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Old 09-08-2004, 08:24 PM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2002
Distribution: Mandrake
Posts: 25

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Grub freezes trying to boot off a 120 gig HD

I just had one of the most frustrating grub experiences of my life, so, not seeing any similar threads, I thought I'd share in case anyone else is ever going to have this problem.

Symptoms: Every single distrobution I try to install to my harddrive on /dev/hda could not get the boot loader installed right. Suse, Slackware, Fedora, Mandrake...grub or lilo, it always froze or something. And I could never load the kernel from the grub command line: that would freeze too.

Apparently, it was because I was putting the whole OS on the root (/) partition, and not having a separate boot (/boot) partition. I remember reading about issues with how far into the harddrive grub can address or whatever; idk. It was a 120 gig hard drive with two ext3 partitions, hda1 for swap and hda2 for a mammothly huge /. Every distro I tried therefore had to use that grub stage 1.5 (or whatever lilo does) to load the kernel, and, basically my system doesnt get along with grub stage 1.5

letting fedora allocate a separate boot partition like it wanted to fixed the problem. So, if any one else is having odd grub problems that involve freezing before the kernel is loaded, i suggest trying to avoid the whole stage 1.5.

Old 09-09-2004, 12:11 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: High Green
Distribution: Fedora Core 4
Posts: 180

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You might need to turn on LBA support in your BIOS setup, or use --force-lba while installing GRUB, so that GRUB can see the whole disk. Another option is to install the OS into the partition that is physically first on the disk. I'd guess that if the installer is smart enough, it will respect the 1024 cylinder limit while placing the /boot directory.

Stage 1.5 doesn't load the kernel, it is used to interpret filesystems (and to load Stage 2). There are different Stage 1.5 images for different filesystems. If the Stage 2 image is somewhere not reachable by Stage 1 because of BIOS limitations, using Stage 1.5 won't help.

Sometimes different kinds of hardware combinations and setups prove too difficult for OS installers to handle. I have a vintage system with a 120 gig disk that the BIOS doesn't understand. Currently I boot from a smaller disk. When the kernel is loaded, the big disk works perfectly. Windows couldn't access the whole disk without a DDO (Dynamic Disk [or Drive] Overlay) - what a surprise.


Last edited by wipe; 09-09-2004 at 12:12 AM.


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