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How can I use a disk with GPT partition table on a system with a BIOS but no (U)EFI?

I have a system with a 3 TB drive (no other drives and since this is a remote machine I have no choices here) and with a GPT for obvious reasons. Ubuntu 12.04 is being bootstrapped onto the system and this worked so far. Now after bind-mounting /dev, /proc and /sys from the host into the target system and chrooting into it, I installed linux-image-server which worked fine (after linking /sbin/initctl as /bin/true). Because this is a remote machine I have to do all of this via SSH and have no bootable CD or anything. I can boot into a rescue system if it fails, though (PXE).

Now I know that grub2 is supposed to support the scenario, but for the life of me I cannot figure out how to install it.

The boot (and root) device is to be /dev/md0, composed of /dev/sda1 and /dev/sdb1 in RAID mode 0. With /dev/md0 mounted under /target I am running:

grub-install --root-directory=/target --no-floppy /dev/sda

which fails with:

/usr/sbin/grub-setup: warn: This GPT partition label has no BIOS Boot Partition; embedding won't be possible!.
/usr/sbin/grub-setup: error: embedding is not possible, but this is required when the root device is on a RAID array or LVM volume.

So how can I get grub2 installed in order to have this BIOS-based system boot properly?

Note: it doesn't matter whether I run this inside or outside the chroot environment. The error and output are identical. Likely because I bind-mounted /dev etc into place. Of course appropriate adjustments to the command line (no --root-directory=) have been made.

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First you said one drive, then you said raid array. Which is it? – psusi Jan 10 '13 at 1:30
@psusi: it's two physical disks, but the idea is to use software RAID 1, as can be seen from the question. Apologies for the confusion, though. – 0xC0000022L Jan 10 '13 at 2:11
Where exactly is the bios_grub partition created? First partition of /dev/md0? – sjas Nov 26 '15 at 16:24
up vote 5 down vote accepted

You need to create a bios_grub partition on the disk. You can do this with parted and setting the bios_grub flag on the partition. 1 MiB is sufficient, but it needs to be in the lower 2TiB of the disk.

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