Move SUSE hard drive to new PC

OK, I’m new at this. This may be easy for you, but I’m clueless.

I came in this morning only to find that the Intel Core2 hyperthreading Dell machine is dead. It appears the processor is fried.

I have a new white-box X2 system that I will replace the dead Dell with. The X2 (AMD) does not have a hard-drive (HDD) so, I will simply put the SATA hard-drive into the PC.

Some of you may know how to do this, but I don’t know where to begin after I get the Hard-drive in. (I know how to move a Windows configuration from one PC to another and handle it as it begins to blue screen (BSOD), but I don’t have a clue with Linux)

This system was built with GRUB. At the very least, I expect the GRUB boot managet to surface on the display. But, what next…

I was testing an OpenSuse setup as a server. Nothing fancy and NO applications added. The only customization was the MB’s LAN card and the display was set at 1024x768. I had 2 users, root and myself.

  1. What would you do?
  2. Is there some boot time options that I should follow?

Thansk in advance…

As you have new hardware, I would say that a new install is needed. When it comes to the partitioning part, let it use the old partitioning of the disk. Let it reformat (create new file system) the partition to be used for /, but LET IT NOT create a file system the partition that was used for /home. Only see that it is mounted again at /home.

This is of course only valid when you have a seperate /home (how handy to have it). When not the restore the /home dat from your backup after installation. (You can still create a backup by using a live CD).

Also look out for the point during install where it asks to create one or more users. You can there ask the install to look for existing users at the old disk and then check the ones you want in the new system again. Saves work later!

Hash: SHA1

Just power on the PC and wait, if you change the monitor then use
failsafe, else, boot normally, you probably have to reconfigure the
video card, network card and sound card. I try it with a pentium II and
a pentium IV with openSUSE 11.2 and only have to reconfigure the sound card


Microsoft Windows is like air conditioning
Stops working when you open a window.
Version: GnuPG v2.0.12 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with SUSE -


Two contrary advices.

Before you tear your hair out, first try VampirD’s way and when that fails, you still can go for mine.

Here’s what I did. But, it appears that I need some guidance to continue. (if you can step me through this it would be learning experience for me should this ever happen again.)

I got to the boot menu and I selected Failsafe.
I got normal console boot progress. And these are the final messages that I see on the console…
**RAMDISK: Compressed image found at block0
VFS: Mounted root (ext2filesystem).
Starting udev
Creating device
Loading kernal/driver …
Waiting for device /dev/sda2 to appear: …not found --device nodes: consolefb0 loop0 … loop7 md0 null ram ram0 … ram15 ramdisk shm tty1 tty2 zero no root device found; exiting to /bin/sh
The console dies after the above “Waiting …” message.

ideas anyone ???

I know rebuilding is easy for most of us, but for me understanding is so much more important. If you can shed some light into this for me, please do. Thanks

  1. What do I have here?
  2. What can I do?

What do you mean by “the console dies”? Nothing happens when you hit return?

Yes, I cannot type, I cannot Ctrl-Alt-Fn, the system is stopped and requires a power-reset.

Thanks for the info.

It is clear that Ctrl-Alt-Fn does not work because that belongs to the graphics (X). But normaly when it says “exiting to /bin/sh” you must be in a shell then. But it seems that even the /bin/sh can not be found. Do you know if /dev/sda2 contains your / (root) file sytem?

Is this the only disk in the new system? When there is another one that one could be sda.

Just a few guesses.

Hash: SHA1

You install the hard disk on the second PC as you have on the first?,
every /dev/sdX are the same?


Microsoft Windows is like air conditioning
Stops working when you open a window.
Version: GnuPG v2.0.12 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with SUSE -


I booted my Knoppix LiveCD. I can see all the system directories on /dev/sda2 in Knoppix when I mount it using “mount /mnt/sda2”

It is the only hard drive on the system MB


Is there any log files that would shed some light of why this boot is stopping?

When in Knoppix, check in /mnt/sda2/boot/grub/menu.lst.
Check the root=/dev/… and he like.

Make a backup of menu.lst before applyiing changes.
Change the /dev/disk/by-id/…-part2 to /dev/sda2. Same for other entries.

When in doubt post menu.lst here so we can help you doing these corrections.

Ps and while you are at it in Knoppix post the output of

fdisk -l

On 02/26/2010 02:16 PM, VampirD wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> You install the hard disk on the second PC as you have on the first?,
> every /dev/sdX are the same?

I think the problem is that the driver for the disk is not in initrd, thus it is
not available at boot time.

I think the following will work:

Boot the Live CD and mount your / partition at /mnt.

su to root and ‘chroot /mnt’.

You should then be able to ‘mkinitrd’.

Hash: SHA1

Or try the DVD repair system

No in elenath hîlar nan hâd gîn
Version: GnuPG v2.0.12 (GNU/Linux)
Comment: Using GnuPG with SUSE -


Your request for fdisk is shown above. Before I make changes to /mnt/sda2/boot/grub/menu.lst I thought it best to share its contents here:

Modified by YaST2. Last modification on Thu Jan 21 07:51:22 2010

color white/blue black/light-gray
default 0
timeout 8
gfxmenu (hd0,1)/boot/message

###Don’t change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: linux###
title Linux
kernel (hd0,1)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda2 vga=0x31a selinux=0 splash=silent resume=/dev/sda1 elevator=cfq showopts
initrd (hd0,1)/boot/initrd

###Don’t change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: floppy###
title Floppy
root (fd0)
chainloader +1

###Don’t change this comment - YaST2 identifier: Original name: failsafe###
title Failsafe
kernel (hd0,1)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda2 showopts ide=nodma apm=off acpi=off vga=normal noresume selinux=0 barrier=off nosmp noapic maxcpus=0 3
initrd (hd0,1)/boot/initrd

Awaiting your thoughts or instructions

I am not aware of the DVD Repair that @VampirD refers to, but if its there are instructions somewhere I will run it.

Also, @lwfinger ask me to run “initrd”, I will do that if it looks as if it will help. If I understand correctly, this will “fix” the HDD driver issue you refer to. (true/false)

I posted the results that @hcvv requested. Maybe this will give all further insights to why the system stops.

Thanks…I am seeing the pattern that you seem to be following to zero in on the problem

When you boot from the dvd, one of the options is to “repair installation”. Select that and follow the prompts.

Thanks for the info.

a) you do not have a seperate /home, sda1is your Swap and sda2 is your root (/) partition.

b) this is already in menu.lst, so make no changes there.

Try to follow the repair disk and/or initrd solutions.

I have used this technique (with the variation noted below) to install a disk (or copy of a disk) on a different machine. Here are the steps

  1. Boot the Live CD and mount all
    the partitions under /mnt. It is particular important to ensure /boot and /usr (if they are separate partitions) are mounted
  2. Enter these commands
mount -t proc none /mnt/proc
mount -t sysfs none /mnt/sys
mount -o bind /dev /mnt/dev
  1. Issue
/chroot /mnt

DO we know if the partitions are intact? If the CPU fried it is harde to say what it did in it’s death throws

Can’t understand problem if hard drive safe and same.
Have usb-hdd with opensuse 11.2 x32(default kernel) installed on amd x64 x2 configuration with nvidia card. Connected this drive to many computers and notebooks with very different hardware (intel/amd/32/64/dualcore/singre/different video/netcard)(for which default kernel have modules) and booted from it(by grub in mbr of usb-hdd) - all works “from the box” exept of reconfiguring networks and video.
I think only one thing may ruin boot on differ system with hdd from old system - different hdd ids (if boot/root mounted by it) provided by this new system. Don’t experienced that myself. Think ids only depend on hdd’s serial.