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Message started by Rad on Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:23am

Title: Magoo Grub
Post by Rad on Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:23am
i've had ubuntu 8.04 installed for ~ a year.

when i get done using my laptop at night i close the lid.

in the morn, i open the lid and press the power button.

the laptop loads bios and then displays the grub loader, which gives me option to boot to linux or windows xp.

this morning, it would not give me boot options .. just flashed quick msg about grub 1.5 loading and went straight back to bios in endless loop.

tries turning off pc and restarting.

nada. i did nothing which should've altered the boot loader.

not much i could do with no grub options.

worried hard drive mighht be krapping. but hd is pretty new.

only option i could see was to reinstall ubuntu, to try to reinstall grub.

it worked. boot options returned following ubuntu reinstall. i'm in windows now. whew!

i was sweating bullets, cuz no recent image. (backing up now.)

what do you suppose caused this?

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by MrMagoo on Feb 24th, 2009 at 8:58pm
That happens sometimes.  It hasn't happened to me that I can remember, but a friend of mine has seen it more than once.

GRUB sits in your MBR (usually) and just has a map of your partitions and a link to your /boot directory.  /boot has to be a file system GRUB can read (usually EXT2/3 or FAT.)  That is the 'stage 1.5' you saw.  After that, it loads stage 2 from some image files on your /boot partition (look in /boot/grub to see what's there.)

It sounds like somehow either your partition scheme changed and the device map was no longer accurate, the MBR containg stage 1.5 got damaged, or the stage2 files in /boot got damaged.  Had to say which, but most likely the last one.  Nigel could probably provide some insight  :'(

The same sorta thing happens if you install Windows after you install Linux.  Windows will clobber grub with its own bootloader and you will loose access to Linux.  The fix is to reinstall GRUB.

You can reinstall GRUB from a rescue CD.  The Ubuntu install CD can be used to reinstall GRUB, and the Alternative Install CD has a special recovery mode that is designed for such things.  Also, pretty much any Linux Live or Install CD will give you enough of a shell you can reinstall GRUB.  Only take 3 or 4 commands once you get booted and mount the disk.

There are guides on the interweb and it depends on how you have Linux installed, but the commands are something like:

> mkdir /mnt/root
> mount /dev/sdaX /mnt/root (where a is the letter of the drive you have Ubuntu on and X is the partition number)
> cd /mnt/root/boot/grub
>grub-install /dev/sda

That's my way.  Other people will tell you different, I'm sure.  TMTOWTDI.  Main thing is, it's not unheard of to have this problem and its not hard to fix.

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by Rad on Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:32pm
well, glad it's not just me. (misey loves company.) but it is a very sukky feeling nonetheless.

i am downloading ubuntu 8.10 now (ugh, that first server from UC Santa Barbara was slooow .. 25KB/s .. found a faster one at 240KB/s) .. may 'upgrade' to that. especially since i now have gone back to initial-install config with 8.04.

heard 8.10 had much improved sppt for wireless, and 8.04 gave me trouble setting up the wireless on my laptop.

i don't think it will be a problem to install 8.10 over 8.04 .. right?

i'm pretty sure the installer formats the partition before installing the new o/s.

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by MrMagoo on Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:43pm
*cough* BitTorrent is usually faster.  Although Connical doesn't display the torrents for prominently some reason:


I think there is an option to upgrade.  I've never done it tho.  I have my /home on a separate partition from everything else.  That way, I can format the main partition and do a new install of the latest version without disturbing my /home.  Makes it really easy to get a fresh start.

I've been running 8.10 on my laptop for a while.  It's nice.  Have no problems with wireless on my HP EliteBook.

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by Rad on Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:57pm

MrMagoo wrote on Feb 24th, 2009 at 10:43pm:
Have no problems with wireless on my HP EliteBook.

It found your Wireless adapter automatically? And config'ed everything for you?

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by MrMagoo on Feb 25th, 2009 at 3:54am
Yup.  It even finds available networks and offers to join them.  WEP/WPA2 work.  Only thing I haven't been able to figure out is how to join a network that requires EAP authentication (although you probably won't find yourself needing that anyway.)  Supposedly it can be done.

I have an Intel chipset.  Not sure what wireless chipset you have.  Some manufacturers are more open than others about their drivers, so some chipsets work better than others.  

Overall, tho, support for all wireless devices has improved constantly with Linux.  A few years ago you had to be a unix ninja to make it work at all.  Now it works automatically for a lot of people.  That's really true of everything in Linux, especially hardware support.

Let me know how your upgrade goes and if you have any issues with wireless.

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by Rad.Test on Feb 25th, 2009 at 12:49pm

MrMagoo wrote on Feb 25th, 2009 at 3:54am:
Not sure what wireless chipset you have.  

From device manager:

* Broadcom 802.11g network adapter
* Marvell Yukon 88E8036 PCI-E Fast Ethernet controller

Title: Re: Magoo Grub
Post by MrMagoo on Feb 25th, 2009 at 6:21pm
Hmmm.  Might still take some tinkering, but it shouldn't be any harder than it was last time.

Atheros was one of the first chipsets to be compatible with Linux.  Their openness means they are still a favorite for wardrivers and open source purists.

Intel chipsets are also pretty well supported.

Broadcom, on the other hand, is playing catch-up.  Fortunately, since Dell started selling machines with Linux pre-installed, Broadcom is at least playing.


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