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Booting direct to Grub command line after RH 9 up2date

Posted on 2004-04-04
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I've been tinkering with Linux for a while but still consider myself a newbie. I have a dual boot box with RH 9.0 and Win XP. Both OS's resided quite happily together and boot selection was through GRUB. Recently I decided to run RH's Up2date to bring all packages up to date. The process ran without problems, except that now the box boots directly to the GRUB command line, and from there I could not bring up either OS (tried  kernel /vmlinuz-xx.xx.xx-xx but get file not found error).  Reinstalling RH 9 brings me back to a dual boot system that works fine again (no impact on XP OS), but when I try Up2date again I have the same problem. Any help would be appreciated. ...B
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Question by:bbrohan
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by:Karl Heinz Kremer
ID: 10753621
First, create a boot floppy. You may need this when you hose your system again.
I doubt that anther up2date will destroy your system again. The up2date process is usually pretty stable - and well tested - (I'm no longer using RedHat, but during the time I used it, I never run into any problems).

It's strange that you were not able to manually boot the system. Did you change anything in the partitioning of the system?
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by:da99rmd
ID: 10755485
To make a boot disk you can use the program mkbootdisk:
mkbootdisk --device /dev/fd0 (kernel version ex. 2.4.20)

Then se so that the grub.conf is right after the up2date, if there have been changes to the config or that the stmtax changed. Then you probobly have a grub.conf.rpmsave file that the rpm program have made for you.
So do a up2date and then check so that the correct conf file is the one that runs.

/Rob
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by:Gns
ID: 10755956
Or do the up2date in increments, saving the kernel update for last. This way you'll be sure to have "fresh tools" when you get to the crucial part.

Could you tell us a bit about the HD (size, partitioning etc ... "fdisk -l" is your friend:-)?
Even though grub generally have very little problems with large drives, it can have. And then it'll behave exactly as you say yours did. LILO would (sometimes erroneously) flag for such problems... The good bit with LILO. The bad LILO thing is of course that it is slightly more prone to have large disk issues.

So tell us more, and perhaps we'll be able to pinpoint it.

-- Glenn
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by:da99rmd
ID: 10756155
Yes, disable the kernel update for last by doing a :
up2date-config
and on the skip list add "kernel*" then do the update and try to reboot(Just dont forget the bootdisk first).

After thet you can try removing the skip list entry and install a new kernel(remove the old kernel and src if you dont need it any more).

/Rob
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by:Gns
ID: 10756480
Nah Rob, keep the old kernel around, at least until you've booted the new one without problem... Then it's just rpm -e to your hearts content:-). Sort of like a "failsafe" option:-):-).

-- Glenn
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Accepted Solution

by:
stepgr earned 250 total points
ID: 10774618
Try this:
1.  save the file /boot/grub/menu.lst BEFORE updating your system
2. After the update and BEFORE rebooting restore this file in the same location
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by:bbrohan
ID: 10802267
stepgr,

It worked! Can you throw some insight (for your 250 points!) into how you came to the solution. Do I need top go through this procedure ever time I run up2date?

Thanks ... Bren
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by:Gns
ID: 10811492
Uhm, I wouldn't be so quick in declaring that it worked... In all likelyhood, you're now running the old kernel (again:-), with no provision for booting the new (updated) kernel... See, this is why you really can't "update" a kernel: You need keep the old one around long enough to be sure the upgrade actually works.
The "update package" will rewrite your grub config (menu.lst file) to make the main "linux" entries use the latest kernel (which likely has crucial bug/security fixes) while keeping an entry for the previous (still installed) kernel(s). This is prudent.
In your case, something in this proicess seems to have ... malfunctioned... more seriously:-).
Having a "guraranteed to work" bootfloppy around, or using rescue mode to "reinstall" or "adjust" grub would be a better plan.

-- Glenn
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by:Gns
ID: 10811530
BTW, by the end of april RedHat will drop RH Linux like a dead fish (meaning the will disscontinue the support of it (bugfixes/errata)). The bits that would have become RH10 is now in the hands of the Fedora project (this is more like the RawHide thing they (RH) used to have for testing), while RH focuses solely on their purely commercial distribution (RedHat Enterprise Linux... RHEL for short).
So you should perhaps consider moving to something a bit more ... supported;).
I'm a big Mandrake fan (http://www.mandrakelinux.com), but if you want to stay with RedHat (in a way) you might consider either the slightly less stable Fedora core distro (http://fedora.redhat.com/), or the "built from the same source as RHEL" distro Whitebox Linux (http://www.whiteboxlinux.org).

-- Glenn
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by:stepgr
ID: 10811943
>>Uhm, I wouldn't be so quick in declaring that it worked... In all likelyhood, you're now running >>the old kernel (again:-), with no provision for booting the new (updated) kernel... See, this is >>why you really can't "update" a kernel: You need keep the old one around long enough to be >>sure the upgrade actually works.

Why up2date installs a newer kernel ?  (Or an updated version of the existing one ?)

>>It worked! Can you throw some insight (for your 250 points!) into how you came to the solution. >>Do I need top go through this procedure ever time I run up2date?

I just thought that it might not produce a correct  menu.lst file  after the update. If you examine
this file with an editor u  might be able to understand  what is wrong. If you aren't experienced
enough with grub then post both files (before and after the up2date procedure) and I might be able to tell you what's wrong .

You might have to upgrade you distribution to fedora if you want to be up2date because
as gns stated they stopped supporting RedHat 9 and they are focused on Advanced Server
only, so the updates are probably not very well tested ..... (another option is to try another
distribution such as Debian if you take risks :) or even Knoppix which is REALLY GOOD ;)
if you're new to the linux world )

George
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by:Gns
ID: 10812024
> Why up2date installs a newer kernel ?  (Or an updated version of the existing one ?)
"update" is a relative thing, George:-). Yes, up2date _installs_ a _new_ kernel, retaining the previous kernel(s) as separate menu.lst entries.
And you're probably right... It probably just failed in the editing of menu.lst ... Not a reason to revert to the previous menu.lst though (although this is sure to boot), but more like a situation where a floppy/rescue boot and manual edit would be called for...As you say yourself...
And knoppix would be perfect for doing that, no argument there:-)

-- Glenn
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