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Old 05-24-2006, 08:57 PM   #1
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Bootloader was broken after upgrading to OpenSUSE 10.1

This appears to be a common problem with OpenSUSE 10.1.

System specs (an older system, but Linux brings out the best of it):
FIC AD11 motherboard
Thunderbird Athlon 1.0 Ghz processor
Nvidia Geforce 2 Ultra video card
3 harddrives

I have win98se (no laughing please), installed on it's own harddrive (C. I have a spare storage drive for my different projects (also formatted windows, partitioned D:, E:, and F. The third drive is where Suse resides. I should also note, that the third drive is a 300GB harddrive in which not all of the space is recognized due to the older BIOS.

So now to my problem, after my good experience with my OpenSUSE 10.0 installation (capable of doing everything I could in windows plus a little more), and hearing about 10.1, I decided to upgrade. Before upgrading, I had a working Grub bootloader, that was capable of booting windows and Suse without a hitch. I decided against a new install, because of all the time I had invested in setting up 10.0. I know, lazy, and now I am regretting it, but it seemed like a decent idea at the time.

During the upgrade, the install tried changing the grub bootloader to lilo and errored out. This brought me to the bootloader wizard, so I switched to grub keeping (what I thought was) the same configuration. The installation continued and rebooted. However, upon reboot, the bootloader no longer functioned, erroring out with the 1048 cylinder error. The boot splash screen was also not loading. I have tried numerous configurations and have been successful installing the splash screen, but I have not been able to get the bootloader to load anything but win98se. Now, the only way I can boot into linux is with the install DVD.

Any SUSE/Grub gurus out there who can help me find the perfect settings to be able to dual boot again? I have tried all sorts of Grub howto's but have been unsuccessful. With suse 10.0 I had never seen the cylinder error before, so I know there is a configuration that works.
Old 05-24-2006, 09:07 PM   #2
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Since you are using and "older BIOS", you may have to do the following:

a) open the box. take out the drives, one after another, and inspect the decal on the back. You will need the cylinders, sectors, heads, of each drive. Write them down on paper.

b) On startup, enter the BIOS setup and edit each drive specs. Make certain the cylinders, sectors, heads, are correct. Also, for drive over (I think it's 30Gig), change the CHS or NORMAL to LBA. Especially with the 300 Gig drive, that needs to be set.

c) make life easier. Upgrade the BIOS. Newer BIOSs autodetect drives and you don't have to manually edit those things.

Once you get the BIOS thing sorted out, Grub should be able to find the rest of itself on that third, LARGE, drive.
Old 05-24-2006, 10:05 PM   #3
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There isn't a bios version available that allows for 48 bit lba support with my motherboard. I heard mention of a beta version, but have been unsuccessful in locating it. I thought of that as well. But that shouldn't be the problem anyway, because all I did was upgrade, not a new install and my previous setup worked with no problems. I didn't change anything except upgrading from 10.0 to 10.1.

Do you think that during the upgrading process, the /boot directory was moved beyond the 1048 cylinder range? I believe my total linux install is less than 3 gig, so I should be fine, right? Is there a way to move the /boot directory to another location on the drive?
Old 05-27-2006, 02:03 AM   #4
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I don't know why this works but it did. Here is what I did to solve this problem:

Directory structure

I moved the vmlinuz- file from /boot to /boot/grub, changing my reference in /boot/grub/menu.lst accordingly, keeping my reference to initrd the same (as below).

###Don't change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title SUSE LINUX 10.1
root (hd1,1)
kernel /boot/grub/vmlinuz- root=/dev/hdb2 vga=0x31a selinux=0 resume=/dev/hdb1 splash=silent showopts
initrd /boot/initrd-

Apparently, the location of the file DOES make a difference.

I hope this helps someone else with the same problem


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