Re: Please Help: system keeps rebooting after installing FC3

From: Nitewolf (
Date: 11/13/04

Date: Sat, 13 Nov 2004 20:24:03 +0800

I've just recovered from that problem. it happened when FC insists on
writing to the MBR even when i opt not too. so what i did was to isolate
my first harddrive, installed FC on the slave drive (hdb) an have to press
F8 everytime i boot to toggle BIOS to boot from my hdb. when i tried to
get hold of various other boot loaders, grub fail the same way as yours.

by toggling BIOS to boot, grub thinks that it's booting from hd0
which is my first disk. but after the startup proper, my linux system on
hdb is loaded and i can even mount partitions from my hda
no idea how that works but everything is fine.

firstly get mbrtool (MBR management software - freeware)
it's really powerful and works. (flushing my mbr by other means didn't
work at all)

i've been trying to re-find the forum posting that i got the other day but
to no avail. but i'll type what i wrote down, maybe it'll help.

are you sharing XP and FC3 on the same drive? if it's the case, make sure
you use mbrtool to save a copy of your mbr info first. since you're using
a laptop, if not i'd really suggest that linux be run on a diff drive.
it's much easier as windows usually have problems sharing MBRs

boot FC3 cd and type "linux rescue" at boot:
type "chroot /mnt/sysimage" at the prompt
type "grub"
you should enter grub's page.
type "cd /boot/grub/" -- enter /boot/grub directory
type "root (hd0,0)" ----- you'll have to change that if needed
hd0 = hda (first drive)
hd0,0 -> first drive, first partition
type "find /boot/grub/stage1"
it should be able to find your stage1 file.
type "setup (hd0)" -- installs grub on MBR on hd0 (first disk)
type "quit" to quit grub.
in /boot/grub dirctory type "ls" to see if you can see the file grub.conf
that's grub's config file
type "vi grub.conf" --- to edit grub.conf
careful, take note if you made accidental changes.
you'd have to toggle the 'insert' and 'esc' keys switching between writing
mode and command mode
make sure your drive (eg hd0,0) are all updated.
type ":wq" to quit and save
or type ":w" to just exit without saving

for now, just pray that it works
you'd be lucky if grub doesn't overwrite windoze's mbr files.
that's what usually happens. the norm is to install grub on /boot
partition and use windows boot loader to load grub.
if it doesn't worls, i can't help as i'm not that versed with the grub
mapping files. i hope you had saved your mbrtool and mbr to a file on an
XP boot floppy.

or what you can do before going thru all these is to try to upgrade your
FC3 again from the dvd, and reinstall the grub bootloader, after that, the
installation completes after they check dependencies to find that you have
nothing more to upgrade.

you might want to play around with all the diff sequences above.
what's again important is that you first save your XP mbr (that's
bootable), so that you can recover from any problems later with the

you can google for the mbrtool user guide if you need to, but the gui is
helpful enough. you might also want to read up first on dual booting XP
with Grub so that you have a rough idea on who needs what.


-- Can't you read? --

> Hello,
> here's my situation. I have a Dell Inspiron Laptop wich used to run
> Windows XP Home and Fedora Core 2. Everyting was allright, untill I
> decided to upgrade FC2 to Fedora Core 3. So I downloaded the DVD iso and
> started installing. The installation went smooth and at the end I needed
> to reboot the system. I did that and then it went wrong: after loading
> the BIOS a message appeared "GRUB loading Stage 2" and then the system
> rebooted and this kept on and on and on... Not so good as you can see.
> Now: I did some checks with the rescue mode of the dvd but everything
> seemed ok (so I must be missing something). At the end I installed FC2
> again over the FC3 installation but the problem stayed. I concluded that
> it had nothing to do with FC3 but something with the master boot record
> or grub or anything like that. This morning I installed FC3 again
> (sorry, it is a Windows habbit to keep on re-installing everything) and
> now the problem has changed ! Now after loading the BIOS there's just a
> black screen with the text "GRUB" and then it freezes.
> It is quite clear that I can't solve this problem on my own... So
> everyone who knows the solution, please help me out.
> Here is some usefull info:
> Hard disk partitioning:
> hdc1: vfat, 47mb (a small partition set up by Dell to keep some files
> and drivers)
> hdc2: ntfs, 17179mb (my windows XP partition)
> hdc4: ext3, 15202mb (the linux partition)
> hdc3 is split up in two:
> hdc5: swap, 1028mb
> hdc6: vfat, 23776mb (a partition I use to share my docs between
> windows and linux)
> inittab is set to runlevel 5.
> This is the grub.conf file:
> # grub.conf generated by anaconda
> #
> # Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
> # NOTICE: You have a /boot partition. This means that
> # all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /boot/, eg.
> # root (hd0,3)
> # kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hdc4
> # initrd /boot/initrd-version.img
> #boot=/dev/hdc4
> default=0
> timeout=5
> splashimage=(hd0,3)/grub/splash.xpm.gz
> title Fedora Core (2.6.9-1.667)
> root (hd0,3)
> kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.667 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet
> initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.9-1.667.img
> title Windows XP Home
> rootnoverify (hd0,1)
> chainloader +1
> It's pretty strange because Fedora Core 2 went well on the system, and
> before that SuSE 9 went fine also.
> Since it 's a dual boot with an NT based system, I chose to set grub at
> the first sector of the root directory and not at the Master Boor Record
> (the first time I did install it at the MBR, but at the install of FC2
> and the second install of FC3 i chose the first sector option). I also
> used the "Force .???."-option since the linux partition isn't the first
> partition of the hard disk.
> So, that's about it. I hope someone knows the solution. May I also ask
> to explain everything a bit, since I'm not exactly a Linux specialist,
> so go easy on me.
> Thanks for the attention,
> Bram