Puppy Linux Saves the Day
I destroyed the master boot record this morning. This basically turns your computer into a rock. I’m honestly not sure how I managed to do this. I was trying to install Fedora 17 onto one of my many Linux partitions (I currently have 6 of them in addition to Windows – long story). Anyway, when Fedora asked me if I wanted to install a boot loader, I unchecked that option. I didn’t have Slackware install a boot loader, and that didn’t hurt anything. I just booted up (normally) into another system, ran sudo update-grub in the Ubuntu terminal, and it found Slackware and added it to the list of operating systems, no problem. However, Fedora must have done something different, because when I booted up my computer after the install it only showed a black screen with white letters on it: “Error No active partition.”
Luckily, I had Puppy Linux installed to a flash drive, and was able to boot from that. I used this string of commands in the terminal to fix the problem:
|You enter: - – - – - – - – - – grub
Computer returns: – - – - – - – grub>
You enter: - – - – - – - – - – find /boot/grub/menu.lst
Computer returns: – - – - – - – (hd0,7)
You enter: - – - – - – - – - – setup (hd0)
Computer eventually returns: - Succeeded… Done
And here is another way of doing that: Restoring an Overwritten Grub Bootloader – ignore the random <br /> tag under “Mount the Partition.”
What happens is that each new Linux system you install recreates the boot loader by installing Grub to its own root folder and making its own partition the bootable one. It also puts itself at the top of the operating system list you see when you turn on the computer, and makes itself the default distro to boot into.
I recently learned that, in Ubuntu, you can edit the order of appearance and default systems by installing Grub Customizer. This is a graphical tool that allows you to avoid sudo-editing various little text files. Awesome stuff.
Glad my computer works now.