Difference between revisions of "GRUB Legacy"

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See also: [http://www.supergrubdisk.org/ Super GRUB Disk]
See also: [http://www.supergrubdisk.org/ Super GRUB Disk]
==Advanced Debugging==
== Advanced Debugging ==
The grub {{Filename|menu.lst}} provides for a convenient way to add a number of entries with [http://www.kernel.org/doc/Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt extended kernel parameters] to configure all sorts of advanced settings to enable you to quickly and conveniently boot into your existing system with varying levels of debugging output.  It is very easy and useful to create several levels of debugging just by adding additional entries to your grub configuration. And if you ever have issues or problems down the road due to a power-failure or hardware failure, it can save you hours of trouble, and of course nothing can beat debugging output when it comes to learning about your system.
===Useful Menu.lst Entries===
Content moved to [[Boot_Debugging]]
If you are interested in debugging, then you deserve some grub entries for powerusers, here are a few that I like (just add to your {{Filename|menu.lst}}).
title Shutdown the Computer
title Reboot the Computer
title Command Line
title Install GRUB to hd0 MBR
root (hd0,0)
setup (hd0)
title Matrix
color green/black light-green/green
title Scan for /boot/grub/menu.lst
find --set-root --ignore-floppies /boot/grub/menu.lst
configfile /boot/grub/menu.lst
title Scan for /boot/menu.lst
find --set-root --ignore-floppies /menu.lst
configfile /boot/menu.lst
# http://www.vortex.prodigynet.co.uk/x86test/
title    Run x86test (CPU Info)
kernel /boot/x86test_zImage.bin
#wget http://www.vortex.prodigynet.co.uk/x86test/x86test_zImage.bin
# http://www.memtest.org/
title    Run memtest86+ (Memory Testing)
kernel /boot/memtest86+-1.70.bin
===Light Debug===
A quick way to see more verbose messages on your console is to bootup your normal grub entry after appending '''verbose''' to the kernel line.  This simple word added to your kernel line turns on more logging thanks to the {{Filename|/etc/rc.sysinit}} file, which at the top of the file runs:
if /bin/grep -q " verbose" /proc/cmdline; then /bin/dmesg -n 8; fi
Very simple way to get a bit more messages and debug output in your logs.
title  Arch Linux DEBUG Light
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro rootwait verbose
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
===Medium Debug===
This example {{Filename|menu.lst}} entry turns on real logging that is set by the kernel and not in an init script.  Adding the '''debug''' kernel parameter to your kernel line is recognized by a lot of linux internals and enables quite a bit of debugging compared to the default. 
title Arch Linux DEBUG Medium
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro rootdelay=5 panic=10 debug
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
===Heavy Debug===
An even more impressive kernel parameter is the '''ignore_loglevel''', which causes the system to ignore any loglevel and keeps the internal loglevel at the maximum debugging level, basically rendering dmesg unable to lower the debug level.
title Arch Linux DEBUG Heavy
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro rootdelay=5 panic=10 debug ignore_loglevel
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
===Extreme Debug===
If the "Heavy Debug" seemed like a lot of output, thats about 1/2 of the logging that occurs with this example.  This does a couple things, it uses the '''earlyprintk''' parameter to setup your kernel for "early" "printing" of messages to your "vga" screen.  The ''',keep''' just lets it stay on the screen longer.  This will let you see logs that normally are hidden due to the boot-up process.
This also changes the log buffer length to 10MB, and also instructs that any fatal signals be printed with '''print_fatal_signals'''.  The last one, '''sched_debug''', you can look up in the very excellent kernel documentation on [http://www.kernel.org/doc/Documentation/kernel-parameters.txt kernel parameters].
title Arch Linux DEBUG Extreme
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro debug ignore_loglevel log_buf_len=10M print_fatal_signals=1 LOGLEVEL=8 earlyprintk=vga,keep sched_debug
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
===Insane Debug===
The first few debugging examples showed some really nice kernel parameters to turn on really verbose debugging.  This kind of debugging is absolutely critical if you want to max out your system or just learn more about what is going on behind the scenes.  But there is a final trick that is my favorite, it is the ability to set both environment variables, and more importantly, module parameters at boot.
As an example, here is the boot line that I am using at the moment on an older Dell Desktop, just to illustrate module parameters and environment vars. 
title  Arch Linux X-256
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro rootwait pause_on_oops=5 panic=60 i915.modeset=1 no_console_suspend ipv6.disable=1 TERM=xterm-256color quiet 5
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
Since it is low on both memory and CPU, I disable ipv6. I also turn on kernel modesetting for the i915 video card, set my terminal to be xterm-256color, and boot straight into [[Xorg|X]].  This lets me use a very optimized arch-linux configuration, amazing how fast thanks to using [[SLiM|slim]] as the login manager, [[Ratpoison|ratpoison]] as my [[Display Manager|window manager]], and terminal with [[Tmux|tmux]] as my login shell, all from boot, as the pstree shows (plus [[Synergy]]!).
  |  |-X,3098 -nolisten tcp vt07 -auth /var/run/slim.auth
  |  `-ratpoison,3107,askapache
  |      |-terminal,5341 -x sh -c exec /usr/bin/tmux -2 -l -u -q attach -d -t tmux-askapache
  |      |  |-bash,11165
  |      |  |-tmux,5345 -2 -l -u -q attach -d -t tmux-askapache
  |      |  `-{terminal},5346
  |      `-xscreensaver,3113 -no-splash
  |-synergyc,6121,galileo -f --name galileo-fire --restart
  `-tmux,5348,askapache -2 -l -u -q attach -d -t tmux-askapache
      |  `-ssh,9969 lug@askapache.com
        `-vim,11149 -p sda1/grub/menu.lst /boot/grub/menu.lst
That kind of optimized system is only possible if you first can figure out your system, by debugging both the kernel as previously illustrated, debugging the init process, and most importantly, by debugging the modules enabled for your system's hardware/firmware/software.  Debugging modules is challenging but worth the effort, and then you are able to do some truly insane debugging from grub like the following example, note that the actual grub entry is all on one line, but I split it into 4 lines so you could see it all.  This basically turns on every module on this little Dell desktop to be at the absolute max debug level.  There is so much logging when I boot this that the system grinds to a halt and is slower than a TI-89 calculator (See [[Improve Boot Performance]]).
title  Arch Linux DEBUG INSANE
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro rootwait ignore_loglevel debug debug_locks_verbose=1 sched_debug initcall_debug mminit_loglevel=4 udev.log_priority=8
        loglevel=8 earlyprintk=vga,keep log_buf_len=10M print_fatal_signals=1 apm.debug=Y i8042.debug=Y drm.debug=1 scsi_logging_level=1 usbserial.debug=Y
        option.debug=Y pl2303.debug=Y firewire_ohci.debug=1 hid.debug=1 pci_hotplug.debug=Y pci_hotplug.debug_acpi=Y shpchp.shpchp_debug=Y apic=debug
        show_lapic=all hpet=verbose lmb=debug pause_on_oops=5 panic=10 sysrq_always_enabled
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
A couple key items from that grub entry are '''sysrq_always_enabled''' which forces on the sysrq magic, which really is a lifesaver when debugging at this level as your machine will freeze/stop-responding sometimes and it is nice to use sysrq to kill all tasks, change the loglevel, unmount all filesystems, or do a hard reboot.  Another key parameter is the '''initcall_debug''', which debugs the init process in excruciating detail.  Very useful at times.  The last parametery I find very useful is the '''udev.log_priority=8''' to turn on [[Udev|udev]] logging. 
====Break Into Init====
For instance, If you add '''break=y''' to your kernel cmdline, init will pause early in the [[Arch Boot Process|boot process]] (after loading modules) and launch an interactive sh shell which can be used for troubleshooting purposes. (Normal boot continues after logout.)  This is very similar to the shell that shows up if your computer gets turned off before it is able to shutdown properly.  But using this parameter lets you enter into this mode differently at will.
title  Arch Linux Init Break
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro rootwait break=y
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
====Debugging init====
This awesome parameter '''udev.log_priority=8''' does the same thing as editing the file {{Filename|/etc/udev/udev.conf}} except it executes earlier, turning on debugging output for [[Udev|udev]].  If you want to know your hardware, that is the key parameter right there.  Another trick is if you change the {{Filename|/etc/udev/udev.conf}} to be verbose, then you can make your initrd image include that file to turn on verbose udeb debugging by adding it to your {{Filename|/etc/mkinitcpio.conf}} like:
FILES="/etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf /etc/udev/udev.conf"
, which on arch is as easy as
# mkinitcpio -p linux
Debugging [[Udev|udev]] is key because the [[Initrd|initrd]] performs a [[Change Root|root change]] at the end of its run to usually launch a program like /sbin/init as part of a chroot, and unless the new file system has a valid /dev directory, udev must be initialized before invoking chroot in order to provide {{Filename|/dev/console}}. 
exec chroot . /sbin/init <dev/console >dev/console 2>&1
So basically, you are not able to view the logs that are generated before /dev/console is initialized by udev or by a special initrd you compiled yourself.  One method the kernel developers use to be able to still get the log messages generated before /dev/console is available is to provide an alternative console that you can enable or disable from grub.
====Net Console====
If you read through the kernel documentation regarding debugging, you will hear about Netconsole, which can be loaded from the kernel line in GRUB, compiled into your kernel, or loaded at runtime as a module.  Having a netconsole entry in your {{Filename|menu.lst}} is most excellent for debugging slower computers like old laptops or thin-clients.  It is easy to use.  Just setup a 2nd computer (running arch) to accept syslog requests on a remote port, very fast and quick to do on arch-linux, 1 line to syslog.conf.  Then you could use a log-color-parser like ccze to view all syslog logs, or just tail your everything.log. Then on your laptop, boot up and select the netconsole entry from the grub menu, and you will start seeing as much logging as you want on your syslog system.  This logging lets you view even earlier log output than is available with the earlyprintk=vga kernel parameter, as netconsole is used by kernel hackers and developers, so it is very powerful.
title  Arch Linux DEBUG Netconsole
kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro netconsole=514@ debug ignore_loglevel
initrd /initramfs-linux.img
====Hijacking cmdline====
If you do not have access to GRUB or the kernel boottime cmdline, like on a server or virtual machine, as long as you have root permissions you can still enable this kind of simplistic verbose logging using a neat hack.  While you cannot modify the {{Filename|/proc/cmdline}} even as root, you can place your own cmdline file on top of /proc/cmdline, so that accessing /proc/cmdline actually accesses your file.
For example if I '''cat /proc/cmdline''', I have the following:
root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro console=tty1 logo.nologo quiet
So I use a simple sed command to replace '''quiet''' with '''verbose''' like:
sed 's/ quiet/ verbose/' /proc/cmdline > /root/cmdline
Then I bind mount /root/cmdline so that it becomes /proc/cmdline, using the '''-n''' option to mount so that this mount will not be recorded in the systems mtab.
mount -n --bind -o ro /root/cmdline /proc/cmdline
Now if I '''cat /proc/cmdline''', I have the following:
root=/dev/disk/by-label/ROOT ro console=tty1 logo.nologo verbose
== Troubleshooting ==
== Troubleshooting ==

Revision as of 19:05, 24 October 2011

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GNU GRUB (Legacy) is a multiboot bootloader maintained by the GNU Project. It was derived from GRUB, the GRand Unified Bootloader, which was originally designed and implemented by Erich Stefan Boleyn.

Briefly, the bootloader is the first software program that runs when a computer starts. It is responsible for loading and transferring control to the Linux kernel. The kernel, in turn, initializes the rest of the operating system.

Currently, GRUB is the de facto standard bootloader of Linux, and is expected to be superseded by GRUB2 in the near future. Upstream refers to "GRUB" (Arch Package) as "GRUB Legacy" and "GRUB2" (Arch package) as "GRUB".

Note: Grub-legacy does not support booting from GPT disks. Use GRUB2 or Syslinux instead.


The GRUB package is installed by default when you install Arch Linux. If you previously selected not to install this package, you can install now via:


Additionally, GRUB must be installed to the boot sector of a drive or partition to serve as a bootloader. This is covered in the #Bootloader installation section.


The configuration file is located at Template:Filename. Edit this file to suit your needs.

An example configuration (Template:Filename is on a separate partition):


Finding GRUB's root

GRUB must be told where its files reside on the system, since multiple instances may exist (i.e., in multi-boot environments). GRUB files always reside under Template:Filename, which may be on a dedicated partition.

Note: GRUB defines storage devices differently than conventional kernel naming does.
  • Hard disks are defined as (hdX); this also refers to any USB storage devices.
  • Device and partitioning numbering begin at zero. For example, the first hard disk recognized in the BIOS will be defined as (hd0). The second device will be called (hd1). This also applies to partitions. So, the second partition on the first hard disk will be defined as (hd0,1).

If you are unaware of the the location of Template:Filename, use the GRUB shell Template:Codeline command to locate the GRUB files. Enter the GRUB shell as root by:


The following example is for systems without a separate Template:Filename partition, wherein Template:Filename is merely a directory under Template:Filename:


The following example is for systems with a separate Template:Filename partition:


GRUB will find the file, and output the location of the stage1 file. For example: Template:Command

This value should be entered on the Template:Codeline line in your configuration file. Type Template:Codeline to exit the shell.

Dual booting with Windows

Add the following to the end of your Template:Filename (assuming that your Windows partition is on the first partition of the first drive): Template:File

Note: Windows 2000 and later versions do NOT need to be on the first partition to boot (contrary to popular belief). If the Windows partition changes (i.e. if you add a partition before the Windows partition), you will need to edit the Windows Template:Filename file to reflect the change (see this article for details on how to do that).

If Windows is located on another hard disk, the map command must be used. This will make your Windows install think it is actually on the first drive. Assuming that your Windows partition is on the first partition of the second drive: Template:File

Dual booting with GNU/Linux

This can be done the same way that an Arch Linux install is defined. For example: Template:File

Note: There may be other options that are required, and an initial RAM disk may not be used. Examine the other distribution's Template:Filename to match boot options, or see #chainloader and configfile (recommended).

Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline

To facilitate system maintenance, the Template:Codeline or Template:Codeline command should be used to boot another Linux distribution that provides an "automagic" GRUB configuration mechanism (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE). This allows the distribution to manage its own Template:Filename and boot options.

  • The Template:Codeline command will load another bootloader (rather than a kernel image); useful if another bootloader is installed in a partition's boot sector (GRUB, for example). This allows one to install a "main" instance of GRUB to the MBR and distribution-specific instances of GRUB to each partition boot record (PBR).
  • The Template:Codeline command will instruct the currently running GRUB instance to load the specified configuration file. This can be used to load another distribution's Template:Filename without a separate GRUB installation. The caveat of this approach is that other Template:Filename may not be compatible with the installed version of GRUB; some distributions heavily patch their versions of GRUB.

For example, GRUB is to be installed to the MBR and some other bootloader (be it GRUB or LILO) is already installed to the boot sector of Template:Codeline.

|   |           |           |   %           |
| M |           |           | B %           |
| B |  (hd0,0)  |  (hd0,1)  | L %  (hd0,2)  |
| R |           |           |   %           |
|   |           |           |   %           |
  |                           ^
  |       chainloading        |

One can simply include in Template:Filename:

title Other Linux
root (hd0,2)
chainloader +1

Or, if the bootloader on Template:Codeline is GRUB:

title Other Linux
root (hd0,2)
configfile /boot/grub/menu.lst

The Template:Codeline command can also be used to load the MBR of a second drive:

title Other drive
rootnoverify (hd1)
chainloader +1

Dual booting with GNU/Linux (Grub2)

If the other Linux distribution uses Grub2 (e.g. Ubuntu 9.10+), and you installed its boot loader to its root partition, you can add an entry like this one to your Template:Filename: Template:File

Selecting this entry at boot will load the other distribution's Grub2 menu assuming that the distribution is installed on Template:Filename.

Bootloader installation

Manual recovery of GRUB libs

The Template:Filename files are expected to be in Template:Filename, which may not be the case if the bootloader was not installed during system installation or if the partition/filesystem was damaged, accidentally deleted, etc.

Manually copy the grub libs like so: Template:Cli

Note: Do not forget to mount the system's boot partition if your setup uses a separate one! The above assumes that either the boot partition resides on the root filesystem or is mounted to /boot on the root file system!

General notes about bootloader installation

GRUB may be installed from a separate medium (e.g. a LiveCD), or directly from a running Arch install. The GRUB bootloader is seldom required to be reinstalled and installation is not necessary when:

  • The configuration file is updated.
  • The GRUB package is updated.

Installation is necessary when:

  • A bootloader is not already installed.
  • Another operating system overwrites the a Linux bootloader.
  • The bootloader fails for some unknown reason.

Before continuing, a few notes:

  • Be sure that your GRUB configuration is correct (Template:Filename) before proceeding. Refer to #Finding GRUB's root to ensure your devices are defined correctly.
  • GRUB must be installed on the MBR (first sector of the hard disk), or the first partition of the first storage device to be recognized by most BIOS's. To allow individual distributions the ability to manage their own GRUB menus, multiple instances of GRUB can be used, see #chainloader and configfile.
  • Installing the GRUB bootloader may need to be done from within a Template:Codelineed environment (i.e. from installed environment via a separate medium) for cases like RAID configurations or if you forgot/broke your GRUB installation. You will need to Change Root from a LiveCD or another Linux installation to do so.

First, enter the GRUB shell:


Use the Template:Codeline command with the output from the Template:Codeline command (see #Finding GRUB's root) to instruct GRUB which partition contains stage1 (and therefore, Template:Filename):


Tip: The GRUB shell also supports tab-completion. If you type 'root (hd' then press Tab twice you will see the available storage devices, this can also be done for partitions. Tab-completion also works from the GRUB boot menu. If there is an error in your configuration file you can edit in the boot menu and use tab-completion to help find devices and partitions. See #Edit GRUB entries in the boot menu.

Installing to the MBR

The following example installs GRUB to the MBR of the first drive:


Installing to a partition

The following example installs GRUB to the first partition of the first drive:


After running Template:Codeline, enter Template:Codeline to exit the shell. If you chrooted, exit your chroot and unmount partitions. Now reboot to test.

Alternate method (grub-install)

Tip: This procedure is known to be less reliable, the recommended method is to use the GRUB shell.

Use the Template:Codeline command followed by the location to install the bootloader. For example to install the GRUB bootloader to the MBR of the first drive:


GRUB will indicate whether it successfully installs. If it does not, you will have to use the GRUB shell method.

Tips and tricks

Additional configuration notes.

Graphical boot

For those desiring eye candy, see grub-gfx. GRUB2 also offers enhanced graphical capabilities, such as background images and bitmap fonts.

Framebuffer resolution

One can use the resolution given in the Template:Filename, but you might want to use your LCD wide-screen at its full native resolution. Here is what you can do to achieve this:

On Wikipedia, there is a list of extended framebuffer resolutions (i.e. beyond the ones in the VBE standard). But, for example, the one I want to use for 1440x900 (Template:Codeline) does not work. This is because the graphic card manufacturers are free to choose any number they wish, as this is not part of the VBE 3 standard. This is why these codes change from one card to the other (possibly even for the same manufacturer).

So instead of using that table, you can use one of the tools mentioned below to get the correct code:

GRUB recognized value

This is an easy way to find the resolution code using only GRUB itself.

On the kernel line, specify that the kernel should ask you which mode to use.

kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/sda1 ro vga=ask

Now reboot. GRUB will now present a list of suitable codes to use and the option to scan for even more.

You can pick the code you would like to use (do not forget it, it is needed for the next step) and boot using it.

Now replace ask in the kernel line with the correct one you have picked.

e.g. the kernel line for [369] 1680x1050x32 would be:

kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/sda1 ro vga=0x369


  1. Install Template:Package Official from [community].
  2. Run Template:Codeline as root.
  3. Pick up the code corresponding to the desired resolution.
  4. Use the 6 digit code with 0x prefix in Template:Codeline kernel option in Template:Filename. Or convert it to decimal to avoid the use of 0x prefix.

Example output of hwinfo:

Mode 0x0364: 1440x900 (+1440), 8 bits
Mode 0x0365: 1440x900 (+5760), 24 bits

And the kernel line:

kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/sda1 ro vga=0x0365
Note: vbetest gives you VESA mode to which we need to add 512 to get the correct value to use in kernel option line. While hwinfo gives you directly the correct value needed by the kernel.


  1. Install the Template:Package AUR package from the AUR that contains the vbetest tool (x86_64 users will need to use #hwinfo above).
  2. Run Template:Codeline as root
  3. Then note the number in [ ] corresponding to your desired resolution.
  4. Press 'q' to quit vbetest interactive prompt.
    1. As an option, in a console as root, you can test the mode you just picked up by running Template:Codeline and see a pattern like this one
  5. Add 512 to the discovered value picked up above and use the total value to define the Template:Codeline parameter in the kernel options of Template:Filename.
  6. Reboot to enjoy the result

For example vbetest on one computer:

[356] 1440x900 (256 color palette)
[357] 1440x900 (8:8:8)

So here the number you want is 357. Then, 357 + 512 = 869, so you will use vga=869. Add your value to the end of the kernel line in Template:Filename as shown below:

kernel /vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/sda1 ro vga=869
  • (8:8:8) is for 24-bit color (24bit is 32bit)
  • (5:6:5) is for 16-bit color
  • (5:5:5) is for 15-bit color

Naming by label

If you alter (or plan to alter) partition sizes from time to time, you might want to consider defining your drive/partitions by a label. You can label ext2, ext3, ext4 partitions by:

e2label </dev/drive|partition> label

The label name can be up to 16 characters long but cannot have spaces for GRUB to understand it. Then define it in your Template:Filename:

kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/Arch_Linux ro

Password protection

You can enable password protection in the GRUB configuration file for operating systems you wish to have protected. Bootloader password protection may be desired if your BIOS lacks such functionality and you need the extra security.

First, choose a password you can remember and then encrypt it:

# grub-md5-crypt
Retype password:

Then add your password to the beginning of the GRUB configuration file (the password must be at the beginning of the configuration file for GRUB to be able to recognize it):

# general configuration
timeout   5
default   0
color light-blue/black light-cyan/blue

password --md5 $1$ZOGor$GABXUQ/hnzns/d5JYqqjw

Then for each operating system you wish to protect, add the Template:Codeline command:

# (0) Arch Linux
title  Arch Linux
root   (hd0,1)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-linux root=/dev/disk/by-label/Arch_Linux ro
initrd /boot/initramfs-linux.img
Warning: If you disable booting from other boot devices (like a CD drive) in the BIOS's settings and then password protect all your operating system entries, it could be difficult to re-enable booting back into the operating systems if the password is forgotten.

Restart with named boot choice

If you realize that you often need to switch to some other non-default OS (e.g. Windows) having to reboot and wait for the GRUB menu to appear is tedious. GRUB offers a way to record your OS choice when restarting instead of waiting for the menu, by designating a temporary new default which will be reset as soon as it has been used.

Supposing a simple Template:Filename setup like this:


Arch is the default (0). We want to restart in to Windows. Change Template:Codeline to Template:Codeline -- this will record the current default in a Template:Filename file in the GRUB directory whenever the savedefault command is used. Now add the line Template:Codeline to the bottom of the Windows entry. Whenever Windows is booted, it will reset the default to Arch, thus making changing the default to Windows temporary.

Now all that is needed is a way to easily change the default manually. This can be accomplished using the command Template:Codeline. So, to reboot into Windows, enter the following command:


For ease of use, you might to wish to implement the "Allow users to shutdown fix" (including Template:Filename amongst the commands the user is allowed to issue without supplying a password).

LILO and GRUB interaction

If the LILO package is installed on your system, remove it with


as some tasks (e.g. kernel compilation using Template:Codeline) will make a LILO call, and LILO will then be installed over GRUB. LILO may have been included in your base system, depending on your installer media version and whether you selected/deselected it during the package selection stage.

Note: pacman -R lilo will not remove LILO from the MBR if it has been installed there; it will merely remove the lilo package. The LILO bootloader installed to the MBR will be overwritten when GRUB (or another bootloader) is installed over it.

GRUB boot disk

First, format a floppy disk:

 fdformat /dev/fd0
 mke2fs /dev/fd0

Now mount the disk:

 mount -t ext2 /dev/fd0 /mnt/fl

Install GRUB to the disk:

 grub-install --root-directory=/mnt/fl '(fd0)'

Copy your Template:Filename file to the disk:

 cp /boot/grub/menu.lst /mnt/fl/boot/grub/menu.lst

Now unmount your floppy:

 umount /mnt/fl

Now you should be able to restart your computer with the disk in the drive and it should boot to GRUB. Make sure that your floppy disk is set to have higher priority than your hard drive when booting in your BIOS first, of course.

See also: Super GRUB Disk

Advanced Debugging

Content moved to Boot_Debugging


GRUB Error 17

The first check to do is to unplug any external drive. Seems obvious, but sometimes we get tired ;)

If your partition table gets messed up, an unpleasant "GRUB error 17" message might be the only thing that greets you on your next reboot. There are a number of reasons why the partition table could get messed up. Commonly, users who manipulate their partitions with GParted -- particularly logical drives -- can cause the order of the partitions to change. For example, you delete Template:Filename and resize Template:Filename, then finally re-create what used to be Template:Filename only now it appears at the bottom of the list, Template:Filename for example. Although the physical order of the partitions/logical drives has not changed, the order in which they are recognized has changed.

Fixing the partition table is easy. Boot from your Arch CD/DVD/USB, login as root and fix the partition table:

# fdisk /dev/sda

Once in disk, enter e[x]tra/expert mode, [f]ix the partition order, then [w]rite the table and exit.

You can verify that the partition table was indeed fixed by issuing an Template:Codeline. Now you just need to fix GRUB. See the #Bootloader installation section above.

Basically you need to tell GRUB the correct location of your Template:Filename then re-write grub to the MBR on the disk.

For example:

# grub
grub> root (hd0,6)
grub> setup (hd0)
grub> quit

See [this page] for a more in-depth summary of this section.

/boot/grub/stage1 not read correctly

If you see this error message while trying to setup grub and you are not using a fresh partition table, it is worth checking it.

# fdisk -l /dev/sda

This will show you the partition table for /dev/sda. So check here, whether the "Id" values of your partitions are correct. The "System" column will show you the description of the "Id" values.

If your boot partition is marked as being "HPFS/NTFS", for example, then you have to change it to "Linux". To do this, go to fdisk,

# fdisk /dev/sda

change a partition's system id with [t], select you partition number and type in the new system id (Linux = 83). You can also list all available system ids by typing "L" instead of a system id.

If you have changed a partitions system id, you should [v]erify your partition table and then [w]rite it.

Now try to setup grub again.

[Here] is the forum post reporting this problem.

Accidental install to a Windows partition

If you accidentally install GRUB to a Windows partition, GRUB will write some information to the boot sector of the partition, erasing the reference to the Windows bootloader. (This is true for NTLDR the bootloader for Windows XP and earlier, unsure about later versions).

To fix this you will need to use the Windows Recovery Console for your Windows release. Because many computer manufacturers do not include this with their product (many choose to use a recovery partition) Microsoft has made them available for download. If you use XP, look at this page to be able to turn the floppy disks to a Recovery CD. Boot the Recovery CD (or enable Windows Recovery mode) and run Template:Codeline to repair the partition boot sector. After this, you will have to install GRUB again---this time, to the MBR, not to the Windows partition---to boot Linux.

See further discussion here.

Edit GRUB entries in the boot menu

Once you have selected and entry in the boot menu, you can edit it by pressing key Template:Keypress. Use tab-completion if you need to to discover devices then Template:Keypress to exit. Then you can try to boot by pressing Template:Keypress.

Note: These settings will not be saved.

device.map error

If an error is raised mentioning Template:Filename during installation or boot, run:

# grub-install --recheck /dev/sda

to force GRUB to recheck the device map, even if it already exists. This may be necessary after resizing partitions or adding/removing drives.

KDE reboot pull-down menu fails

If you have opened a sub-menu with the list of all operating systems configured in GRUB, selected one, and upon restart, you still booted your default OS, then you might want to check if you have the line:

default saved

in Template:Filename.

GRUB fails to find or install to any virtio /dev/vd* or other non-BIOS devices

I had trouble installing GRUB while installing Arch Linux in an virtual KVM machine using a virtio device for hard drive. To install GRUB, I figured out the following: Enter a virtual console by typing Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress + Template:Keypress or any other F-key for a free virtual console. This assumes that your root file system is mounted in the folder Template:Filename and the boot file system is either mounted or stored in the folder Template:Filename.

1. Assure that all needed GRUB files is present in your boot directory (assuming it is mounted in Template:Filename folder), by issuing the command:

# ls /mnt/boot/grub

2. If the Template:Filename folder already contains all the needed files, jump to step 3. Otherwise, do the following commands (replacing Template:Codeline, Template:Codeline and Template:Codeline with the real paths and file names). You should also have the Template:Filename file written to this folder:

# mkdir -p /mnt/boot/grub                # if the folder is not yet present
# cp -r /boot/grub/stage1 /boot/grub/stage2 /mnt/boot/grub
# cp -r your_kernel your_initrd /mnt/boot

3. Start the GRUB shell with the following command:

# grub --device-map=/dev/null

4. Enter the following commands. Replace Template:Codeline, and Template:Codeline with the correct device and partition corresponding to your setup.

device (hd0) /dev/vda
root (hd0,0)
setup (hd0)

5. If GRUB reports no error messages you probably are done.

External resources