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Thread: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in one click

  1. #231
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    Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    boot-repair appears to be a really excellent application. However, I just had a very scary experience with this application and want to report my experience and hopefully inspire the creators to change the way it works a bit, and also get people to perform a sanity check on my experience.

    First, here was my situation. I had a 1TB seagate SATA drive that contained only ubuntu linux 10.4 LTS and no other operating systems. The partitions were:


    891GB /
    32GB /backup
    8GB swap


    I'm about 99.9% certain / and /backup were ext3 partitions, because I created this hard disk drive within a few days of ubuntu 10.40 being released, and I don't even recall ext4 being available then.

    Somehow my MBR got smashed a couple days ago. I ended up ordering a whole new set of parts to fix and upgrade my computer, though it turned out that wasn't necessary. In case it matters, the new parts are: gigabyte 990FXA-UD7 motherboard, AMD 3.6GHz 8150 FX 8-core CPU, mushkin 2133MHz 8GB DDR3 RAM, 3TB @ 7200RPM seagate hard drive. The rest of the components were not changed (power-supply, DVD burner, nvidia GTX285 graphics card, etc).

    I fiddled the BIOS to boot off the DVD, then booted the ubuntu installation DVD and performed the normal installation process to get ubuntu 10.4 LTS installed on the new 3TB hard disk drive. When that was finished, I powered it down, removed the ubuntu DVD, and it booted up just fine.

    Then I disconnected the SATA3 cable to the 3TB drive and connected it to the old 1TB drive that stopped booting a couple days earlier. The system would then not boot up, just like before I rebuilt it.

    Then I reset the computer and booted up into ubuntu on the DVD (the "live" or "try-it-out" version, or whatever it's called). Then I selected "Places -> Computer" and looked to see whether I could see the 1TB disk drive that would not boot. I could indeed, and the directory tree looked just fine. It appeared like nothing was missing. This led me to believe the MBR was busted, and/or the grub loader.

    Then I put the ubuntu installation DVD in the DVD drive and tried again. It came up in with the usual screen that asked whether to boot ubuntu off the DVD, perform a memory test, or boot off the 1TB hard disk drive. When I told it to boot off the defective 1TB hard disk drive, it booted up just fine. This virtually proved my theory that only the MBR and/or grub loader was busted.

    I spent a couple days searching for ways to fix my MRB. I found lots of talk about "grub-install" and various schemes with "dd", but I was never able to find out for 100% certain that no more than the first 446 bytes would be written with those techniques, and it was clear that the entire partition table would be destroyed if more than 446 bytes were written.

    So I kept searching and eventually found the boot-repair application. So I downloaded it and ran it to take a peek at the drives and see what I could see.

    I guess stupidly (as it turned out), I activated the "advanced features" checkbox, then looked around the GUI for what the application would do. In the end, I checked the options to create the "bootinfo summary" report, but UN-checked both "reinstall GRUB" and "restore MBR".

    Then I clicked the "apply" button.

    Later, when I ran gparted, I noticed with terror that my / and /backup partitions were now labeled as being ext4, not ext3 !!! What the frack, I thought. It wasn't supposed to change anything! Oh, freaking no!!! What have I done?

    Anyway, I shutdown, removed the ubuntu installation DVD, then started the computer. To my amazement and relief, the freaking computer booted up ubuntu and everything seems to work.

    Somehow, the MBR got fixed... even though both "reinstall GRUB" and "restore MBR" were NOT selected. Also, the "GRUB location", "GRUB options" and "MBR options" tabs were greyed out, further implying they were irrelevant. I wrote down the URL where the "bootinfo summary" was uploaded, and it is indeed there: http://paste.ubuntu.com/797990 . I also note that it did not display a "nothing was changed" dialog like is displayed when I simply cancel out of the "boot-repair" application without doing anything.

    Maybe or probably I should have selected the button that creates the "bootinfo summary" on the main dialog window [non-advanced features]. However, later I tried that and it too doesn't display a "nothing was changed" dialog after the application ends... so I don't know what to think. That second bootinfo log is http://paste.ubuntu.com/798027 in case it matters. However, when I start the "boot-repair" application, do nothing and just quit out, it does display that "nothing was changed" dialog. Hmmmm.

    So, my two issues and questions are:

    #1: Why did it repair my the MBR [and/or GRUB] on my disk drive when I had both those options unchecked?

    #2: Why did the two ext3 partitions on the hard drive all of a sudden become ext4 partitions after running boot-repair? Remember, that's what gparted says too, not just the "bootinfo summary". I suppose there is some tiny chance that I had ext4 partitions all along, but I really don't think so. Like I said, I don't think ext4 existed (in non-beta) when I created that disk drive in April 2010.

    -----

    Anyway, it looks like boot-repair did exactly what I needed, and it is a very cool application. However, I think this behavior I observed needs to be fixed! It shouldn't modify the MBR and/or GRUB unless the related check-boxes are selected. And if it is changing ext3 to ext4... what's that all about?
    Last edited by inorganic; January 9th, 2012 at 10:25 AM.

  2. #232
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    Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    You may have had ext4 partitions? Ubuntu updated grub legacy to boot with ext4 in 9.04 ( I think ) as that was the last version with grub legacy. With 9.10 grub2 became the standard, but you can still use grub legacy with all versions of Ubuntu.

    If you had a boot script or fdisk printout from before then we would know for sure.

    edit:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LucidLynx/ReleaseNotes
    The default file system for installations of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is ext4

    Sometimes changing BIOS boot order, rebooting and other odd things have made a system boot that did not. Not the usual case, but some have reported it working on a reboot. There were some issues where partitions needed a change (write of a file) to fix an odd issue. Boot-repair does writes and that may have been just enough, again not common.

    Do not use dd to copy anything from your 1GB drive to your 3GB drive as the 3GB is gpt and the 1TB is MBR. They are so different in internal structures that low level copy with dd can cause huge problems.

    You have NTFS partitions on your 3TB gpt drive? Windows will only install in UEFI mode on a gpt drive.
    Last edited by oldfred; January 9th, 2012 at 05:34 PM. Reason: Edit: ext4 was default for 10.04
    For info on UEFI boot install & repair:
    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2147295
    Please use Thread Tools above first post to close thread when/if answered completely.







  3. #233
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    Arrow Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Hello
    additional information:
    Quote Originally Posted by inorganic View Post
    Then I put the ubuntu installation DVD in the DVD drive and tried again. It came up in with the usual screen that asked whether to boot ubuntu off the DVD, perform a memory test, or boot off the 1TB hard disk drive. When I told it to boot off the defective 1TB hard disk drive, it booted up just fine. This virtually proved my theory that only the MBR and/or grub loader was busted.
    I think that proves that your MBR and GRUB were already fine at this time. (so before you used Boot-Repair)
    As Oldfred wrote, there may be some other problem which may be linked to BIOS. Please tell us if your boot problem happens again.

    Quote Originally Posted by inorganic View Post
    my / and /backup partitions were now labeled as being ext4, not ext3 !!!
    I confirm what Olfred said: Ubuntu uses ext4 per default, so what you observed is normal.
    And i can add that Boot-Repair does not have any option to change ext3 to ext4.

    Quote Originally Posted by inorganic View Post
    it did not display a "nothing was changed" dialog like is displayed when I simply cancel out of the "boot-repair" application without doing anything.
    This is normal behaviour of Boot-Repair. It displays "nothing was changed" only when we click on "cancel".
    But for information, creating a BootInfo Summary does not change anything too.

    Quote Originally Posted by inorganic View Post
    #1: Why did it repair my the MBR [and/or GRUB] on my disk drive when I had both those options unchecked?
    See above: your MBR (and GRUB) was already ok.
    Boot-Repair does not touch the MBR when those 2 options are unchecked.

    Quote Originally Posted by inorganic View Post
    #2: Why did the two ext3 partitions on the hard drive all of a sudden become ext4 partitions after running boot-repair?
    when you reinstalled Ubuntu 10.04, it used ext4 by default. ext3 came from upgrades from your previous install.

    Anyway, thanks for your feedback.

  4. #234
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    Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Quote Originally Posted by oldfred View Post
    You may have had ext4 partitions? Ubuntu updated grub legacy to boot with ext4 in 9.04 ( I think ) as that was the last version with grub legacy. With 9.10 grub2 became the standard, but you can still use grub legacy with all versions of Ubuntu.

    If you had a boot script or fdisk printout from before then we would know for sure.

    edit:
    https://wiki.ubuntu.com/LucidLynx/ReleaseNotes
    The default file system for installations of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS is ext4
    It is possible I chose ext4 when I installed 10.04 LTS. However, I am always very wary to adopt anything even remotely newish or beta when it comes to filesystems --- too much depends on correct operation. However, it is possible. Note that I never just accept the default partitions when I create a new installation of linux. I always go through and manually select everything. But it is still possible that I selected ext4, though I could swear I've seen ext3 many times in the past 2 years I've had it. But maybe not. BTW, did ubuntu create any file that I might still be able to find that states what my original filesystems were? If so, maybe it is still around somewhere.

    Sometimes changing BIOS boot order, rebooting and other odd things have made a system boot that did not. Not the usual case, but some have reported it working on a reboot. There were some issues where partitions needed a change (write of a file) to fix an odd issue. Boot-repair does writes and that may have been just enough, again not common.
    Remember the following. After I found I could not boot that 1TB drive any more, I ordered a new motherboard, CPU, RAM, disk drive, and so forth because I didn't know what was wrong. After I assembled the new system with new motherboard with very new BIOS (EFI this time), that drive would STILL not boot. So then I booted off the ubuntu installation DVD and installed ubuntu on the 3TB drive, which booted fine. So we have to explain why that 1TB drive did not boot even on the new motherboard and BIOS... while the 3TB drive happily did. Also recall that I could start to boot off of the ubuntu installation DVD, but at the initial screen choose "boot from primary drive", and that would boot into the old 1TB drive that wouldn't otherwise boot. That's why I figured it had to be something extremely early in the boot process, like the MBR.

    Do not use dd to copy anything from your 1TB drive to your 3TB drive as the 3TB is gpt and the 1TB is MBR. They are so different in internal structures that low level copy with dd can cause huge problems.
    Good thing I didn't try that, huh?

    You have NTFS partitions on your 3TB gpt drive? Windows will only install in UEFI mode on a gpt drive.
    No, I have two computers. The other one is a windoze xp64 computer and this one we've been talking about is pure ubuntu64 10.04 LTS. It has never had anything to do with windoze on it... it is a pure ubuntu64 linux system, period. No dual boot, ever. I would never trust windoze on my linux systems. No way!

    Thanks for your comments.
    Last edited by inorganic; January 9th, 2012 at 11:57 PM.

  5. #235
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    Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Quote Originally Posted by YannBuntu View Post
    Hello, additional information:

    I think that proves that your MBR and GRUB were already fine at this time. (so before you used Boot-Repair). As Oldfred wrote, there may be some other problem which may be linked to BIOS. Please tell us if your boot problem happens again.
    Can you help me understand how that could be? Remember, I purchased a whole new motherboard, CPU and RAM because I didn't realize it was only the 1TB drive that was preventing the computer from booting up. When I switched out the old MSI motherboard and installed the new gigabyte motherboard with a very much newer BIOS and tried to boot the 1TB drive the behavior did not change at all (no bootup). Therefore, I can't see how this behavior is somehow specific to the motherboard or BIOS. Also note that I didn't change anything in the BIOS just before the computer stopped booting (not for months at least).

    I confirm what Olfred said: Ubuntu uses ext4 per default, so what you observed is normal. And i can add that Boot-Repair does not have any option to change ext3 to ext4.
    This is possible. My memory has never been that great.


    This is normal behaviour of Boot-Repair. It displays "nothing was changed" only when we click on "cancel". But for information, creating a BootInfo Summary does not change anything too.
    Okay. I'd suggest displaying that dialog in every situation that "nothing was changed".


    See above: your MBR (and GRUB) was already ok. Boot-Repair does not touch the MBR when those 2 options are unchecked.
    Well, then all we can say is "magic definitely happened". All I did was run boot-repair and presto, chango... all of a sudden it would boot again. Go figure.


    When you reinstalled Ubuntu 10.04, it used ext4 by default. ext3 came from upgrades from your previous install.
    ext4 may be default, but I always set up my partitions manually when I create a new system, and I sure thought I remembered choosing ext3. But like I said above, my memory of tiny details from 2 years ago isn't very good, so I'll accept that maybe I did select ext4. I agree that it would "just be too strange" for what happened... unless you purposely added code to do that, which would be very odd. And sure enough, you didn't.

    Anyway, thanks for your feedback.
    And thank you for a very spiffy little application. It is very useful.

    BTW, if I had selected "repair MBR" option, would it have written exactly 446 bytes, or would it have written the whole 512 bytes or more? After reading so much about the MBR in the past few days, I'm kind of curious. Thanks.

  6. #236
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    Arrow Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Hello

    Quote Originally Posted by inorganic View Post
    Can you help me understand how that could be?
    I'm afraid i am not strong enough for this. My guess was a Bios problem, but you say it is not, so.. i think it would be easier to understand the problem if you could reproduce it.

    I'd suggest displaying that dialog in every situation that "nothing was changed".
    Good idea, thanks. I'll do it soon.

    BTW, if I had selected "repair MBR" option, would it have written exactly 446 bytes, or would it have written the whole 512 bytes or more?
    Good question, i'm surprised nobody asked it before. I confirm it only changes the first 446 bytes.
    And for information, Boot-Repair performs a backup of the entire MBR (512 bytes+ space before the first partition) before any operation.
    You can also manually backup it via the "Backup partition tables, bootsectors and logs" button:


  7. #237
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    Lightbulb Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Hello
    Some new features in Boot-Repair :

    Add or move the boot flag on a chosen primary partition (special thanks to Oldfred) :





    Easily use the last version (GIT) of Boot-Info-Script :



    and also:

    I'd suggest displaying that dialog in every situation that "nothing was changed".
    DONE. Thanks Inorganic!

  8. #238
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    Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Hello, I just found this amazing app that has saved my life 'cause I lost my MBR and it was able to repair it and point it to the correct partition with grub.

    Now I would like to know two things.
    First, is Boot-Repair going to support Burg? I've recently installed it and I love to have that boot interface.
    Second, is Boot-Repair able to move /boot to another partition? I found "Separate /boot partition" option but I haven't found any documentation about the specifics on advanced options so I don't want to mess if I'm not sure of what every option does.

  9. #239
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    Arrow Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    Hi Sp4iK,

    is Boot-Repair going to support Burg?
    As long as it is not in Debian's repositories, i don't even think about it.
    Furthermore, Boot-Repair is designed for REPAIRING, not CUSTOMIZING.


    is Boot-Repair able to move /boot to another partition?
    No.
    The /boot partition contains a /boot/grub sub-folder, and some other files (kernel files..)
    The "Separate /boot partition" option of Boot-Repair just mounts the selected partition on /boot during GRUB2 re-installation. Which means that it will just recreate the /boot/grub sub-folder, not the other files.
    Indeed i was thinking of adding another option to recreate those "other files", but i don't know how to do it, if someone has an idea don't hesitate to propose it

  10. #240
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    Re: [Boot-Repair] Graphical tool to repair the PC boot in 1 click!

    YOU're THE MAN!

    I have to use Windows for only one Program i use for work from time to time and this s***ty OS deleted my MBR!
    After Boot Repair I had to restore Win on an earlier restore Point but now everything works and most important my Ubuntu is running again!

    Thank you for that great program!!

    No one can do it better!!!

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