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Thread: no bootable device

  1. #1
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    no bootable device

    I have seen some posts with similar title but no one seems to apply to my case. So I'm writing this new post.
    I'm working for a nonprofit organization which recycles personal computers.

    For the last years we have provided hundreds of computers based on Ubuntu (mainly xubuntu).
    Recently we got a set of computers with W7 installed and running. They are using BIOS and msdos partitioning.
    As we install xubuntu-12.04 it isn't possible to get access to grub, getting always the 'no bootable device' message. Even I tested with an old 10.04 but with the same result.

    From CD/DVD you may boot and chrooting you may work with the installed system (xubuntu 12.04) without any problem.
    From this point (my xubuntu system) I reinstalled grub (grub-install) without errors but … the same problem.

    I run Boot-Repair (http://paste.ubuntu.com/6964514/) but … the same problem.
    It seems BIOS doesn't like to look at MBR or MBR is wrong and I (grub-install) can't change it.

    Any help?
    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
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    Re: no bootable device

    Maybe there are already four primary partitions, which fill the MSDOS partition table. This problem is typical for HP computers, and a solution is to remove the HP_TOOLS partition to get 'logical space' and then to shrink the main Windows partition to get disk space.

    After that you can create an extended partition, and inside that create an ext4 partition for Xubuntu's root file system and a swap partition.

    Please post the output of the following commands to get more specific advice

    Code:
    sudo fdisk -lu
    Code:
    sudo parted -l
    try to mount all partitions and then

    Code:
    df

  3. #3
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    Lubuntu 14.10 Utopic Unicorn

    Re: no bootable device

    First of all it would be good if you mentioned what you are trying to achieve. Do you want dual boot or a Xubuntu only system?
    About problems due to upgrading
    Bringing old hardware back to life.
    Please visit Quick Links -> Unanswered Posts

  4. #4
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    Re: no bootable device

    You have an unusual instal as the only primary partition is the extended partition.

    Some BIOS will not let you boot without a boot flag on a primary partition.

    Grub does not use boot flag, so you boot flag on sda6 is not required. Since sda1, the extended partition is a primary partition, I think you can add a boot flag to it and BIOS may then work. But that also is unusual.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  5. #5
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    Re: no bootable device

    sudodus:
    I hope the info you are asking for is on the Boot-Repair report (http://paste.ubuntu.com/6964514/).
    Now I don't get access to the computers and therefore I can't add new data.

  6. #6
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    Re: no bootable device

    Well, I will try to explain the context.
    At the very beginning we built several OS on he same HD and therefore we decided to build sda1 for MS and an extended partition for others. Later on we abandoned MS and we took all the space for Linux partitions. As we maintained an sda6 image we keep the same structure, only one extended partition with several logical partition (swap, OS). And this solutions has been working with different computers.
    Right now we just have a swap logical partition and an OS (xubuntu 12.4) logical partition under an extended partition (sda1).
    I tried also putting xu on sda1 as Primary Part. but I'm afraid I forgot to activate the boot flag. May it be relevant?
    Thanks for your help

  7. #7
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    Re: no bootable device

    Quote Originally Posted by quiquednst View Post
    sudodus:
    I hope the info you are asking for is on the Boot-Repair report (http://paste.ubuntu.com/6964514/).
    Now I don't get access to the computers and therefore I can't add new data.
    Sorry, that I overlooked the pastebin. It is OK, and the problem is not that the partition table is crowded. Honestly, I don't know what is the problem. I know that oldfred has more experience than most of us, so I suggest that you read very carefully his posts.

    Otherwise I can only suggest that you test a fresh installation of Xubuntu (using a CD/DVD/USB drive made with a desktop iso) to find out if your problem depends on the partition structure, or if it is something else, for example problems with the BIOS or motherboard or some driver (graphics or wifi).

    It would also make it easier to give relevant advice if you specify for this batch of computers

    - Brand name and model
    - graphics chip/card
    - wifi chip/card

    Edit: Are you 100% sure that the computers are set in BIOS mode, not UEFI?
    Last edited by sudodus; February 21st, 2014 at 07:18 PM.

  8. #8
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    Re: no bootable device

    They are custom computers, 4 or 5 years old, with an Intel mothercard and an Intel BIOS (MQ96510J.86A).
    About UEFI, I get access to the BIOS and I don't see anything related with EFI. Moreover pastebin seems to say that this is not an EFI compatible computer.
    I run a Boot-Repair with a similar computer before changing anything and the report is in http://paste.ubuntu.com/6964667/.
    It seems it isn't a UEFI and it works with msdos partitions.
    Regards

  9. #9
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    Re: no bootable device

    OK, we are sure it is not UEFI

    And as far as I know, Intel mobos and BIOS are usually easy to manage with linux drivers.

    Do the computers run 'live' when booted from a CD/DVD/USB install drive made with Xubuntu? If this is the case, they should also boot from grub. But there are exceptions, computers that boot only from certain grub versions (I have found such problems with some HP computers when booting via USB). Grub of Ubuntu (and Xubuntu) 13.04 was better (than grub of 12.04 and 13.10) for these computers.

    One possibility might be to try to run one of those computers with the 'Chainloader' described in the following link. It can be installed in a USB drive or an internal drive and my experience is that it is a very good booter (using grub of Ubuntu 13.04).

    Howto help USB boot drives

  10. #10
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    Re: no bootable device

    Intel motherboards are one of those that has to have a boot flag on a primary partition.

    If with newer gpt partitioned drives where gpt partitioning should only have a boot flag on an efi partition for UEFI boot, we have had to add a dummy efi partition just to have a boot flag.
    And Intel is one of those involved or even promoting UEFI, but left hand on setting software standards and right hand on designing motherboards must not talk.
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair - Updated Mar 2015:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







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