Unable to boot after creating usb disk

Asked by Chris G on 2010-04-24

Hi all, I have been running a dual boot system with xp pro on one hard drive and Ubuntu 9.10 on a second hard drive, both are sata drives. I have been using this system for a few months and have been happy with it. A few days ago I decided to try to put Ubuntu 9.10 on a bootable usb, I followed the directions from help, but when I restarted my computer I could not boot from the usb device or boot from grub2. I read the grub2 documentation and tried all 3 methods of reinstalling grub from the live cd with no success. I then decided to install Lucid beta1 to a small partition on the second hard drive, when I rebooted I had grub 1.98 which recognized all three operating systems. This worked for a couple of days then again I got the error saying that the disk does not exist. I tried reinstalling grub using different methods, I even tried to use the fixmbr command on the xp disk, still no luck, now all I can do is use the live cd. I really need to get back up and running, please help.
Thanks in advance.

Question information

Language:
English Edit question
Status:
Solved
For:
Ubuntu yelp Edit question
Assignee:
No assignee Edit question
Solved by:
Chris G
Solved:
2010-04-27
Last query:
2010-04-27
Last reply:
2010-04-25

one thing to try would be to re-install, without actually reinstalling. start up the installer and when you get to the partitioner select "manual". you should see all of your partitions, if you are reinstalling lucid find that partition and modify it (i cant remember if its right click or not) set the mount point as "/" and DO NOT FORMAT. make sure the other partitions will not be formatted. when the installer is done it should update grub for you, hopefully that will work. good luck

Tom (tom6) said : #2

Hi :)

Hopefully i might be able to help walk you through reinstalling grub2
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2#Reinstalling%20from%20LiveCD

if you can copy&paste the output of

sudo fdisk -l

into here.
Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

Chris G (telegooch) said : #3

Hi T.Bradley and Tom, Thanks for the responses. I did not have time to work on this problem yesterday and I am just now getting back to it. I read the help community grub2 page and went through all of the methods for reinstalling Grub2 from the live cd (multiple times with no success) before posting this question. There is a lot more info on my problem posted here:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1461963&highlight=usb+creator+broke+grub

I have not yet had time to post my current status to that thread but I am now able to boot by going into bios and setting my first hard drive (hd0) to 'off'. This is more of a workaround than a solution, I would be grateful for any insights you might have as to a more long term solution.
Thanks, Chris

Chris G (telegooch) said : #4

Hi T.Bradley and Tom, Thanks for the responses. I did not have time to work on this problem yesterday and I am just now getting back to it. I read the help community grub2 page and went through all of the methods for reinstalling Grub2 from the live cd (multiple times with no success) before posting this question. There is a lot more info on my problem posted here:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1461963&highlight=usb+creator+broke+grub

I have not yet had time to post my current status to that thread but I am now able to boot by going into bios and setting my first hard drive (hd0) to 'off'. This is more of a workaround than a solution, I would be grateful for any insights you might have as to a more long term solution.
Thanks, Chris

Tom (tom6) said : #5

Hi :)

Given that your "sudo fdisk -l" gave

ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 80.0 GB, 80000000000 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 9726 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xca63ca63

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 9725 78116031 7 HPFS/NTFS

Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x1be24052

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 * 1 37706 302873142+ 83 Linux
/dev/sdb2 37707 37884 1429785 5 Extended
/dev/sdb5 37707 37884 1429753+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris

I am not sure why they didn't just try to reinstall grub2 to sdb1. They tried something curious with sda1 which is an ntfs partition so i got a little wary at that point.

Thanks for posting us that link tho :)

Good luck and regards from
Tom :)

Chris G (telegooch) said : #6

Ok, now the only way I can boot is to go into bios, turn off the first hard drive, This gives me a grub menu with ubuntu and xp. I can boot ubuntu but not xp. If I go into bios and turn on both hard drives or if I turn on only the first hard drive I get the grub rescue prompt. This is ok for the moment but I need to be able to use xp because I use autoCAD for my work. Any suggestions?
Thanks, Chris

Chris G (telegooch) said : #7

SOLVED!!!!! This was a strange problem with my system bios confusing my usb wireless adapter and first hard drive with one another. The solution was to unplug the adapter then reboot.

Tom (tom6) said : #8

Hi :)

Superb, congrats :) I take it the wireless hasn't been working too well either then? The answer is to plug in the wireless device and then go up to the top taskbar and click on

Places - Computer

then right-click on the tiny "storage" device that is the wireless dongle & choose "Eject". For some reason hardware manufacturers set-up these devices so that the tiny storage space is the most important thing on the dongle. This works well in Windows because it then launches the driver installer that the hardware manufacturers made for it. Linux developers have to create the linux drivers because hardware manufacturers try to make it tough to use linux and often refuse to provide drivers but pay MicroSquish for the privilege of being allowed to build drivers allowing their stuff to be used by Windows users. So they set-up these wireless dongles to be doubly troublesome for linux users. The answer is to simply "eject" the storage part of the device which then gives access to the useful part!

There is a bug-report about this called something like "ZeroCd devices" & linux developers are trying to get this eject thing done automatically but hardware manufacturers follow now standards so each device has to be treated differently!

Regards from
Tom :)

Tom (tom6) said : #9

Hi :)

Superb, congrats :) I take it the wireless hasn't been working too well either then? The answer is to plug in the wireless device and then go up to the top taskbar and click on

Places - Computer

then right-click on the tiny "storage" device that is the wireless dongle & choose "Eject". For some reason hardware manufacturers set-up these devices so that the tiny storage space is the most important thing on the dongle. This works well in Windows because it then launches the driver installer that the hardware manufacturers made for it. Linux developers have to create the linux drivers because hardware manufacturers try to make it tough to use linux and often refuse to provide drivers but pay MicroSquish for the privilege of being allowed to build drivers allowing their stuff to be used by Windows users. So they set-up these wireless dongles to be doubly troublesome for linux users. The answer is to simply "eject" the storage part of the device which then gives access to the useful part!

There is a bug-report about this called something like "ZeroCd devices" & linux developers are trying to get this eject thing done automatically but hardware manufacturers follow no standards so each device has to be treated differently!

Regards from
Tom :)

Chris G (telegooch) said : #10

Thanks for the further information Tom.

Chris G (telegooch) said : #11

Oh yeah, I wanted to add that I would imagine that usb printers would likely cause this problem as well, especially those with built in card readers.

Tom (tom6) said : #12

Hi :)

For some reason usb printers mostly seem to be ok, at least on this issue. Printer manufacturers try to strip everything out. Sometimes that can make a printer unusable as it totally depends on cannibalising space inside Windows. The card readers really are only about storage so there's not a problem there either, at least not this issue.

The problem is trying to get linux drivers but luckily linux developers have got a lot of those built into the "cups" package for printers. Scanners are a pain tho! Although even there the "sane" package often has the drivers for most of them too. Wireless is the really toughest challenge because there is so much more secrecy about virtually all aspects of it.

Regards from
Tom :)