Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Windows 7, Fedora 17 and the previous post!

To make a long story short, if you did something similar to what I describe in the previous post (use Windows' bootloader to boot linux instead if grub) and can't boot to Fedora anymore after a recent update in FC 17, use EasyBCD to delete the previously created Fedora Core entry and simply re create it. It worked for me, although I'm not 100% sure why...

I feel like ranting, so here's the rest of the story:

In the previous post, for some reason I decided to preserve the Windows Bootloader - probably to keep safe my MBR. This worked great until:
  1. I upgraded to FC 17, 
  2. Decided to blacklist nouveau, noticed that it worked although with errors and 
  3. Decided to reinstall grub2.
I installed FC17 through preupgrade. It sort of worked. The major issue I had was with the gstreamer infrastucture. Essentially, no codecs could be found (good, bad, ugly and ffmpeg were installed) and my sound settings were never remembered after I logged out. So I decided to start hunting down all the little bugs I had spotted, starting with some graphics warnings.

Having installed bumblebee, I decided to blacklist nouveau to avoid a few warnings on startup (I hear people saying : "if it's not broken, don't fix it"... right!).  The errors are that it would load and try to use nouveau even though the chip being used at startup was a SandyBridge IGP. I edited /etc/default/grub and ran "grub2-mkconfig" as documented all over the net. Upon reboot Grub2 started with "error file not found" messages but started anyway and I was able the select my Fedora. Also, for some reason it asked me to press any key to continue booting... ?

This situation was not what I expected and I read again somewhere on the net that I would need to reinstall grub, so I first ran "grub2-install" which refused to run, detecting the device as an ext2 partition (although it is ext4). Fine, let yum do it! "yum reinstall grub2"... This was the end. Upon reboot, grub welcomed me to run in rescue mode (super minimalistic rescue mode, couldn't figure out the get some help in there, not even the list of commands).

I decided to do a fresh DVD install. Nada. Still the same rescue mode. Then I understood that I had clearly overlooked the additional indirection introduced by EasyBCD: the Windows bootloader starts an EasyBCD "legacy-grub" bootloader which finally runs the Fedora Bootloader. The rescue-mode I was in was probably the one from EasyBCD's "legacy-grub".

I went into Windows, started EasyBCD, deleted the Fedora Core entry and recreated it. And tadaaaaa! I now have a fresh FC17 install and lost all the configuration I had done, but it might work better now!

But why did "yum reinstall grub2" kill me? I think it's because it installed a Grub2 update (Beta4) and the EasyBCD "legacy-grub" somehow lost sync with it. The other option is that "grub2-install" did actually do something even though it claimed it hadn't done anything (because "nesting on ext2 requires blocklists and blocklists are UNRELIABLE"! Don't you know that dude?).

In the end I probably migrated too early to FC17 and found it quite buggy. However, I still like Fedora because it's always kind of edgy and when it blows up, you get your hands dirty but end up learning stuff. Hum, what kind of reason is that? The ironic point is that what caused me problems also let me rescue my computer : if I had installed GRUB on the MBR: no more rescue OS.


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