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I am installing Ubuntu Server 12.04 LTS on an IBM 3650 M2 with a hardware raid5 with three partitions:

sda1 /boot - 1 GB, ext3
sda2 lvm - 1 TB, ext4
sda3 swap - 24GB

During the GRUB installation, I get a message that the installer failed to load GRUB on a hard disk and get sent back to the installer menu.

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Were the three partitions you list created on your RAID 5 array? Is your RAID 5 implemented in hardware or software? (In other words, is GRUB aware of the separate disks of the RAID 5 or would this be transparent to GRUB?) Why do you have a separate /boot partition?? –  irrational John May 24 '12 at 20:20
hardware raid. the separate /boot partition is because I don't want to put grub or the MBR on an LVM. –  William May 25 '12 at 19:12

3 Answers 3

Please provide more information about why the GRUB install failed.

It is hard to suggest possible solutions when no information is available about why GRUB failed to install. Would you please try the following:

  1. boot an Ubuntu Live CD or USB
  2. mount your LVM partition (/dev/sda2)
  3. run the command cat syslog | grep grub
    (where syslog is the log file in /var/syslog on /dev/sda2)
  4. add the output from the command to your question by editing it

Is the GRUB install problem related to UEFI?

My understanding is that the IBM 3650 M2 uses a UEFI BIOS. Is your problem installing GRUB possibly related to this? If so, perhaps one of the following links may be helpful.

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I seem to have runned into the same problem. It seemed to have failed on installing software. Error come back that it would not install it and then i could not proceed with anything else.

I believe it was hanging on the installation part.

You cannot fix this problem with the server cd. I have tried rescuing an installation but that wasn\t working for me. I found it extemely buggy !

You will need a live cd for this. Start From the CD and just use hit crl+f1. This will get you in a boot session

Then just do the following

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/ /dev/sda
*edit* at this point, also ensure that if /usr and /var are on seperate partitions that you mount them to /mnt/usr and /mnt/var
*edit 2* whithin the chroot you need to have /dev /run and /proc available for update-grub to work, use the following to acheive that: for i in /sys /proc /run /dev; do sudo mount --bind "$i" "/mnt$i"; done
sudo chroot /mnt
sudo update-grub
sudo reboot

That should take care of that.

Also a warning, if you installed 64 bit you will need a 64 bit and vice versa else you will be getting an error during chroot. ( as i have )

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I had a similar problem. Pressing Alt+F4 to switch to the installer output, I could see Attempting to install GRUB to a partitionless disk or to a partition. This is a BAD idea.

It would appear that my USB disk was detected as /dev/sda, and my target hard disk was detected as /dev/sdb, based on the output from cat /proc/partitions.

So I fixed it by activating a shell in the Alt+F2 session and ran the following:

chroot /target grub-install /dev/sdb

Then I switched back to the installer (Alt+F1) and hit "Continue without bootloader".

Once installation had finished (I unplugged the USB stick), I was presented with a grub> prompt, so I followed the instructions here, as follows (this assumes that your boot disk is /dev/sda:

grub> ls
(hd0) (hd0,msdos5) (hd0,msdos1)
grub> set root=(hd0,msdos1)
grub> ls /
lost+found/ etc/ ...
grub> ls /boot
config-3.11.0-26-generic ...
grub> linux /boot/vmlinuz-   # press Tab
                             # then add the following
grub> initrd /boot/initrd    # press Tab
grub> boot    

Once the system is booted, log in and then:

sudo update-grub
sudo grub-install /dev/sda

Reboot to check it's working:

sudo shutdown -r now
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