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GParted & Partition Utilities - Help Needed

Last response: in Linux/Free BSD
March 20, 2007 3:19:12 AM

WOW, these forums have changed ALOT since I last posted in 2004. DANG! Anyway, I've been experimenting with Fedora and Ubuntu over spring break and I really like Fedora the best since ever task I perform in Ubuntu requires major reconfiguration. I am going to switch my Network from Windows to mostly linux if I can get past this one distubing issue:

Here's something I've tried to do with several Hard Drives:

I launch the Fedora installation and create an ext3 partition mounted at /. I create a swap partition mounted at /swap. I install Fedora, WINE, Steam, nVidia drivers, YUM, etc and get them working. Then I decide to copy all my work to another Hard Drive by copying my 2 partitions onto the other Hard Drive using GParted. I set my flags on the copied ext3 partition to boot. I then reboot the system with only the Hard Drive with the copies. EVERY SINGLE STINKING TIME I get a blinking cursor. I've also tried using the Nero backup utility in Windows to back up linux partitions and the same result occurs when they are "recovered".

I COULD and WOULD otherwise manually install all this for each computer; however, I need to be ABSULUTELY SURE that there is a utility that will back up data onto a second Hard Disk that works. Linux, with all its amazing features will be USELESS to countless users if the ability to back up data successfully onto a second HD does not exist.
March 20, 2007 11:35:47 AM

I believe the issue here is that, while you are sucessfully backing up the contents of the two partitions (BTW, are you sure your swap partition is being mounted and attached to the root filesystem at /swap? it shouldn't be, and Fedora should try to prevent you from doing so!), the master boot record (MBR) is not.

In case you don't feel like reading the wikipedia article, the MBR holds the initial boot code for booting an OS from the hard drive and, with that missing, doesn't know where to "find" the OS, so to speak.

There's two options I'd suggest for your needs: either use dd on the whole disk (this is the system I use, makes a perfect bootable image of a hard disk, just make sure that the target drive is at least the same exact size)[code:1:075dbf6e84]dd if=/dev/SRC_HDD of=/dev/DEST_HDD
//MAKE SURE you don't flip the source and destination![/code:1:075dbf6e84]
or use it just to copy the MBR to the drive[code:1:075dbf6e84]dd if=/dev/SRC_HDD of=/dev/DEST_HDD bs=512 count=1
//MAKE SURE you don't flip the source and destination![/code:1:075dbf6e84]

Hope this helps!
March 23, 2007 7:16:28 PM

Once you have copied the data onto the new disc do you change the port that it is plugged into? Linux boot loader will name the partition and the disk that it is trying to load from. If you copy a drive and it is on a different ide/sata channel then it can not find the files.

So if you were copying IDE0 Master to IDE1 Slave for example you would need to physically swap the drives to boot off the new copy that you placed on IDE1 Slave.

I hope that makes sense...
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March 27, 2007 6:13:11 PM

This is essentially the same solution as copying the MBR from the bootable disk to the new disk, but this process is great practice for recovering from GRUB failing to boot. Congrats on finding a solution on your own, this is one of the major reasons people stop using Linux, they are unable or unwilling to find solutions on their own when they face a problem.