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Old 02-10-2007, 04:13 PM   #1
jbrush
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SUSE 10.2 install wants SDA1 as MBR??


I am wanting to install Suse10.2. This is not my first linux install, but I am seeing that things are getting much easier, and more clear as to what the installers can and will do.

I have hda, hdb, and sda for drives. My windows 2K is on hda1, and I will install suse on hda7, with hda8 as the swap file.

As I stepped through the setup, I got to the issue of installing Grub, and I want to have Grub in the MBR, but the installer seems to think that should go onto sda. sda is just a storage drive, no boot, don't want it to boot, its not listed on the BIOS as a boot option.

I cannot seem to find a way to install Grub onto the MBR of hda. It will only allow sda as the boot drive, which is not an option

Can anyone explain the obssession with sda as the main boot device, and how to tell the installer that I want to go from hda, MBR? I see that I can choose 'custom' partitions, but that list starts with hda2, but contains no place that I want Grub.

Any explanations or advice would be appreciated. I use my IDE drives for system, and the serial ATA is simply space for storage.

Thanks,

John
 
Old 02-11-2007, 05:02 AM   #2
sadiqdm
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Getting control of GRUB

This isn't too hard. The Boot Loader settings page should have two tabs, Section Management & Boot Loader Installation Select the Section Management tab and make sure the Default tick is in the place you want it. Then go to the other tab and make sure the only the Custom Boot Partition tick box is selected. With the pull down list you should be able to set /dev/hda as the partition.

When you get tot the page in the install routine with an entry for booting, just click on the underlined heading, and it will take you to the set-up pages.
 
Old 02-11-2007, 05:37 PM   #3
jbrush
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadiqdm
This isn't too hard.

When you get tot the page in the install routine with an entry for booting, just click on the underlined heading, and it will take you to the set-up pages.

Yea, I am afraid it is hard :-)

The option for hda is not there when I do as you suggest. Other partitions and hdb are listed, but no hda.

I can check the box that says install into MBR, but when I go back and view the final configuration, it tells me that it is Grub/MBR/sda, and nowhere on any of the pages, do I get a chance to pick hda......

I figured what the heck, choose LILO and see what it offers, and there was the option for hda.... Well, I don't much like to play with the MBR anyway, so I chose the floppy option, and it installed lilo onto the floppy, or so it seemed. This is the ideal for me. I just like to boot linux from the floppy. In the past, I have burned a CD image of that floppy, to speed it up, and it works great, leaving my existing system alone.

When I rebooted, it went to the floppy, and directly into windows, no chance to choose suse, from the floppy, so I pulled the diskette, and thought to reboot into windows, to regroup, but no windows boot, as for the ten thousandth time in the last decade, a linux install had blown up my MBR.

I restored the MBR, and it took a lot of attempts to realize that it had also disabled hda1 as bootable. I fixed that up, and now have the usual problem. A linux install on my drive, and no way to boot it.

I get into trouble in these forums, because this kind of thing really pisses me off, and I don't mean any ill will towards anyone who is willing to offer free help. Its not personal, but its just ridiculous. Mostly, I get told to just use a seperate disk for linux, and swap them when I want linux or windows, which is stupid, or even worse, folks tell me to just ditch windows, and use only linux. :-)

I have been 'in' many linux distros. They are nice, I like to run it, and I enjoy learning it, but I have to have windows, and I am not in a position to have multiple drives, and extra hardware. I boot Puppy from a CD, and its really amazing. I would think linux could dual boot easily with windows. Many seem to have done it. me? I have major problems with it <shrug>

I have seen info on fixing and editing floppy and mbr boot sequences to boot linux, but they are either over my head, or they speak of how to do it from linux, but I have no linux, for if I did, I would not be in the position I am in :-)

Thanks for the advice. I hope I don't sound like I am trolling or ranting. I am just major, major, frustrated, and tired of rebuilding my MBR, and equally aggravated at distro installs that offer to put grub or lilo on a floppy, and then utterly fail to do so.

Time for a time out, I guess <g>

John
 
Old 02-11-2007, 07:57 PM   #4
sadiqdm
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Oh dear!

Back to first principles. Do you now have a bootable Windows?
 
Old 02-11-2007, 10:37 PM   #5
jbrush
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sadiqdm
Oh dear!

Back to first principles. Do you now have a bootable Windows?

Yea :-) I have become quite proficient at restoring and fixing up broken MBRs, and other windows boot issues <g>

I would really like to avoid hacking it anymore, and stick with floppy boots, but I notice that suse 10.2 doesn't offer that option with Grub, although it does think it can do lilo, but I rather showed that to be a false notion....

Again, I am NOT wanting to rag or rant, I am just frustrated, and would like to simply boot my linux from a floppy.

I admit, there are links I have been sent to, that "explain" how to do this, but I just don't seem to be able to get it done, and always come back to wondering why the installer says it will do the job for me, but it does not. Is it just an ongoing "bug" with most distros that it doesn't work, or am I just too stupid to be able to check the right boxes, and end up booting from the floppy? :-) I cannot for the life of me understand why I chose to install LILO on a floppy, and the installer still messed with my MBR, and also left me with an floppy that booted up windows, instead of a menu to choose the OS I wanted.....

Again, not wanting to just ramble and rant. I merely want to run suse, and as much as I am sure I can handle it, I can't seem to boot it up properly...... Just "rats" is all I can say..

Thanks, :-)

John
 
Old 02-11-2007, 10:41 PM   #6
jbrush
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Oh, btw, I got so carried away feeling sorry for myself :-) I forgot to ask about the floppy thing.

When I am choosing LILO onto a floppy, it asks if I want to format the floppy, and also what file system I should use, fat or ext2......

What and why are the correct answers to that question? The initial choice is to do neither one. If I leave it that way, will it work? Why do I care, and which should I choose?



Thanks a lot.

John
 
Old 02-12-2007, 06:38 AM   #7
sadiqdm
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Quote:
..., but I just don't seem to be able to get it done, and always come back to wondering why the installer says it will do the job for me, but it does not. Is it just an ongoing "bug" with most distros that it doesn't work, or am I just too stupid to be able to check the right boxes, and end up booting from the floppy? :-)
I think you've got a BIOS problem, in that something is wrong with the boot sector on you first drive, so the BIOS is "lying" to the boot loader. I've had this problem and it turned out that the installer had decide my two hard drives were the wrong way round on my desktop PC. Both are 40Gb Western Digital. I have Windows 98 in the first partition of one, and Linux Fedora Core 6 on the first partition of the other. Previously it was Suse 10.1, but they both got the drive order backwards and nothing would boot. I let it do the install with the "wrong" settings, when it rebooted it couldn't find the GRUB bootloader and hung. I rebooted with my GParted live CD and manually edit the /boot/gub/device.map file to make things work properly. Why this should happen I don't know, but both Suse 10.2 & FC6 got it wrong in the same way. On my laptop, which has only one drive, Suse got things right. I'm going to add FC 6 as a second OS and that will be interesting to see what it does.

The only thing I can think is that Suse and Fedora are using the same tool for detecting the partition table and there is a bug there that reads the BIOS wrong, or it is like the 855resolution problem, where the way that some BIOS' report the display, it is not recognised properly so on install the X-server set-up has the wrong resolution. My own example is that Suse 10.1 got it right straight off with my 1280x800 laptop, but 10.2 didn't and had to be tweaked. Your hard drive problem may be the same type of problem. The BIOS is reporting the drive & partition mapping in a way that confuses the Suse installer, so the partition order is wrong and it all goes haywire.

Quote:
When I am choosing LILO onto a floppy, it asks if I want to format the floppy, and also what file system I should use, fat or ext2......
It can be any format you like. Linux doesn't care, but if you have to put anything on the floppy to help Windows boot, then it needs to be fat. In the past I've always used fat for boot floppies just because they are then accessible if I only have a Windows machine to write them.

The fact that, even though you have to use a floppy, you can get your system to boot, means that at least that partition is OK, so you should be able to get GRUB installed eventually. There is a good Wiki on GRUB. If you scroll to the bottom you will find a good collection of links to other help with GRUB. This is where I always start looking.

This is a manual GRUB repair howto I put together with others some months ago:

Boot with a live or rescue CD. I use the GParted Live CD. Then at a command line:
Code:
#> mkdir /tmp/hdaX 
#> mount /dev/hda3 /tmp/hdaX
Where /hdaX is the partition with your Linux install. If you get a permission error trying to make the directory /tmp/hdaX, then you can just make /hdaX, but you will then need to edit the other lines to match. /dev/hda is where ever you now have a working MBR
Code:
 #> mount --bind /dev /tmp/hdaX/dev 
#> mount --bind /proc /tmp/hdaX/proc 
#> chroot /tmp/hdaX /bin/bash 
#> grub-install /dev/hda 
#> exit
That should get you back a working GRUB even if it only has one OS showing on the menu. You can then edit it using the info in the GRUB Wiki at the above link.

I seem to be rambling on! Good luck. We'll get this cracked somehow.
 
Old 02-12-2007, 07:35 AM   #8
jolphil
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Hi,
I know this is not an answer to your question about grub but
I would like to offer another thought..
What I have done was purchase a hard drive rack that is rather inexpensive and use it to try all the linux distros I like..That way i do NOT ever affect my Windows drive and if I ever have a problem with my linux that one of my stupid mistakes create,I can whittle away at the repair or just re-install it..
I have found this method very friendly and soothing to my jangled nerves..hehe
Goodluck,
jolphil
 
Old 02-13-2007, 09:11 AM   #9
jbrush
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[QUOTE=sadiqdm]I think you've got a BIOS problem, in that something is wrong with the boot sector on you first drive, so the BIOS is "lying" to the boot loader.
-------------------


Interesting idea. Not sure how to proceed, but I think I can simplify the problem by just pulling the sata drive before installing. I just would really like things to work, the way they are supposed to :-)

__________________________
This is a manual GRUB repair howto I put together with others some months ago:
--------------------------

Thanks. I will give it a shot.

John
 
Old 02-15-2007, 03:00 AM   #10
JZL240I-U
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This is a problem with SATA and BIOS, I read about it repeatedly. You'll probably find references to it if you search the net or even LQ.

I'd suggest something else. Install GRUB in a small /boot partition (e.g. /dev/hda9). Use dd to extract the boot information (which would else be in the MBR) like
Code:
dd if=/dev/hda9 of=grub.boot bs=512 count=1
Transfer this little file to your C:-drive and point your boot.ini at it. Your NT-loader will do the rest... .
 
  


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