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Old 07-02-2005, 05:50 AM   #1
bigoli
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Location: Huntsville, AL
Distribution: Mepis, DamnSmallLinux, Puppy Linux
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Mepis won't Boot!


Here is my dilemna.

I have three OSs installed on my computer:

Windows 98 on hda1
Mepis on hda5(SWAP), hda6(root), and hda7(home)
DamnSmallLinux on hda8


(I plan to install other distributions later for comparison and experimentation.)

Windows was installed first. Mepis came later with GRUB boot loader installed and 'menu.lst' in the '/root/grub' directory. Finally I loaded DamnSmallLinux which, I believe, installed the LILO boot loader with its 'lilo.conf' file in '/etc'.

With those entries(see exerpts below) in 'lilo.conf' I can boot DamnSmallLinux(default) and Windows, but when I try to boot Mepis I get:

Mepis
GRUB

and the system hangs. Because both Windows and DamnSmallLinux boot and work properly, I assume something changed with Mepis when I installed DamnSmallLinux.

I have to 'CTRL-ALT-DEL' to regain control.



Here are pertinent entries from my 'lilo.conf' file:

--- beginning ---

boot=/dev/hda

# Specifies the device that should be mounted as root. (`/')

root=/dev/hda8


# Boot up DamnSmallLinux by default.

default=DamnSmallLinux

image=/boot/linux24
label=DamnSmallLinux
read-only


other=/dev/hda1
label="Windows98"

other=/dev/hda6
label="Mepis"

--- end of file ---


Here are pertinent entries from my '/grub/menu.lst' file:

--- beginning ---

title MEPIS at hda6, kernel 2.6.7
kernel (hd0,5)/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.7 root=/dev/hda6 nomce psmouse.proto=imps quiet splash=verbose vga=normal acpi=off apm=power_off noacpi
initrd (hd0,5)/boot/initrd.mepis
savedefault

title MEPIS at hda6, kernel 2.4.26
kernel (hd0,5)/boot/vmlinuz-2.4.26 root=/dev/hda6 nomce quiet splash=verbose vga=normal hdc=ide-scsi acpi=off apm=power_off noacpi
initrd (hd0,5)/boot/initrd.mepis
savedefault

title Windows 98
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1

--- end of file ---


How can I get my system to boot Mepis(and any other distribution) I choose to put on other partitions?

Thanks.


James Oliver
 
Old 07-02-2005, 10:34 AM   #2
acanton
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Registered: Jul 2004
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I'm not sure how you screwed this up, but obviously lilo is not configured correctly. Here is how I would fix this. Boot with Mepis CD, login as root, go to Mepis OSCenter and reinstall grub to the MBR of hda. Restart computer to make sure you can get WinXP and Mepis.

Then, in Mepis su to root and edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and add at bottom:


title DamnSmall
chainloader (hd0,X)+1

(Assume you have only one hard drive.... hda = hd0. Grub uses a one-less-then number scheme... no letters, and all drives are 'h' and not 's' like in Linux of sata.... PITA :-))

Pay attention to this:
X = one less than the partition number where Damn is installed. So '3' would be the partition 4 if that is where you put it. How do you know? Go to KDE - InfoCenter ---> Partitions and you can see the partition numbers (/dev/hda3 .... in which case you use '2' in grub.)

Next, reinstall Damn Small and instruct it to put grub or lilo (prefer grub) NOT on the MBR but on the 'root' or 'boot' partition or something similar. Again NOT the MBR.

Reboot machine. Grub should come up and give you choices. If you pick DamnSmall grub sees the chainloader command and goes to the partiton and executes whateve boot-loader is there... and that is that.

That said, you might want to check out Smart Boot Manager:
http://btmgr.webframe.org/index.php3?body=about.html
I've not tried it but I'm looking at it because the above is a PITA!!!

Hope this help. Let us know if you need more... and how it all turns out.

-Al
 
Old 07-02-2005, 04:20 PM   #3
bigoli
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Location: Huntsville, AL
Distribution: Mepis, DamnSmallLinux, Puppy Linux
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Hi acanton:

When I installed Mepis grub was installed on hda6, and for DamnSmallLinux lilo was installed on hda8 as stated. As far as I know, nothing was installed on the MBR. I wanted Mepis and DamnSmallLinux to be treated the same, i.e. simple distributions.

Now I don't understand the reasoning behind installing grub for Mepis in the MBR but grub(or lilo) for DamnSmallLinux on hda8! There must be something I don't fully understand. Why should the distributions be handled differently?

Does the fact that I'm using Windows 98 instead of Windows XP make a difference?

Pardon my ignorance, but what is a PITA?

Thanks.

James Oliver
 
Old 07-02-2005, 04:35 PM   #4
anticapitalista
antiX
 
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Distribution: antiX using herbstluftwm, fluxbox, IceWM and jwm.
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Firstly. PITA is Pain In The Ass
Secondly, where you put your grub/lilo boot loader doesn't make any difference to how your distros work. All it does is choose which boot loading screen you will get to choose from. But you need to install one in the MBR otherwise you won't be able to dual/triple boot (actually there is another way, but it is even more complicated)
I would suggest you follow a.canton's advice; it won't affect how windoze, Mepis nor DSL works. They will be treated the same.
 
Old 07-02-2005, 04:55 PM   #5
acanton
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PITA= pain in the ass

Here is the 1 minute class.

You must have a boot loader on the MBR. M$ XP puts one there so it can boot.

You install Linuix and you replace the MS one with a Linux one.... either grub or lilo. A bootloader is told where to look for its instructions. When you installed Meips it loaded grub on the MBR and programmed it to look for all of its instructions on the Meips partiton in /boot/grub/menu.lst.

OK, so the grub starts up and reads menu.lst which puts up a screen for you to choose either XP or Mepis.

Now here comes the interesting part. You want to install DamnSmall. DamnSmall will recognize the XP partition. If Damn is smart it will recognize the Mepis partition.... but my bet is that it won't. Thus you would install grub all over again on MBR... and it would look for menu.lst in the Damn Small partition. You could not boot Meips since there is no entry in menu.lst on Damn for it... since it does not know about Mepis (only Windows XP). You COULD put an enrty in the menu.lst on DamnSmall IF you knew what to write. (If you are a grub expert you would!)

BUT... since you already had grub installed from Mepis on the MBR and it knew where to look for the menu.lst (in Mepis) I see no reason to re-install grub when you pop in Damn Small. Leave it there! When you install Damn Small tell it to put its boot loader in its OWN root partition... NOT the MBR. So now you have 2 loaders... one on the MBR which is read by BIOS and one hidden away in the DamnSmall partition.

All you have to do is make an entry in the Mepis menu.lst using the 'chainloader(x,y)+1 notation. It simply says to grub: "You can stop now and go to hard disk partition Y and whatever loader you find there, start it up." That's what "chainloader" means. It means to 'chain' to a second loader.

So when you boot up, the BIOS reads the MBR and runs grub which puts up a menu on the screen. If you pick Mepis, all is well and Mepis starts. If you pick DamnSmall, grub 'branches' to DamnSmall partition and runs its grub (or lillo) and you get another menu with whatever option DamnSmall wrote in IT'S menu.lst.

Yeah there is more overhead but it can make it easier to maintain as most folks have one MAIN distro they use all the time (Mepis) and one they are testing out (DamnSmall, Kanotix, etc.). If you don't like Damn Small you dump it and you don't have to worry about the bootloader on the MBR pointing to a menu.lst it can't find so long as Mepis is always there. Of course if you delete Mepis then you can't boot to DamnSmall. But as I say, most folks don't dump their 'regualr' distro.

So with my method you are executing TWO boot loaders and it takes a few more seconds but it works well. Not only that but DamnSmall will pop up a menu and you can enter cheatcodes if you like. I like to have each distro on my HD have its own bootloader. It works for me... but others like a different method. All I know is that when I have a bootloader on the MBR that works... I don't want to mess with it or delete it and reinstall a new one (unless I'm dumpting the distro it is pointing to, obviously)

Linux is all about choice and there is no wrong way.

I know I didn't diagnoise or solve your problem. No time for that. I'm telling you how I do it and that it works for me. The choice is up to you to follow it or do it some other way.

Hope this helps.

Regard,

Al C.
Jaya123: Your office on the web
http://www.jaya123.com
 
Old 07-03-2005, 03:44 PM   #6
bigoli
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Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Distribution: Mepis, DamnSmallLinux, Puppy Linux
Posts: 37

Original Poster
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anticapitalista and acanton:

Quote:

PITA= pain in the ass

--end--

Thanks! I might have known. I fits my situation exactly.

You've given me a lot to digest. I'll let you know what happens.

Last edited by bigoli; 07-03-2005 at 03:46 PM.
 
Old 07-03-2005, 04:38 PM   #7
anticapitalista
antiX
 
Registered: May 2005
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Talking

Hey bigoli, you're not a PITA

I managed to type quicker than al canton

Last edited by anticapitalista; 07-03-2005 at 04:39 PM.
 
Old 07-04-2005, 06:52 AM   #8
bigoli
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Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Distribution: Mepis, DamnSmallLinux, Puppy Linux
Posts: 37

Original Poster
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anticapitalista and acanton:

Hooray!! Well almost. Thanks to you two. I can finally boot any of three systems - Windows 98, Mepis, and DamnSmallLinux. Most of my configurations were lost or changed, but now I know a way to conveniently add distributions. I've got to make sure a new distribution does mess with the MBR though!

DamnSmallLinux had installed itself in the MBR. I still don't know why that wouldn't work.

Thanks again..
 
Old 07-04-2005, 08:02 AM   #9
anticapitalista
antiX
 
Registered: May 2005
Location: Greece
Distribution: antiX using herbstluftwm, fluxbox, IceWM and jwm.
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Glad to hear you've got them working.

Just out of interest.
What does yourboot/grub/menu.lst say for both mepis and DSL?
 
Old 07-04-2005, 02:41 PM   #10
acanton
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Quote:
Originally posted by bigoli
anticapitalista and acanton:



DamnSmallLinux had installed itself in the MBR. I still don't know why that wouldn't work.

Thanks again..
Didn't Damnsmall give you a choice of WHERE to install the boot loader... or not install one at all? Most distros offer to install on MBR or their own root parttion.

How did it get on the MBR?

What did you do next? Reinstall Mepis or did you 'fix' the menu.lst of Damnsmall?

Al
 
Old 07-05-2005, 09:40 AM   #11
Nix_Hard
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Registered: May 2005
Location: Australia
Distribution: MEPIS
Posts: 48

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Could try a boot manger. GAG - SBM - XOSL

Set up a box last week with a dual boot system.
I used GAG for that one, my first use of GAG.
It's a Graphical Boot Manager, it installs into the MBR.
Most impressed, lots of options and doesn't need or use a partition.
GAG can be installed/repaired from either floppy or Boot-CD.
Assign a password for each partition, also set a password for the boot-administrator.
Easy to set up and repair mangled MBR resulting from "that last OS install".
Read the doc's included in the down loaded program.
That took longer than doing the job because I read them 3 times.

GAG (initials, in spanish, of Graphical Boot Manager) - *(GPL)
http://gag.sourceforge.net/

Another that looked interesting, also installs to MBR.
SBM (Smart Boot Manager) - *(GPL)
http://btmgr.webframe.org/

One I have used before, installs to a partition.
XOSL (Extended Operating System Loader) - *(GPL)
http://www2.arnes.si/~fkomar/xosl.org/

** GNU General Public License (GPL)

Further info;
Boot Loader Review: Six Boot Loaders Compared
http://www.frozentech.com/?p=5
Dual Booting Debian Linux and Windows
http://www.aboutdebian.com/dualboot.htm
And the last one is for sleepless nights.
The REAL Multi-boot
http://www.trombettworks.com/multi-boot.htm

Happy booting...
NH

Last edited by Nix_Hard; 07-05-2005 at 10:41 AM.
 
Old 07-10-2005, 09:21 PM   #12
bigoli
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Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Huntsville, AL
Distribution: Mepis, DamnSmallLinux, Puppy Linux
Posts: 37

Original Poster
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anticapitalista:

Here is the applicable portion of my menu.lst file:

title MEPIS at hda6, kernel 2.6.7
kernel (hd0,5)/boot/vmlinuz-2.6.7 root=/dev/hda6 nomce psmouse.proto=imps quiet splash=verbose vga=normal acpi=off apm=power_off noacpi
initrd (hd0,5)/boot/initrd.mepis
savedefault

title MEPIS at hda6, kernel 2.4.26
kernel (hd0,5)/boot/vmlinuz-2.4.26 root=/dev/hda6 nomce quiet splash=verbose vga=normal hdc=ide-scsi acpi=off apm=power_off noacpi
initrd (hd0,5)/boot/initrd.mepis
savedefault

title Windows at hda1
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1
savedefault

title DamnSmallLinux at hda8
kernel (hd0,7)/boot/linux24 root=/dev/hda8
savedefault

--end--

I haven't investigated boot options for DamnSmallLinux yet.
 
Old 07-10-2005, 09:36 PM   #13
bigoli
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Location: Huntsville, AL
Distribution: Mepis, DamnSmallLinux, Puppy Linux
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acanton:

>Didn't Damnsmall give you a choice of WHERE to install the boot loader... or not install one at all? Most >distros offer to install on MBR or their own root parttion.

It gave me the option to run 'mkliloboot' or something like that. I don't recall if it told me it would lilo though!



>What did you do next? Reinstall Mepis or did you 'fix' the menu.lst of Damnsmall?

I reinstalled GRUB using the MEPIS LiveCD and added an entry for DamnSmallLinux.. See post.
 
  


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