Ass Kicked by an MBR

Grr… figured one thing on my todo list this weekend was to swap the hard drive in this server for a new one. I want to replace the 2 SCSI drives setup in RAID0 configuration (for a whopping total of 4G of space) for a spare IDE drive. While Cuv may be agast at this, they are quite old SCSI drives, and they get 9.43MB/sec transfer rate in RAID0, about half that individually. They have also been backing up (or it felt like that anyway) at points and my system will grind to a halt.

So I figure an IDE drive that gets about 25MB/sec is a bit better for me. Bit more space on my spare as well.

So I hooked up the new drive as /dev/hda, partitioned it, then used rsync to sync the root (/) and boot (/boot) partitions from the old RAID0 SCSI root (/dev/md0). All went find. Then I tried to run GRUB, which gave me strange errors about not being able to find the files. I tried a variety of different things, from running it from within a chroot() jail to booting with a KNOPPIX CD, mounting the /boot and running it from there. Even after I was told that things completed successfully, the result on boot was endless “GRUB GRUB GRUB […]”.

When I gave up with that I figured LILO would work in a pinch. It doesn’t give me that warm fuzzy feeling that GRUB does, but if I can boot I’ll be happy. Boot KNOPPIX CD. Edit provided lilo.conf file, copy to new hard drive so it’ll be the same, run lilo…. no joy. Again, doing all sorts of things, including running liloconfig and tellling it to nuke my MBR and set the partition active, gave me combinations of “L”, “L L L L L L L” and other lovely and descriptive error messages.

Unless anyone has any bright suggestions, I’ll find a windows CD and see if I can run fdisk /mbr as that I know nukes the MBR. If not that, I’ll nuke it completely and see if I can do a low level format on the drive, which will be sure to knock out the old MBR, and maybe knock the drive into some sense. Have to start from scratch, but ….

So at the end of the evening (around 11pm, about an hour after I should have gone to bed), it’s hard drive 1, Alan 0. The one thing I did accomplish on this box is to throw an extra stick of RAM I had into it. It didn’t really need it, but all the more ram helps, and 256MB is better than 128MB right?

3 Comments on “Ass Kicked by an MBR”

  1. I assume you’re running debian, so see the man page for ‘install-mbr’ for details on how to install an MBR program.
    You know you’re gonna have a bad Monday when you wake up to a server that’s locked up, you can’t login to at the console, is giving filesystem errors, and spends a whole bunch of time fscking Reiser filesystems (which rarely happens) after hitting the reset button.

  2. Our neighbot told me how she just upgraded her mom’s machine from 48 to 64 megs of memory n a P100 machine.
    God, it is hard to believe that people actually used that little memory. I feel really constrained by anything less than 256 megs. There si no reason nowadays to buy anything less than 512 meg DIMs