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Thread: Grub Error 18

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    Grub Error 18

    Hi All,

    I am not sure this is the correct forum, but I hope so. First off, I must say that I am completely new to Linux/Ubuntu. I have gone through days of struggle trying to install Ubuntu on my wife's old Sony Vaio laptop. Initially my installations kept failing with Input/Output errors. After trying multiple discs, I took a guess that the drive may be dead. I replaced the hard drive and after many more tries I was finally able to get a succesful install of 9.04. Now when I try booting from the hard drive I get an Error 18 grub error. My searches haven't found anyone else with the error. I tried the standard sudo grub root attempt and it hasn't worked. I don't have anything on my hard drive - its brand new. I don't know if that can be contributing to the problem? I ran the boot info while running off the LiveCD. Here it is:

    Code:
    ============================= Boot Info Summary: ==============================
    
     => Grub0.97 is installed in the MBR of /dev/sda and looks on the same drive 
        in partition #1 for /boot/grub/stage2 and /boot/grub/menu.lst.
     => Syslinux is installed in the MBR of /dev/sdb
    
    sda1: _________________________________________________________________________
    
        File system:       ext3
        Boot sector type:  -
        Boot sector info:  
        Operating System:  Ubuntu 9.04
        Boot files/dirs:   /boot/grub/menu.lst /etc/fstab
    
    sda2: _________________________________________________________________________
    
        File system:       Extended Partition
        Boot sector type:  -
        Boot sector info:  
    
    sda5: _________________________________________________________________________
    
        File system:       swap
        Boot sector type:  -
        Boot sector info:  
    
    sdb1: _________________________________________________________________________
    
        File system:       vfat
        Boot sector type:  Fat32
        Boot sector info:  No errors found in the Boot Parameter Block.
        Operating System:  
        Boot files/dirs:   
    
    =========================== Drive/Partition Info: =============================
    
    Drive: sda ___________________ _____________________________________________________
    
    Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders, total 312581808 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00038971
    
    Partition  Boot         Start           End          Size  Id System
    
    /dev/sda1    *             63   309,604,679   309,604,617  83 Linux
    /dev/sda2         309,604,680   312,576,704     2,972,025   5 Extended
    /dev/sda5         309,604,743   312,576,704     2,971,962  82 Linux swap / Solaris
    
    
    Drive: sdb ___________________ _____________________________________________________
    
    Disk /dev/sdb: 8036 MB, 8036285952 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 977 cylinders, total 15695871 sectors
    Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x00064b37
    
    Partition  Boot         Start           End          Size  Id System
    
    /dev/sdb1    *             63    15,695,504    15,695,442   c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
    
    
    blkid -c /dev/null: ____________________________________________________________
    
    /dev/loop0: TYPE="squashfs" 
    /dev/sda1: UUID="f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e" SEC_TYPE="ext2" TYPE="ext3" 
    /dev/sda5: UUID="4f4b84bd-e692-42bb-9974-53eef0c9811c" TYPE="swap" 
    /dev/ramzswap0: TYPE="swap" 
    /dev/sdb1: UUID="EA0E-34A3" TYPE="vfat" 
    
    =============================== "mount" output: ===============================
    
    proc on /proc type proc (rw)
    sysfs on /sys type sysfs (rw)
    tmpfs on /lib/modules/2.6.28-11-generic/volatile type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
    tmpfs on /lib/modules/2.6.28-11-generic/volatile type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
    tmpfs on /lib/init/rw type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
    varrun on /var/run type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,mode=0755)
    varlock on /var/lock type tmpfs (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev,mode=1777)
    udev on /dev type tmpfs (rw,mode=0755)
    tmpfs on /dev/shm type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
    devpts on /dev/pts type devpts (rw,noexec,nosuid,gid=5,mode=620)
    rootfs on / type rootfs (rw)
    /dev/sr0 on /cdrom type iso9660 (ro,noatime)
    /dev/loop0 on /rofs type squashfs (ro,noatime)
    fusectl on /sys/fs/fuse/connections type fusectl (rw)
    tmpfs on /tmp type tmpfs (rw,nosuid,nodev)
    binfmt_misc on /proc/sys/fs/binfmt_misc type binfmt_misc (rw,noexec,nosuid,nodev)
    gvfs-fuse-daemon on /home/ubuntu/.gvfs type fuse.gvfs-fuse-daemon (rw,nosuid,nodev,user=ubuntu)
    /dev/sdb1 on /media/disk type vfat (rw,nosuid,nodev,uhelper=hal,shortname=mixed,uid=999,utf8,umask=077,flush)
    
    
    =========================== sda1/boot/grub/menu.lst: ===========================
    
    # menu.lst - See: grub(8), info grub, update-grub(8)
    #            grub-install(8), grub-floppy(8),
    #            grub-md5-crypt, /usr/share/doc/grub
    #            and /usr/share/doc/grub-doc/.
    
    ## default num
    # Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
    # the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
    #
    # You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
    # is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
    # WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not use 'savedefault' or your
    # array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
    default        0
    
    ## timeout sec
    # Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
    # (normally the first entry defined).
    timeout        3
    
    ## hiddenmenu
    # Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)
    hiddenmenu
    
    # Pretty colours
    #color cyan/blue white/blue
    
    ## password ['--md5'] passwd
    # If used in the first section of a menu file, disable all interactive editing
    # control (menu entry editor and command-line)  and entries protected by the
    # command 'lock'
    # e.g. password topsecret
    #      password --md5 $1$gLhU0/$aW78kHK1QfV3P2b2znUoe/
    # password topsecret
    
    #
    # examples
    #
    # title        Windows 95/98/NT/2000
    # root        (hd0,0)
    # makeactive
    # chainloader    +1
    #
    # title        Linux
    # root        (hd0,1)
    # kernel    /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda2 ro
    #
    
    #
    # Put static boot stanzas before and/or after AUTOMAGIC KERNEL LIST
    
    ### BEGIN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST
    ## lines between the AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST markers will be modified
    ## by the debian update-grub script except for the default options below
    
    ## DO NOT UNCOMMENT THEM, Just edit them to your needs
    
    ## ## Start Default Options ##
    ## default kernel options
    ## default kernel options for automagic boot options
    ## If you want special options for specific kernels use kopt_x_y_z
    ## where x.y.z is kernel version. Minor versions can be omitted.
    ## e.g. kopt=root=/dev/hda1 ro
    ##      kopt_2_6_8=root=/dev/hdc1 ro
    ##      kopt_2_6_8_2_686=root=/dev/hdc2 ro
    # kopt=root=UUID=f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e ro
    
    ## default grub root device
    ## e.g. groot=(hd0,0)
    # groot=f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e
    
    ## should update-grub create alternative automagic boot options
    ## e.g. alternative=true
    ##      alternative=false
    # alternative=true
    
    ## should update-grub lock alternative automagic boot options
    ## e.g. lockalternative=true
    ##      lockalternative=false
    # lockalternative=false
    
    ## additional options to use with the default boot option, but not with the
    ## alternatives
    ## e.g. defoptions=vga=791 resume=/dev/hda5
    # defoptions=quiet splash
    
    ## should update-grub lock old automagic boot options
    ## e.g. lockold=false
    ##      lockold=true
    # lockold=false
    
    ## Xen hypervisor options to use with the default Xen boot option
    # xenhopt=
    
    ## Xen Linux kernel options to use with the default Xen boot option
    # xenkopt=console=tty0
    
    ## altoption boot targets option
    ## multiple altoptions lines are allowed
    ## e.g. altoptions=(extra menu suffix) extra boot options
    ##      altoptions=(recovery) single
    # altoptions=(recovery mode) single
    
    ## controls how many kernels should be put into the menu.lst
    ## only counts the first occurence of a kernel, not the
    ## alternative kernel options
    ## e.g. howmany=all
    ##      howmany=7
    # howmany=all
    
    ## specify if running in Xen domU or have grub detect automatically
    ## update-grub will ignore non-xen kernels when running in domU and vice versa
    ## e.g. indomU=detect
    ##      indomU=true
    ##      indomU=false
    # indomU=detect
    
    ## should update-grub create memtest86 boot option
    ## e.g. memtest86=true
    ##      memtest86=false
    # memtest86=true
    
    ## should update-grub adjust the value of the default booted system
    ## can be true or false
    # updatedefaultentry=false
    
    ## should update-grub add savedefault to the default options
    ## can be true or false
    # savedefault=false
    
    ## ## End Default Options ##
    
    title        Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic
    uuid        f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e
    kernel        /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e ro quiet splash 
    initrd        /boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic
    quiet
    
    title        Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic (recovery mode)
    uuid        f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e
    kernel        /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=UUID=f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e ro  single
    initrd        /boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic
    
    title        Ubuntu 9.04, memtest86+
    uuid        f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e
    kernel        /boot/memtest86+.bin
    quiet
    
    ### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST
    
    =============================== sda1/etc/fstab: ===============================
    
    # /etc/fstab: static file system information.
    #
    # Use 'vol_id --uuid' to print the universally unique identifier for a
    # device; this may be used with UUID= as a more robust way to name devices
    # that works even if disks are added and removed. See fstab(5).
    #
    # <file system> <mount point>   <type>  <options>       <dump>  <pass>
    proc            /proc           proc    defaults        0       0
    # / was on /dev/sda1 during installation
    UUID=f609f87c-d3e9-4c90-a45c-cd7649d5723e /               ext3    relatime,errors=remount-ro 0       1
    # swap was on /dev/sda5 during installation
    UUID=4f4b84bd-e692-42bb-9974-53eef0c9811c none            swap    sw              0       0
    /dev/scd0       /media/cdrom0   udf,iso9660 user,noauto,exec,utf8 0       0
    /dev/sdb        /media/floppy0  auto    rw,user,noauto,exec,utf8 0       0
    
    =================== sda1: Location of files loaded by Grub: ===================
    
    
     149.3GB: boot/grub/menu.lst
     149.3GB: boot/grub/stage2
     149.2GB: boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic
     149.3GB: boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic
     149.2GB: initrd.img
     149.3GB: vmlinuz
    =======Devices which don't seem to have a corresponding hard drive==============
    
    sdc
    I beg all of you out there that actually have a clue about this stuff to help me out. My wife is getting close to killing me.... thank you for helping!

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    wojox is offline I Ubuntu, Therefore, I Am
    Join Date
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    Error 18: Selected cylinder exceeds maximum supported by BIOS

    This error is returned when a read is attempted at a linear block address beyond the end of the BIOS translated area. This generally happens if your disk is larger than the BIOS can handle (512MB for (E)IDE disks on older machines or larger than 8GB on others.). In more practical terms this means the BIOS is unable to start executing the kernel because the kernel is not located within the block it can access at boot up time.

    This can be circumvented by creating a boot partition at the beginning of the disk that is completely within the first 1023 cylinders of the harddrive. This partition will contain the kernel.

    The kernel itself does not suffer from the same limitations as the BIOS so after the BIOS has loaded the kernel the kernel will have no problem accessing the whole harddrive. Newer BIOSes will automatically translate the harddrives size in a way that it can be completely contained within the first 1023 cylinders and hence modern computers do not suffer from this problem.
    The same error can happen when the BIOS detects a disk in a different way as Linux does. This can happen when changing motherboards or when moving a GRUB-bootable disk from one computer to another. If this happens, just boot with a GRUB floppy, read the C/H/S numbers from the existing partition table and manually edit the BIOS numbers to match. If using a SUSE linux and installing on VM Ware this problem is solved by creating a small partition at the very beginning of the harddisc, and mounting it as /boot.

    Read more: http://wiki.linuxquestions.org/wiki/...xzz0Kjoci2Od&C

  4. #4
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    This error is returned when a read is attempted at a linear block address beyond the end of the BIOS translated area. This generally happens if your disk is larger than the BIOS can handle (512MB for (E)IDE disks on older machines or larger than 8GB on others.). In more practical terms this means the BIOS is unable to start executing the kernel because the kernel is not located within the block it can access at boot up time.
    affordable web services.
    Last edited by kanhaiya lal panchal; July 9th, 2009 at 06:51 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    Thanks for the prompt responses. Based on the wiki page, I am a bit confused. Is my only solution making about 5 different partitions, even if I don't have/want Windows at all? Would this cause any performance issues? If someone could give me the rundown of what I'm actually supposed to do to correct the error, I would reallly appreciate it! The wiki is helpful, but I still feel kind of lost.

  6. #6
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    Just in case any runs into this thread with a similar problem.

    I found this thread (don't know why I couldn't find it before):

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.p...partition+root

    Now I have Ubuntu up and running. Only problem is that Ubuntu can't find my secondary partition with the bulk of my hard disk space. I am going to try Partition Editor and see if that works... otherwise I may need to do another clean install which isn't too tragic.

    Hope this help someone that finds themselves in a similar situation to me. Thanks for the help guys!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Kubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Grub Error 18

    Now that you've got Ubuntu running, well done!

    Your inability to see the rest of your disk sounds like a matter of mounting it somewhere. I typically lay out my hard drive like this:
    Code:
    andrew@no-bot:~$ df -h
    Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda3              21G  6.2G   14G  31% /
    varrun               1008M  172K 1008M   1% /var/run
    varlock              1008M     0 1008M   0% /var/lock
    udev                 1008M   80K 1008M   1% /dev
    devshm               1008M     0 1008M   0% /dev/shm
    /dev/sda6             107G  101G  6.3G  95% /apps
    /dev/sda2             251M  107M  132M  45% /boot
    /dev/sda5              21G   14G  6.4G  69% /home
    If you ignore varrun, varlock, udev, and devshm, you will see how I laid out my partitions. /dev/sda1 isn't listed because it's the swap area. /dev/sda2, however, is mounted as /boot. From your description it sounds like you just need to create a partition and mount it somewhere useful. In my table above I have 107GB mounted as /apps.

    The nice thing about this is that even if I reinstall the OS, that partition doesn't need to be erased to do it. In fact, it can be remounted under the new installation by editing /etc/fstab.

    Why would I renistall? Well, sometimes I still do stupid things and decide a fresh install is easier than repairing the problem. Typically I only trash my test machine that badly anymore. I tend to not be that cavalier on my primary workstation nowadays. Or, if I just want to install a newer version, or (*gasp*) a different distribution altogether.

    One other reason to consider this layout is that back in the ext1/2 days running a fsck on a small /boot partition took a very minimal amount of time as opposed to doing the entire disk. Note my /boot partition is only 250MB, and that's with several old versions of the kernel sitting around.

    So, my suggestion would be to run the following to find the rest of your disk:
    Code:
    andrew@no-bot:~$ sudo fdisk -l
    [sudo] password for andrew:
    
    Disk /dev/sda: 160.0 GB, 160041885696 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 19457 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0x16331632
    
       Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
    /dev/sda1               1         262     2104483+  82  Linux swap / Solaris
    /dev/sda2             263         295      265072+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda3             296        2906    20972857+  83  Linux
    /dev/sda4            2907       19457   132945907+   f  W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5            2907        5517    20972826   83  Linux
    /dev/sda6            5518       19457   111973018+  83  Linux
    The unused portion of your disk should be readily apparent. Then just figure out where you want to mount it and add it to /etc/fstab. For brevity I'll not get in to that here, but do let me know if this helps, and if you'd like some info on where to go next.

    Hope this helps,

    Andrew
    Last edited by 0x29a; July 10th, 2009 at 05:37 AM. Reason: Sometimes I make dumb typing mistakes and don't catch them until it's too late.
    "Go Nigel, go!" --David St. Hubbins

    Registered Linux User: 299216

  8. #8
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    I am not sure how to run this search? Is it as simple as "sudo fdisk -1"? That's not working for me. Installing Ubuntu was a great achievement, but I'm still basically clueless. I would appreciate so more details on how to accomplish what you're saying. I think I currently have the entire 142gb partition set up as /home. I am not sure what /home is for? Clearly I can't use it to save pictures and documents... A walkthrough with code on how to get my hard drive available for actual disk storage space would be amazing... let me know if you need any more info from me.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    df -h works and shows me the following:
    Code:
    Filesystem            Size  Used Avail Use% Mounted on
    /dev/sda1             3.7G  2.6G  986M  73% /
    tmpfs                 249M     0  249M   0% /lib/init/rw
    varrun                249M  104K  249M   1% /var/run
    varlock               249M     0  249M   0% /var/lock
    udev                  249M  156K  249M   1% /dev
    tmpfs                 249M  696K  248M   1% /dev/shm
    lrm                   249M  2.2M  247M   1% /lib/modules/2.6.28-13-generic/volatile
    /dev/sda6             142G  247M  134G   1% /home
    I notice that all my randoms are significantly smaller (249mb v 1008mb) than yours. That last part (sda6) is what I want to change. When I try sudo fdisk -l (i tried "1" and "l" it just asks me for my password but doesn't allow me to type anything but press enter? I'm lost from there....

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Grub Error 18

    l is a lowercase L. When it asks for your password, type it in, although you will not see any characters, and then press Enter.
    -merlin

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