Problems After Linux Install (Can't Boot into Linux)


I'm trying to add PCLinuxOS to what was a dual boot XP-Vista system, and it hasn't been at all simple.
This is my HD configuration:

C:\ (XP) - this is where the boot files are. Drive 0
D:\ (Vista) - seen as Drive 2
F:\ (Data) - seen as Drive 1

This is how it went:
1. I created 20 GB of unallocated space on my D:\ drive.
2. The PCLinux installation saw it and installed there, automatically created three partitions.
3. I accepted all the defaults and installation finished.
4. Upon restarting, I couldn't boot into anything (Vista, XP, Linux), with a Grub Error 22.
5. I had to use the Vista DVD, open the cmd prompt, and run /fixmbr.
6. I reinstalled PCLinux, this time as Root so I would (presumably) see more options.
7. At some point it asked me if I wanted to format sdb5 and sdb7, again. So I did and the file copying finished after that.
8. At another point I accepted mount points for sdb5 as "/" and sdb7 as "/home"
9. I selected the bootloader at "/dev/sdb5", so it wouldn't go to the disk MBR
10. I used BCDeasy to create a Linux boot option, selecting the sdb5 (I think) partition to boot from. That would be drive 2 partition 1.

My Drive 2 is partitioned like this:

Partition 0 (HPFS/NTFS - 120GB)
Partition 1 (Linux Native - 8GB) I assume this is the sdb5?
Partition 2 (Linus Swap - 3GB)
Partition 3 (Linux Native - 9GB)

No matter what combinations I use, I just can't boot into Linux....

Thanks for any ideas you might have.
Remove the Linux entry and add it again. This time check teh Box for GRUB is not installed to the MBR. See what that does for you.
I tried that. It eventually gets me to a GRUB4DOS 0.4.3 screen with these selections:


Selecting linux gets me to this error screen:

Kernal (hd0,4)/boot/vmlinuz BOOT_IMAGE=linux root=/dev/sdb5 acpi=on splash=silent vga=788

Error 27: No Such Partition

Press an key to continue.......
OK, you've stumbled across a known bug in the GRUB bootloader that exists in some distros.

When attempting to install GRUB to a second hard drive (other than the boot drive), it won't correctly install to the partition and cannot be chainloaded properly by EasyBCD or any other bootloader.

The solution is to either copy the PCLinux menu.lst boot file and paste its contents over the NeoGrub boot menu, or use Super GRUB Disk to reinstall GRUB to that partition.
I got it to work by creating an unallocated partition on the first drive (C:\), installing PCLinuxOS to the first ext3 partition, then using EasyBCD to point to that. It worked out easily.

The only tricky part is downsizing the Windows XP partition because there are files in the way. One has to disable System Restore, move the swap file to another drive, then use a dragger to consolidate freespace (Perfect Disk 2008) which might require several passes and a boot time defrag.

Thanks for your help.
I'd like to take this one step further, now that I've lived with my triple boot system for a few weeks and it's working just fine, thank you.

I want to quadruple boot! I'd like to add Ubuntu 8.04 to my system (please see very first post for my configuration). I created a 30 GB unallocated area on the D:\ drive. It seems I have two options (?):

1. Install the loader to the Ubuntu ext3 partition on the D:\ drive.... But what about the problem cited above: "When attempting to install GRUB to a second hard drive (other than the boot drive), it won't correctly install to the partition and cannot be chainloaded properly by EasyBCD or any other bootloader."

2. Install Ubuntu's boot loader to the PCLinuxOS partition on the C:\ drive. Would it detect PCLinuxOS and present both that and Ubuntu as options on the menu?

Thanks for your help!
Ubuntu has a fixed version of GRUB that does not have this problem, you should be good with the steps in the Wiki.
Thanks for the very quick response! I just finished the Ubuntu install on the second disk and used EasyBCD to create an entry to the first ext3 partition, much as I did with PCLinuxOS on the first C:\) disk. It didn't work; it points to PCLinuxOS and loads that, no matter what I do. I've triple-checked that I'm pointing at the correct partition on the second drive but it just won't pick up Ubuntu. It sees and loads PCLinuxOS instead.

When I look at the properties of my Ubuntu entry in the Overview tab of EasyBCD it says that the drive is C:\ not D:\. The entry for Vista is correct of course, on D:\. Ubuntu isn't on C:\, it's on D:\.

Any idea what's going wrong?

Did you tell Ubuntu setup to install GRUB to the first ext3 partition as well? Is this where PCLinux's GRUB was installed to?
I told Ubuntu to install Grub to the first ext3 partition on D:\. PCLinuxOS is installed to the first ext3 on C:\.

I had heard from someone else that I should install Ubuntu's Grub to the first ext3 on C:\, which is where PCLinuxOS is as well, so Grub would include both distros in a single menu. I haven't tried that yet, preferring to keep the two separate.

Thanks for your help.
Regardless of where you installed Ubuntu's GRUB, Ubuntu's installer should be able to detect the other Linux distro and add an item to its menu for you, assuming you have it installed on a Ext2 partition. It might be able to detect distros on Ext3 as well, but I have not tried it myself.

I do know however that choosing to install Ubuntu's GRUB to PCLinux's partition would actually produce negative effects. It would write over PC Linux's boot files and install a new version of menu.lst, which would not contain an entry for PCLinux if Ubuntu didn't detect it (Like in your case).

Ubuntu's installer does have the ability of detecting other Linux Oses and adding them for you. I saw this first hand when I installed Ubuntu on an external drive after having installed Fedora, but then again, different versions of Linux behave differently.
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I ended up by installing Ubuntu's Grub to the same place I had PCLinuxOS's Grub. It detected PCLinuxOS and includes both in a menu. I was never able to chain to Ubunut on a second disk from EasyBCD, which is the same problem as when I originally installed PCLinuxOS on a second drive.

I would have preferred to keep the two distros separate. Before I did this I backed up PCLinuxOS's menu.lst, so hopefully I could restore it in the event I get rid of Ubuntu.

Of the two distros, PCLinuxOS is clearly better. It's easier, more complete, fewer bugs, and in all the little things it's simply more comfortable.
The inability to boot an OS is most likely due to incorrect (hdx,y) paramters, however, Ubuntu might have also overwrote some of PCLinux's boot files.

Installing Ubuntu's GRUB to it's partition is realatively simple and prevents it from messing up the other Linux distro. I install each version of GRUB and thier boot files to thier respective partitions and then use NeoGrub to chainload one of them or copy and add parameters to its own menu.lst to load either of them.

Don't forget that you can edit lines temporarily at boot time as well until you get the correct ones to load the OS and then save them permantely to menu.lst.