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Archive for septembre 2011

The following is a little « grub hack » in order to reinstall on an old debian.

A friend gave me back a laptop with a 3+ years debian installed on it. I just couldn’t get apt-get update and dist-upgrade running… I tried a long time before giving up… Its BIOS doesn’t allow the boot from usb (key/cdrom) and the cdrom drive is out of order…

I finally stumbled upon this link and found a way out…

I downloaded linux and initrd.gz files from debian’s netboot/debian-installer pages into the /boot/grub directory and modified a pre-existant grub menu.list as follows :

  • title newinstall
  • root(hd0,0)
  • kernel /boot/grub/linux
  • initrd /boot/grub/initrd.gz

When rebooting, the grub prompt lets you select newinstall in its menu… The rest is easy if you are used to installing debian. Of course you will have to format the partition where your /boot/grub actually is ! But this doesn’t matter anymore, since what you need to proceed is loaded in the ram memory…

But think twice before doing all of this, since it’s a one shot situation !!

Another thing… unplug all your usb cables/drives when doing this operation. There can be a little confusion between hda/hdb -> sda/sdb and you risk the kernel panic while rebooting !! I’ll get back to this part in a few days…

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