My machine is caught in an interesting deadlock … help?
I thought it might be interesting to try to install openSuse 11.0 onto a USB stick. (The usual data: Toshiba Satellite, AMD Athlon X2, 2G RAM, 8G stick, 32-bit LiveCD distro). I went through the usual installation menus without difficulty; it saw the USB stick as /dev/sdb1, repartitioned and formatted it, no problem. This laptop’s BIOS has the option to boot from USB, so I told GRUB to go with its defaults on the same drive. We then copied data onto the stick for awhile, and then it came time to reboot.
Up popped the BIOS boot-device menu. I selected USB. Bam! “No Operating System” and halt.
I restarted and tried booting up the hard disk, which has Vista on it. To my horror, the words “GRUB 1.5 …” appeared, promptly followed by “Error 21” and halt. What is GRUB doing on the hard disk?!
I restarted and tried selecting CD boot, booting the LiveCD, which is the only thing that works.
I’ve done some exploring at the raw device level. GRUB doesn’t listen really well to what device you would like it to install the loader to. In my case, it went straight for the throat into the hard disk at /dev/hda1 and wrote over the Vista loader.
THIS IS A BUG IN YOUR INSTALLER, SUSE PEOPLE.
Just to make this a bit more surreal, over on the memory stick, there is a /boot/grub area with all the grub stuff – images, stage1 and stage2 loaders, menu.lst to config grub, etc.
The problem is (I think) that when GRUB starts, the machine is at a pretty low level. The memory stick, and the USB sub system, aren’t really initialized for Linux yet, because the frickin’ kernel isn’t even loaded!
So I have half a Grub on my MBR sector that can’t continue a boot.
I have tried and can’t shrink my NTFS partition on the hard disk to make a Linux partition to give to the Gods of Grub to get past this. If I could figure out a way to restore the original Vista partition, I’d do it.
Any ideas would be welcomed. I’m stuck.