please help with legacy grub

Gregory Nowak greg at
Wed Feb 9 22:31:07 EST 2011

Hash: SHA1

Hi folks,

I did a minimal upgrade on my debian system from lenny to squeeze, and
rebooted after upgrading the kernel and udev, as the squeeze release
notes say to do. This left me with an unbootable system. No, it's not
because I ignored the warning to boot by label or uuid. I can tell
from the initrd shell that the piix.ko module loads, but it tells me
that both ide ports are disabled. This leaves me without sdax, or hdax
devices under /dev, and no disks  directory under /dev. I have the
feeling that if I took out all_ide_generic out of the kernel command
line, things would work. My problem however is grub.

Once the system boots from the drive, I press ESC. From what I
gathered by searching the web, in order to edit the command line of
the first menu entry, I need to type e twice, arrow to where I want to
edit, and press ctrl+x to get out of the editor. So, after hitting
ESC, I press e twice, arrow right 80 times which should put me at the
end of the line, and then backspace 21 times which should erase what I
want to erase, and I then press ctrl+x to exit. From what I
understand, I should then be able to hit b,and boot that entry, but
when I hit b, nothing happens.

So, I tried another approach I read about. I hooked up my serial synth
to this machine (I normally use my doubletalk pc with speakup), and
rebooted. I pressed ESC, pressed c to get into command mode, and

serial --unit=0 --speed=9600
terminal_output serial

but again, nothing happened.

Another alternative would be to solve this from a livecd system, but
since this machine has 64 megs of ram, I haven't yet found a modern
livecd which would work with that much ram.

So, if someone familiar with legacy grub (not grub2) could please walk
me through, key press by key press, on what I need to do to edit and
boot the first menu entry, I'd really appreciate it. Better yet, if
someone could please explain where I went wrong with the serial
console part, so I can do what I need to do with feedback, that would
be even better.

I think I know why I've been so fond of lilo for so many years, it's
less complicated, or should I say less flexible to use. I have no
problem with flexibility, provided that I can get feedback on what I'm
doing. Thanks much in advance for any help.


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