BOOT DEBIAN without GRUB

chaosIsFair's picture

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I am a Debian newbie. I have win7 ultimate installed. I wanted to install Debian alongside it. I installed Debian squeeze 6.0 from a live CD. It installed successfully (during the course of installation, I also installed GRUB which was listed in the installation steps.)and asked me to reboot the system and remove the Live CD so that I can boot from harddisk. When I reboot, it is showing the following error.

GRUB Loading..
Welcome to GRUB!

error: file not found.
Entering rescue mode..
grub rescue>_

I can't boot into any of the OS. I am posting this topic from a friend's laptop.

I being a Linux newbie, did not know how to use the rescue console. So I went to the techsupport. They said that they will restore the windows boot loader but they won't make further changes that will allow me to boot Debian also. So, Debian will be present as a dead installation in my system. Please suggest a way so that I can boot Debian also without using GRUB and without losing "my ability to boot at least win7 without the help of techsupport". I heard that we can do this by editing boot.ini file but I don't know how. The following is some information about my partitions. I have single hard disk drive. primary partition of 40.9 GB. Before installing Debian, it had 3 other logical partitions (#5 40.9 GB,#6 40.9 GB,#7 37.4 GB all NTFS).During Debian installation I re-sized partition #5 to 20GB. I got 20GB free space where in I installed Debian. It created 3 more partitions (#8 5.5 GB ext3 B, #9 695.2 MB SWAP, #10 14.7 GB ext3). I don't have a win7 installation CD.

Re: BOOT DEBIAN without GRUB

IntnsRed's picture

Microsoft codes Windows to take over the master boot record; it does not play well with others, a standard monopoly tactic. This is a Windows flaw and not a Debian problem.

But the normal Debian boot CD/DVD (which I believe is different from the live CD) contains a "rescue mode" option to boot GRUB from a different root directory and/or to reinstall GRUB, doesn't it?

Re: BOOT DEBIAN without GRUB

chaosIsFair's picture

Why exactly can't GRUB find the file? Which file is it talking about when it says file not found? Is there a way I can skip GRUB installation during Debian installation? I don't want to have GRUB in my system. I want a mechanism where windows boot loader offers me options as to boot which OS : win 7 or Debian. I would like the booting be controlled by windows.

Re: BOOT DEBIAN without GRUB

IntnsRed's picture

> I would like the booting be controlled by windows.

In that case, when you use the rescue mode to reinstall GRUB you'll want to make sure that you install GRUB into the partition where Linux lives and not into the master boot record. Debian's install is to by default install GRUB into the MBR (since that way you will always have a bootable system), but you can do either.

Once reinstalled, you can then instruct Windows to boot the Linux partition. (I don't know anything about that since I dumped Windows years ago.)

Re: BOOT DEBIAN without GRUB

chaosIsFair's picture

I removed Debian entirely and want to start afresh.

make sure that you install GRUB into the partition where Linux lives and not into the master boot record. Debian's install is to by default install GRUB into the MBR.

How do I install the GRUB into the Linux partition, #8 I guess, during the initial installation itself? When I installed it the first time and selected the option to install GRUB, it just installed it. It did not ask me where it should install it. How am I going to make it ask where to install GRUB? Can we really skip GRUB installation during Debian installation so that we can install GRUB later, from win 7 perhaps?

It created 3 more partitions (#8 5.5 GB ext3 B, #9 695.2 MB SWAP, #10 14.7 GB ext3).

Please explain or provide a link. Thanks for replying to my questions.