GRUB fail

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GRUB fail

Postby benQ on Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:02 am

Hello all,
I had installed LMDE yesterday.

I was not lucky to be forced to write GRUB to the mbr. I had LM "classic" installed recently and got only a strange distroted picture instead of a GRUB menu on start-up, hence effectively no GRUB, and no possibility to do ANYTHING with the system at short hand. I could also not reach any of the virtual consoles. Being a lucky MEPIS user, I had the chance to fire the live-CD of MEPIS and let the MEPIS tool restore the MEPIS GRUB.

The reason for why I am postin this under this forum is: LMDE ended up the same way (killing GRUB). System is an old Acer Travelmate 430, two primary partitions one extended partition further 4 partitions and one swap partition.

I have no chance for providing any error-log though as the system was entirely inaccessible due to the fact that you can't do much with no boot-loader ;-)

I'd consider this bug major, and at least on my hardware reproducible.

Is there any chance to have either a skinned down version of GRUB that always works (e.g. the unskinned default), or a more full featured one (e.g. like the ones MEPIS uses, that also give you the possibility to change the language for GRUB (nice to give kernel parameters on the way not thinking about what the US keyboard layout is ...) that works? As said above, without a "rescue" CD that had the mbr overridden I'd had no chance yesterday ...

Best regards,

Benjamin
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Re: GRUB fail

Postby nukm on Fri Sep 10, 2010 1:45 pm

You can always mount a partition with the Live cd. Ubuntu or Mint or one designated for the purpose of restoration. The Mepis cd would have worked if it is live. Then, you could check your logs and see if the problem is logged. That is, if you actually got LMDE installed.

I note also that if it was simply a GRUB problem, and you still had Mepis in there, you could have restored the Mepis GRUB and then manually configured it to include LMDE.

It is likely that there was a failure to recognize your graphics card since GRUB now is different. Also, a failure to install is not necessarily a bug. And posting here does not constitute a bug report. Distro to distro there are differing kernel images involved, plus all the other differing junk. You likely could have passed a kernel option that may have prevented the bust - I don't know. You installed a "testing" release.

If you don't want to learn how to config GRUB 1.98, simply chose distros like Mepis that use the .97 version. You can check out the package lists of distros at Distrowatch. Debian Squeeze uses GRUB 1.98 for the first time. Thus, LMDE does also.

Pardus still uses GRUB.97 and the new 2011 release also uses it. Pardus is independent and not resting on top of another distro. The install disk also has a restore feature that cancels an "breaking" update or reinstalls grub to the MBR. The English forum is unofficial but if you post a problem, there is usually someone to assist available - and very knowledgeable at that.

If you want simplicity, use Slackware or a derivative such as Absolute - they use LiLo. Can't get much more simple than that. Has been working for years. Slackware is simplicity itself.

You might consider the following guidelines when asking for help - https://www.centos.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=25128&forum=47. Other forums, including this one, have advice on how to post for help - giving pertinent real info.

If you want to experiment (distro hop) with some success, compare your hardware to the release notes and hardware lists supplied by the distro release. You could also benefit by spending some time with Herman, The Man down under - http://members.iinet.net.au/~herman546/index.html. Of course there are many resources on the .net. https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2#Reinstalling%20GRUB%202

GRUB.97 and LiLo are included in LMDE, I think, and can be installed later, if you prefer. Course, you would have to know how - right?

LMDE is based upon Debian testing, which means it is changing (except now Squeeze is frozen which means less change for the moment). Going after the "latest" release with an older box is always a challenge, especially a laptop. The release notes for LMDE cover the "testing" and volatile nature of such a release.
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Re: GRUB fail

Postby benQ on Sat Sep 18, 2010 5:38 pm

Hi nukm,

Maybe I wasn't clear in the first go. I had the same GRUB failure with Linux Mint (regular edition), which is (classified as) stable.

You can always mount a partition with the Live cd. Ubuntu or Mint or one designated for the purpose of restoration. The Mepis cd would have worked if it is live. Then, you could check your logs and see if the problem is logged. That is, if you actually got LMDE installed. I note also that if it was simply a GRUB problem, and you still had Mepis in there, you could have restored the Mepis GRUB and then manually configured it to include LMDE.


Right. MEPIS is a live CD and I used it to restore GRUB. That is I used the tool MEPIS provides to write the MEPIS Grub (.97) to the mbr (and let it detect the other installed OSes).

It is likely that there was a failure to recognize your graphics card since GRUB now is different. Also, a failure to install is not necessarily a bug. And posting here does not constitute a bug report. Distro to distro there are differing kernel images involved, plus all the other differing junk. You likely could have passed a kernel option that may have prevented the bust - I don't know. You installed a "testing" release.


- It (grub, LMDE) did install, I am pretty sure (and a failure to install IS a bug ...), however GRUB did not work properly in that I only got a screwed up image in minty colors ... and no option to do anything at this stage.
- According to the release notes, there is no official bugtracker set up for LMDE and the recommendation was to post it in the forum ...
- I could not pass a kernel parameter, as ... I had nothing to pass it onto, no GRUB, no shell, no nothing
- I had the same GRUB failure with Linux Mint (classic Edition), I had hoped it would be different with LMDE
- By the way I am typing this from LMDE ... :)

If you don't want to learn how to config GRUB 1.98, simply chose distros like Mepis that use the .97 version. You can check out the package lists of distros at Distrowatch. Debian Squeeze uses GRUB 1.98 for the first time. Thus, LMDE does also.


I beg you pardon. I never ever had a bootloader-mess like this, with no prompt or command line available as fall back option. I do very well work myself through the available information sources if I really need to. In this case I knew that the MEPIS live-cd would just be alright to re-write its own bootloader again back on the MBR. I am not in the mood of swallowing that "if you don't want to learn - go away" sort of argument.

Pardus still uses [...]

[...]

GRUB.97 and LiLo are included in LMDE, I think, and can be installed later, if you prefer. Course, you would have to know how - right?

LMDE is based upon Debian testing, which means it is changing (except now Squeeze is frozen which means less change for the moment). Going after the "latest" release with an older box is always a challenge, especially a laptop. The release notes for LMDE cover the "testing" and volatile nature of such a release


Thanks for the general advice. I do know what Debian testing is. Maybe I should just get a recent snapshot and try it directly. However, time is a major constraint for me and thus, I prefer Distros that provide a decent out-of-the-box experience (incl. only very few codec hunting). This is why I do like Linux Mint or MEPIS.
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Re: GRUB fail

Postby libssd on Sat Sep 18, 2010 6:55 pm

You are correct to be upset about grub2. I encountered the same problem when I first tried to install Ubuntu 10.04 (9.04 as already installed with grub legacy). If one is aware ahead of time that the potential for this problem exists, it's not too hard to recover from. But if unaware (as I was), you end up with a dead system.

There is a good grub2 reference here: https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2
Also a full tutorial here: http://www.dedoimedo.com/computers/grub-2.html
And, if you're a glutton, more than you ever wanted to know about grub2, here: http://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/

I wish I had known about the error 15 mbr problem before I re-installed Windows XP/Ubuntu 9.04. I have since successfully installed both Ubuntu 10.04, Mint 9, and LMDE without issues (after resolving the grub2/mbr problem).

I have read the background information on grub2, but I'm still not convinced it's an improvement over grub legacy, which was easier to configure, but such is "progress".
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Re: GRUB fail

Postby benQ on Sun Sep 19, 2010 5:33 am

Hi, libssd,

thanks for the helpful links! In my case I did not even get a GRUB error number, I just saw a very "minimalistic" version of the background image (blocks of minty green colors). Period.

I have now encountered that also LMDE-Bugs go to the Launchpad bugtracking system. I'll gather as much info about this error and check whether other people had the same problem and then open a new bug, if necessary.

Best regards,
Benjamin
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