Battle For Installation

I recently came into possession of an ASUS 1225b netbook with Windows 7 installed. It’s a little beat up (the hinge is a goner) but a lot better than the nothing I had before. So, first things first, install Ubuntu.

Easy, right? Not so fast. I reboot and am presented with those horrid spinning balls of color that is the Windows boot screen. What happened, why have the gods of grub forsaken me?

Booting Fedora

My First thought is, of course, install grub manually. So I plug the usb back in and choose to run live. At this point I run into my fist major hiccup, the mouse and keyboard don’t work on 13.10 live. Well there are other live distributions out there.

A quick download and install later and I’m booting to Fedora 20 live … only to have it hang. In vain I Google hoping to feed on the mistakes of those who have come before me, but none came to my rescue. As a last ditch effort, I decide to make a new usb with dd instead of UUI. The system barely fit on my usb so just maybe that created the issue. Only problem is that I do not have a linux installation. Our old friend Google spit out dd for Windows, copy that to system32 and we’re in business.

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dd if=c:\Users\***\Downloads\fedora.iso of=\\.\f:

Plug in the new usb stick and it boots!

Reinstalling grub

Since we have a (presumably) working system installed, the easiest way to install grub is to chroot into Ubuntu and install from there.

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su -
mount /dev/sda6 /mnt
for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys /run; do
    mount --bind $i /mnt$i
done

# For internet access
mv /mnt/etc/resolv.conf /mnt/etc/resolv.conf.old
cp /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/etc/resolv.conf

chroot /mnt

Now to purge and reinstall grub.

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apt-get update
apt-get purge grub-common
apt-get install grub-pc
grub-install /dev/sda
update-grub

Everything looks successful. I cross my finders, reboot … and I’m back to the Windows login screen. No no no, Where did I go wrong!

The fix

I do some more Googling. I bump my head against the desk a few times. I comb through the BIOS looking for anything that would bypass grub. I … wait, there it is! I have two boot options:

  • primary harddisk
  • UEFI: my usb

I was booting the install medium as UEFI. I’m not using UEFI, I do not have a UEFI partition. This must be the problem. Under the boot priority selection there’s harddisk priority selection. Change that to my usb, save & reboot, repeat grub installation, reboot, and voilà!

The moral of the story? Check your boot options before you install.

Epilogue

One last thing, we have to move the resolve file back. I forgot and it took me way to long to realize why I could’t connect on some networks.

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sudo rm /etc/resolv.conf
sudo mv /etc/resolv.conf.old /etc/resolv.conf