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bcostacurta 12-17-2008 06:52 AM

'GRUB hard disk error' : config or BIOS problem ?

I installed Linux (precisely Damn Small Linux) on a Card Flash disk with GRUB boot loader.
However when it boots id display:
'GRUB Hard Disk Error'

Is this problem related to a bad GRUB config or BIOS problem ?
Should I try different GRUB setup or use another boot loader ?

Good point is I was able to install a Puppy distro but not with GRUB (I think it was with syslinux) so could GRUB be BIOS dependent.

(note : the PC is a thin client with a rather old BIOS (dated 2001) and I had problems eg. to boot with a live USK key as BIOS only support USB-FDD , which I never success to build on an USB key).


yancek 12-17-2008 09:09 AM

The general way that the Stage 1 handles errors is to print an error string and then halt. Pressing <CTRL>-<ALT>-<DEL> will reboot.

Hard Disk Error
The stage2 or stage1.5 is being read from a hard disk, and the attempt to determine the size and geometry of the hard disk failed

From links I've read about this problem, it is generally BIOS related, update BIOS generally takes care of problem.

CJS 12-17-2008 03:01 PM

I agree with yancek, in my experience it is usually a BIOS issue if you get that "hard disk error" from Grub. But there are some people who have been able to work around it though by installing Grub to the MBR of the drive while omitting the stage1.5 file that is normally embedded in the sectors immediately after the MBR; instead Grub's stage1 file in the MBR points directly to the sector location of Grub's stage2 file instead of using the stage1.5 file to search for the stage2 file. You could try and see if that fixes your problem, by doing the following as root:

grub> root (hdX,Y)
grub> install /boot/grub/stage1 (hdX) /boot/grub/stage2 p /boot/grub/menu.lst
grub> quit

So replace (hdX,Y) with the Linux partition that has Grub's boot files, and also change (hdX) to whichever drive you want to install Grub to. The above commands install Grub to the MBR of drive (hdX) without including the stage1.5 file. Let me know if that helps.

bcostacurta 12-19-2008 03:15 AM

With LILO it works (which surprise me) as I re-installed the distro and choosing LILO in place of GRUB.

Now, I should try again to re-install with GRUB to check if I can re-product the original problem 'GRUB Hard Disk Error'.

If so, I can see few possibilities:

- GRUB is less 'clever' than LILO with the BIOS ?
- the distro is Damn Small Linux installation: Maybe it is somewhere incorrect with the GRUB steps ?
In this case I should modify its setup root(x,y) as described previously in this thread.


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