swapping master & slave HDs: what to change? (solved - pls comment!)
*Thanks to John Summerfield for the pointers*
If you have multiple Linuces on a couple of drives,
and for whatever silly reason you want
to swap IDE master and slave drives,
here's what to look out for,
using GRUB as bootloader and GAG as boot selector.
1) PREPARE BOOT MEDIA
1.1) Make a GRUB-only boot floppy or CD, depending on what media your
comp can boot from. GRUB understands several filesystems and can be
pointed to any kernel in any partition, and be instructed what
partition to use as "/".
1.2) Make a GAG boot diskette. There are both Lin & Win installers
that make multilingual boot/install diskettes. Once GAG is on a
diskette, it can be installed to the MBR of the master disk, AND also
onto another (monolingual) diskette, which can be used to re-intall
onto HD and back on FD ad infinitum.
1.3) Also, have recovery CD's and FD's ready, just in case, although
the risk of messing up is rather modest.
2) GET INFO
2.1) Identify all the HDs and check on the manufacturers' websites if
they have any special jumpering needs: some HD's don't like having the
slave appear and disappear. My master (an IBM 40GB) has extra jumpers
to "force slave present".
2.2) For each installed system get the _exact_ info about which kernel
is loaded. Assuming each system is booted by its own,
default-installed bootloader (LILO or GRUB), the info is to found in
two possible places: either in /etc/lilo.conf or in
/boot/grub/menu.lst. If you find a reference to a generic "vmlinuz"
in / , make sure it's not a link - if it is, go find the target.
3) BACK UP BOOT CODE AND SETTINGS
3.1) For each installed system, backup /etc/fstab, /etc/lilo.conf or
3.2) Back up the boot sectors, both the MBR of the master disk and the
boot records of each partition, using dd.
* MBR or whole boot sector:
If you use Lilo, you just need the boot record (first 512 bytes). If
you use another bootloader like GRUB, you'd better backup the whoe 1st
SECTOR, i.e. the first 64 records. GRUB stores the so called "stage
1.5" in trat area. GAG puts code there too.
* Just the MBR:
dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/hda of=<path><filename>
* Whole sector:
dd count=64 bs=512 if=/dev/hda of=<path><filename>
* Boot partitions' boot records:
dd count=1 bs=512 if=/dev/hd<xx> of=<path><filename>
* Boot partitions' whole sectors:
dd count=64 bs=512 if=/dev/hd<xx> of=<path><filename>
4) SWAP fstab REFERENCES
For each installed system, edit /etc/fstab to carefully swap all
references to hda<x> and hdb<x>.
5) SWAP CONNECTIONS
Physically swap the drives, including moving the jumpers as to match
the position on the IDE ribbon cable. The Master should be attached to
the plug at the end of the ribbon, the slave at the intermediate plug.
6) grub JARGON ALERT!
6.1) Grub uses this numbering to identify drives and partitions:
- drives are always named between round brackets
- any numbering begins with zero
- primary IDE partitions are 0, 1, 2, 3
- logical IDE partitions are 4, 5, 6, ...
so translating from "fstabese" to "grubian" /dev/hda will become
(hd0), and /dev/hdb6 will become (hd1,5).
6.2) Grub is deliciously ambiguous with the concept of "root".
Within a couple of lines, root is used FIRST to indicate which
filesystem should be accessed to find the kernel, THEN to indicate
where the operating system's root is located, and the two should not
Reboot using the GRUB boot media. You'll get to the GRUB command line
interface that allows you to select kernel and root partition, bearing
in mind the dialect that grub speaks. Under normal circumstances, you
will have to issue exactly three commands:
a) SET THE "BOOT" ROOT, specifying the partition where the kernel is.
b) IDENTIFY THE KERNEL with full path and exact filename, starting
from the "boot" root defined above, _AND_ SETTING THE "SYSTEM" ROOT
specifying the partition where the operating system root partition is.
The two are accomplished in the same command line.
c) TELL GRUB TO BOOT.
the kernel is the file vmlinuz-2.8.39 sitting in /boot/,
where /dev/hda5 is mounted on /boot,
and hda1 is mounted on /.
(Don't ask, just an example).
Once you get to the grub prompt:
- If you select a "boot" root that grub does not understand,
it will complain immediately.
- If you omit the "system" root but specify the kernel,
and the "boot" root is the same as the "system" root,
then it's OK, no error message.
- If you indicate a nonexistent kernel or a messy path,
it will complain.
- If the two roots do not correspond,
and you failed to enter the "system" root, you'll get something
"I have no root and I want to scream".
If all goes well, you'll boot into a fully functioning system, ready
to reinstall the bootloader(s).
8) INSTALL GRUB
Get grub on your system if not there already, as a Debian package. As
apt-get install grub
Prepare a /boot/grub/ directory.
Grub is larger that most other bootloaders. It puts code in three
1) in the boot record (or the MBR)
2) in the boot sector ABOVE the boot record (the stage 1.5 goes here)
3) in the filesystem specified in the "system" root, in /boot/grub/.
This implies boot will fail if you wipe /boot/ or /boot/grub , even if
the kernel is somewhere else.
For a multiboot system, it's my preference to install grub into EACH
SYSTEM TO BE BOOTED and use the easily reinstalled GAG as
9) INSTALL THE BOOTLOADER
Write the simplest possible version of /boot/grub/menu.lst:
#boot the 1st (and only) entry
#delay in s before booting default
title <entry name, spaces allowed>
kernel=/vmlinuz2.8.39 root=(hd0,0) ro
Save this file, then run
Where <device> can be expressed either in grubian language or in
As seen in 8), I prefer to have each system equipped with its own
bootloader. So, in this case, I would select the boot partition (
/dev/hda5, aka (hd0,4) ) as the boot device, and use GAG to point
==== ORIGINAL MESSAGE ====
From: SpamHog (email@example.com)
Subject: swapping master & slave HDs: what to change?
Newsgroups: linux.debian.user Date: 2004-07-16 03:50:08 PST