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One of the Linux partitions won't boot after changing KB & Mouse (GRUB, HP)

I have a 64bit HP desktop with Windows7, Slackware 12.2 and Slackware 13.  The Slackware 12.2 partition is 32 bit and uses the 2.6.35.1 kernel.  The Slackware 13 partition is 64 bit and uses the 2.6.35.4 version of the kernel.

All was good until my both my wireless kb/mouse combo and powered USB hub apparently died.  So, I connected the USB KB and mouse that came with the computer.  The Slackware 13 partition would not boot.  It had been trying to boot to partitions on sda but the list is provided was for sdb.

I changed fstab to use sdb and then it tried to use sda.  I went back and forth like this without any luck so I used LABEL=Slack_13 in the fstab file and made other changes.  It looks like this now.
UUID=aa07218c-e8ee-410d-a2a9-9fe8c576281c swap             swap        defaults         0   0
LABEL=Slack_13   /                ext3        defaults         1   1
LABEL=HOME64     /home            ext3        defaults         1   2
LABEL=HOME       /home32          ext3        defaults         1   2
LABEL=Slack_12_2 /mnt/root32      ext3        noauto,owner     0   0
#/dev/cdrom      /mnt/cdrom       auto        noauto,owner,ro  0   0
/dev/fd0         /mnt/floppy      auto        noauto,owner     0   0
devpts           /dev/pts         devpts      gid=5,mode=620   0   0
proc             /proc            proc        defaults         0   0
tmpfs            /dev/shm         tmpfs       defaults         0   0

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However, that didn't solve the problem.  I realized that I am using grub and perhaps it needs help too.  Here's the relevant area

# Linux bootable partition config begins
  title Linux on (/dev/sda8)
  root (hd0,7)
  kernel /boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/disk/by-label/SLACK_13 ro vga=773
# Linux bootable partition config ends

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Still didn't work.  Thinking that hd0,7 isn't right for sdb, I tried hd1,7 but grub complained immediately.


Another hint, booted to the 32 bit partition is if I look at /dev/sd*

brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  0 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  1 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda1
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8, 10 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda10
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  2 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda2
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  3 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda3
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  4 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda4
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  5 2011-10-17 22:39 /dev/sda5
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  6 2011-10-17 22:39 /dev/sda6
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  7 2011-10-17 22:39 /dev/sda7
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  8 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda8
brw-rw---- 1 root disk    8,  9 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sda9
brw-rw---- 1 root plugdev 8, 16 2011-10-17 18:39 /dev/sdb

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I'm pretty sure that whatever is sdb is ignored by GRUB but during the boot to64 bit, the device becomes sda.  So, what is it?

If I look at /proc/scsi/scsi, I see
Attached devices:
Host: scsi0 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: ATA      Model: Hitachi HDS72101 Rev: JP4O
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI  SCSI revision: 05
Host: scsi1 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: hp       Model: DVD A  DH16AAL   Rev: LHDE
  Type:   CD-ROM                           ANSI  SCSI revision: 05
Host: scsi4 Channel: 00 Id: 00 Lun: 00
  Vendor: Generic- Model: Compact Flash    Rev: 1.00
  Type:   Direct-Access                    ANSI  SCSI revision: 00

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I don't know what that compact flash is.  I don't have any flash cards or usb drives connected (at least not now).  My guess it's something that HP put in there for their tech support.

Any ideas?

The change the KB, Mouse and USB hub (gone).
                             



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Hugh McCurdy
Asked:
Hugh McCurdy
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2 Solutions
 
PapertripCommented:
This is interesting.

First off, if everything was working fine before, I suggest reverting all those crazy fstab and grub changes ;)

It had been trying to boot to partitions on sda but the list is provided was for sdb.
Sounds like somehow the USB devices have changed the enumeration of your disks in the BIOS.

Keep in mind that BIOS device numbering does not necessarily match what the Linux kernel sees (ie: hd0 might be sdb).  How often that happens these days however I'm not certain.

I think you should either
A.  Use UUID's in your grub.conf for root=
or
B.  Not use the USB input devices.

I should admit I have not seen this happen before, so if another expert has a better solution then please let us know.
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Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
What's the syntax for for using UUID to set root?  I looked in whatever docs I could find and I didn't find.

root ( <UUID> ) ?

I have no choice about the USB input devices.  Like many newer computers, there are no PS/2 ports.

I'd put the flash drive in the blacklist if it wouldn't break any other flash drives.
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PapertripCommented:
I have not done it before, but check out these links.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/debian-26/how-to-use-uuid-on-fstab-and-grub-899157/
https://lists.ubuntu.com/archives/ubuntu-devel-discuss/2008-October/005911.html

Looks pretty straight forward if you already have grub experience, which it appears you do.
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PapertripCommented:
Like many newer computers, there are no PS/2 ports.

Good point ;)
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Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  I'll try that tomorrow.  I have the partition "working" at the moment by plugging in the broken hub but not plugging the "new" KB & Mouse int o it (but instead to USB ports on the computer itself).  Somehow, the broken hub changes the boot so that the HD beats the flashdrive to the punch.

You are correct, I have grub experience.  Anyway, I need some sleep.  Look at it again in the morning.
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Hugh McCurdyAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the help.  I "solved" the problem by buying a new powered USB hub today.   I didn't actually otherwise need it for my desktop (my notebook needed it but back when it was my primary computer).  Anyway, with the powered hub connected it boots just fine.
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