"No such device, etc." - again!! {SOLVED}

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"No such device, etc." - again!! {SOLVED}

Postby edzell on Mon Jun 16, 2014 9:37 pm

Edit June 24, 2014: To save you reading this entire lengthy thread: The problem described below was caused by trying to boot while a Seagate 500 external was attached to a usb port. The external works well but has to be disconnected for boot-up. By all means read the whole thread if you have time on your hands and just want to chuckle at my inexperience. -- end of edit.

[b][/b]I have a Dell 1525 laptop that was running dual-boot, Mint 9 with WinXP, Partitioned like this:
Sda1 primary (ntfs) - WinXP
Sda2 primary (ntfs) - DATApartn
Sda3 primary (ext4) - /
sda5 logical (ext4) - /home
sda6 logical (ext4) - /tmp
SDa7 logical Swap
System had begun randomly shutting down (with a fleeting message too fast to read)
I decided to upgrade to Mint 17; successfully installed it in place of LM9 but failed to preserve Data (backed up externally) and list of software.
At some point after beginnning to reinstall software, system would not reboot.
Error messages "No such device xxxxxx" "Grub rescue" and "cannot locate canonical /cow" - or words to that effect.
I've searched the forums for a solution; There's a pile of posts & many suggestions: I've tried several but none has worked. Some I didn't dare.
Most recently in desperation I completely reinstalled LM17, with formatting, on Sda3, 5, 6 & 7.
Still won't boot & I get those same error messages. Aaargh.
How can I get at whatever causes this problem & fix it?
Last edited by edzell on Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:53 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby seeley on Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:04 am

Hi!
To help we need some more info. Could you please boot from your live Mint 17, run GParted, make a screenshot and attach it.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby edzell on Tue Jun 17, 2014 10:07 am

Hi seeley; thanks for the reply.
Thought I gave enough partition info. There has been some moving/resizng before this latest installation.
I haven't tried attaching screenshots before, but here goes:

Partitions_Sda.png

Partitions_Sdb.png

Sorry those images are rather small - hope you can read them. I tried scaling them up with Gimp but it seems the forum wouldn't upload the larger files.
We're in different time zones (Vancouver Island here) and I'm working around some outdoor tasks; so exchange of info may be quite sporadic. If so please be patient!
Sorry, I don't speak German :(
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby seeley on Tue Jun 17, 2014 11:15 am

1. The time difference is no problem, I' m online sporadic, too.
2. Most users post in En, if I understand the problem and have an idea, I try to help.
3. The screenshots are okay - it is not necessary to enlarge them. Sometimes (e.g. here) Screenshots are an excellent help [instead of Terminal outputs].
Sometimes partitions (not yours) are not big enough.
4. I prefer formatting partions with GParted - before installing - and during installation choosing the partitions (boot), root, home and DATA (fat32);
boot, if "/" is formatted as btrfs or xfs. Of course, 2 DATA partitions (ext4 and ntfs) are okay and root and home - ext4 - are okay.
5. Maybe you should test your hard disk(s).
6. During the last years I made many tests with GParted - moving partitions is no good idea - I don't recommend it (takes much time and is risky).

Summary: I would format sda3, 5 and 6 with GParted and check [but I never tried this option] partitions before installation and afterwards install,
choosing boot loader target GRUB into the MBR of that hd /dev/sda.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby edzell on Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Many thanks for taking the time to offer help.
seeley wrote:4. I prefer formatting partions with GParted - before installing -

You mean as opposed to just checking the "format" box of each partition when installing? I assumed that would do the same thing.
and during installation choosing the partitions (boot), root, home and DATA (fat32); boot, if "/" is formatted as btrfs or xfs.
I don't have a separate boot partition; would it be a better idea - and how big should it be? btrfs and xfs are unknown to me - you realise I'm not very expert!
Of course, 2 DATA partitions (ext4 and ntfs ) are okay and root and home - ext4 - are okay.
The ntfs DATA partition has - until now - been my sole data space, readable by both linux and XP. I'm going to move much of its file system to the new ext4 DATA partition, leaving just files that I need to access with XP. That's if I don't get rid of XP altogether :). Sdb is external, for backup purposes.
5. Maybe you should test your hard disk(s).
I don't know how to do that, especially when my system won't boot. But maybe with gparted test option ..
Summary: I would format sda3, 5 and 6 with GParted and check [but I never tried this option] .. neither have I .. partitions before installation and afterwards install, choosing boot loader target GRUB into the MBR of that hd /dev/sda.
I don't understand "target GRUB" etc. - didn't know I had options. I usually just let the installer "do its thing" and I guess GRUB goes into Sda.
Edit: Yes, I forgot the install has a box where you can target the bootloader. Usually defaults to Sda.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby JSeymour on Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:30 pm

edzell wrote:Many thanks for taking the time to offer help.
seeley wrote:4. I prefer formatting partions with GParted - before installing -

You mean as opposed to just checking the "format" box of each partition when installing? I assumed that would do the same thing.

Essentially, they do. But sometimes it seems to go more smoothly if you do as seeley does. I don't know why.

edzell wrote:
and during installation choosing the partitions (boot), root, home and DATA (fat32); boot, if "/" is formatted as btrfs or xfs.
I don't have a separate boot partition; would it be a better idea - and how big should it be?

512MB is sufficient.

edzell wrote:btrfs and xfs are unknown to me - you realise I'm not very expert!

Alternate filesystem types. Unless you're an advanced user and/or have special needs: Stick with ext4, IMO.

edzell wrote:
5. Maybe you should test your hard disk(s).
I don't know how to do that, especially when my system won't boot. But maybe with gparted test option ..

Dell diagnostices is your best bet.

From your description of the symptoms: I suspect you have failing hardware. If I'm right: Hopefully only the drive.

Good luck,
Jim
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby seeley on Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:35 pm

Having only a few minutes left today - a short answer:
Booting from a live medium Mint (if it is not Desktop KDE) allows you to start GParted (if not installed, it is easy to install via Terminal) and partition (boot is not necessary in your case). GParted has an option (at the moment my sytemwide language is German: Partition/ überprüfen) partition/ check, I suppose; after having choosen it, you may see: check and repair - I would try this with one of the new formatted partiions, see what happens and go on.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby edzell on Tue Jun 17, 2014 4:10 pm

Bizarre!! I ran the Dell diagnostics (on booted-up Dell CD) but not all of it; some seemed irrelevant so I only tested the HD. The result said all was ok. Ejected the Dell CD and up came the GRUB choices. Booted into LM17 and it worked perfectly - ????

I'm not sure whether to trust this, and whether to mark the thread "solved." Time will tell I guess.

Meantine thanks both of you for the help and advice.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!!

Postby edzell on Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:14 pm

edzell wrote:I'm not sure whether to trust this, and whether to mark the thread "solved." Time will tell I guess.

Time has told - that the problem is NOT solved. After it seemed to be cured, the first time I shut down the machine and tried to boot it again: No luck. Back came the black screen with the grub-rescue messge. (why is it programmed to say that, when no rescue is offered or suggested??? But I digress.)

So I ran the Dell diagnostics from CD again and it still reported everything passed; hit ctrl-alt-delete - the CD ejected and up came the proper GRUB menu; booted into LM17 without a hitch!

I'm at a loss to imagine what the problem could be. Why is there a random start-up failure to run GRUB, especially when Dell diagnostics finds no problem with the computer; and is the fact that the error has "repaired" itself twice, immediately after running the diagnostic test, just a coincidence?
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby WinterTroubles on Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:33 pm

I've been following this post with a certain amount of interest, but, not posted as I assume that no-one else is as daft as me. I will post my experience of something similar though, if for no other reason than it may make you laugh at my stupidity..

In preparation for my mint 17 install I decided to clear out both the data and the case of my box, just the usual jobs of archiving old files and cleaning out the dust etc.. about two days later I began to to randomly get shunted into Grub Rescue at boot with 'no such device', there seemed to be no patern to this and attempting to reboot once or twice would boot normally. I carried on like this for a couple of days while I researched the problem using the live DVD.. It took me the whole two days before I finally remembered I'd been inside the case.. Can you tell where this is going yet?.. When I reopened the case and checked the cables were all in place and seated properly I discovered, much to my embarrassment, that I had caught one of the power cables and it was no longer full engaged into the socket on the back of my hard drive. It looked ok visually and once running (ie. got warm) it functioned normally, but, when cold the connection was poor and was causing the Hard Drive to not be recognised... Diagnosis.. user incompetence :oops:

I make no assumption about any relation between my stupidity and the issue here, I'm far to inexperienced for that. I do hope that you find your solution soon though.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby edzell on Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:21 pm

Thanks, WinterTroubles for your contribution. No clue towards solving my problem, or tale of self-induced woes, will be scorned! I'm a very long-term noob myself.I haven't been inside the case but may go there soon - not sure whether to do it before or after I reformat all my ext4 partitions and once again install from scratch.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby WinterTroubles on Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:36 pm

Your welcome edzell and thank you for no scorn :D

I believe that my loose connector was loose before I opened the case, as once fitted properly it was impossible to knock out by accident. So may be worth ruling out something similar before re-formatting if you are considering it anyway, at worst it should only take a few minutes and if you do find something it saves you re-installing.

I wish you luck whatever you try next :)
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby edzell on Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:30 pm

WinterTroubles wrote:Your welcome edzell and thank you for no scorn :D

I believe that my loose connector was loose before I opened the case, as once fitted properly it was impossible to knock out by accident. So may be worth ruling out something similar before re-formatting...


I started opening up the case but decided a) I was going to have to dismanle more than I wanted - it's a laptop; and b) Since it's never been opened before, the problem was likely not with internal connections. So having removed the hard drive & optical, plus the main access cover, I chickened out and put it all back; since when I've run through maybe a dozen restarts & shut-downs with no problem.

I hate to mention this but at one point I inverted it because a screw had refused to come out of its hole, and TWO screws fell onto my desk. I've now reassembled but that second screw is left over. Can't find anyplace for it to go. Now I'm wondering was it loose in the case all these years: Was it the cause of my problems? Or is just a distraction like one of those red herrings in an Agatha Christie novel, eventually signifying absolutely nothing. Stay tuned :)
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby WinterTroubles on Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:19 am

edzell wrote:So having removed the hard drive & optical


If it is/was a poor connection then your hard drive connection is the most likely culprit, so removing it and re-fitting is probably as fas as I would've gone on a laptop and that should be enough to ensure it's connected properly. As for your extra screw, if it was floating around inside the case then that could, as you say, definitely cause cause some strange errors if it got lodged in the wrong place.

I will indeed stay tuned and hope that dozen re-boots without errors is an indication that things have improved :D
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby edzell on Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:30 am

Ah, it was too much to hope for. After a few hours of computer behaving properly, following a shutdown I once more got the Grub-rescue screen. No amount of restarting would get rid of it so I did what I've done before: Ran the Dell diagnostics disk tests which declared everything OK, then ctrl-alt-delete and voila! A normal boot-up. Why this works I have no idea. I'm transferring all my data to my old steam-driven desktop (with pedal assist) and will be using that till I find out what's wrong with the laptop. My options are 1) Utterly clean off the HD, repartition with formatting and reinstall from scratch, and 2) if that doesn't work borrow a friend's surplus drive and see if that fixes the problem. Sadly it has Windows 7 on it but I may be able to do a dual-boot Mint install.

Edited out my whining complaint about file sharing: the option to share in caja is there, but only acessible from the right-hand panel of the file manager.
Last edited by edzell on Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby WinterTroubles on Thu Jun 19, 2014 11:38 am

Sorry to hear that my tale of user error didn't provide a solution :(

edzell wrote:As a side-issue, in transferring my data between computers I can find no "share" option in LM17-Mate's file manager, "caja," so I'm using an external drive to carry stuff across - a slow process. I get pretty damn frustrated when an upgrade seems to mean the loss of, or the need to relocate/rediscover, simple and useful functions.


Unfortunately I have no experience of Mate, so can't help here either... Seems I'm destined to be of no use to you :?

Hope you manage to get a properly running system in the end.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby administrollaattori on Thu Jun 19, 2014 12:43 pm

edzell wrote:Error messages "No such device xxxxxx" "Grub rescue" and "cannot locate canonical /cow" - or words to that effect.

/cow is liveDVDs mount point, so are you trying to boot from DVD or iso-file?
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby edzell on Sat Jun 21, 2014 8:57 am

Trying to boot installed LM17. Machine is currently running but I dare not shutdown or reboot as I can't trust it. Up to now it's not predictable whether I will get a proper bootup, or a grub-rescue message.
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Re: "No such device, etc." - again!! {NOT solved}

Postby edzell on Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:41 pm

Well it seems to be cured !! - I've discovered what was causing the error and how to avoid it but don't know why it happens.

For backups I use a Seagate 500 external on a usb port. If I try to boot with that drive connected, the "No such device .. etc" and "grub-rescue" errors come up. If the Seagate is NOT on the system, the machine boots properly. In all other respects the external works perfectly.

It has taken me days to isolate what seemed to be a random problem, whie I kept successively installing/removing apps to gauge whether one of them was to blame (and connecting/removing the extra drive to do so!) I guess if I had mentioned that extra drive in my earlier posts someone with more experience might have guessed and alerted me to the solution.

AH, got my computer back :) :)
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