Pre-Linux GRUB trouble

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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First off, need to say my PC is a mess (later). Have an HP Pavillion tower desktop, was running Windows 7 until using a utility on the Registry and only shows the "GRUB loading ... grub rescue". Haven't got round to dual-booting Mint or Manjaro (or both) on it just yet.

What I meant by my PC being a mess is that the (small) boot partition for Windows is on a separate hard drive than the OS files (just read that's a nightmare!). Would like to change out both for another drive but knows the BIOS is going to freak about it.

The ONLY reason I retain Windows is to operate (my beloved) MicroSoft Office 2003, haven't figured out Wine well enough to run on Linux. Can limp along with other Linux apps.

The above PC does have an unallocated partiton adjacent to the OS, and heard that it's recommended to install Windows 1st, but could slipping Mint aside repair things?

Total newbie
 


atanere

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Hi Kozmo, and welcome! Sounds like you have a lot of issues going on, so it will be worth some discussion first to see what the priorities are, and what the options are. It sounds like the computer is not booting now, correct? (Just stuck on grub rescue> prompt?)

1. Do you have a Windows 7 Installation DVD or Recovery Set that you could re-install Windows?

2. You sound like you would give up Windows except for using Office 2003. Have your tried using LibreOffice to open your files? If you use macros, then there will be a lot of trouble, but LibreOffice does a pretty good job as a substitute for Microsoft Office, and it is already included in most of the major Linux distros. LibreOffice is a better choice (in my opinion) than trying to use Wine with MS Office.

3. If your computer is not booting, do you need to access the hard drive it in order to save any important files? Installing Linux and/or re-installing Windows may get you to a point of needing to erase and reformat your hard drive... so you may need some time to prepare for that.

4. How many hard drives are involved? You said your Windows boot files are on a separate drive, and that's a pretty unusual condition for Windows to be in. Do you have one hard drive that can be erased without worrying about data loss.... so that Linux could be installed on that? This might be a starting point so that then you could access your Windows drive afterwards for data recovery.

5. Are you comfortable getting inside the computer case to connect and disconnect hard drives? Linux does not identify drives like Windows as C: or D: etc. So it is often better to disconnect a drive if you need to protect data so that you don't accidentally have Linux erase or overwrite something important.

Well, that's probably a pretty good starter. Some other folks will jump in and assist you also, I'm sure. Take your time and be sure you are following along with any instructions. If you have any doubts or questions... ASK!

Cheers
 

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Already tried rescue and install discs, just get into 'can't repair 'loops.

Found OpenOffice still has trouble converting to/from Word, hence I retain a 15-year-old version (no .docx for me) as a Must-Have.

Already found PC keeps tally on my drive[s) even swapping the cables, hence this is a BIOS problem, but unable to find info about.

Info on my secondary (Dell OptiPlex GX620) could be related, which I had Win 7 & Mint get along fine until I changed to another hard drive to install Win on. Boots fine (BIOS says drive 1 or 0 is missing though), except if I connect the drive (formatted) the original install was done, get same GRUB rescue message as on the machine described prior. Again pointing to BIOS.
Original drive's 750GB and current boot is is 320, good for Windows, Mint & Manjaro to romp on.

Yes, I'm now mentioning two machines with troubles, but being a Linux site, shouldn't have problems with 'Forks'. (for the 2nd, want to set up drives so Mint's [insistent] TimeShift is saved on a separate drive)
 
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wizardfromoz

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Gidday Kozmo and welcome :)

I take it you have Internet access of some description in order to post here. Is one of the Windows working, or is there another option for you?

Stan (@atanere ) and I recommend this article by Carla Schroder, it is old but still works.

https://www.linux.com/learn/how-rescue-non-booting-grub-2-Linux

Read the whole thing, but your focus will be on the part that starts with "Booting From grub-rescue>" ... that is, after performing the command ls (that's a lowercase L) to determined what setup you have.

If you can print that and work from it, it will give you a good start.

I have a page here

https://www.dell.com/downloads/emea/products/optix/opti_gx620_gx520_uk.pdf - that describes perhaps your Dell, can you tell us what the RAM is, and availability of USB ports and CD/DVD or not?

With the HP Pav, can you give us a model number?

With errors you receive or have received, can you perhaps take a photo with your phone and upload them as an attachment?

Original drive's 750GB and current boot is is 320,
Is one the HP and the other the Dell, or please clarify?

If you can classify information as "This from the Dell, this from the HP" &c that will be better, or we can work on one at a time, according to your priority.

BTW - for Ron (lateR on) , that is, after you are up and running, a tip with the Manjaro - if you wish to boot it and Mint - put the Mint on first, then the Manjaro. If you do it the other way around, when Mint takes over the Primary Partition spot at top of your Grub Menu, any attempt to enter Manjaro will result in a Kernel Panic and it will not boot. I have a workaround for that, but as I say, that is for Ron.

Also, if you have been getting an insistent Timeshift you can get rid of the Nag warning

Mint's [insistent] TimeShift is saved on a separate drive)
... but again for Ron.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
 

blackneos940

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First off, need to say my PC is a mess (later). Have an HP Pavillion tower desktop, was running Windows 7 until using a utility on the Registry and only shows the "GRUB loading ... grub rescue". Haven't got round to dual-booting Mint or Manjaro (or both) on it just yet.

What I meant by my PC being a mess is that the (small) boot partition for Windows is on a separate hard drive than the OS files (just read that's a nightmare!). Would like to change out both for another drive but knows the BIOS is going to freak about it.

The ONLY reason I retain Windows is to operate (my beloved) MicroSoft Office 2003, haven't figured out Wine well enough to run on Linux. Can limp along with other Linux apps.

The above PC does have an unallocated partiton adjacent to the OS, and heard that it's recommended to install Windows 1st, but could slipping Mint aside repair things?

Total newbie
Can you take a pic of your BIOS settings, and post it here.....? :3 Beyond that, I can't really cover what Atanere and WizardFromOz talked about..... :3 Also, did you fix it.....? :3 I wonder if MY Laptop has two Drive slots..... :3 EXPERIMENT TIME!!..... :3
 

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Gidday Kozmo and welcome :)

I take it you have Internet access of some description in order to post here. Is one of the Windows working, or is there another option for you?

Stan (@atanere ) and I recommend this article by Carla Schroder, it is old but still works.

https://www.linux.com/learn/how-rescue-non-booting-grub-2-Linux

Read the whole thing, but your focus will be on the part that starts with "Booting From grub-rescue>" ... that is, after performing the command ls (that's a lowercase L) to determined what setup you have.

If you can print that and work from it, it will give you a good start.

I have a page here

https://www.dell.com/downloads/emea/products/optix/opti_gx620_gx520_uk.pdf - that describes perhaps your Dell, can you tell us what the RAM is, and availability of USB ports and CD/DVD or not?

With the HP Pav, can you give us a model number?

With errors you receive or have received, can you perhaps take a photo with your phone and upload them as an attachment?



Is one the HP and the other the Dell, or please clarify?

If you can classify information as "This from the Dell, this from the HP" &c that will be better, or we can work on one at a time, according to your priority.

BTW - for Ron (lateR on) , that is, after you are up and running, a tip with the Manjaro - if you wish to boot it and Mint - put the Mint on first, then the Manjaro. If you do it the other way around, when Mint takes over the Primary Partition spot at top of your Grub Menu, any attempt to enter Manjaro will result in a Kernel Panic and it will not boot. I have a workaround for that, but as I say, that is for Ron.

Also, if you have been getting an insistent Timeshift you can get rid of the Nag warning



... but again for Ron.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
'Pavillion (primary)"
Tried ' ls ' on all drives and found no distros (not installed). But go over what happened with this Pavillion tower. Somehow, while changing boot drives, the 100MB boot section of Windows got left on the original drive (missed deleting) while the OS files got installed on the replacement drive. It worked fine though in this configuration

Recently, picked up a couple of 3TB hard drives but found the Pavillion only recognizes up to 750GB. Had that happen before and flashing the BIOS fixed. Went to HP Support to get update for Pavillion, after rebooting, saw quick message about 'BIOS restored to defaults' and that's where (I believe) the problem lies.

Did take a image of what model I have but file's on the crashed PC. Would mobo# help?

[asides]
Could pull boot drive and try to read on the OptiPlex (secondary).. But it's what I'm using to reply on and don't want to risk losing though I have a Dimension (tertiary/piano tutor once I get W7 for it) with Mint/Mate in the other room. There's a Presario I could fire up in storage.
You need more than unit (all towers, personal city from Inception?) to learn (ethernet) networking, ja?
 

atanere

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Found OpenOffice still has trouble converting to/from Word, hence I retain a 15-year-old version (no .docx for me) as a Must-Have.
Not using .docx and .xlsx formats are even better. No need to convert documents.... open .doc directly in LibreOffice just as it is, edit it, save as (change format to) Microsoft Word 97-2003 (.doc)... presto! Formulas work well in spreadsheets also. LibreOffice is included with most Linux, as I said above, and is preferred over OpenOffice by most folks these days. Try it! :D

[EDIT] By the way, when you tell LibreOffice to "save as" into a Microsoft Office format, it may prompt you to use their Open Document Standard format instead. You can tell it to quit bugging you about this, so that it will always save in Microsoft format.
 

atanere

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Yes, I'm now mentioning two machines with troubles, but being a Linux site, shouldn't have problems with 'Forks'. (for the 2nd, want to set up drives so Mint's [insistent] TimeShift is saved on a separate drive)
I think we should also "fork" your thread into two... one for each computer. Their problems are likely different and it will be confusing to chase them together in the same thread. So please open a new thread for the Dell after we resolve this one. You want to keep it running for now anyway so you can meet us here, so let's fix the HP first, then move on.
 

atanere

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Your HP sounds like it really is a mess, which is one reason to just concentrate on it alone. When you describe a 100 MB boot section, that sounds a lot like it is is a UEFI based motherboard (as opposed to older style BIOS). This "boot section" is not just for Windows, if this is what you have.... it is also shared with Linux if you ever get a proper install.

It's possible you have one or more (or many) BIOS/UEFI settings that may be out of whack. As @blackneos940 suggested, some screenshots of your BIOS settings might be very helpful. When you describe a "limit" of 750GB restricted by BIOS, I can't find anything to back up that number. I do find BIOS restrictions on hard drive size... several of them, but not 750GB.

Already found PC keeps tally on my drive[s) even swapping the cables, hence this is a BIOS problem, but unable to find info about.
I don't suggest "swapping" cables.... I suggest disconnecting all but one hard drive.... preferably to begin with one that you are sure does not have data that you must save/keep (maybe one of those new 3TB drives). I would also suggest resetting BIOS to factory defaults (even though you said earlier that may have already happened)... but some good screenshots may tells us more whether that will be needed or not. With BIOS in defaults, and a clean hard drive (or one we can erase)... it will probably be easier to guide you to install a solo copy of Linux. All of this could probably be done in less than one hour if you have a bootable Linux USB ready to go.... Mint, Manjaro, whatever you want or whatever you have handy.

Or, have you yet followed Wizard's link on how to repair a grub rescue> prompt? If you want to try to repair the mess you have now, you will be spending a fair amount of time to figure it all out, or so it seems to me. There is no easy path, and the choices are yours.

Cheers
 

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Gidday Kozmo and welcome :)

I take it you have Internet access of some description in order to post here. Is one of the Windows working, or is there another option for you?

Stan (@atanere ) and I recommend this article by Carla Schroder, it is old but still works.

https://www.linux.com/learn/how-rescue-non-booting-grub-2-Linux

Read the whole thing, but your focus will be on the part that starts with "Booting From grub-rescue>" ... that is, after performing the command ls (that's a lowercase L) to determined what setup you have.

If you can print that and work from it, it will give you a good start.

I have a page here

https://www.dell.com/downloads/emea/products/optix/opti_gx620_gx520_uk.pdf - that describes perhaps your Dell, can you tell us what the RAM is, and availability of USB ports and CD/DVD or not?

With the HP Pav, can you give us a model number?

With errors you receive or have received, can you perhaps take a photo with your phone and upload them as an attachment?



Is one the HP and the other the Dell, or please clarify?

If you can classify information as "This from the Dell, this from the HP" &c that will be better, or we can work on one at a time, according to your priority.

BTW - for Ron (lateR on) , that is, after you are up and running, a tip with the Manjaro - if you wish to boot it and Mint - put the Mint on first, then the Manjaro. If you do it the other way around, when Mint takes over the Primary Partition spot at top of your Grub Menu, any attempt to enter Manjaro will result in a Kernel Panic and it will not boot. I have a workaround for that, but as I say, that is for Ron.

Also, if you have been getting an insistent Timeshift you can get rid of the Nag warning



... but again for Ron.

Cheers

Chris Turner
wizardfromoz
Already know about installing Mint before Majaro, and why I'll only have those distros installed on my PC, others will be tested with VirtualBox (Qubes' got my fancy but need [far] more time to practice)
 

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Your HP sounds like it really is a mess, which is one reason to just concentrate on it alone. When you describe a 100 MB boot section, that sounds a lot like it is is a UEFI based motherboard (as opposed to older style BIOS). This "boot section" is not just for Windows, if this is what you have.... it is also shared with Linux if you ever get a proper install.

It's possible you have one or more (or many) BIOS/UEFI settings that may be out of whack. As @blackneos940 suggested, some screenshots of your BIOS settings might be very helpful. When you describe a "limit" of 750GB restricted by BIOS, I can't find anything to back up that number. I do find BIOS restrictions on hard drive size... several of them, but not 750GB.


I don't suggest "swapping" cables.... I suggest disconnecting all but one hard drive.... preferably to begin with one that you are sure does not have data that you must save/keep (maybe one of those new 3TB drives). I would also suggest resetting BIOS to factory defaults (even though you said earlier that may have already happened)... but some good screenshots may tells us more whether that will be needed or not. With BIOS in defaults, and a clean hard drive (or one we can erase)... it will probably be easier to guide you to install a solo copy of Linux. All of this could probably be done in less than one hour if you have a bootable Linux USB ready to go.... Mint, Manjaro, whatever you want or whatever you have handy.

Or, have you yet followed Wizard's link on how to repair a grub rescue> prompt? If you want to try to repair the mess you have now, you will be spending a fair amount of time to figure it all out, or so it seems to me. There is no easy path, and the choices are yours.

Cheers
 

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Already pared down to the pair of drives that have the boot and Windows partitions, omitting the one with boot leaves me with the GRUB message.

Attached two pictures from phone, one showing the BIOS menu for my Pavillion and the other an exterior shot to help identify (ancient) unit. Also noticed booting from USB is no long available, so it seems my BIOS get reset to original issue. (note: the loose HDs have power unplugged)

Did have a notion to install Mint (unallocated space on HD already set aside for) with the hope it assimilates the Windows boot partition with it. Should have some blank DVDs around for this (but wait).

Even with OpenOffice, have a preference for OO 3.3 (most resembles MS Office 2003), found post-4 to be as much a beast as Office 2007-up. Do use mainly for its Draw for my illustrations and often have both WPs running at same time, Copy and Pasting between as needed
 

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Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Not using .docx and .xlsx formats are even better. No need to convert documents.... open .doc directly in LibreOffice just as it is, edit it, save as (change format to) Microsoft Word 97-2003 (.doc)... presto! Formulas work well in spreadsheets also. LibreOffice is included with most Linux, as I said above, and is preferred over OpenOffice by most folks these days. Try it! :D

[EDIT] By the way, when you tell LibreOffice to "save as" into a Microsoft Office format, it may prompt you to use their Open Document Standard format instead. You can tell it to quit bugging you about this, so that it will always save in Microsoft format.
Haven't found ways to set defaults, either with Save format or margins. Have wandered into Tools but can't get settings to stick.
My work-around for (erratic) conversion is to Ctrl-A, then Copy a document in OO and then paste into a blank MSO file and adjust layout as needed. My beef with OO, hard to select specific lines (a click with MSO but need to sweep cursor across with OO).
 

wizardfromoz

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Good to know you know about the MJRO kernel panic :). As I say, if you need it, there is a workaround, using it I have five (5) Arch-based Distros running on the same Toshiba lappie.

On OO - I have been using it since its inception, first on Windows XP and Windows 7 and then on Linux when I first started with it in a major capacity in 2014, before subscribing to LO.

At that time (2014-2015) it was the case that if a Linux Distro shipped with Libre Office, you had to completely remove all traces of it first to install and run OO - dependency and common files issues. That would be the case with both Mint and Manjaro. I do not know if that still applies, have had no call to check.

Cheers and

Avagudweegend.

Wizard
 

Kozmo IGM Kliegl

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Good to know you know about the MJRO kernel panic :). As I say, if you need it, there is a workaround, using it I have five (5) Arch-based Distros running on the same Toshiba lappie.

On OO - I have been using it since its inception, first on Windows XP and Windows 7 and then on Linux when I first started with it in a major capacity in 2014, before subscribing to LO.

At that time (2014-2015) it was the case that if a Linux Distro shipped with Libre Office, you had to completely remove all traces of it first to install and run OO - dependency and common files issues. That would be the case with both Mint and Manjaro. I do not know if that still applies, have had no call to check.

Cheers and

Avagudweegend.

Wizard
Five distros on one PC? Not there yet
 

atanere

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Five distros on one PC? Not there yet
That's his new laptop... he runs about 35-40 distros on his old laptop! It's amazing! If you want to know about multi-boot, Chris is definitely your Wizard!

My beef with OO, hard to select specific lines (a click with MSO but need to sweep cursor across with OO).
We are almost to the point of needing a new thread for Office discussion too. OpenOffice forked into LibreOffice and took most of the developers with it and created The Document Foundation. All the Linux distros also followed LibreOffice. Oracle shortly afterwards gave OpenOffice to the Apache Software Foundation... they still develop it, but slower. So LibreOffice is more current and more widely developed... if you haven't tried it, I can only suggest that you do. LibreOffice will easily solve your "beef" that you have with OO..... if you want to select a word on a line, double-click the word. If you want to select the entire line, triple-click anywhere in the line.

So, let's try to get back to your HP Pavilion problem. Your screenshot was mostly unreadable, but I could see that you have an AMI BIOS from 2009. My daily desktop is also a HP Pavilion with a 2009 BIOS, but mine is not AMI (it shows no "brand") but it looks very similar to yours. I bought my HP on the day Windows 7 was first released in 2009, and in that period of time.... I am about 99.9% certain that your motherboard is the old style BIOS, like mine, and it is not UEFI based.

What I'm trying to do at the moment is to establish the facts of what you have, and maybe to identify how you got into the situation that you're in. Wizard will be better to guide you toward repairs of what you have if you choose not to start from scratch as I suggested earlier.

Older BIOS systems use (almost exclusively) the MBR (Master Boot Record) method of managing filesystem allocations (partitions) on a hard drive. MBR is typically restricted to hard drives of 2 TB or less, so your 3 TB drives may indeed have some trouble. Perhaps if you would create partitions before beginning, such as three 1 TB partitions (one for Windows, one for Mint, and one for Manjaro) it might make one of these drives usable, but I'm not sure without researching more, or maybe just having you try it. Anyway, you haven't committed to changing drives at this point.

Newer UEFI systems don't use MBR.... they use a newer technology called GPT (GUID Partition Table) to manage the hard drive structure. Older MBR systems have a limit of 4 Primary partitions, but there are some tricks to get more use by creating Extended and Logical Partitions inside one of the Primary partitions. GPT will allow up to 128 Primary partitions... far more useful, and this allows Wizard to achieve his multi-boot magic.

Trying to mix and match MBR and GPT systems often creates trouble, and I suspect that may be where you are right now. Your older motherboard should be using MBR. But somehow you have a 100 MB "boot partition".... and these are typically set up with GPT systems. You think your Windows boot files are in there, though I have doubts about that at the moment... Windows 7 does not usually setup that way.

Reading back in this thread, I don't see where you've told us which Linux you were trying to install... yet you are stuck at a grub rescue> prompt.... and Windows does not use grub. So I'm thinking you tried to install some Linux, and that it tried to install in UEFI mode (which it shouldn't have).... and the grub that Linux tried to setup is confused. (So am I, but I think it's getting better. :confused::eek::D) Perhaps you were following some directions somewhere to install Linux and it directed you to manually create the efi boot partition during the setup.... that might explain all of this, but it is just guessing on my part.

You've already tried "boot repair" options that failed you. So, back to the link that Wizard gave you above.... it may or may not work also, but you can try it (if you can follow the instructions... they are pretty complicated). Or you can come back to my suggestion of a total reinstall. You can start with reinstalling Windows, if you'd rather, and then move towards a dual-boot or multi-boot.... but Wizard will be able to guide you there much better, and especially recognizing the limitations you face with MBR.

Everything you do with dealing with hard drives and partitions presents more risk to you and the data you have on those two hard drives in your HP. If you have valuable data, I still suggest you remove those drives until you get a handle on what's going on so you don't end up losing anything important to you. I would not try to install Mint into the unallocated partition, as you mentioned.

As I also said before, I think I would move to the last page in your BIOS, where you usually see "Exit saving changes".... and from there I would "Reset factory defaults" on the BIOS, and then "Exit saving changes." You say it no longer boots on USB... but my BIOS does not have USB in the boot options, and I'm guessing that yours doesn't either. Instead, I have to hit ESC when booting to get the BIOS Boot Menu, and from there I can select a bootable USB if I have one plugged in. If you cannot boot on USB, then again, you may have more things out-of-whack that might be helped by resetting the BIOS back to its factory defaults.

Whew... my fingers are tired!!! :eek::eek::D:D

Cheers
 

atanere

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Oops... forgot something! :D:D:D

If you have a Windows 7 original installation DVD, you could probably get your HP to boot again on Windows by reinstalling the Windows bootloader. This process means booting on the Windows DVD, getting a command prompt, and issuing two bootrec commands:

bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /fixboot

If you have another Windows 7 computer, you may can make a "boot disk" from there that will perform this task.

Cheers
 


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