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Bug#418421: marked as done (Etch installer creates GRUB boot-entry for a hidden non-OS recovery partiton)

Your message dated Sat, 08 Jan 2011 15:31:21 +0000
with message-id <1294500681.2463.168.camel@eeepc.Belkin>
and subject line 
has caused the Debian Bug report #418421,
regarding Etch installer creates GRUB boot-entry for a hidden non-OS recovery partiton
to be marked as done.

This means that you claim that the problem has been dealt with.
If this is not the case it is now your responsibility to reopen the
Bug report if necessary, and/or fix the problem forthwith.

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418421: http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=418421
Debian Bug Tracking System
Contact owner@bugs.debian.org with problems
--- Begin Message ---
Package: debian-40r0-i386-netinst.iso
Version: 40r0-i386-netinst

My setup:
SATA 160GB Disk (as delivered by manufacturer)
  - partition 1: recovery,   -no boot, -hidden
  - partition 2: Windows XP, -boot
1st IDE - Master DVD-ROM (as delivered)
1st IDE - Slave 80GB Disk (added by me for Debian Etch)

To be careful I did NOT want to install GRUB on the SATA disk, rather select boot-order through BIOS hard-disk ordering later on. But this is of a minor interest to the problem...

During installation process the boot-loader GRUB gets configured. It detects correctly Windows XP on sda2 (resp. hda(1,1) in GRUB notation (which already might confuse new users) - the second partition of a SATA-disk) and reports it as sda2 and asks for confirmation and entering information to /boot/grub/menu.lst. GRUB was installed to the first (selected by BIOS) disks mbr (which is hda).

BUG: The first reboot shows the GRUB screen and there is TWO(!) entries for only ONE(!) Windows XP. In /boot/grub/menu.lst there is under the linux entries:

# This is a divider, added to separate the menu items below from the Debian
# ones.
title		Other operating systems:

# This entry automatically added by the Debian installer for a non-linux OS
# on /dev/sda2
title		Windoze NT/2000/XP (loader)
root		(hd1,1)
map		(hd0) (hd1)
map		(hd1) (hd0)
chainloader	+1

# on /dev/sda1
title		Windoze NT/2000/XP
root		(hd1,0)
map		(hd0) (hd1)
map		(hd1) (hd0)
chainloader	+1

What I know now is: while the first entry is correct, the second entry refers to the first partition on the sata which is a recovery partition and actually hidden(!) (for reasons that XP still believes it is the first partition on that disk).

Despite I was not planning using it, I was curious what that is all about. First this was very confusing to an inexperienced user (me), hence I was not aware of a second partition on the SATA disk (but who is?). Since it seems to be common practice nowadays for manufactureres of PCs to install a cute little hideaway recovery partitions, many people, who install Debian on such a system could end up in confusion and trying fixing MBRs and/or reinstalling system images and making a real mess.

EXPECTED BEHAVIOUR: either ignore hidden partitions completely, and as a courtesy point it out specifically to the user, or inform the user and ask him what to do. As a quick fix a comment in menu.lst referring to that issue would suffice. Furthermore the installer could give examples based on the individual situation found at the users PC.

Best regards:

Martin Patzak

P.S.: as mentioned I was not planning on using the entry for Windoze XP in GRUB, I am now aware that it cant work for my situation:
I installed GRUB on the first hard-disk (selected by BIOS) on which Debian resides. In order to boot Windoze XP (with an Acronis boot-loader - it came like that!) it MUST be the first (unhidden) partition of the first hard-disk.MAP did not work for me. So GRUB  has to be installed on the disk where XP resides (which I wont do - I will remove the Redmond-OS eventually - Windoze Vista?!? Hasta la vista Windoze!!!
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--- End Message ---
--- Begin Message ---
Please test and report against current release of the debian installer,
which is Debian 'squeeze' beta2.
I am closing the bug as this Debian installer releasee is no longer
supported and was superseded.

Melhores cumprimentos/Best regards,

Miguel Figueiredo

--- End Message ---

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