GPT partition, no bootable disk, Grub error

Grub bootloader not recognised by old Bios.

Installation of grub 2:

Grub 2 was installed on a 500 GB hard disk with separate home and swap partitions. In the beginning a small partition was left with grub_boot flag to be used by grub for booting. The installation was LinuxMint 15 Olivia. The hard disk was partitioned with GPT and had hybrid MBR table as well. The system return the message ‘No bootable disk’ and refused to boot.

An old machine:

This machine was an old 1.4 gz, core 2 duo Intel, of last decade but in surprisingly immaculate condition.

There was no problem in booting from live CD/USB. Continue reading

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Booting from USB

Bootable USB creation in Ubuntu/Linux

Ubuntu Disk Creator has a problem. It does not support every distro. Similarly there are situations when we want to boot to grub2 from USB or may want to have multiple distros on the USB. I was trying to create a bootable USB of Linux Mint Debian Edition – 64 (LMDE) when it struck to me that it is a problem like chicken and egg. Without first installing the system, I can not create the disk and without creating disk I can not install LMDE. The following are the few alternate methods for creating bootable USB drive: (I tried first and it worked so stopped there)

Third party Program

1. Install UNetBootin

Open Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and type following command:

sudo apt-get install unetbootin

(Enter password and press enter. Accept it by pressing ‘Y’ and follow the instructions)

Run unetbootin from Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and follow the instructions on the GUI. BTW Unetbootin does not work on Windows’ ISO installer CD.

2. Grub2 USB Flash Drive Install using the Ubuntu Live CD:

Boot from your Live Ubuntu Linux CD Once booted, insert your USB Flash Drive Open a terminal and type sudo su

Type fdisk -l (and note which device is your USB)

Type mkdir /mnt/USB && mount /dev/sdx1 /mnt/USB (replacing x with your actual usb device)

Type grub-install –force –no-floppy –root-directory=/mnt/USB /dev/sdx (replacing x with your actual USB device)

Type cd /mnt/USB/boot/grub

Type wget pendrivelinux.com/downloads/grub.cfg

Type df (and locate where cdrom is mounted I.E./dev/sr0)

Type dd if=/dev/sr0 of=/mnt/USB/ubuntu.iso (replacing sr0 with the device found in step 9)

Remove your Live CD and reboot your PC, setting your BIOS or Boot Menu to boot from the USB device. (source: Install GRUB2 on a USB Flash Drive using Linux)

3. Create a Multi Boot USB from Linux

Download this file and follow the instructions given at http://www.pendrivelinux.com/multiboot-create-a-multiboot-usb-from-linux/

4. Creating USB from Terminal using DD Command:

Open terminal and use this command:

sudo dd if=/home/dir/dir/filename.iso of=/dev/sdX

Replace dir with directory name and filename with Ubuntu/Distro image file name. The X should also be replaced with correct partition. Usually it is b or c onwards. For more help use dd –help or  info coreutils ‘dd invocation’ with quotes.

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Recovering Ubuntu After Installing Windows

Recovery of grub boot-loader.

This page documents how to restore or recover the boot-loader after installing Windows. Ubuntu uses the Grub boot-loader; refer to the GrubHowto or Grub2 for more information on Grub. Some reasons to repair boot-loader might include installing Microsoft Windows after installing Ubuntu, or sume other Linux Distro or adding or removing a hard drive, or changing hard drive settings.

Note: These instructions provide multiple options. Pick the option which suits best. otherwise, choose recommended option. (recommended reading: Community Ubuntu Documentation.)

The graphical way

  • Insert Ubuntu CD, reboot computer and set it to boot from CD in the BIOS and boot into a live session. We can also use a LiveUSB if we have created one in the past.
  • Install and run Boot-Repair
  • After this, click “Recommended repair” and apply. If we are willing to use the advanced options, make sure we leave the “Reinstall GRUB” checkbox ticked.
  • Now reboot the system. The usual GRUB boot menu should appear. If it does not, hold Left Shift while booting. We will be able to choose between Ubuntu and Windows.

The terminal way

* Open a terminal. As of Ubuntu 11.10 and 11.04, this can be done by opening the Unity Dash ( click the Ubuntu logo in the top panel or use the Windows key on the keyboard) and typing in “Terminal”, and clicking what comes up. On earlier versions, we could also do this by going to Applications -> Accessories -> Terminal. In many versions [ctrl+alt+T] would open the Terminal.

  • On standard bash prompt, type:
sudo grub-install /dev/XXX

where XXX is the device of  Ubuntu install. (eg: grub-install /dev/sdb). Hint: We can also use /dev/disk/by-label/ if the partition installed on has a label. We can determine the /dev node for such a device by running:

ls -l /dev/disk/by-label/

This will give the output of something like:

lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 data -> ../../sdb2
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 data2 -> ../../sda2
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 fat -> ../../sda6
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 home -> ../../sda7
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 root -> ../../sda1
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 swap -> ../../sda5
lrwxrwxrwx 1 root root 10 Oct 16 10:27 windows -> ../../sdb1

From here, find only the drive name, ignore the partition number, that is, for partitions labeled “root”, “data2”, “fat”, “home” and “swap” it’s all still just sda. This is due to the fact that GRUB is installed in the MBR of the drive, and not on a partition.

Now reboot the system. The usual GRUB boot menu should appear. If it does not, hold Left Shift while booting. We will be able to choose between Ubuntu and Windows.

New Option  is ‘grub-cutomizer

This is the latest tool from Daniel Richter who defines it as ‘Grub Customizer is a graphical interface to configure the grub2/burg settings with focus on the individual list order – without losing the dynamical behavior of grub.’

To install Grub Customizer:

sudo apt get-install ‘grub-customizer’

Now run the command ‘grub-customizer. It looks like this:

Grub-Customizer Main Window © Sandeep Bhalla 2012

Choose the options we want to see on the grub splash menu (i.e. untick other options) and choose save. If we want to change other preferances for booting, click preferences from above and tick appropriately. It is done. Just re-boot and test.