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Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

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i_ri
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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#61 Postby i_ri » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:20 pm

hello br1anstorm
how are you doing with these experiments and latest suggestions? working?
br1anstorm wrote,"because I don't want to lose or overwrite the Windows MBR" the only way to guarantee that is to have disconnected the hard drive a long time ago.

br1anstorm wrote. "installed... [GNU/linux]... each on its own USB stick - and I have been able to use any of these in any of my various laptops " interchangeably? that makes you a very lucky tester.

machine competes to have more than one sda. hdd is sda. you wish usb be sda same time.
Machines here with successful install to a usb flash the machine contains no other drive. the usb installed-to then becomes the reference in all boot and bios it is the "hard drive" on all menus. sda. You need to look at frugal or live options. please. install with no grub as Gaer Boy indicated is consistent with preserving hdd. let the devs get back to virtualisation.

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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#62 Postby br1anstorm » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:10 pm

I appreciate the ongoing efforts to figure out why I might have had difficulties.

@anticapitalista, I'm afraid I can't now try further editing of the grub.cfg file. I did try an edit when this was suggested earlier, and it made no difference. Now, some days later and after two failed attempts at a full install, I wiped and emptied that non-booting USB stick, reformatted it, and using LiveUSB-maker, created a LiveUSB of MX-16 (as in step 3 described above). So I no longer have the problematic setup to edit.... Sorry.

As to i_ri's comments, the ID-2 dev/sdb that shows up in the inxi report that I posted earlier is an external 1TB hard disc drive that is plugged into my Samsung laptop and used as storage for music, photos etc. Its presence is irrelevant to the current discussion. The problems I have had with non-booting of the MX-16 USB stick have been the same whether this HDD is connected or not, and have been the same on my other laptops which have no other external devices of any kind.

As all my machines are laptops, I do not have the option of disconnecting their main internal drives - and see no reason why I should need to do so. And I certainly don't want to play around with an MX-16 install which does anything to alter what is on the internal drive (dev/sda) of my current main computer (Win7 and its MBR bootloader, and three Linux distros controlled by Easy BCD). It is precisely because of that setup that I wanted to install MX-16, and its Grub TOTALLY SEPARATELY on a USB stick. And obviously, if I install MX-16 on an external USB stick with no Grub, it won't boot!

Yes, I may indeed be "a lucky tester". I have successfully fully installed Mint, Zorin and LXLE each on a separate USB stick, each with its own Grub. All I need to do is plug in the stick I choose into whichever of my various laptops, and from the BIOS or one-time boot menu select that USB device to boot from. What could be simpler? Each of these sticks will boot up irrespective of whether an external hard drive or other USB device might also be connected.

I might add (and this is only a personal opinion) that if MX-16 can only be fully installed on a computer that has only one drive (/sda) and won't install on, and boot from, a USB, or not on a machine which has any other USB devices connected, then that looks like a more significant issue and not something that is unique to me or my computers or my USB sticks.

Which leads on to the very perceptive analysis by jbMacAZ, who has clearly looked closely at the evidence and done some logical analysis into the possible cause(s) of the problem rather than just suggesting 'suck-it-and-see' boot-repair or reinstall-grub commands.

..............Exactly what goes wrong next is not clear, but the reported errors indicate that kernel is having trouble accessing the USB controller(s) (on two different systems.). Without the USB controller, the kernel can no longer access the InstalledUSB or its partitions. That is causing the kernel panic.

This USB controller problem would not stop an internal drive installation from booting. Often the kernel will retry failed initializations later in the startup process. In this case, though, the kernel needs the file system that is on the InstalledUSB to continue start-up, so there is a root partition timeout ...... this looks like a real issue IMO, if uncommon.


As a non-expert I find this thesis persuasive. It does seem entirely credible that with a full install of MX-16 and its Grub on a USB stick, the Grub does begin the boot process (grey kingfisher, splash screen, list of menu options, loading kernel and initial ramdisk.... ), but then can't complete it. Whether it can't access the USB controller, or can't figure out how to find whatever it needs to continue (and so eventually times out) is a programming question for serious experts, and 'way above my head.

Maybe someone else could try to do exactly what I attempted: a FULL INSTALL of MX-16, including its Grub, on a USB stick, using the normal MX-16 installer supplied as part of the LiveDVD or LiveUSB? And then see if the problem crops up.

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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#63 Postby richb » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:36 pm

Maybe someone else could try to do exactly what I attempted: a FULL INSTALL of MX-16, including its Grub, on a USB stick, using the normal MX-16 installer supplied as part of the LiveDVD or LiveUSB? And then see if the problem crops up.

Except for the fact that it was an install from a liveUSB that is what I did several days ago with success. System has three internal drives, the live USB and target install USB connected.
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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#64 Postby br1anstorm » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:52 pm

Ah yes, @RichB. I should have noted - as I did in an earlier post - that

We seem to have learned so far that sometimes it works (RichB and Gaer Boy) and sometimes it doesn't (me and Richard - at post #26 in the other now-locked thread).
.

Just adds to the mystery!

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anticapitalista
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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#65 Postby anticapitalista » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:54 pm

Let's close this thread then
anticapitalista
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Richard
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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#66 Postby Richard » Sun Nov 19, 2017 3:26 am

Good idea.
I will be in a situation this week with a borrowed laptop and some USBs. I will use 32 bits.

I will have to go look to see if RickB's functional install was with 32 or 64 bits.

I haven't used persistence much, but will give it a trial as well.

So close this thread if you choose.
I feel this needs testing more than suggestions.
MX16 p1-x64: desktop, 4 GB RAM, 4.7.0-0.bpo.1-amd64
MX160-386: netbook, 1 GB RAM, w/3.16.0-4-686-pae.
DoubleCmd-9, LibO-5.4.3.2, Dropbox, Slimjet, Lazarus, CherryTree, Vbox

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penguin
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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#67 Postby penguin » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:12 am

Maybe someone else could try to do exactly what I attempted: a FULL INSTALL of MX-16, including its Grub, on a USB stick, using the normal MX-16 installer supplied as part of the LiveDVD or LiveUSB? And then see if the problem crops up.


Man. I stopped replying you on the previous thread. I explained very well. I run MX Linux from SD Card (MX32 bit and MX64 bit) /Grub installed on it. As I remember ... times ago I arrived to install full MX Linux 64bit on USB. I do not recall now if I installed grub or this Flash USB or not.
I have e very good practice with Lenovo computers.I do not why you have such problems. I do not know what laptop or computer you use, how familiar you are with EFI and non EFI and Bios boot. Supposing that you know good this things, maybe problem comes from your flash usb or laptop. My advice. Try and Error. Without mess up something you will never learn how to repair it. Make backup of your OS and play.Prepare a good Hiren Boot CD or similar CD to restore back your boot and voila.
After sometimes time you will re read your posts here and you will laugh, remembering what you have learned by Try and Error. Experiment my friend.You have nothing to lose, only your fear (for making things wrong). As I said. You do not need to use MX Linux Boot live CD to make install. Forget it.One time install and every Linux can be migrated to other hdd or computer by rsync or dd comands. You need to change only respective fstab.

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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#68 Postby br1anstorm » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:55 am

I'm happy to leave the unanswered questions on the table and to read - in due course - about how others get on in any further testing or investigation.

Obviously I can't mark this thread "solved". But I think I've taken it as far as I want to. I'm very grateful for the patience shown, and the thoughtful comments offered. But I certainly don't wish to hang around to be shouted-at or criticised.

So I'll leave it to the admins/moderators to decide whether, or when, to close this thread. I'll continue to browse the forum and explore MX, and will join in again if I have any other queries.

As Dolphin_oracle said, in the words of Douglas Adams, "So long and thanks for all the fish...."

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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#69 Postby Richard » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:20 pm

Just to close this out with a explanation of why it failed for me and probably for Brian.

Here is the inxi. I made the install on an 7 GB Lexar finishes upgrading. Really needs a larger USB.
This time using a Toshiba Satellite A305 using 32 bit MX. I think the Toshiba is 64bit. [Nope, it's 32 bit and about 8 years old.] It's finished upgrading.

Code: Select all

richard@mx16lex:~
$ inxi -Fx
System:    Host: mx16lex Kernel: 3.16.0-4-686-pae i686 (32 bit gcc: 4.8.4)
           Desktop: Xfce 4.12.2 (Gtk 2.24.25) Distro: MX-16.1_386 Metamorphosis 8 June 2017
Machine:   Device: laptop System: TOSHIBA product: Satellite A305 v: PSAG8U-02E018
           Mobo: TOSHIBA model: Portable PC BIOS: INSYDE v: 2.20 date: 12/07/2009'archives-mx16lex' (symlink)
CPU:       Dual core Intel Core2 Duo T5800 (-MCP-) cache: 2048 KB
           flags: (lm nx pae sse sse2 sse3 ssse3) bmips: 7981
           clock speeds: max: 2000 MHz 1: 2000 MHz 2: 1200 MHz
Graphics:  Card: Intel Mobile 4 Series Integrated Graphics Controller bus-ID: 00:02.0
           Display Server: X.Org 1.16.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: modesetting,fbdev,vesa)
           Resolution: 1280x800@60.00hz
           GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Mobile Intel GM45 Express x86/MMX/SSE2
           GLX Version: 2.1 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio:     Card Intel 82801I (ICH9 Family) HD Audio Controller'archives-mx16lex' (symlink)
           driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
           Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k3.16.0-4-686-pae
Network:   Card-1: Realtek RTL8101E/RTL8102E PCI Express Fast Ethernet controller
           driver: r8169 v: 2.3LK-NAPI port: 3000 bus-ID: 02:00.0
           IF: eth0 state: down mac: 00:1e:33:66:d0:cf
           Card-2: Intel WiFi Link 5100 driver: iwlwifi v: in-tree: bus-ID: 03:00.0
           IF: wlan0 state: up mac: 00:21:5d:74:3d:c4
Drives:    HDD Total Size: 257.9GB (22.8% used)
           ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD2500BEVS size: 250.1GB temp: 45C
           ID-2: USB /dev/sdb model: USB_Flash_Drive size: 7.9GB temp: 0C
Partition: ID-1: / size: 6.1G used: 4.6G (81%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sdb1
           ID-2: swap-1 size: 1.07GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sdb2
Sensors:   System Temperatures: cpu: 45.0C mobo: N/A
           Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info:      Processes: 167 Uptime: 27 min Memory: 539.6/1892.9MB
           Init: SysVinit runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 4.9.2 Client: Shell (bash 4.3.301) inxi: 2.3.21
richard@mx16lex:~


I tried twice with a recent snapshot of MX-Linux-16-32bit of 2.1GB. Both times I got an out of space error. Never saw the error on my Acer Aspire One netbook.

So, I had a Sept 32bit MX. I chose to install on the USB on sdc using the whole disk. This time it installed system & grub without error. It only has 1.5 GB free, [so have to move /var/cache/apt/archives to the hard disk to avoid running out space on the USB. NOTE: didnt work. :( [..because I'm on a WinXP laptop with ntfs.
Back to the drawing board].

Too large an ISO caused my problem. Will post the inxi when update finishes.

Here are the error messages I got when trying to install the 2.1GB snapshot. The Sept monthly installed fine. There are a couple of places where one must read closely and make sure of where grub is being installed.

1) error in terminal said not enough space to install grub. The error message from installer covered the text message.
2) continuing to use Boot Repair gave the same error in the terminal where I executed commands.

Seem to large for the phone. Will send the fotos to the MX running on 7.3GB USB.

My suggestion for installing on USB is
1) use a 16GB USB
2) execute minstall in a terminal to see what is happening
3) read very carefully and make sure that you are installing to the correct USB.

I'll try it again on my netbook in about 9 days on a new 16 GB USB. Could be my hardware.
Last edited by Richard on Wed Nov 22, 2017 8:21 pm, edited 2 times in total.
MX16 p1-x64: desktop, 4 GB RAM, 4.7.0-0.bpo.1-amd64
MX160-386: netbook, 1 GB RAM, w/3.16.0-4-686-pae.
DoubleCmd-9, LibO-5.4.3.2, Dropbox, Slimjet, Lazarus, CherryTree, Vbox

br1anstorm
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Re: Installation woes and a GRUB headache - Part 2

#70 Postby br1anstorm » Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:19 pm

I tried to resist the temptation to post again. But I have to say thanks to Richard for his readiness to keep experimenting.

Only a couple of instant reactions. I had been trying to install MX-16.1 32-bit on a 32GB USB stick. So there was surely ample room on that for MX and its Grub... I certainly got no warning at any stage that there was insufficient space.

The other comment I offer is perhaps relevant to both the question of space, and the USB angle. I was intrigued by penguin's statement that he had installed, and run, MX-16 from an SD card. I had never done or even thought of that! So last night I tried it. And I successfully installed MX-16 (from the same LiveUSB I have had all along) on to a 16GB SD card.

It works perfectly. It runs MX-16 on my laptop (which has a dedicated SD card slot). I even updated it (some 35 or so updates to the October monthly edition). It takes up just less than half of that 16GB SD card.

What does this illustrate? Space seems not to be a crucial issue. Does an SD card slot on a laptop not need to be accessed via a USB controller, but by some other route? Maybe this reinforces jbMacAZ's analysis that there might be (but maybe not always) some kind of issue with the MX Grub seeing, or working with, the USB controller when MX-16 and its Grub are installed on an external USB stick?

Over to the experts again.....

EDIT (a month later!): Just in case anyone is reading this who wishes to boot and run MX-16 (or any distro) from an SD card..... this won't work on all computers. I have successfully booted into MX-16 from an SD card in Samsung and Compaq laptops which have dedicated SD slots. But not in Dell computers. Apparently the BIOS in Dell machines cannot, and will not, identify SD cards as bootable (although Dell machines can read and work normally with SD cards which are simply used for data storage).
Last edited by br1anstorm on Sat Dec 02, 2017 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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