Your Linux Data Center Experts

I haven't seen this exact situation before, so I wanted to write it down for helping others via google. I was installing Hardy on a system with 9 drives, and the installer was detecting the drive I wanted to have the root partition on as /dev/sdi rather than /dev/sda. The boot drive was properly set in the BIOS. Read on for information on how to fix it.

During the “server” text mode installer, at the step where it was installing GRUB, the install failed with a message indicating that “GRUB failed to install”.

I found that the GRUB boot block had been installed, but the menu.lst file had not been written. So when I tried to boot into the installation I was dumped to a GRUB prompt rather than having the menu available. Without the menu.lst though, after booting into rescue mode, I still didn't have the information I really needed to fix grub.

To fix the problem, at the installer screen where it indicates that GRUB installation failed, here's what to do. Do Alt-F2 to switch to the alternate console, then go into the installed boot/grub directory and modify the “device.map” file. In my case, it listed “(hd0) /dev/sda” and “(hd8) /dev/sdi”. I swapped these around so that sdi was at “hd0”. Then I went back to the installer with Alt-F1, and had the installer re-run the GRUB installation. This now worked fine and the “menu.lst” file was written and the system was able to boot.

I'd consider it a bug that the installer isn't writing the menu.lst when the grub installation fails, because it makes it hard to recover from later. But there's probably a reason they didn't.

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