Installed Mint then boot freeze

By steeve ยท 9 replies
Aug 6, 2011
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  1. just installed linux mint xfce on my second machine - it ran perfectly - once...

    on reboot there was a freeze at the bios screen. after some trial and error, i can get the machine to boot and start windows normally if i disconnect the drive containing the new mint install - curious, any ideas?

    fairly old asus board with an 1800MHz sempron, three ide drives, two with windows stuff (primary master and primary slave) and the third (problematic, secondary master) with the new mint installation

    i use bootit as my master boot manager, so i installed grub on to the root partition and not onto the mbr of drive 3 (sdc). possibly during the mint install, sdc was set as the bootable drive. so on boot up bios tries to boot that drive which has an empty mbr...does that make sense?
  2. Jawshh

    Jawshh TS Enthusiast Posts: 392

    Mint is a distribution that uses a lot of animation, so, your computer must better be a little powerful.
  3. Siavash

    Siavash TS Booster Posts: 65   +20

    Yeah, by default Linux Mint uses GNOME DE (+Compiz IIRC) which is a bit heavy for oldies, but Linux Mint XFCE doesn't provide those eye candies and runs fine on old hardware. I'm using LMDE XFCE on an old Pentium3 750MHz, so there shouldn't be any problems for his Sempron 1800MHz.
  4. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    Agreed, XFCE DE's on pretty much any distro will be kind on older hardware. That isn't any issue really.

    To the OP,
    So your using two boot managers? Boot-it for Windows, and Grub for Linux?
    The way I see it, if you want to keep the existing MBR's free on the other Windows disks then you need to install grub to sdc, containing Linux.

    In BIOS you need to set your first bootable hard disk to the disk containing Linux. Whether the disk is tagged as bootable or not makes no difference in Linux. It does not work in the same way as Windows disks do.

    I would also imagine that your Windows boot manager is interferring with grub. I'm not entirely sure if you can use one boot manager to pass over to another one.

    If it was me, I would set the BIOS first boot drive to your Linux disk, then throw in the install disc again, and boot to the console. Then from there, mount the root partition and then rebuild grub to the MBR of your linux hard disk. Then reboot. You should find it will now work.
  5. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 146

    thanks all, for the replies

    i'm pretty sure the issue here is a broken hard drive

    there is no problem with using boot-it as a master boot manager
    it's a pretty smart utility where one can create customized boot items
    and have extensive multi boot systems
    i know it can be done with grub too, but this is the method i have used for a long time

    basically the BIOS freezes if this hard drive is connected to the computer
    in any configuration:

    - as single master (obviously, it has an empty mbr!)
    - as slave to another master (which is bootable)
    - as a secondary master (where the primary master is bootable)

    without the drive connected, the machine boots perfectly

    i think it is kaput

    i can't prove this by running any diagnostic software
    because the computer won't boot if it is connected!

    i should be saying "mint killed my hard drive"
    but i won't
  6. Leeky

    Leeky TS Evangelist Posts: 3,797   +117

    It could well be, and I know you feel like saying that, but the harsh reality is it didn't, if it has failed its a simple case of its time was up, nothing more. Could have failed if you used it to install Windows. :haha:

    I'd still run it as a single master disk and then boot it from a ISO containing a drive testing utility before deciding its wrecked. You could also boot from your LM ISO into a live environment and then mount the disk and run diagnostics from there.

    EDIT: Is BIOS seeing the disk if its connected? Or does it freeze before you get the option to enter configuration?
  7. Probably a dead HDD, installing an OS wouldn't have killed it though.

    Let's just suppose the OS install did cause the problem though - anything you did installing is reversible. So 0 fill the drive, format to your favourite flavour of file system, reboot and see if the same problem persists.

    Also double check the jumper configuration and the cable - I've lost count of the times I've been caught out by both of those.

    On the bootloader thing, I understand you prefer your own choice of boot manager - and that's fine. But for the sake of your sanity it's better to stick with this kind of procedure:

    - Install windows to the primary partition (or more preferably it's own drive)

    - Install Linux to a secondary partition(s) (or it's own drive)

    - Install grub to the mbr of the primary windows partition and let it handle selecting the OS. (Or install grub to the primary partition of the separate drive where Linux is installed - this way the drive with windows on is completely untouched.)
  8. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 146

    "mint killed my hard drive" just an attempt at humour, sorrry

    even with the drive connected as single master, and dvd rom set as first boot device, the machine still freezes at the first bios screen.

    yes, with that drive connected, the freeze happens immediately and the usual bios setup keys do nothing.

    i did try the potentially risky approach of firing up into a live mint environment and then hot-plugging the hard drive. but alas, the drive does not show up in gparted. i'm pretty sure this is not a valid procedure if the kernel supports hot-plugging of drives ... especially IDE drives...

    i can't think of any way to reformat the drive because of the above ...?

    i was quite careful about jumpers and cables - tried may different variations - don't think the problem is there

    thanks for the sound bootloader advice.
  9. That does indeed write off my suggestion...

    Have you tried fiddling with BIOS settings? Set the drive up as auto-detect if it isn't already?

    The hardware itself doesn't support hotplugging let alone the kernel, so no that wouldn't work. The only way to hotplug an IDE drive that I know of is through a USB convertor.

    Have you tried listening to the drive, does it spin up normally when the power is on? Any unusual sounds, is the HDD LED always on, etc?

    I think if all else fails, you simply have a dead HDD.
  10. steeve

    steeve TS Enthusiast Topic Starter Posts: 146

    the drive does make the usual spinning up sound. the hdd led flashes once and then stays on dimly. seems like bios is trying to read it but cannot

    ok, not good, now it has suddenly started making clicking noises...

    it's only an oldish 80GB ide drive - i'm over it now

    but thanks for all the input!

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