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Thread: Blank screen booting Linux

  1. #1
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    Question Blank screen booting Linux

    My setup is as follows:

    Dell Mini 9 with 64 GB disk. The disk is GPT and has 4 partitions:

    EFI
    Mac OS X 10.5.6 HFS+
    Win 7 NTFS
    Ubuntu ext3

    This has taken me a couple of weeks to get to this point, including reinstalling Windows and Linux multiple times. Thankfully, I've been able to keep the initial Mac OS install.

    Thanks to EASYBCD 2.0 (Beta Build 55), I am able to boot into Win7 and MacOS with no problem. Very cool.

    The MacOS boot option seems to use NeoGRUB, and I'd like to think I can just simply (hah!) boot Linux. In the current Linux install, I told it not to install GRUB, and even so it made my computer unbootable. But never mind that, I got around that and as I said I can now successfully boot Win+Mac. From the wiki Linux article, I learned how to install GRUB to the Linux partition, and I tried that, but it did come up with an error.:

    Running "embed /boot/grub/fat_stage1_5 (hd0,3)"... failed (this is not fatal)

    Since your article said I might get an error, and to just run the setup command a second time, I did so, but got the same error. And again and again. Searching on this error didn't turn up much useful information. GRUB did, however, go on to report:

    Running "install /boot/grub/stage1 (hd0,3) /boot/grub/stage2 p /boot/grub/menu.lst "... succeeded.

    So, I added a Linux entry that pointed to this partition, but when I attempt to boot it, I get a blank screen.

    One thing I notice is that in the settings, for entry #3, it shows a Drive of C:\ and a Bootloader Path of \NST\nst_ .mbr

    That's right, there's a space between the _ and the . which I assume should have been filled in with something else. In the \NST directory, there exist three files, a menu.lst which appears to be the NeoGRUB data for the MacOS partition, the NeoGrub.mbr file, and the nst_mac.efi file.

    What went wrong, and what can I do to fix it?

  2. #2
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    You need to add an entry for your linux install to \nst\menu.lst. Since you've installed grub to your linux partition, it would be much easier to have it point to that menu.lst for your linux entry if it already contains entries for booting your linux install. Have you tried re-adding the linux entry in the Windows bootloader using EasyBCD?

  3. #3
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    Yeah, like Justin said, just add a new entry for Linux under the Linux tab in EasyBCD's Add/Remove Entries section, making sure to check that box that reads "Grub isn't installed to the bootsector", and this will give you a version of NeoGrub that reads the menu.lst on the Linux partition.

    Cheers and best of luck.

    -Coolname007

    The DARK knight. The knight of DARKNESS.
    SHADOW
    killer. The NINJA, master of darkness, stealth and invisibility.
    Jake Johnson

    Having dual-booting problems? Have a read of the following links to help you better accomplish your goal:

    1. PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING WITH A PROBLEM | 2. Steps for Multibooting | 3. Multibooters - Understanding the Multiboot Process

  4. #4
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    When I just add a Linux entry, pointing to the appropriate partition, it just boots to a blank screen. When I check the box that says Grub isn't installed, I end up booted to a grub prompt, and I have no clue what to type there. I don't think this is what's intended.

    What's the next troubleshooting step?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by tastewar View Post
    When I just add a Linux entry, pointing to the appropriate partition, it just boots to a blank screen. When I check the box that says Grub isn't installed, I end up booted to a grub prompt, and I have no clue what to type there. I don't think this is what's intended.

    What's the next troubleshooting step?
    Post your Ubuntu menu.lst, located at /boot/grub/menu.lst on your Ubuntu partition (you can use your LiveCD to access the partition, while you're booting with it).

    -Coolname007

    Addendum:

    And while you're at it, please post the output of:

    sudo fdisk -l
    while you're booted with the LiveCD. Just navigate to Applications>Accessories>Terminal, and then run that command. And that last letter is a lowercase "L", btw, not an capital "i"...

    -Coolname007
    Last edited by Coolname007; February 26th, 2009 at 08:01 PM. Reason: Automagically-merged double-post.

    The DARK knight. The knight of DARKNESS.
    SHADOW
    killer. The NINJA, master of darkness, stealth and invisibility.
    Jake Johnson

    Having dual-booting problems? Have a read of the following links to help you better accomplish your goal:

    1. PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING WITH A PROBLEM | 2. Steps for Multibooting | 3. Multibooters - Understanding the Multiboot Process

  6. #6
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    This is mildly confusing, of course, because when booted from the LiveUSB stick, /boot/grub is referring to a location on the stick. I assume what you are really interested in is the menu.lst on the linux partition that I want to boot from. Assuming that the folder "boot" in the root directory of that partition is what Linux would mount as /boot, then my sad report is that there is no grub folder there at all.

    Here is the fdisk output:

    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ sudo fdisk -l

    WARNING: GPT (GUID Partition Table) detected on '/dev/sda'! The util fdisk doesn't support GPT. Use GNU Parted.


    Disk /dev/sda: 61.6 GB, 61633732608 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 7493 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xdc7cb276

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 1 26 204819+ ee GPT
    /dev/sda2 26 3143 25035336 af Unknown
    /dev/sda3 * 3143 6308 25426944 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda4 6308 7477 9389976 83 Linux

    Disk /dev/sdb: 2063 MB, 2063597568 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 250 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x0005cb6b

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sdb1 * 1 251 2015181 b W95 FAT32
    Partition 1 has different physical/logical endings:
    phys=(1023, 254, 63) logical=(250, 224, 63)
    Last edited by tastewar; February 26th, 2009 at 09:23 PM. Reason: remove code tags as requested

  7. #7
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    Please edit your post if you can and use [quote] tags instead.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tastewar View Post
    This is mildly confusing, of course, because when booted from the LiveUSB stick, /boot/grub is referring to a location on the stick. I assume what you are really interested in is the menu.lst on the linux partition that I want to boot from. Assuming that the folder "boot" in the root directory of that partition is what Linux would mount as /boot, then my sad report is that there is no grub folder there at all.
    Well, there's at least part of your problem! With no Grub folder on your Linux partition, then there's no way for your computer to boot Ubuntu. You will need to reinstall Grub (with the USB stick *out* of your computer), and make sure it gets installed to the Ubuntu partition...unless of course you're trying to boot Ubuntu from the USB stick.

    -Coolname007

    The DARK knight. The knight of DARKNESS.
    SHADOW
    killer. The NINJA, master of darkness, stealth and invisibility.
    Jake Johnson

    Having dual-booting problems? Have a read of the following links to help you better accomplish your goal:

    1. PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING WITH A PROBLEM | 2. Steps for Multibooting | 3. Multibooters - Understanding the Multiboot Process

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coolname007 View Post
    You will need to reinstall Grub (with the USB stick *out* of your computer),
    -Coolname007
    OK, how would I do this? I need the USB stick to boot...

    If I pull it out, grub can't find /boot/grub/stage1
    Last edited by tastewar; February 26th, 2009 at 09:51 PM. Reason: add more data...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tastewar View Post
    OK, how would I do this? I need the USB stick to boot...

    If I pull it out, grub can't find /boot/grub/stage1
    Boot with a LiveCD, unless your Mini computer doesn't have a CD drive, which now that I think about it, it probably doesn't... Since I have never used one of those, I'm not sure how you can solve this problem...
    If you're using your USB stick to (attempt to) boot Ubuntu, then obviously your menu.lst on that USB stick is configured wrong... You need it to point back at your Ubuntu partition, which according to the fdisk output you posted, is sda4, which translates as (hd0,3) in Grub syntax... So please post the menu.lst on your USB stick then.

    -Coolname007
    Last edited by Coolname007; February 26th, 2009 at 10:22 PM.

    The DARK knight. The knight of DARKNESS.
    SHADOW
    killer. The NINJA, master of darkness, stealth and invisibility.
    Jake Johnson

    Having dual-booting problems? Have a read of the following links to help you better accomplish your goal:

    1. PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING WITH A PROBLEM | 2. Steps for Multibooting | 3. Multibooters - Understanding the Multiboot Process

  11. #11
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    OK, so given past experiences, I was reluctant to reinstall linux, but I took a deep breath and did it, following your guide for installing linux after vista and installing grub to the partition rather than the disk. Held my breath while it rebooted, and it successfully booted into Windows! Yeah! Next I went into easybcd and added a simple linux entry pointing at the correct partition. I still get a blank screen.

    Here's what my menu.lst looks like now in linux:
    default 0
    timeout 10


    title Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-7-generic
    uuid 1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-7-generic
    root=UUID=1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1 ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-7-generic
    quiet

    title Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-7-generic (recovery mode)
    uuid 1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-7-generic
    root=UUID=1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1 ro single
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-7-generic

    title Ubuntu 8.10, memtest86+
    uuid 1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1
    kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin
    quiet
    Back in easybcd, I note that I still have the same curious artifact I did initially. The bootloader path shows \NST\nst_ .mbr, with a space between the underscore and the period. Also, there is no file like that in the NST directory.

    I assume that easybcd is supposed to be extracting the boot sector from the selected partition and create a copy of it in a file in the NST directory, perhaps with a numeric subscript, and something here is failing silently?

    Please let me help you figure out what's going wrong here -- I am a developer as well, and have written some fairly low level code. I don't have any tools installed on this new system, but please let me know what I can do to help and I'll try.

    Thanks for your help so far. I feel so close to having the "holy grail" -- a triple boot of Win, Mac, Linux on this little guy.

  12. #12
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    Can you post the output of EasyBCD's "detailed mode" here?
    Mahmoud Al-Qudsi, Director



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  13. #13
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    Thanks for taking an interest. Here it is:

    Code:
    Windows Boot Manager
    --------------------
    identifier              {9dea862c-5cdd-4e70-acc1-f32b344d4795}
    device                  partition=C:
    description             Windows Boot Manager
    locale                  en-US
    inherit                 {7ea2e1ac-2e61-4728-aaa3-896d9d0a9f0e}
    default                 {848733d1-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    resumeobject            {848733c4-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    displayorder            {848733d1-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
                            {848733c5-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
                            {848733d3-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    toolsdisplayorder       {b2721d73-1db4-4c62-bf78-c548a880142d}
    timeout                 30
    
    Real-mode Boot Sector
    ---------------------
    identifier              {848733d1-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \NST\NeoGrub.mbr
    description             Mac OS X
    
    Windows Boot Loader
    -------------------
    identifier              {848733c5-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \Windows\system32\winload.exe
    description             Windows 7
    locale                  en-US
    inherit                 {6efb52bf-1766-41db-a6b3-0ee5eff72bd7}
    recoverysequence        {848733c6-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    recoveryenabled         Yes
    osdevice                partition=C:
    systemroot              \Windows
    resumeobject            {848733c4-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    nx                      OptIn
    
    Real-mode Boot Sector
    ---------------------
    identifier              {848733d3-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    device                  partition=C:
    path                    \NST\nst_.mbr
    description             NeoSmart Linux

  14. #14
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    Ok, notice the last entry in your menu.lst:

    0
    timeout 10


    title Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-7-generic
    uuid 1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-7-generic
    root=UUID=1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1 ro quiet splash
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-7-generic
    quiet

    title Ubuntu 8.10, kernel 2.6.27-7-generic (recovery mode)
    uuid 1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.27-7-generic
    root=UUID=1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1 ro single
    initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.27-7-generic

    title Ubuntu 8.10, memtest86+
    uuid 1d9dbe9c-a76d-49ff-8b23-61221c0043e1
    kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin
    quiet
    See how it doesn't have root=... lines like the others? I think its becuase you got both root and uuid lines or the root lines are not formatted properly. Can you boot into memtest (last entry) ok? Go ahead and remove those from your other entries as well that are in bold above and see if you can get it to work.

  15. #15
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    I don't think we're getting that far. Seems to me that when the booting process attempts to reference the file from this section:

    Real-mode Boot Sector
    ---------------------
    identifier {848733d3-03ab-11de-89e6-f03db04a6e3f}
    device partition=C:
    path \NST\nst_.mbr
    description NeoSmart Linuxit will be disappointed because there is no such file. Looking at this pasted output, it seems that I was wrong about the space between the underscore and the period in the filename, and rather it is an ascii 1. Could it be that easybcd is attempting to construct a filename indicating this is the first such boot entry, but failed to convert an int 1 into a char 1? Perhaps it was able to read the bootsector from my linux partition just fine, but failed creating the file due to an illegal filename, but it was still able to create the entry in the bcd file?

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