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#1 2013-04-14 13:42:03

niftyprose
Member
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 11

Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

Hi chaps, this one started over in the 'newbies' forum but I've posted the second iteration here. I don't think it fits particularly well in either place, but I suspect that the 'dev' group will have a good chance of recognizing the problems.

Background: I'm something of a distro tart, having gone through eight or nine Linuxes over four years. I'm trying to standardize.

One of main working machines is an EeePC 901 with an Phison internal flash drive of 20Gb. Oddly, the drive shows up as two devices, SDA1 (0,0,0, with the bootflag and the system) and SDB1 (0,1,0), although there is in fact only one physical disk. The computer runs OK but I started having problems with file copies to the drive after installing Bodhi a few months back and, when I boot off my reliable fallback Puppy USB stick, I cannot mount SDA1 because of errors. I can boot off a Bodhi stick (although I don't want to!) and a couple of others, too.

I assumed problems with the disk's superblock or MBR or such, and formatted SDA1 (tried with fdisk and dd) so that it showed as unallocated space, then tried to run the Waldorf live USB stick (which I set up as per instructions from the command line). The stick boots other computers, but won't boot the EeePC.

I then made a live CD of Statler and ran the 'LVM guided partitioning' version of install, which failed to copy the system. I started over, this time with the standard disk setup routine -- all files in one partition (SDA1), GRUB at the end. The result is a nice clean Statler install that is running very neatly.

I went back to the Waldorf live USB, figuring that the reinstalled GRUB would have sorted everything out. Same problem as before.

My deduction is that either my old flash drive has reached the end of its useful life, or that something weird is happening involving MBRs, superblocks, GRUB, LILO or whatever. The obvious worry is that the drive will die when I'm on the road and need it for something else. Although I'd be happy to receive any suggestions, I'm inclined to go for a  reliable 'wipe this disk and start over' command, ideally one that sets up the drive as a single 20Gb volume again. LVM doesn't seem well-suited to this operation.

TIA,W.

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#2 2013-04-14 17:38:12

niftyprose
Member
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 11

Re: Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

Hi chaps, sorry, I just did some checking on the 901 and it *is* two physical volumes, not two logical. All other points are still true, and my problems with SDA (or SDA1, if you want to be precise) remain. Best, W.

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#3 2013-04-14 18:30:47

xaos52
The Good Doctor
From: Planet of the @s
Registered: 2011-06-24
Posts: 4,602

Re: Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

Boot into live crunchbang from usb.
Run

sudo gparted

from a terminal window.
Remove any existing partitions from your sdx device - the one you call SDA above.
WARNING: make sure you do this for the correct device. Booting from usb will probably name your usb device sda. Make sure all disk space on it is unallocated.
Then install waldorf again.

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#4 2013-04-14 19:44:17

niftyprose
Member
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 11

Re: Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

Hi again, good doctor,

Done it already, several times -- gparted is one of the first tools I reach for in cases like this. (I said it was a weird one.)

I'm presently considering two options, neither particularly appealing.

The first is to erase the partition from SDA and just leave it, shifting the OS and my working files to SDB (which is working fine). Problem is that I'm already a bit tight for space and would rather not write off the 4Gb of SDA if I can possibly avoid it.

The second is to reformat both SDA and SDB and then use LVM to configure them as a single volume. It's unusual to do this in this kind of context and I'm a bit dubious.

Unless someone has a better idea, I'd appreciate thoughts on (ii).

Best, W.

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#5 2013-04-14 19:48:59

niftyprose
Member
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 11

Re: Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

PS I actually ran gparted from Bodhi live USB, since the #! live USB won't boot (as per posts)

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#6 2013-04-15 08:32:28

xaos52
The Good Doctor
From: Planet of the @s
Registered: 2011-06-24
Posts: 4,602

Re: Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

CAn you mount the partitions that are now on SDA from a live boot?
Maybe the filesystems on them need to be checked? Mounting them will tell you.

And while in live boot, download the bootinfoscript from my sig, make it executable, run it as root and post the RESULTS file on the forum. It will report on anything boot related that it finds on your system.

Last edited by xaos52 (2013-04-15 08:40:21)

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#7 2013-04-15 10:36:20

niftyprose
Member
Registered: 2013-03-24
Posts: 11

Re: Boot issues with live USB (loose fit but please be patient with me)

Thanks, good doctor, will do on the script! But will have to wait while I get some rush work out the door.

Latest updates:
i. EeePC 901's 4Gb/16Gb setup was apparently ex-factory. (They sold in Linux and Windows models, the Windows version being shipped with the system on the 16Gb drive leaving the 4Gb inaccessible.) I can't tell for sure if the machine has two physically separate disk units or some kind of hardware-level tweak on a single 20Gb drive, but I'm inclined to think it's the latter.
ii. I did a manual reinstall after reading up on the 901. I've kept the disk setup but formatted the 4Gb drive as a single ext3 partition -- the default 'swap' added by most distros apparently doesn't help the longevity of Flash drives. New Statler from live CD is working well.
iii. I still can't boot off the Waldorf live USB.

Best, W.

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