please help with legacy grub

Pia pmikeal at
Thu Feb 10 03:19:39 EST 2011

The best thing to do is get a GRML live CD.  GRML talks and should work as 
a live CD with your system.

You can use a cheat code to start speakup and then mount /dev/sda1 or 
whatever your root partition is on your hard drive and then from there set 
up grub either by running grub or chrooting into the environment on your 
hard drive and running grub from there.  Note that it depends on what is 
wrong as to whether you can get away without chrooting or not and if you 
don't you also have to make sure you use the correct device names.  You 
can also edit /boot/grub/menu.lst and /boot/grub/ manually as 
needed.  Note that they will be under your mount point as well and so the 
paths I gave will not be exactly what they will be once you boot GRML.  If 
I did not explain how to do this specifically enough, please let me know, 
but if I was too obvious in the things I mentioned, I also apologise.  You 
sound like you are very competent with Linux, and so I don't always know 
what I should or should not write as far as detail goes.



On Wed, 9 Feb 2011, Gregory Nowak wrote:

> 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
> typed:
> 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.
> Greg
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