Hi & tanx tooth&nail! "Chainload"- I'd have to look that up.
'Chainload' is the method Grub (legacy) uses to boot file systems it doesn't fully understand. The normal sequence of commands for chainload would be as below:
rootnoverify (hd0,?) (fill in the number of the partition, remembering that Grub numbers from zero, while Linux numbers from one)
I have discovered that when Grub really
doesn't understand the file system (as in the case of ext4), 'makeactive' fails, so you need to remove it. Using those basic commands, with 'makeactive' removed, I've been able to boot Fedora 12 installed to an ext4 partition.
The way "i used to get around it" was to install the bootloader to a dskt. I tried adding a Distro to the menu.lst a couple times and it gets the "Kernel Panic, kernel not syncing" when it dumps to text. It made no diff. which was being installed.
That sounds like an incorrect grub command, or not including the necessary information to pass to the kernel, but without seeing the command you were using, it is impossible to say which.
I have Grub installed on /dev/sda6 (I use the Vista boot loader and EasyBCD to pass control to Grub). I also have Vector 6.0 Standard installed to /dev/sda9. The command I use in /boot/grub/menu.lst to boot Vector is as below:
title Vector Linux 6.0 Standard
kernel (hd0,8)/boot/vmlinuz root=/dev/sda9 vga=870 ro
vga=870 sets a widescreen framebuffer mode (1280x800), so the normal Vector splash screen doesn't work for me, otherwise I would have 'splash=silent' and add an 'initrd' command below the kernel command.
*I did notice that when i formatted & installed over ext.3, that when the grub went to load either hd1 or hd2, that it mentioned Linux on "ext.2" filesystem.
ext3 is virtually identical to ext2, other than having journaling capabilities. It may well look the same to Grub. I think that error is probably spurious.
Just thought, maybe thats my problem, that hte grub being used is "the older" style, but i am just using whatever comes with the distro that i am trying to install. Maybe it is not "Overwriting" the previous grub file?
Again, without knowing more about the layout you are using, I can't really comment on that. I have seen instances where Grub will not overwrite an already installed Grub, but so long as the support files are where it expects to find them, I wouldn't expect that to cause any problems. I have definately seen problems attempting to install Lilo over an existing Grub install (at least when both installs are using the disk MBR rather than the root of the install partition). Lilo seems to be unable to remove the Grub signature, and will often leave the system unbootable. If I have to change to Lilo, I will always uninstall Grub first.
ALSO, you mentioned (as example for my question) that Fedora12 uses ext.4 by default!? I thought that if you format the partition ahead of time with GParted and make it ext.3 or 2, that whatever Distro you try to install installs at that format?
That is true within limits, but many distros will format a partition before install (by default, Vector Linux will always format the / parition, and the same is true of most other distros - its the only way to guarantee that there aren't files that will interfere with the new install). Most distros will give you some choice as to what file system to use for the install - Vector, for instance, defaults to Rieserfs, but allows me to change to xfs, which I find more reliable. Fedora will only permit either ext3 (which may be the new, sector modified version of ext3) or ext4 for the / partition, though it did let me use my /home partition (which is formatted as xfs) without complaint.
A couple years or so ago it seemed to work that way, but maybe procedure or installing has changed and i just don't know it yet?
I have not progressed that much the past couple years & of course, my machines are even older now. I just read that Parted Magic has a new grub that lists drives as SDA's instead of HDA's and they were NOT including older drivers for older drives(IDE). I didn't know grub used/had drivers? I thought it just worked off of the names and pointed to where the linux was installed. Sorry for the long rant, i just need to read more current stuff i guess.
Drives listed as sd? instead of hd? are due to more recent kernels, which use libata. They no longer provide the distinction between PATA and STA that older kernels did. Some distros (Vector being one of them, though I now use SATA drives pretty well exclusively, so I don't know if this still applies) still use the old 'hd?' for PATA drives.
I hope that explains some of the problems you are seeing. If you provide samples of the Grub commands you are trying to use, I may be able to correct them for you.