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Thread: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

  1. #1
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    Default Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    I have a laptop with windoze vista and 32-bit openSUSE Tumbleweed. I've replaced the processor with a 64-bit chip and would like to replace Tumbleweed with LEAP 15.1. I run the installer, select Expert Partitioner -> Start with existing, select Import mount point-> Format system volumes and the installer correctly identifies /dev/sda6 is my root file system, with an F flag. However, when I click Continue I get the message

    The system might not be able to load
    * Not enough space before the first partition to install the bootloader
    leave at least 256.00 KiB

    I don't see an option to install the bootloader on the PBR and I don't want to blow away the windoze partition. How do I proceed?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    Your system supports UEFI booting.

    You booted the installer in UEFI mode.

    Two options:

    Option 1: Start the install over, but boot the installer in Legacy MBR BIOS mode (might be called CSM).

    Option 2: Just continue the way that you did. When you see that message, there should be an option to ignore or continue. However, there's another step you must do. When you see the summary page, click on the heading for "Booting". It will probably tell you that the bootloader is "grub2-efi". You must change that to "grub2". You can then make any other boot changes that you want. This will give you a system set for MBR BIOS booting.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;

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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    Quote Originally Posted by nrickert View Post
    Your system supports UEFI booting.

    You booted the installer in UEFI mode.

    Two options:

    Option 1: Start the install over, but boot the installer in Legacy MBR BIOS mode (might be called CSM).

    Option 2: Just continue the way that you did. When you see that message, there should be an option to ignore or continue. However, there's another step you must do. When you see the summary page, click on the heading for "Booting". It will probably tell you that the bootloader is "grub2-efi". You must change that to "grub2". You can then make any other boot changes that you want. This will give you a system set for MBR BIOS booting.
    I'm pretty sure that the laptop is too old to support UEFI, and I didn't have any trouble installing Tumbleweed, but I'll check just to be sure. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    Quote Originally Posted by shmuelmetz View Post
    I'm pretty sure that the laptop is too old to support UEFI, and I didn't have any trouble installing Tumbleweed, but I'll check just to be sure. Thanks.
    Okay. I misread the error message that you reported.

    Let me try again.

    It looks as if you are using "btrfs" for the root partition, and "btrfs" cannot use a block list to locate the boot partition.

    There is typically some unused space after the MBR and before the first partition. If you boot from the MBR, then some boot code is installed in that unused space. In newer computers, that unused space is just a little under 1M, which is plenty of space for the boot code. But, in older computers, it is often only 63 blocks. And that's too small when using "btrfs" for the root partition.

    Fortunately -- unless you are using encryption -- the "btrfs" file system includes space for a boot block. And that can be used for booting when using "btrfs".

    Here are two choices you can make:

    Choice 1: Tell the partitioner to use "ext4" for the root partition. That should avoid the problem.
    Choice 2: Continue to use "btrfs", but set the bootloader to boot from a partition. When you get to the summary page, click on "Booting" and you should be able to uncheck the box "boot from MBR" and check the box "boot from partition".

    You might still get that warning message, because that probably comes earlier before you can configure booting. But if you are using "ext4" or if you are booting from a partition, then the bootloader install should work in spite of that message. So just tell it to ignore the problem and continue with the install.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;

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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    When I attempted to install the bootloader in the PBR, I got

    Installing GRUB2 to devise failed
    Command `[["/usr/sbin/grub2-install",""--target=i386pc","--force","--skip-fs-probe","/dev/disk/by-id/ata-TOSHIBA_MK255GSX_59KFTUYT-part4"]]`
    Error: output: Installing for i386 platform

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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    Hmm, okay. Well, not actually okay.

    I'm still guessing, but I think I know what happened.

    Can you tell me if these are correct:

    (1) you are using "btrfs" for the root partition.
    (2) partition 4 (probably "/dev/sda4") is not actually the root partition, but is the extended partition.

    I had forgotten that the installer wants to insist on using the extended partition for this, even when you want it to use the root partition.

    If my assumptions are correct, then I'll try an experimental install here to work out what I have to do to persuade the installer to do it right.

    Note: the experimental install will be to a virtual machine, so not that hard for me to test.
    Last edited by nrickert; 18-Jul-2019 at 14:38.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;

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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    The root file system is sda6, a logical device in the extended logical partition. I finally resorted to using ext4 for /, but if there's a reason that I should use btrfs then I will reinstall after I know how to get past the error messages.

    Meanwhile, my wireless adapter is an old Broadcom B43 and I need to go through my notes to figure out how I added it to the Network Manager the last time around. Do I still need to download drivers from Packman, or does LEAP 15.1 handle the old B43 adapters. While I have an Ethernet adapter, I don't have an wired LAN that I can plug into, so I can't go online until wlan0 is configure and all the pieces are in place.

    I haven't looked, but I assume that sda4 is the extended logical partition; if not it is swap or /home.

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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    Quote Originally Posted by shmuelmetz View Post
    I finally resorted to using ext4 for /, but if there's a reason that I should use btrfs then I will reinstall after I know how to get past the error messages.
    I normally use "ext4", which is probably why I never ran into that particular problem. I don't have a good reason for using "btrfs", but perhaps somebody else will chime in.

    Meanwhile, my wireless adapter is an old Broadcom B43 and I need to go through my notes to figure out how I added it to the Network Manager the last time around. Do I still need to download drivers from Packman, or does LEAP 15.1 handle the old B43 adapters.
    I suppose the quickest way to find out, is to try. The b43 adapter on my 2010 vintage laptop is working pretty well with kernel drivers. When I first started using that, I had to install the broadcom-wl drivers from packman, but a year or two later, it started working without that.

    While I have an Ethernet adapter, I don't have an wired LAN that I can plug into, so I can't go online until wlan0 is configure and all the pieces are in place.

    I haven't looked, but I assume that sda4 is the extended logical partition; if not it is swap or /home.
    Yes, that's likely to be right. The installer assumes that you can only boot from a primary partition. So if you tell it to boot from a logical partition, it actually tries to use the extended partition. This is annoying, and caused your issue. The generic boot code that the installer writes to the MBR is actually able to handle logical partitions.
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    Default Re: Unable to replace bootloader from Tumbleweed

    An update on this.

    I decided to go ahead and setup a virtual machine where I could test for this problem.

    Using "parted", I partitioned the disk with the first partition starting just after the MBR. And then I setup partitions 1 and 2 for home and swap. I put the remainder of the disk in the extended partition ("/dev/sda3"). I then created the root partition as partition 5.

    I started an install, and got the same error message about free space after the MBR. I continued anyway.

    I did use "btrfs" for the root partition.

    Here's what I had to do to get a bootable install:

    I clicked on the "Booting" heading.

    I unchecked the box for boot from MBR.
    I left unchecked the box for boot from partition.
    I checked the box for custom boot partition. And I set the custom boot partition to "/dev/sda5" (the root partition).

    I checked the box for install generic boot code to the MBR.
    I also checked to box to set the active flag on the boot partition, but I expected that to fail.

    The install completed without error, but it would not have booted. I booted into the rescue system (on the DVD installer media), and logged in as root.

    I then used:
    Code:
    fdisk /dev/sda
    It showed that the installer had set partition 3 (the extended partition) as active. And that could not work. So I unset that, and instead set the partition 5 (the root partition) as active. I wrote those changes, and rebooted. And the newly installed system booted up just fine.

    However, if this issue comes up again, my advice with be to use "ext4" rather than "btrfs" for the root partition. That's a simpler solution to the problem, and easier to explain.
    openSUSE Leap 15.1; KDE Plasma 5;

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