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Grub rescue

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July 8, 2011 6:22:22 AM

I started from scratch and did a clean install of Ubuntu 11.04 on an old laptop of mine. I put on my excited face and started learning my way around the OS for the first time. I didn't make any significant changes to anything. Nothing more than changing themes, backgrounds, and browsing the software center.

After all is said and done I shut down my computer later to find when rebooting I end up in "grub rescue." I have now tried a clean install multiple times from multiple DVD's and the computer will restart successfully once Ubuntu is running as many times as I try it, however, once shut down a cold boot always lands me in the same grub rescue prompt.

I'm very unfamiliar with UNIX and can't seem to come up with even one command recognized by this prompt. My browsing of forums leads me to believe its a boot loader problem I can't seem to shake.
The prompt is as follows:

error: Unknown filesystem
grub rescue >

Please help me! I feel as though I've been presented with a word problem in a foreign language.

PC Specs if it helps.

More about : grub rescue

July 8, 2011 6:54:57 AM

There is, IMHO, only one way to get a truly "clean" install after having had NTFS on the hard drive -- see below:

Suggest downloading System Rescue CD 1.3.5 -- (http://sourceforge.net/projects/systemrescuecd/files/sysresccd-x86/1.3.5/), burning it to CD at no more than 8X, booting to it on the PC in question.

Hit default four or five times [Enter]; and, at the multi-colored prompt on the page that asks user
to enter either "wizard" or "startx", type in the command which will wipe your entire hard drive with zeros --

  1. dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=4096 conv=notrun,sync

When it's done (make a sandwich, it will take a while) you will see some stats (four lines) ending in "xx MB/s"

Type in 'startx' at the prompt, which will bring up a yellow-colored terminal window. In this window, at the prompt there, type in 'gparted.'

Partition as desired, formatting / to ext4 (11-15GB), a swap of about 1.2-2.0GB, and a /home of most of the remainder (again, ext4), leaving some unallocated if hdd is large.

Best wishes!
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July 8, 2011 5:32:36 PM

Thank you for such detailed directions. I made the CD however, once at the "root@sysresccd /root %" prompt. I typed the code you posted and got back invalid conversion 'notrun'
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July 8, 2011 5:49:08 PM

I looked online to try to get help quicker found a conversion "notrunc" which changed my thought from "not run" to "no truncate". I'm assuming that's what was meant to be in the code posted and went ahead and typed it in.

I'll post back when its all done.
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July 9, 2011 12:06:16 AM

After wiping the entire drive and re-installing the Ubuntu 11.04 onto the PC, I am still having issues. Now when I cold boot the computer POST is completed and I arrive not in grub rescue, but instead, a blinking curser in the top left of the screen as if no OS even exists.

I am not exactly sure where to go from here. Any more suggestions?
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July 9, 2011 12:19:48 AM

I'd like to add after a boot repair from a liveCD and now am back where I started in grub rescue
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July 12, 2011 12:55:11 PM

I apologise for taking so long to get back to you.

Now, the hdd must be partitioned and formatted, using the same System Rescue CD, before proceeding. Was this done and are you comfortable doing it? It need not be intimidating at all -- we all must learn to choose our own way of partitioning which is the most practical and preferred for our individual need. If unsure, use the Slackware method of one root ( / ) one swap and one home ( /home ) partition.

As noted, for ubuntu the root would be between 10 to 15GB, ext4 file system, flagging it as bootable.
The swap need not be large, with 1.5GB usually adequate.
The /home partition, ext4 file system, is the largest -- it being where the User's store of personal files will reside.
Write down what is created, how it is recognized (/dev/sda1 or /dev/sda3 or whatever), how many MB each contains, and the file system used)

It was recommended to leave some space Unallocated so the option of adding another is left open.
(linux limits the user to four primary partitions but and Extended partition may contain multiple logical partitions)

You are almost there -- don't give up before the goal is reached.

I'll be back when I am able, but once the partitions are created, load the desired distro and choose Manual or Custom, telling the prompts that, Yes, use the partition; keep it the same size and label it as was done previously using gparted. Later.
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July 16, 2011 12:07:31 AM

chamaecyparis said:
I apologise for taking so long to get back to you.

Now, the hdd must be partitioned and formatted, using the same System Rescue CD, before proceeding. Was this done and are you comfortable doing it? It need not be intimidating at all -- we all must learn to choose our own way of partitioning which is the most practical and preferred for our individual need. If unsure, use the Slackware method of one root ( / ) one swap and one home ( /home ) partition.

As noted, for ubuntu the root would be between 10 to 15GB, ext4 file system, flagging it as bootable.
The swap need not be large, with 1.5GB usually adequate.
The /home partition, ext4 file system, is the largest -- it being where the User's store of personal files will reside.
Write down what is created, how it is recognized (/dev/sda1 or /dev/sda3 or whatever), how many MB each contains, and the file system used)

It was recommended to leave some space Unallocated so the option of adding another is left open.
(linux limits the user to four primary partitions but and Extended partition may contain multiple logical partitions)

You are almost there -- don't give up before the goal is reached.

I'll be back when I am able, but once the partitions are created, load the desired distro and choose Manual or Custom, telling the prompts that, Yes, use the partition; keep it the same size and label it as was done previously using gparted. Later.



Since you I last posted in this thread I hooked up with a few people on help.ubuntu or whatever the url is. A few days went back and forth testing and trying different things only to conclude the old laptop I have been trying this with has a bad hard drive. I have since installed Ubuntu on a different build and I'm on it now in fact.

I appreciate you trying to help.
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July 16, 2011 5:11:45 PM

chamaecyparis said:
...
linux limits the user to four primary partitions
...

Just a FYI, it's the actualy MBR format and legacy reasons that limit the user to 4 primary partitions, if Linux wanted to be run on desktop hardware (who still tenaciously clings to the 512byte MBR requirement) they kinda have to play along
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!