After Partitioning Mint install error: cannot install GRUB

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After Partitioning Mint install error: cannot install GRUB

Postby mschilling on Tue Aug 28, 2007 12:58 pm

First I installed XP on the NTFS partition, which went well and boots. Then when installing Mint, at the very end of the installation, I get a fatal error telling me that GRUB cannot be installed on the first partition. My two hd shows up as sda and sdb, and I'm using sdb for the partitioning. I've noticed in the partitioning discussions that the partitions are referred to has hda1, hda2, etc., and I'm not sure why mine start with an s. The first partition on my hd is / and the second is for Mint, the third for another linux distro, and the last for XP, with a swap partition as well. That's the goal anyway. Do I need to add extended partitions to do that?
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Postby ceti on Tue Aug 28, 2007 5:28 pm

1 - your drives are sda & sdb because they're SATA, not IDE
2 - as far as I know, your Windows must be in the first partition of your first drive (sda0,0), the Master Drive

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Sorry, but that's the way it is.
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Postby Boo on Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:05 pm

please post a the results of:

sudo fdisk -l

you can only have 4 primary partitions on a hard disk.
if you want more partitions you have to have an extended partition with logical partitions in it. so then you can only have 3 primary partitions and an extended partition with logical partitions.

sda etc is now the universal hard disk naming convention, so both sata and ide disks are called sda etc.

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Postby mschilling on Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:04 pm

Thanks, does the swap partition count as a primary partition? I would like to be able to use Mint, xp, and one other linux flavour. In that case would the 4 primary partitions be enough? Here's my result of the fdisk. BTW what keys make the vertical line symbol at the end of the sudo command?

mint@mint:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80026361856 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9729 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 9729 78148161 7 HPFS/NTFS

Disk /dev/sdb: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 1 1275 10241406 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdb2 1276 2617 10779615 83 Linux
/dev/sdb3 2618 4379 14153265 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdb4 4380 4864 3895762+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
mint@mint:~$
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Postby Boo on Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:01 am

the swap partition counts but it can be a logical partition inside the extended partition.

I think i now see your problem.
did you tell the installer to put grub in the first partition instead of in the MBR?
the first partition is NTFS and grub will not go on there.

this is what that output tells me:
sda disk is one big windows partiton (78GB)
sdb disk has a windows partition (10GB), then a linux partition(10GB) (mint), then another windows partition (14GB) and last the swap partition (3.8GB).

the real question is how do you really want to setup your system?
and is there anything important (data) on sdb the second disk?
can we move the ntfs data around and re partition the disk?

a linux install only needs about a 4GB / partition and a swap partition that is at most 2x the amount of RAM you have.
if you install multiple linux's you only need one swap partition as they can all use the same one.

well that gives you more to think about.

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Postby mschilling on Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:10 pm

I did not intentionally tell the installer to install grub in the first partition instead of the MBR. When I first partitioned the hd with the Mint CD, I made the first partition for Mint, and the third for XP. Maybe when I installed XP it went on the first partition and changed it to NTFS in the process (?) Looking at the used space on the partitions it looks like the third does have XP installed.
I have my legacy XP system on the first hd, with the second hd a testbed for what I'd like to end up with: a partitioned hd with xp, mint, and possibly ubuntu to try out. Eventually I will reinstall everything on the 80gig once I'm confident enough.
So the next step I'm thinking would to be to reformat the third partition as linux, and possibly reinstall xp on the first partition. Next install Mint again but making sure that the grub gets installed on the MBR of the hd. What should I look for during that last installation, or how is that done, exactly?
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Postby Boo on Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:06 pm

so it looks like you have one of those MB's that lets you choose which HD to boot off.
this can cause lots of problems with linux.

if you can still boot xp on sdb1 (first partition of the second disk) I would leave it alone.
next using the live CD delete the other 3 partitions on the sdb (second disk).
next install mint.
at the partition stage do a manual partition.
select sdb disk.
create a new primary partition of 10GB for the / partition, format ext3.
create a new primary partition of 2xRAM for swap.(eg 1GB RAM = 2GB swap)
leave the rest of the space free as it can be partitioned later as an extended partition. you could do this using gparted once installed or with the installer of another linux you want to install.

the last step of the install gives you a summary and the chance to change where grub is installed. it will install grub to the MBR of sda (hd0), let it do that. Now when you reboot let the system boot normally ie off the first hard disk.

the grub boot screen (may have to hit esc to see) should list:
linux mint ...
linux mint recovery...
memcheck...
other OS's
xp on first disk...
xp on second disk...

by default it will choose mint, using the arrows you can choose one of the other OS's.

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Postby linuxviolin on Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:35 pm

Boo wrote:create a new primary partition of 2xRAM for swap.(eg 1GB RAM = 2GB swap)


2x yes if less than 1 GB RAM but with 1 GB or more 1x is largely enough. (with 2 GB RAM 1 GB swap can be completely sufficient) :wink:
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Postby mschilling on Mon Sep 03, 2007 8:50 pm

Thanks! I tried deleting the 3 partitions in gparted but one had a lock symbol and didn't allow me to delete it. So I booted in XP and used Partition Magic which let me delete it. After that, the original XP that was left on the untouched partition would not boot. So I reinstalled XP onto that same partition (1) and followed the rest of your procedure. Now it successfully boots into XP, Mint, and Ubuntu on that one hd, perfect! For some reason the Windows bootloader still shows 3 options of booting into XP rather than 2, 1 for sda and one for sdb. The 1st is sdb xp, no. 2 doesn't work, and no. 3 is the sda xp. Is there a way to get rid of the no. 2 windows boot option? Also, if I were to add a separate partition for /home, would the linux systems automatically use that directory? Do you have to delete the one that the linux system is currently using?
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Postby Boo on Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:10 pm

no linux will not automatically use a newly created /home partition.
there is a guide in the wiki for moving your /home directory to an new /home partition.
http://www.linuxmint.com/wiki/index.php ... _partition

give it a go.

be careful if you want to share he /home partition between more than one linux os, especially if they both use DE such as gnome. they will both use the same gnome layout which may not be the one you wanted.

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Postby mschilling on Mon Sep 03, 2007 9:53 pm

Cool, that's good to know. When you say that Linux only needs about 4GB to install, does that take into account future applications ballooning the size of the system? Adobe apps aren't available for Linux yet, but they tend to be huge additions to the software directory and continue to add files to their app folders.
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Postby Boo on Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:10 pm

4GB gives you a bit less than 1GB to expand your apps and data.
it is a minimal size.
the KDE mint uses up more space than the gnome mint so you would have less than 500MB to expand apps and data.

so depending on how you want to setup your partitions and how you want to use your linux depends on how big you make the / partition. of course the bigger the disks you have the less of a problem partition size becomes.

I use small / partitions for trial/test installs and no /home. but for my main system i use multiple partitions that are bigger.
my laptop currently has about 5 OS's on it all chopped up into 4GB / partitions.

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Postby mschilling on Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:09 pm

Alright, can I resize the partition to a larger size in the future without causing a problem?
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Postby Boo on Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:30 pm

the answer is maybe...

you can only resize a partition from its end not from the start.
so that means you have to have space free after the partition you want to expand.
you can not expand a primary partition into a extended partition or across disks.

you have to be careful how you set up your initial partitions.

what you may want to do is partition a disk like this
primary XP
primary swap
extended
logical linux / (main linux)
free space

so you can add other linux in logical partitions if you want or extend your original main linux.
but remember if you add another linux after your main one you will have to delete it and the partition before extending the main one.

this is a simplified way to do what you want.

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Postby mschilling on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:43 pm

OK, that makes sense to me. Is the reason that you're suggesting a extended partition to make it possible to exceed the 4 primary partition limit? I've only got a 80GB hd to use currently so I'm trying not to waste space. Most of my data is digital camera, and I'm using XP to store that and back it up. For now, anyway, I'd like to keep the majority of room for that. I'm thinking of 2G swap, and 6G each for two ext3 partitions, with the balance 66G for XP.
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Postby Boo on Tue Sep 04, 2007 10:47 pm

yes the extended partitioning is really for having more than 4 partitions and it may make it easier when you decide to extend partitions.

your layout sounds ok.
but i would still use the extended partition, it is future proofing.

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