Getting grubby

As it happens, I decided to clean up my disks and in the process I got a little too creative. I had a new 300Gig super fast SATA drive I wanted to use as my debian clean install and I backed up the information that was stored there. I was doing "df" at console which is disk free. I saw there was more stuff still there and I decided to see what it was. So I started deleting the directories until they were all gone, which didn't matter as I don't use that partition except as a collection point.

In the end I realized it was the drive index that was taking space even if nothing was on it. To give a heads up on what happened, in the process, I deleted "/boot" and didn't think anything of it at the time as it is a mounted partition that I don't boot from. So I decided I would reboot and check the partition with "gparted", which is a really neat utility, and it seems to work better than "qtparted" at the present time.

So I logged out and rebooted. When grub was supposed to load it said "error 15" file not found. EEK! I had destabilized my system by removing "/boot/grub/menu.lst" . Now I am in a pickle.

So here is what I did: in steps

  1. Boot from CD with ubuntu.
  2. Ran without install
  3. apt-get gparted
  4. ran gparted and it mounted the partitions
  5. copied all of the /boot directory to the SATA
  6. rebooted
  7. Here is where things get grubby
  8. When grub came up to the menu, I changed the partition info by using the "e" for edit and "c" for console.

And here I am again. If this had been a Windows system, I would have had to get into the disk 0, sector 1 partition table and then the boot sector and then who knows where to fix it and might have had to reinstall everything. I love Linux, cause it works!

The advantages that I maintain is a wiki that I keep track of each problem and how it is resolved, USB backup of that,a hard copy notebook with pertinent information on common utilities like grub, the "Linux Bible" by Christopher Negus, CDs of all my distros in a safe case, a lap top with a known good configuration and internet access ( I never fiddle with all my machines at once), and the knowledge that I have never found a system that can't be restored if proper backup procedures are followed.

One new interesting thing I did learn in the process is why a section of my disk was freed by resizing a windows partition and then couldn't be used. I installed Linux which created a partition and an extended partition for later versions. Windows had created 2 partitions and I resized Windows down to use that extra 55 G that was essentially wasted since I rarely use the toad except when I want to be irritated and frustrated. The problem is that you can only have 4 primary partitions. In this case it was W, W restore, Extension, Linux. I had free disk space but couldn't use it. I will probably delete my Windows restore partition as I have never used it and it seems stupid to even have disk space to restore something I don't use except for compatibility checks, I will probably do a backup of that to a DVD and then remove it. I already deleted the backup information there years ago, I just used it as a FAT16 test partition and kept some old assembly code there for reference.

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