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i'm trying to install Ubuntu. I don't know if it is important, but i'm trying to install it on external HDD.

In the end i have external bootable HDD which only displays:

error: file not found
grub recovery>

From the beginning:

  • I've downloaded ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso
  • I've used LiLi USB Creator (LinuxLive) to create bootable pendrive from that image
  • I've bootet from it, it works
  • I've clicked "Try ubuntu", it works too.

I've used GParted to look over drivers (disks)

My primary embedded disk is seen as /dev/sda

My attached external disk as /dev/sdb

My PenDrive as /dev/sdc

  • I've created partitions on /dev/sdb

  • Fist partition for system (over 200GiB)

  • Second was there already (it's xsf, and i don't want to touch it :P)
  • Third is extended partition, with 1 locital partiton (10GiB) for swap

  • I've started installation

  • i've choose "somethin else" in ... i belive secound screeb
  • then is selected /dev/sdb as boot disk
  • for first partiton of /dev/sdb i set i want ext3 file system, i've check "formattin" checkbox, and mount path set to "/"
  • firs logical partiton set as swap partition

After installation finished, i restarted my computer. When i boot from my primary disc it's work ok, my previous operating system - vista - works ok. When i set my BIOS to boot from my external disc, i only get that message:

error: file not found
grub recovery>
  • I've try to reinstall it, but didn't help...

In desperation, i've try to read a bit about that "grub recovery>" command-line and experiment a bit... I'm not sure if this has had any point, or if it give you some information (notice, that i don't know what i'm doing :P )

when i've type command:

insmod (hd1,1)/boot/grub/linux.mod

i've get message:

unknown filesystem

the same with:

insmod (hd1,msdos1)/boot/grub/linux.mod

the same with:

insmod ext3

but i get no message after command:

insmod ext2

...

notice that i really don't know what this command exactly do, but than i thought that maybe if i reinstall ubuntu with ext2 filesystem, it will work. I've done that, but symptoms are the same.

I've go back to that Live version of ubuntu, filesystem and basics directories seems to be present on /dev/sdb1 ... i'm completely unfamiliar with GRUB. I'm also don't know which wersion of GRUB it is, i hope there is only one version on ubuntu-12.04-desktop-i386.iso

Any help? Thax

======================= edit 17.06.2012 22:05 =========================

This is RESULTS.txt from bootinfoscript

sda is my in-build HDD

sdb is external HDD (disk-destination for Ubuntu)

sdc is PenDrive with Live Ubuntu

                  Boot Info Script 0.61      [1 April 2012]


============================= Boot Info Summary: ===============================

 => Windows is installed in the MBR of /dev/sda.
 => Grub2 (v1.99) is installed in the MBR of /dev/sdb and looks at sector 1 of 
    the same hard drive for core.img. core.img is at this location and looks 
    for (,msdos1)/boot/grub on this drive.
 => Syslinux MBR (4.04 and higher) is installed in the MBR of /dev/sdc.

sda1: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       vfat
    Boot sector type:  Windows 7: FAT32
    Boot sector info:  No errors found in the Boot Parameter Block.
    Operating System:  
    Boot files:        /bootmgr /boot/bcd

sda2: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       ntfs
    Boot sector type:  Windows Vista/7: NTFS
    Boot sector info:  No errors found in the Boot Parameter Block.
    Operating System:  Windows Vista
    Boot files:        /bootmgr /Boot/BCD /Windows/System32/winload.exe

sda3: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       Extended Partition
    Boot sector type:  -
    Boot sector info: 

sda5: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       ntfs
    Boot sector type:  Windows Vista/7: NTFS
    Boot sector info:  According to the info in the boot sector, sda5 starts 
                       at sector 63.
    Operating System:  
    Boot files:        

sdb1: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       ext2
    Boot sector type:  -
    Boot sector info: 
    Operating System:  Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
    Boot files:        /boot/grub/grub.cfg /etc/fstab /boot/grub/core.img

sdb3: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       xfs
    Boot sector type:  -
    Boot sector info: 
    Mounting failed:   mount: /dev/sdb3: can't read superblock

sdb4: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       Extended Partition
    Boot sector type:  -
    Boot sector info: 

sdb5: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       swap
    Boot sector type:  -
    Boot sector info: 

sdc1: __________________________________________________________________________

    File system:       vfat
    Boot sector type:  SYSLINUX 4.04 2011-04-18
    Boot sector info:  Syslinux looks at sector 3250552 of /dev/sdc1 for its 
                       second stage. SYSLINUX is installed in the  directory. 
                       The integrity check of the ADV area failed. No errors 
                       found in the Boot Parameter Block.
    Operating System:  
    Boot files:        /syslinux/syslinux.cfg /ldlinux.sys

============================ Drive/Partition Info: =============================

Drive: sda _____________________________________________________________________

Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
16 heads, 63 sectors/track, 310101 cylinders, total 312581808 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Partition  Boot  Start Sector    End Sector  # of Sectors  Id System

/dev/sda1               2,048    20,482,047    20,480,000  1c Hidden W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda2    *     20,482,048   176,771,071   156,289,024   7 NTFS / exFAT / HPFS
/dev/sda3         176,771,072   312,580,095   135,809,024   f W95 Extended (LBA)
/dev/sda5         176,773,120   312,580,095   135,806,976   7 NTFS / exFAT / HPFS


Drive: sdb _____________________________________________________________________

Disk /dev/sdb: 640.1 GB, 640135028736 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 77825 cylinders, total 1250263728 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Partition  Boot  Start Sector    End Sector  # of Sectors  Id System

/dev/sdb1    *          2,048   574,773,569   574,771,522  83 Linux
/dev/sdb3         574,773,570 1,208,315,584   633,542,015   7 NTFS / exFAT / HPFS
/dev/sdb4       1,208,317,950 1,229,289,471    20,971,522   f W95 Extended (LBA)
/dev/sdb5       1,208,317,952 1,229,289,471    20,971,520  82 Linux swap / Solaris


Drive: sdc _____________________________________________________________________

Disk /dev/sdc: 1971 MB, 1971322880 bytes
129 heads, 40 sectors/track, 746 cylinders, total 3850240 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes

Partition  Boot  Start Sector    End Sector  # of Sectors  Id System

/dev/sdc1    *             40     3,850,239     3,850,200   6 FAT16


"blkid" output: ________________________________________________________________

Device           UUID                                   TYPE       LABEL

/dev/loop0                                              squashfs   
/dev/loop1       7aa47a24-93a0-d54f-a03c-495cf2ee0927   ext2       
/dev/sda1        3C98-AC5D                              vfat       RECOVERY
/dev/sda2        94CA2D3CCA2D1BCC                       ntfs       VistaOS
/dev/sda5        A2F09F72F09F4B83                       ntfs       DATA
/dev/sdb1        a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e   ext2       
/dev/sdb3        973a36d7-5828-4291-b455-db286cd69668   xfs        
/dev/sdb5        9ce43dea-fd93-4343-969d-1243397724bd   swap       
/dev/sdc1        7232-C522                              vfat       GOODDRIVE

================================ Mount points: =================================

Device           Mount_Point              Type       Options

/dev/loop0       /rofs                    squashfs   (ro,noatime)
/dev/sdc1        /cdrom                   vfat       (rw,relatime,fmask=0022,dmask=0022,codepage=cp437,iocharset=iso8859-1,shortname=mixed,errors=remount-ro)


=========================== sdb1/boot/grub/grub.cfg: ===========================

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
#
# DO NOT EDIT THIS FILE
#
# It is automatically generated by grub-mkconfig using templates
# from /etc/grub.d and settings from /etc/default/grub
#

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/00_header ###
if [ -s $prefix/grubenv ]; then
  set have_grubenv=true
  load_env
fi
set default="0"
if [ "${prev_saved_entry}" ]; then
  set saved_entry="${prev_saved_entry}"
  save_env saved_entry
  set prev_saved_entry=
  save_env prev_saved_entry
  set boot_once=true
fi

function savedefault {
  if [ -z "${boot_once}" ]; then
    saved_entry="${chosen}"
    save_env saved_entry
  fi
}

function recordfail {
  set recordfail=1
  if [ -n "${have_grubenv}" ]; then if [ -z "${boot_once}" ]; then save_env recordfail; fi; fi
}

function load_video {
  insmod vbe
  insmod vga
  insmod video_bochs
  insmod video_cirrus
}

insmod part_msdos
insmod ext2
set root='(hd1,msdos1)'
search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e
if loadfont /usr/share/grub/unicode.pf2 ; then
  set gfxmode=auto
  load_video
  insmod gfxterm
  insmod part_msdos
  insmod ext2
  set root='(hd1,msdos1)'
  search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e
  set locale_dir=($root)/boot/grub/locale
  set lang=pl_PL
  insmod gettext
fi
terminal_output gfxterm
if [ "${recordfail}" = 1 ]; then
  set timeout=-1
else
  set timeout=10
fi
### END /etc/grub.d/00_header ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme ###
set menu_color_normal=white/black
set menu_color_highlight=black/light-gray
if background_color 44,0,30; then
  clear
fi
### END /etc/grub.d/05_debian_theme ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###
function gfxmode {
    set gfxpayload="$1"
    if [ "$1" = "keep" ]; then
        set vt_handoff=vt.handoff=7
    else
        set vt_handoff=
    fi
}
if [ ${recordfail} != 1 ]; then
  if [ -e ${prefix}/gfxblacklist.txt ]; then
    if hwmatch ${prefix}/gfxblacklist.txt 3; then
      if [ ${match} = 0 ]; then
        set linux_gfx_mode=keep
      else
        set linux_gfx_mode=text
      fi
    else
      set linux_gfx_mode=text
    fi
  else
    set linux_gfx_mode=keep
  fi
else
  set linux_gfx_mode=text
fi
export linux_gfx_mode
if [ "$linux_gfx_mode" != "text" ]; then load_video; fi
menuentry 'Ubuntu, za pomocą systemu Linux 3.2.0-23-generic-pae' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
    recordfail
    gfxmode $linux_gfx_mode
    insmod gzio
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='(hd1,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e
    linux   /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-23-generic-pae root=/dev/sdb1 ro   quiet splash $vt_handoff
    initrd  /boot/initrd.img-3.2.0-23-generic-pae
}
menuentry 'Ubuntu, za pomocą systemu Linux 3.2.0-23-generic-pae (tryb ratunkowy)' --class ubuntu --class gnu-linux --class gnu --class os {
    recordfail
    insmod gzio
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='(hd1,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e
    echo    'Wczytywanie systemu Linux 3.2.0-23-generic-pae...'
    linux   /boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-23-generic-pae root=/dev/sdb1 ro recovery nomodeset 
    echo    'Wczytywanie początkowego dysku RAM...'
    initrd  /boot/initrd.img-3.2.0-23-generic-pae
}
### END /etc/grub.d/10_linux ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ###
### END /etc/grub.d/20_linux_xen ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/20_memtest86+ ###
menuentry "Memory test (memtest86+)" {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='(hd1,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e
    linux16 /boot/memtest86+.bin
}
menuentry "Memory test (memtest86+, serial console 115200)" {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ext2
    set root='(hd1,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e
    linux16 /boot/memtest86+.bin console=ttyS0,115200n8
}
### END /etc/grub.d/20_memtest86+ ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober ###
menuentry "Windows Recovery Environment (loader) (on /dev/sda1)" --class windows --class os {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod fat
    set root='(hd0,msdos1)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 3C98-AC5D
    drivemap -s (hd0) ${root}
    chainloader +1
}
menuentry "Windows Vista (loader) (on /dev/sda2)" --class windows --class os {
    insmod part_msdos
    insmod ntfs
    set root='(hd0,msdos2)'
    search --no-floppy --fs-uuid --set=root 94CA2D3CCA2D1BCC
    chainloader +1
}
### END /etc/grub.d/30_os-prober ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/40_custom ###
# This file provides an easy way to add custom menu entries.  Simply type the
# menu entries you want to add after this comment.  Be careful not to change
# the 'exec tail' line above.
### END /etc/grub.d/40_custom ###

### BEGIN /etc/grub.d/41_custom ###
if [ -f  $prefix/custom.cfg ]; then
  source $prefix/custom.cfg;
fi
### END /etc/grub.d/41_custom ###
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

=============================== sdb1/etc/fstab: ================================

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# /etc/fstab: static file system information.
#
# Use 'blkid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
# device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
# that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
#
# <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
proc            /proc           proc    nodev,noexec,nosuid 0       0
# / was on /dev/sdb1 during installation
UUID=a4befd4a-f91f-4f09-9d5f-a44991ed6a2e /               ext2    errors=remount-ro 0       1
# swap was on /dev/sdb5 during installation
UUID=9ce43dea-fd93-4343-969d-1243397724bd none            swap    sw              0       0
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

=================== sdb1: Location of files loaded by Grub: ====================

           GiB - GB             File                                 Fragment(s)

               =                boot/grub/core.img                             1
               =                boot/grub/grub.cfg                             1
               =                boot/initrd.img-3.2.0-23-generic-pae           6
               =                boot/vmlinuz-3.2.0-23-generic-pae              3
               =                initrd.img                                     6
               =                vmlinuz                                        3

========================= sdc1/syslinux/syslinux.cfg: ==========================

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
# D-I config version 2.0
include menu.cfg
default vesamenu.c32
prompt 0
timeout 50
ui gfxboot bootlogo
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

================= sdc1: Location of files loaded by Syslinux: ==================

           GiB - GB             File                                 Fragment(s)

            ?? = ??             ldlinux.sys                                    1
            ?? = ??             syslinux/chain.c32                             1
            ?? = ??             syslinux/gfxboot.c32                           1
            ?? = ??             syslinux/syslinux.cfg                          1
            ?? = ??             syslinux/vesamenu.c32                          1

============== sdc1: Version of COM32(R) files used by Syslinux: ===============

 syslinux/chain.c32                 :  COM32R module (v4.xx)
 syslinux/gfxboot.c32               :  COM32R module (v4.xx)
 syslinux/vesamenu.c32              :  COM32R module (v4.xx)

=============================== StdErr Messages: ===============================

xz: (stdin): Compressed data is corrupt
awk: cmd. line:36: Math support is not compiled in
awk: cmd. line:36: Math support is not compiled in
awk: cmd. line:36: Math support is not compiled in
awk: cmd. line:36: Math support is not compiled in
awk: cmd. line:36: Math support is not compiled in
awk: cmd. line:36: Math support is not compiled in
/home/ubuntu/Pobrane/bootinfoscript-061/bootinfoscript: line 1646: [: 2.73495e+09: integer expression expected

I have to say that script print on terminal:

Boot Info Script 0.61      [1 April 2012]


"gawk" could not be found, using "busybox awk" instead.
This may lead to unreliable results.

Identifying MBRs...
Computing Partition Table of /dev/sda...
Computing Partition Table of /dev/sdb...
Computing Partition Table of /dev/sdc...
Searching sda1 for information... 
Searching sda2 for information... 
Searching sda3 for information... 
Searching sda5 for information... 
Searching sdb1 for information... 
Searching sdb3 for information... 
Searching sdb4 for information... 
Searching sdb5 for information... 
Searching sdc1 for information... 

Finished. The results are in the file "RESULTS.txt"
located in "/home/ubuntu/Pobrane/bootinfoscript-061/".

============== edit 18.06.2012 18:38 ===============

ok, this is more or less copy of my grub recovery session:

error: file not found
grub recovery> set
prefix=(hd0,msdos1)/boot/grub
root=hd0,msdos1
grub recovery> ls
(hd0) (hd0,msdos3) (hd0,msdos1) (hd1) (hd1,msdos5) (hd1,msdos2) (hd1,msdos1)
grub recovery> ls $prefix

error: file not found
grub recovery> 

then i've used 'ls' cmd on few path, results are strange (i think):

grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/boot

grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/boot/grub

error: file not found
grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/lib

grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/bin

grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/sys
./ ../
grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/sbin

grub recovery> ls (hd0,msdos1)/usr
./ ../ local/ (and some other things)

is this normal? i can see /boot/grub and its content when i mount this external HDD by Live Ubuntu

share|improve this question
    
At the grub rescue shell, could you run "set" (which will print all environment variables) and post what the exact value of $prefix is? Could you also run "ls", and "ls $prefix" and post the output of both? (if it's too much work to copy it down exactly, taking a picture with a camera and posting that works too). –  Jordan Uggla Jun 17 '12 at 21:29

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The symptom of being able to see some files but not all on a filesystem with grub usually means that your BIOS is buggy and can't properly handle large drives ( http://tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-4.html ). What happens is that the BIOS can't read blocks past a certain point in the drive, and so if your root filesystem starts before that limit, but ends after that limit, then some files will be accessible at boot through the BIOS and others won't. The standard way to work around this problem is to create a small /boot/ partition near the beginning of the drive, to ensure that everything that needs to be read through the BIOS, can be.

I would normally expect "out of disk" errors from grub were this the case, and I don't know why we're not seeing those. One way to confirm that the problem is a BIOS limit is to go into your BIOS menus and see what size it lists the drive as being, if it lists it as being less that the actual size, you know your BIOS is buggy. Another way, if your BIOS doesn't list sizes anywhere in its menus, is to run "ls -l" from grub and look at the size listed there. Unfortunately, you can't run "ls -l" from the rescue shell, so you'd need to boot from a grub CD, or have already fixed the problem with a small /boot/ partition, before you could do the check from within grub.

share|improve this answer
    
This is the solution. Thank you for your knowledge and time. Now i'm happy user of Ubuntu :P –  Tomasz Grabowski Jun 19 '12 at 21:40
    
You're welcome :) –  Jordan Uggla Jun 19 '12 at 23:59

If your still having issues with this try the "GRUB Customizer"

sudo apt-get grub-customizer

PLUG IN YOUR PENDRIVE or external USB

start it from the gui Administrator tools Admin->grub-Customizer or Q!

After it starts it will read your boot script similar to bootinfoscript so wait a few seconds for it to finish then the boot information window will change color from grey to normal.

You can then edit the boot information for each drive as it was found.

to Add a new entry just press edit->Add then select Linux. using the tab button verify that the disk UUID matches the disk you want to boot from.

click finish.

click save button

verify your edits manual view the grub-boot menu to ensure edits were saved. I am assuming your grub boot loader is on hd0 or sda0. cat out

/hd0/boot/grub/grub.cfg # don't edit this file just view or verify it. or run your bootinfoscript again.

if this doesn't fix the problem then you could be having issues with the kernel. I had to reinstall my Ubuntu-LTS this way because another Linux 64bit install diddled with the boot loader too much. If your using a 64bit machine then verify that the usb-drive /pendrive is also 64-bit OS. Otherwise the USB driver will fork when it tries to load the USB drive.

It was a good idea that the new OS be kept small about 6-10MB so you don't hit the upper bound limits on Large GB-HDs. You also need to verify that any external USB drivers are installed before grub runs. To do this press the down-arrow key on the purple screen to see what modules are being installed and which ones fork.

If this didn't help you try using a rescue disk to pick up the missing kernel/files. I use bootrecovery-CD (sourceforge:boot-repair-diskx64) or Linux-remix-CD (www.ubuntu-rescue-remix.org) when things go wrong with Grub-Customizer.

share|improve this answer

Change your booting preferences to boot from the external hard disk. The computer is trying to find grub on your in- built HDD but its actually in the external HDD. So you will have to change your booting options to use that external HDD for booting as the first preference and then the in - built HDD the second preference. So if your insert your external HDD then it will automatically boot ubuntu and if you don't then it will boot up the system that you have installed it in the in - built HDD.

share|improve this answer
    
Do you mean to set in BIOS to boot from external HDD? I don't think so. It's done. What more important: I said that when i boot from in-build HDD it's start normally (so i think GRUB is not installed there) and when i change it to boot from external HDD, than i get message from GRUB, so GRUB seems to be present on my external disk, but somehow can not work properly. –  Tomasz Grabowski Jun 17 '12 at 14:30

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