAP" and then it goes blank. After a few seconds the computer reboots and the whole thing happens again. That is what puzzles me: No 'grub' messages, no stage 1.5 or anything else.... Just a message from I think the BIOS saying that it has detected the drive and ... reboot. Over and over again.

I tried many things to remedy this:

- grub-install to the new drive (no error messages reported)
- grub 'setup' command from within the grub prompt to install the new drive (no error messages reported)
- fdisk /mbr from dos boot floppy (operating system not found after doing this) followed by reinstall of grub to the mbr from a chrooted environment (reboot...... over and over again just like in every other case)

Any help would be appreciated, the problem is, I don't know where to look and am not even sure if this is still a BIOS issue or something wrong with GRUB in the MBR.

The HD itself seems fine: I can access all partitions when mounted on the USB HD unit and no errors occur. Only the booting is just not working.

The fact that I cannot boot from a floppy and have no system lying around into which I can build the HD for the purposes of reinstalling using floppy and/or cd is making life harder. ;-)

Thanks for any help you might be able to offer,


p.s. Some info that might be helpful:
FDISK listing of *new* drive:

Disk /dev/sda: 40.0 GB, 40007762432 bytes
64 heads, 32 sectors/track, 38154 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 2048 * 512 = 1048576 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 3577 3662832 b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda2 3578 3650 74752 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 3651 8896 5371904 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 8897 38154 29960192 f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda5 8897 9660 782320 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 9661 13476 3907568 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 13477 15861 2442224 b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda8 15862 16816 977904 82 Linux swap / Solaris

FDISK listing of *old* drive:
Disk /dev/sda: 15.0 GB, 15096840704 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 1835 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 436 3502138+ b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda2 437 443 56227+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 444 1053 4899825 83 Linux
/dev/sda4 1054 1835 6281415 f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda5 1054 1144 730926 83 Linux
/dev/sda6 1145 1526 3068383+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 1527 1769 1951866 b W95 FAT32
/dev/sda8 1770 1835 530113+ 82 Linux swap


title Gentoo Linux (2.6.6)
root (hd0,1)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.6 ro root=/dev/hda6
title Red Hat Linux (2.4.25)
root (hd0,1)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.4.25 ro root=/dev/hda3
title DOS
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1
title Gentoo Linux (
root (hd0,1)
kernel /vmlinuz- ro root=/dev/hda6
title Felix Custom 2.6.9
root (hd0,1)
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.9-felix-custom-kernel ro root=/dev/hda6
Old 02-25-2005, 06:51 PM   #2
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Location: Amsterdam
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Tried a different approach

Just an addon to my previous message....

I didn't actually fix the problem, but I'm pretty sure that I completely wrecked the mbr and all my puny efforts at fixing it failed.

So I tried a different, and very cumbersome, approach (brought on mostly by sheer impatience):

Plugged the notebook HD into a system that I borrowed as primary HD and booted the Fedora Core 3 install DVD.

Repartitioned from inside the installer using Disk druid (yes, threw it all out again).

Installed FC3 on the HD, this time arranging the partitions the way I wanted them (and not keeping to the structure of the original partitions on the 'old' notebook HD).

Once the install was complete I replaced the drive in the Fujitsu tablet and finally got the Grub loader screen.

Plugged the HD back into the USB unit and attached to a linux box that held the original partimages and tar.gz dumps of my Linux partitions.

did a

 rm *
on the /home, / and /boot partitions of the notebook HD

Then simply untarred the /home and / and /boot partitions that I still had saved on the Linux box to the now empty / /boot and /home partitions on the notebook HD.

I did not touch the MBR this time, of course.

Once this was done, I made sure to update /etc/fstab and /boot/grub/grub.conf on the notebook HD to reflect the new partition locations.

Plugged the HD back in to the fujitsu and powered up........

Was confronted with a message to the effect that my e2fsck was out of date and not allowed to continue booting.

Placed the file

into the / of the filesystem to bypass the fsck check of the root filesystem.

Rebooted again.

And what do you know.... I'm back in my original Gentoo, albeit with lots more space, lots less time, and a broken fsck somehow.

Anybody think I should write a how-to on how *not* to upgrade a hard drive? ;-)




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