Author Topic: problems installing  (Read 7772 times)

superwow

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problems installing
« on: January 26, 2014, 03:42:51 AM »
I was lured here by VastOne's copious detailed posts on #! forums - I feel compelled to experience VO's nix spin. But I am having problems. I have tried installing 64 bit from usb drive (which live boots fine, though never got either 32 or 64 to work in VirtualBox). After first formatting both HDD and SSD in my laptop (HP Envy 4) using Gparted, I then installed, making sure to put / and * on the SSD. I have tried several times but booting sans USB always gives "no bootable disks" message.

More info: this notebook has just now come from a romp through #!, MSW7, Lubuntu, and now VSIDO. I chose Lubuntu because I have a strict IT department at work who does not want either #!, VSIDO, or other downstream OS's but will permit the bigger "primary" linux distros (they have a short list) and I was building a #! like Openbox session to load at work. This is only important because I have the feeling the Ubuntu installer may do something with the MBR, grub, or something else.

I am not sure if I need to fix MBR or grub, or if that is even relevant in this instance.

Any advices?

lwfitz

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2014, 04:34:02 AM »
First of all superwow, welcome to VSIDO!

Im assuming that when you installed you selected to install grub to your ssd? MAke sure the ssd is set as your first bootable device and not the other drive.

VastOne

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2014, 04:35:39 AM »
Hi superwow.. welcome to the forum and thank you for the kind words and for giving VSIDO a tryout...

What option did you choose for grub when you installed VSIDO?  To put it on the MBR or it's own drive?

Since you already have a grub, I would install VSIDO and tell it to install grub to it's own partition (an option) and then go into your existing grub and do a grub-update and it should find it...


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jedi

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2014, 05:04:34 AM »
First, make sure your USB is good by downloading, and then creating the LiveUSB, making sure to follow these directions; http://vsido.org/index.php?topic=10.msg14#msg14
It sounds as if you've already successfully gotten this far!  Going through with what I've written below, will ENSURE that you've disabled and irretrievably lost the ability to boot your system in UEFI/Secure Boot mode, and unless you have a good recovery DVD or backup of some kind, you will not easily be able to fix this.  (if at all!!! So do the following at your own risk.  You've stated you work in an IT dept. so this is "assuming" your knowledge level is probably higher than someone who just bought a Best Buy laptop and is trying Linux for the first time)

Once your sure you've got a good downloaded ISO that is properly dd'd to the USB, I would Live boot and use the gparted tool that comes with the VSIDO installer to totally rebuild the hdd or ssd your going to install VSIDO on.  By this, I mean deleting all partitions, creating a new disk using the default setting (msdos) and not GPT.  This will make life much simpler and the only drawback to the msdos partitioning scheme, is the 2 TB limit to hdd's.  GPT allows for much larger drives.  (Only real benefit of it I know of)  Yes there are more such as specific block alignment stuff and things that are beyond the scope of this 'hopefully', helpful post.

I would then create three (3) new partitions, one for root (/), and one for home (/home), and one for your swap partition.  I usually allow 20 Gb's for the root drive, (though this is huge overkill, I have the space, and I know I'll never fill the root directory by making it this large.  I would say a minimum size of 5Gb's for root (/) and if you have the space, at least 10Gb) and using the rest of the drive space for /home and swap.  Personally, my feeling on swap is, if you have 8Gb's or more of RAM, the swap is NOT needed.  If you do need to create a swap partition, (the VSIDO installer offers both ways, with swap or without swap) use your best judgment for how big you'd like it to be.  At this point your physical hdd's/ssd's should be ready for a VSIDO full install.  Make note that you can and should install swap to the hdd and not the ssd.

As to not being able to find the installed system at boot, make sure the correct disk is selected in your BIOS as the bootable disk.  Other things to check in BIOS would be to insure that "Secure Boot" is disabled, and that the BIOS is set to "Legacy" mode, and not UEFI.  (on some machines this is done by ENABLING the "CSM" feature in your BIOS)  I'm not 100% certain, but I believe there are issues with a GPT partitioned hdd being 'seen' by Legacy enabled BIOS.  (thus the instructions above to delete the current partitions and drives, and start over with the "Default" partition scheme which is msdos, and not GPT)

Remember this is written with me having to "assume" a lot of things about your system.  I have successfully done a GPT install on an EFI enabled BIOS laptop.  I would not recommend it to anyone at this point in time.  If though, in your BIOS, it is trying to find the UEFI boot partition, this would be one reason it is not finding a bootable disk in your system, and why you would need to choose to enable booting in "Legacy" mode.  The "Secure Boot" feature in BIOS is 'specifically' designed for booting UEFI/GPT systems and if it is enabled, the system will NOT boot.

Currently UEFI/Secure Boot mode is handled by a small FAT32 partition situated at the beginning of the first bootable drive in a system.  In order for VSIDO to be installed, you must be sure you have overwritten this part of the hdd. (ssd)  Otherwise, after a fresh install of VSIDO, on reboot your BIOS will first look at the beginning of the disk, see the FAT32 partition with the UEFI information on it, and conclude that there is no 'bootable' drive to start.

All of the above will definitely overwrite and destroy any MBR you have on your laptop!  It WILL destroy any of the current OS's you have installed.  VSIDO boots using Grub2.  The VSIDO installer relies on Remastersys, which in turn depends upon Grub2.  There is no getting around this at the time of this writing.

Another thing to note, your strict IT dept. allows 'some' of the bigger 'primary' Linux distros.  This would definitely describe VSIDO, (as well as #!) as it is wholly built upon Debian, which to my knowledge is the biggest Linux of them all!

One more thing to note, during the install process it will ask you where you want to install Grub to.  If what you've said above is true, then your laptop will ONLY have VSIDO installed, so when choosing where to install Grub2 to, choose the MBR selection.

If you need any further help just let us know.  Good luck and I know you'll really enjoy VSIDO...
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superwow

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2014, 07:11:54 PM »
Thanks to @VastOne, @Jedi, & @lwfitz for the response. To answer a couple of questions,

1) I completely wiped both drives first with gparted. Did this several times from VSIDO and #! USBs. It seems to me this should have wiped out both Windows and Lubuntu with heavy overkill. After wiping, I initiated the installation.

2) In the installation process I placed both / and * on the SSD. I tried placing /home there too, but when I did so, of course, / went a way. My intention is to leave / and /home on the same disk, and then symlink to the 500 gb drive after install. How can I place both / and /home on the same disk, the SSD, using VSIDO installer?

3) Regarding GRUB, this may be where the install fails. I read the VSIDO Installation Guide and there is clearly a GRUB step in it, but I do not recall seeing it during my install. This may be the culprit here.

4) BIOS. I did not actively do anything to BIOS on any of my installs (#!, *buntus, MSW7, VSIDO, etc) but perhaps the *buntu installers can affect it?). I will check.

What I will do is re-download VSIDO & rebuild the USB drive first. And then reinstall with / to SSD and home to the 500 gb HDD and pay attention for a GRUB step. I will report back in after that (and a little time at the beach hehe).

NOTES: my IT department wants only distros that pull sources directly from their approved list of Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Suse, RHL, and CentOS (seems like there is another but cannot remember, and they are still debating Scientific ?!?!). They said #! was out of the question since it had modified packages and used an old insecure kernel; they recommend a vanilla Openbox Debian install if that’s what I want. If I need to I can try that at some point, but I need to romp a bit with VSIDO first. It surprises me they approve *buntu though, what with all the user tracking. After the install I will check the sources list for VSIDO since that is one of the things they will ask me for. They are ok with pulling configuration files from various distros but leaving sources and packages unmodified.

Digit

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2014, 10:15:23 PM »
Quote
both / and *
is "*" your shorthand for swap?  that's quite iregular.  havnt seen that before.  if not, i wonder it that may be the source of your issue.

my suggestion would be KISS [keep it simple stupid]

just a small partition for swap, and leave the rest of the space for the / (root) partition which will contain all else you need without any extra effort on your part.

if that still throws up issues....

jedi

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2014, 10:16:39 PM »
When it gets to the point of installing Grub, you'll have (I think) 3 choices.  The first one is the one you want to choose.  Install Grub to the MBR.  Let us know...

Not sure what you are referring to when you say * as a partition...  If you just put / and /home on the ssd, you should be good to go with the rest of the install.  At that point, the next time you boot into your new install, you can then do whatever you need to the 500Gb hdd.
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VastOne

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2014, 10:19:19 PM »
The sources is the following

Code: [Select]
## Official Debian Repos ##


deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ sid main non-free contrib
deb-src http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ sid main non-free contrib


## Unofficial Repos ##

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian/ experimental main non-free contrib
deb http://www.deb-multimedia.org sid main non-free
deb http://mozilla.debian.net/ experimental iceweasel-aurora

You could probably comment out the last two and safely pass your IT dept... VSIDO is debian, and not additional repo or packaging
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superwow

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2014, 02:49:45 AM »
All, thanks again for the comments and help. I have tried a few more times, and sadly no joy. Here's an update with details.

1. BIOS details first: BIOS is set to legacy and Secure Boot is disabled.

2. I tried installing a few more times with the previously burned USB, making sure to actively place /, /home, grub, and MBR (which I referred to as *, because I had just been looking at fstab which uses a * for boot, sorry to confuse). I placed MBR, /, and grub on sdb (my 32 gb SSD). /home is on sda (500gb HDD).

Incidentally, 'Install with Swap' option in the fluxbox menu does nothing, or, tries because it cannot see the on of the disks, usually the swap or the SSD. 'Install VSIDO' lets me install a swap, which I did, a 2.5 gb swap on the SSD.

3. When that did not work, I wiped and recreated the USB on a Mac host. For the record, here are terminal commands for Mac, assuming VSIDO.iso (generic naming) is in ~/Downloads:

Code: [Select]
diskutil list # run without usb drive inserted
diskutil list # run after usb drive inserted, pick usb drive, for me was /dev/disk1
sudo disutil unmount /dev/disk1
sudo dd if=~/Downloads/VSIDO.iso of=/dev/disk1 bs=1m
# wait a few minutes till done
sudo diskutil unmountDisk /dev/disk1


4. I tried formatting the 2 drives as ext4 and installling per #2 above. No joy. I then tried formatting the 2 drives as fat32. When entering the installation wizard, I then formatted as ext4, adding boot flag and adding grub to sdb. The interesting thing about formatting the disks as fat32, then installing via wizard, is that an xterm popped up that time with grub install IO; based on that, I guess grub install worked. Alas, no joy. Booting back into USB, I ran 'sudo grub-install /dev/sdb' per VO's http://vsido.org/index.php?topic=8.msg12#msg12 Grub2Meth post. Also, no joy. Actually, output was 'Path `/boot/grub' is not readable by GRUB on boot. Installation is impossible. Aborting.' I am thinking this is important and reading now on its meaning. As to what next to do, questions remain, so read on....

5. Boot flags (in gparted)? What should the boot flags be on sdb (my 32 gb SSD where / is)? 'boot', 'bios_grub', or 'legacy_grub'? I chose 'boot' but this could be miserably wrong.

Further advice and handholdings are appreciated :D

6. IT: I am not an IT professional. I am a scientist, no formal OS/codewarez trainings. I have nearly always had linux machines at work, which are maintained by government / corporate linux maesters with hallowed policies, am no stranger to the CLI or complex software coding to accomplish data analysis. Architecture & install problems though are out of my comfort zone a tad. In the case of VSIDO, I am guessing IT may be permissive, unless they don't want Sid, or I don't take them enough bacon, kolaches, doughnuts, etc. Their decision will probably be based on minimizing risk to the corporation? or Roll d20?

Back to the fun, what am I missing with this install? This machine has happily hosted various nixes and multiple MSW7 installs with nary a wry look.

lwfitz

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2014, 08:32:46 PM »
If the install seems to be ok and you don't see an error when grub is installing then I would tend to lean towards a bios setting.
I know you said you didnt change anything in the bios except setting it to legacy boot but have you tried manually booting to the ssd? Maybe double check that the drive where grub is installed is set to your first boot option? Maybe boot to a live disc and make sure that you have the boot flag set on your install drive?

Also, on some machines its more than just setting to legacy boot. Double check that theres not a force bios option or anything enabled for windows 8.

Can you remove the secondary drive? This would help to figure out if it is the bios messing you up or if its a software issue. You dont have an external drive connected that it might have installed grub too? Or that its trying to boot too?

superwow

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #10 on: January 31, 2014, 02:56:19 AM »
@lwfitz I have followed your suggestions (sorry for the delay, work & life are happening) and here’s what I’ve got:

1. Top priority in BIOS was set to Boot from USB. Changing boot order in BIOS, moving Boot OS from Hard Drive up to higher priority over Boot from USB, for both Legacy and EFI sections, does nothing, same error message.

2. This machine never had MSW8 but instead had MSW7. I am not sure if that detail is relevant but I seem to recall reading their pre-OS environs are different. But regarding your MSW8 comment, how would I go about checking the 'force bios' option? <Also, I got the laptop to boot before into #! and also Lubuntu, so, could it have changed without me changing it? say, after a Lubuntu install?>

3. The SSD and HDD are both internal to the notebook and cannot be removed without me disemboweling my laptop, typical HP Ultrabook configuration. There is actually a 500 gb HDD, a 32 gb SSD for the OS, and a non-accessible 32 gb SSD, only visible or accessible from MSW7.

According to the interwebz (Arch, Manjaro, Ubuntu fora), looks like this problem comes up from time to time and lots of head scratching and speculation but without a technical resolution other than to reinstall MSW and then wipe the disk and reinstall nix-of-choice. I may have to resort to that. Or the supergrub option linked in your signature.



jedi

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 02:27:39 PM »
And that post was the winner!  Please read this entire post before making a decision!  Sounds like you have a 64Gb SSD drive of which half is dedicated to Windows 7 being able to boot using UEFI/EFI.  This can be overcome, but at the cost of losing the ability to get Windows 7 installed again.  That non-accessible 32Gb SSD has the small EFI boot sector I mentioned in my earlier/first post.  This will not be overcome without eliminating it (and possibly even deleting it as one of the "boot options" in BIOS, as there maybe a 'pointer' to it in the BIOS.)

This is not as scary as it sounds.  I have had this particular problem myself, and as you report, is fairly common on some of the web forums.

(If indeed you are ready to forsake, forever, (on this particular laptop) Windows 7, there is a pretty simple solution.  You'll need to create an ISO from the Gparted Partition utility found here.  Create a liveUSB image with it basically the same as you did with the VSIDO ISO image.)

Remember this same tool is already available via the VSIDO LiveUSB you've already created, so the above is probably not needed, unless, after this attempt it still fails.

Once booted into the VSIDO LiveUSB, open a terminal and "sudo su" to get to a 'root' prompt.  (from the Live Session, I don't think you'll need a password for that ability)  Type in 'gparted'.  Peruse the available drives by clicking on the drop down menu at the top right of the Gparted utility.  You "SHOULD" see that pesky Windows 7 32Gb portion of the SSD, and from there, be able to delete it.  If not, you may also have to (from the same root prompt in terminal) type in "disk-manager" and put a check mark next to the hidden 32Gb partition to get it to appear in Gparted.  WARNING!(THIS WILL RESULT IN YOU "NOT" BEING ABLE TO REINSTALL WINDOWS 7 AFAIK!)WARNING!  (perhaps a backup of that partition using a tool such as fsarchiver would eliminate this issue, but I never went that far, as I was never going to use Windows again anyway.  There are some good docs here in the "HowTo" section concerning how to do this with the 'fsarchiver' tool)

Once you've done this little trick, you should be able to continue with VSIDO with no issues.  With the advent of UEFI/EFI in some of todays newer computers, this is an annoyance to anyone trying to install Linux.  MS's way of saying "No *%$^&&#@ way are you ever going to install any other OS than what WE deem is needed by you, for your computer.

That is all there is to it, and once you have eliminated that drive using a partitioning tool, you should be good to go.

Pay heed to the warnings and cautionary statements above as removing that 32Gb's of space removes the EFI info that is trying to make your laptop boot first.  I have no idea why #! or Lubuntu wouldn't have thrown this same issue at you as well.  That is definitely mysterious to me and a little troubling.  I tend to never do things half-way, and would not hesitate to 'break' the laptop by destroying that nasty little 32Gb Windows partition.  (that is what it is)  It is hard for me to imagine HP putting in two separate 32Gb SSD's, thus my above statement about it being one large 64Gb SSD.  SO, that said, I'm once again "assuming" something about your laptop that is just that; an assumption.  It is a fairly common practice today for manufacturers to setup their machines like this in order to be able to label them with the Windows Compatibility stickers that MS requires for Windows 7 or 8 pc's.

Also just remember this little analogy about following guidance off of the Internet.  Today if you have a serious illness, you go to a licensed doctor for a diagnosis and, hopefully, a cure.  The Internet is kind of like the tribal shaman or witch doctor, who blows some smoke on you that smells suspicious, gives you a mixture of an awful tasting herbal/weed/dirt substance to swallow, and tells you your cured.  Two weeks later your dead, or getting something amputated!  OR YOUR CURED!  The wonderful world of the digital age.  It is wise to pick and choose your sources for help.  We try here at the VSIDO forums to always be thorough about advising users.  Unfortunately, we cannot know every detail about your PC and when we tell you to do something to it, it may just start smoking, or indeed, even catch on fire!  I'm just telling you in a round-about way to carefully consider anything you do to your personal equipment on the advice of someone you've never met or heard of!
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Digit

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #12 on: January 31, 2014, 04:18:13 PM »
pesky uefi complicating things.   whatever happened to the good old days of just root, swap, and install grub to the mbr*.  ^_^

*unless it was legacy grub, before we had update-grub, and you had other os u wanted to boot too.   in which case you would want to install grub to the root partition "/"

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #13 on: January 31, 2014, 05:49:05 PM »
Quote
NOTES: my IT department wants only distros that pull sources directly from their approved list of Debian, Ubuntu, Arch, Suse, RHL, and CentOS (seems like there is another but cannot remember, and they are still debating Scientific ?!?!). They said #! was out of the question since it had modified packages and used an old insecure kernel; they recommend a vanilla Openbox Debian install if that’s what I want. If I need to I can try that at some point, but I need to romp a bit with VSIDO first. It surprises me they approve *buntu though, what with all the user tracking. After the install I will check the sources list for VSIDO since that is one of the things they will ask me for. They are ok with pulling configuration files from various distros but leaving sources and packages unmodified.

Your IT doesn't allow #! but they allow Arch? That's downright comical. VSIDO I can understand since Sid is, by Debian's own admission, unstable so it wouldn't pass ant QA/QC you have going on.

Back on topic - I looked up the specs for the HP Envy 4 and it lists the drives as 500gb and 32gb. Hopefully jedi is correct and that 32gb Win7 drive is a hidden partition you can quickly deal with.

Also this from lwfitz -

Quote
Also, on some machines its more than just setting to legacy boot. Double check that theres not a force bios option or anything enabled for windows 8.

be sure to double check that; I ran into that checking out a relative's new computer - doing a dummy install just to see what would be required.
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lwfitz

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Re: problems installing
« Reply #14 on: February 01, 2014, 04:51:16 AM »
^ exactly.

Some new machines that came with windows 8 preinstalled have specific settings in the bios for Windows 8 compatibility or abilities. I'm on Uefi boards and boot with no problem.
If other distros are installing and booting ok then maybe grub is getting installed in the wrong place? Maybe it's installing to /dev/sda but your ssd isn't being labeled as sda?

Also, you could download a super grub disk and use that disk to boot into vsido. From there you can find where grub is installed and make sure it's installed to the correct drive.

Btw Jedi, great post.