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I guess this must be just another thread within thousands of others with the same problem:
1) I've just "cloned" a RHEL5 system using rsync;
2) I've modified /etc/fstab and /boot/grub/menu.lst to match the new system;
3) /dev/sda1 is mounted as / and /dev/sda3 is mounted as /boot (n-checked with mount, fdisk and any other possible way to confirm this);
4) Booted the new system with RHEL5 DVD in rescue mode;
5) The rescue mode recognizes and mounts the entire system (/, /boot, /var and so on) in /mnt/sysimage;
6) chroot /mnt/sysimage;
7) "grub-install --root-directory=/ /dev/sda" or "grub-install /dev/sda" returns the same error: The file /boot/grub/stage1 not read correctly;
8) grub (shell) > find /boot/grub/stage1 or find /grub/stage1 returns the same error: File not found;
9) grub (shell) > root (hd0,0) identifies the partition correctly, but setup (hd0) or setup (hd0,0) returns the same error: it cannot find "/boot/grub/stage1" or "/grub/stage1";
10) Already tried copying the entire /boot from a working system with the same kernel version: didn't solve it;
11) The same procedure was done in two other systems with the same kernel version and both worked with grub-install right from the start.
12) The only difference between this system and the other is that:
12.1) The other had /dev/sda1 as /boot and /dev/sda3 as /;
12.2) This one has /dev/sda1 as / and /dev/sda3 as /boot.
As you people can see I've already tried a lot of different things. The last one is actually invert the partition order, but that I think it's very weird (and I'm gonna need some time to move data between disks).
Anyone has any idea about what is happening, please?