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Thread: GRUB Problem

  1. #91

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by plodder View Post
    Yes some good fundamental questions posed by caf4926, dvhenry et al.

    ...Unfortunately there appears to be a lot of this borking of Windows systems from installations of Suse, using default settings. I don't think, when somebody is in danger of losing several Gigabytes of hard won personal data, that we can just say 'Sorry you should have been more careful' and recommend that they reinstall everything from scratch. It would be a good thing if we could pin down a strategy for remedying this type of disaster. To this end oldsioux is a test case.
    By ALL means, please use me as a test case... I will do as instructed. The best part of using me for this is that I *don't* have any personal data on ANY drive on this laptop! We can quit worrying about that. Only 'worry' I see is trying not to wipe out the WinXP Recovery partition files, so that future cases will know it CAN be saved and reinstalled, see?

    Other than that...

    (*Don't* think Best Seller Top 10 here, but...web authoring & other stuff) my computer needs are simple:

    Email - KMail
    OpenOffice - Writer, speadsheets, dBs
    Kompozer - web site authoring & other articles
    K3b - creating CDs/DVDs
    Solitaire - Grandfather Solitaire =+}}
    ...maybe a few other programs on occassion

    So, I don't have to have all the bells and whistles of a full install... the KDE Live CD should have most of everything I need except for Kompozer, probably.

    That said, you guys decide how you want to use this 'test case' and I will gladly provide this machine as the patient, and my fingers to key in exactly what y'all tell me to enter at command line or in using PM.

    K?

  2. #92

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Well I think after all those posts we are still not entirely sure if the recovery procedure recreates the windows partition or just resets the contents or whatever partition windows XP currently resides in. There is danger of too many cooks spoiling the broth, which is why I am a little wary of mudding the waters still further. How's that for an extended metaphor?

    My plan would be to do this:

    1) Run PartedMagic on the laptop.

    2) Open a command prompt and run:

    cfdisk /dev/sda
    3) Delete partition /dev/sda3 (1.5 GB swap) and /dev/sda6 (88GB Linux root)

    4) The MBR and EBR partition tables are then fully self consistent and the remaining partitions, /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda2 enclosing /dev/sda5, lie between cylinder 1 to 3395 inclusive (about 27GB)

    5) Perform a partial cloning of the front part of the disk to one of oldsioux's USB storage disks. [Note this must be capable of handling files of 27GB so, if it (USB storage) has been formatted with FAT32 (4GB filesize maximum), it will have to be converted to NTFS. That could be done from the Compaq desktop if required.] So here we back up the first 3395 cylinders of the HD, plus a few extra, to a file on the USB drive (with NTFS) viz:

    5.1) Mount the USB drive (or make sure you can browse the contents), make sure you can write to it and make sure you have, say, 30GB spare. Create a directory at some point called, say, sony-clone.

    5.2) Open a command prompt and cd to sony-clone

    5.3) Clone the Sony front 3400 cylinders to a file called, say, sony-front.raw

    dd if=/dev/sda of=sony-front.raw bs=$((255*63*512)) count=3400
    This will take about an hour.

    6) See if we can get the Sony recovery procedure to recreate the Windows XP partition as a primary.

    6.1) In cfdisk, under PartedMagic, delete /dev/sda5 (20GB Windows XP partition). This should also remove the Extended partition from the MBR since, in cfdisk, Extended partitions are managed implicitly (no logical partitions == no extended partition).

    6.2) Reboot the Sony and press F10(?) for recovery. Perform a recovery procedure. Did it work? Can you now boot into Windows XP?

    7) If the recovery in 6) did not recreate a Windows XP installation on a primary partition then boot PartedMagic and restore the Sony HD from clone on USB drive viz:

    7.1) cd to sony-clone on USB drive

    7.2) Restore the Sony HD from the clone file viz:

    dd if=sony-front.raw of=/dev/sda bs=10M
    which will take about an hour.

    (Note the precise bs in this case is not relevant, it just has to be large.)

    7.3) Boot the Sony to make sure the situation is the same as before we started in step 5)

    7.4) Boot back into PartedMagic and (attempt to) move the sda5 logical partition to a primary partition with testdisk. Details of this will follow after I have simulated it or someone else provides detailed step by step instructions.

    8) When oldsioux has the Windows XP working correctly, Suse 11.2 can be reinstalled using primary partitions or some other sensible scheme that does not touch the Windows partitions. Alternatively, if oldsioux has sufficient memory (how much) and sufficient CPU power (how much) we could turn the system inside out and:

    8.1) Partially clone the HD again for only the cylinders being used (probably still only about 30GB) to a file, say, winXP.raw

    8.2) Wipe the HD completely

    8.3) Install Suse 11.2

    8.4) Convert winXP.raw to a VMDK (for VirtualBox or VMWare) using qemu-img to give winXP.vmdk

    8.5) Install VirtualBox (the free, bells and whistles version from Oracle) under Suse 11.2

    8.6) Make a VM for Windows XP using the file winXP.vmdk.

    8.7) Run the VM in VirtualBox. You will have to re-activate because Windows 'sees' different hardware but that is now just a routine procedure via the internet (OEM versions included).

    Note that when you partially clone a disk for just the first 3400 (or whatever) cylinders the result is the same image you would get from fully cloning an HD (with 255 heads, 63 sectors per track) with 3400 cylinders.

    What do you reckon?

  3. #93

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by plodder View Post
    Well I think after all those posts we are still not entirely sure if the recovery procedure recreates the windows partition or just resets the contents or whatever partition windows XP currently resides in. There is danger of too many cooks spoiling the broth, which is why I am a little wary of mudding the waters still further. How's that for an extended metaphor?
    Superb.

    My plan would be to do this:

    1) Run PartedMagic on the laptop.
    ...
    8.7) Run the VM in VirtualBox. You will have to re-activate because Windows 'sees' different hardware but that is now just a routine procedure via the internet (OEM versions included).

    Note that when you partially clone a disk for just the first 3400 (or whatever) cylinders the result is the same image you would get from fully cloning an HD (with 255 heads, 63 sectors per track) with 3400 cylinders.

    What do you reckon?
    I reckon I need to google myself into some clue as to what you are talking about: Virtual Box...?... VMWare...?... They all sound interesting but I usually appreciate a little knowledge as an appetizer to the main course of a giant leap of faith.:+}}

    IIRC, you and others still need some time to set things up, how about I take Saturday and Sunday to read up on some of this so I won't be too clueless to be of any use, k?

  4. #94

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Yes good idea.

    I have checked testdisk. It is not the most engaging piece of software but appears to do what we want.

    Check the USB drives to be used for backup. Are they formatted in FAT32? If so can you convert to NTFS? Read up on how.

  5. #95
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    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    plodder- I think your dd command is wrong but no sure.
    dd if=/dev/sda of=sony-front.raw bs=$((255*63*512)) count=3400
    The 'of=sony-front.raw' would write sda to ram drive with that file name. You need 'of=/path name/sony-front.raw' ..

    I would not do step 7.1 -7.3. The recovery partition would not have been corrupted by doing step 6. (?)

    oldsioux-- when you run the sony recovery , do you have a choice of 'restore to factory condition' or 'repair current install' ?

    A guess, not a known fact.
    Repair of current install will not modify the MBR/partitions, it will look for a XP install and try to repair even if it is on a logical volume (?). See steps #6 and #7.4 will test this out.
    .

    After a operating XP , "step #8" install Suse and look closely on how it's installer 'default setup' wants to modify partition structure.

  6. #96

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    plodder- I think your dd command is wrong but no sure.

    dd if=/dev/sda of=sony-front.raw bs=$((255*63*512)) count=3400

    The 'of=sony-front.raw' would write sda to ram drive with that file name. You need 'of=/path name/sony-front.raw' ..
    No, in step 5.2) we have CDed to the local directory 'sony-clone)' created in 5.1) on the USB disk also mounted in 5.1). So the command is being issued actually within sony-clone and it creates a file in that directory if we use a simple name.

    For 6.1) you have deleted the XP partition and the recovery procedure may not be able to re-create it in 6.2). Ergo the reason for 7).

    I think!

  7. #97

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by LostFarmer View Post
    I would not do step 7.1 -7.3. The recovery partition would not have been corrupted by doing step 6. (?)

    oldsioux-- when you run the sony recovery , do you have a choice of 'restore to factory condition' or 'repair current install' ?
    No, at the end of the Step #2 of the VAIO Recovery procedure, the machine reboots and of course gets caught by GRUB, which then boots up to the GRUB prompt ... Step #3 and 4 of the Win XP recovery process never get a chance to continue.

    Does that make any sense?

    IOW, Grub is 'hogging' the show and until we can get around its determination to force boot into Grub, it is going to be a pain in the rear...

    BTW, as of last night, I now have a "personal" reason to see Win XP Professional restored to this laptop AS WAS from the factory, just to prove to a certain person that indeed all the Win XP related files *are* still on this HD! I will explain further once we're done. But, I'm not really fond of simply putting WinXP in a Virtual Box... it's a matter of principle, now, that it be restored to the original factory configuration.

  8. #98

    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Lost Farmer: would it help if I take some screenshots of Dolphin displaying the directories and files that *are* on the laptop and post those pics here...?...

  9. #99
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    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by oldsioux View Post
    Lost Farmer: would it help if I take some screenshots of Dolphin displaying the directories and files that *are* on the laptop and post those pics here...?...
    It might help
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  10. #100
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    Default Re: GRUB Problem

    When you boot into Sony's recovery program 'partition' does it have an option to 'restore to factory condition' or some wording to same ? or does it have only repair current install ? 'important'

    If it has the restore option then 'plodder' plan should work and if problems report at what step.

    Have you made a backup using step #5.3 ?

    If the only option is 'repair current install' then that will require you to skip down to step #7.4. After 'testdisk' make sure the XP partition is set Active.

    Do make the back up if at all possible , just in case. What step #5.3 is backing up is MBR,sda1,sda2,sda5 all of the XP items.

    If you do not have space on a different hdd for a file of 27g, you can clone both partitions 'less space is needed', but to restore the data you may have to pre-make the partitions.

    I am making some assumption on how the recovery program works.

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