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Thread: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

  1. #1
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    Angry Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    I was recently trying to install to openSUSE 13.2 on Dell Studio 15 laptop. It has old hardware - BIOS System - MBR Boot. The hard drive was new with 1TB space. It had 5 partitions (all NTFS), the 5th one was for installing linux (as mentioned earlier pre-formatted as NTFS). To, my susprise, MBR, the first partition of HDD which was labelled as System Reserved Partition was of NTFS format. AFAIK MBR should be of FAT32 partition format right?

    OK.now I will explain how the system behaved weirdly.
    1. When I tried to install Linux Mint (from live cd). The computer folder showed all the partitions. But the installer didn't show all the partitions. It showed all the extended partitions as single partition of 800 GB. Becoming aware that Linux Mint won't install properly I tried to install openSUSE on it.
    2. Luckily it showed all the partitions. I rejoiced that "Yeah openSUSE has the best installer." But this joy was short lived as the installer didn't allow me to resize, move or delete partitions. Ofcourse I'm talking about expert partitioning here. So, I edited the 5th partition, on which we had planned to install openSUSE by setting it as root partition and formatting it as XFS (which was formatted as NTFS). I could not make make a SWAP partition as the installer didn't allow me to do it. When I tried to resize/delete/move a partition a got two dialog boxes. One confirming whether I wanted to continue without swap partition. The second dialog box showed long string of text. I would summarise the text as "The partition structure has improper structure. You won't be able to Delete/RESIZE/MOVE partition. If you want to do so, you should create a new partition structure, deleting old partition structure."
    3. OH, I didn't mention, the automatic proposal which the partitioner proposed didn't even bother to touch the HDD. It infact showed suggestion to install openSUSE on the installation medium (i.e. the liveusb). Weird.
    4. I was dumb enough to continue even after this. So, I just made the last partition as / and continued installation. Rest of the settings were left to be default.
    5. Another setback came when at last step I got message, "bootloader not installed, retry or edit bootloader options". Retried to install the bootloader again, then I also selected the option to copy generic bootloader to MBR. Ultimately I had to abort.
    6. Then it stuck me, may be the problem is due to not setting MBR partition as boot flag. Again the bootloader didn't install. I tried different setting like install bootloader to only MBR or install only on /boot or both. Nothing working.
    7. I thought that having formatted a partition as XFS I may be allowed to resize it and make a SWAP partition but I was still not allowed.
    8. Then I gave up.
    9. To my surprise niether Windows nor openSUSE boots.


    I've tried to FixMbr by Bootrec.exe /FixMbr from windows 7 system repair disk. It shows process completed but in reality it didn't. And Bootrec.exe /RebuildBCD didn't even run properly.

    The only breather is that the partitions other than / and MBR are left intact.

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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    The Master Boot Record is outside the partitions (together with the partition table itself), does not contain a file system, thus not of any file system type, thus not FAT32.

    It is of no importance what the file system type of a partition is as you are going to use it for a fresh installation of openSUSE, as it will be overwritten with a new file system (of a Linux type like Btrfs, ext2/3/4, Reiser, Xfs).
    Henk van Velden

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    Post Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Quote Originally Posted by hcvv View Post
    The Master Boot Record is outside the partitions (together with the partition table itself), does not contain a file system, thus not of any file system type, thus not FAT32.
    Then what's the first partition of 100MB size and and has NTFS format

    Bigger question why bootloader is not getting installed and how can I reinstall bootloader?
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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Quote Originally Posted by vish_99 View Post
    ... When I tried to install Linux Mint (from live cd). The computer folder showed all the partitions. But the installer didn't show all the partitions. It showed all the extended partitions as single partition of 800 GB.
    ... I would summarise the text as "The partition structure has improper structure. You won't be able to Delete/RESIZE/MOVE partition. If you want to do so, you should create a new partition structure, deleting old partition structure."
    Looks like an extended partition was corrupt and the installer is unable to interpret a partition table.
    There are tools to recover that situation if you provide a guess of where the original partitions were.
    It would be simpler to reformat the whole extended partition, if nothing important is recorded there.

    Quote Originally Posted by vish_99 View Post
    I was dumb enough to continue even after this. So, I just made the last partition as / and continued installation. Rest of the settings were left to be default.
    Another setback came when at last step I got message, "bootloader not installed, retry or edit bootloader options".
    Likely a known problem of the OS 13.2 DVD installer: GRUB is unable to write its configuration to the BTRFS (default) partition.
    You might try to correct this with a GRUB rescue tool, but be careful, you risk messing things up even more.

    Quote Originally Posted by vish_99 View Post
    Retried to install the bootloader again, then I also selected the option to copy generic bootloader to MBR.
    That way you borked your original MBR. So NO, the MBR was NOT left intact. No wonder that Windoz doesn't boot.

    Quote Originally Posted by vish_99 View Post
    I've tried to FixMbr by Bootrec.exe /FixMbr from windows 7 system repair disk. It shows process completed but in reality it didn't. And Bootrec.exe /RebuildBCD didn't even run properly.
    The OpenSuse installer saves the original MBR in /boot/backup_mbr and you might be able to restore it.
    But be careful, chances are that you overwrote it several times with your attempts, so maybe it is not "original" anymore.
    Rescue of your system requires sysadmin skills about _both_ Windoz _and_ Linux, something above my ability to "fly by wire"...

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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Quote Originally Posted by vish_99 View Post
    Then what's the first partition of 100MB size and and has NTFS format
    How can we know or advice on this when you do not even post the fdisk -l of that disk?
    Henk van Velden

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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Quote Originally Posted by vish_99 View Post
    Then what's the first partition of 100MB size and and has NTFS format
    It is probably what is often called the "OEM partition". It is from the computer vendor, and used for initial setup and possibly recovery. It's often FAT, but can be NTFS.
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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    ok MBR install often are on DOS/MBR/MS/old disk structure this only allowed a max of 4 primary partition. But one could be defined as extended and in that extended you could have a large number of logical partitions. With EFI booting came GPT format became common which has no extended but also has a very large limit on number of partitions. You can do MBR booting on a GPT formatted disk but it is much more common to do EFI booting though it is possible to do mixed but can lead to confusion in the OS 's installed. In practice it is best not to mix boot methods. So it is unclear what format the drive is. Guessing wrong could lead to the errors you saw.

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    Post Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Quote Originally Posted by nrickert View Post
    It is probably what is often called the "OEM partition". It is from the computer vendor, and used for initial setup and possibly recovery. It's often FAT, but can be NTFS.
    The HDD which came with the laptop had crashed. So, he replaced the HDD with a new one. And installed Windows 7 by himself (i.e. clean installation of windows 7 was done). So, I would rule out the possibility of OEM partition or recovery.

    Quote Originally Posted by gogalthorp View Post
    In practice it is best not to mix boot methods. So it is unclear what format the drive is. Guessing wrong could lead to the errors you saw.
    I've checked the BIOS settings. I doesn't has option of switching in between Legacy or EFI. ALso the laptop is old. Was brought in 2009 and it came with Windows 7 Home Basic. So, I will ruleout the possibility of EFI problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by OrsoBruno View Post
    Likely a known problem of the OS 13.2 DVD installer: GRUB is unable to write its configuration to the BTRFS (default) partition.
    I know I'm not ready enough to fiddle with BTRFS. So, I had changed the format to XFS.

    The OpenSuse installer saves the original MBR in /boot/backup_mbr and you might be able to restore it.
    But be careful, chances are that you overwrote it several times with your attempts, so maybe it is not "original" anymore.
    Rescue of your system requires sysadmin skills about _both_ Windoz _and_ Linux, something above my ability to "fly by wire"...
    Sounds interesting, how can I do that? ANd would it be worth considering the shortcomings which you listed. Even if the condition doesn't improve, it shouldn't deteriorate the condition.
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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Hi
    For dual boot with windows 7 on the same drive, I normally boot an openSUSE rescue cd (on usb) and prep the drive so;

    Code:
    wipefs -a /dev/sdX
    fdisk /dev/sdX
    
    sda1 - 100MB type 7
    sda2 - extended (less size wanted for windows eg 100GB)
    sda5 - 512MB /boot type 82
    sda6 - 40GB / type 82
    sda7 - as required /home type 82
    sda8 - < 8GB RAM = 2 x RAM >= 8GB RAM = RAM for swap type 83
    sda3 - Windows type 7
    On the windows iso image I remove the ei.cfg file so then you can install any version of windows 7 for the product code you have. Then you don't need lots of dvd's around. I do use rufus on windows to prep if I use a USB device for the install. You can also just delete the ei.cfg file from the usb device which can be easier.

    Also note that even if it's a 32bit install and the system will handle 64bit you can use the same product key if your wanting to use 64bit.

    Then start the windows install, use the custom option and select the volume, indicating sda3. Then let it do it's thing...

    Then install openSUSE, select expert when at the partitioner, hit rescan drives, then go up and select sdX and complete the partitioning for mount points and formats. Now when at final screen I then ensure grub installs it's bits and bobs into the extended partition leaving the windows mbr alone. The install will set the active partition to sda2 (extended), then can happily chainload the windows install. In the event of a windows boot issue you can boot with a rescue system, set the active boot flag to sda1 temporarily and sort out the windows stuff, then reverse the process to reset the boot flag to sda2 for grub/openSUSE.
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    Default Re: Dual Booting - Bootloader didn't install - Now Niether openSUSE nor Windoze Boot

    Sometimes Windows may create a boot partition depends on the exact install disk used and the advanced options. In any case sounds like a MBR install so you may have to create and use the extended partition and install in there either fully or partially since you can have at most 4 primary partitions which one can be an extended. There should not be any EFI boot partition and you should use grub2. Best to install generic boot in the MBR and install grub to the partition that contains /boot directory. Usually root.

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