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  • New laptop with Linux Mint Cinnamon 19

    Posted on MrJimPhelps Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Other platforms – for Windows wonks Linux for Windows wonks New laptop with Linux Mint Cinnamon 19

    This topic contains 68 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  MrJimPhelps 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

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    • #204560 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      Someone recently gave me a Dell Latitude E5510 with 4 GB of RAM. It had no hard drive, and they wanted a newer computer anyway, so they gave it to me.

      I happened to have a 500 GB laptop hard drive from when I upgraded my wife to an SSD, so I installed the 500 GB hard drive. I now had a decent laptop!

      I booted the laptop on several versions of Linux Live — Pixel, Mint xfce 18.2, Mint Cinnamon 19. It ran good on all three. I decided to go with the latest Mint.

      After installing Mint to the hard drive, I kept getting an error message everytime I booted: “Error: file ‘boot/grub/i386-pc/normal.mod’ not found” or “Error: invalid arch-independent ELF magic”. Also, I was at a “grub rescue” prompt (apparently “grub rescue” is a stripped-down version of “grub”).

      I downloaded and created a Grub2 boot disk (www.supergrubdisk.org) and booted with it. This brought me to a Grub boot menu. I selected Linux, and I was then able to log into the Linux install on the hard drive.

      I found a helpful document at https://www.linux.com/learn/how-rescue-non-booting-grub-w-linux%20 –> you have to include the “%20” at the end of the URL. When I booted with the Grub2 boot disk, I was able to get a Grub command prompt by typing ‘C’. I ran some of the Grub commands in the document. However, I still wasn’t able to get into Linux without the Grub2 boot disk.

      I now rebooted without the Grub2 boot disk, but this time I held the left shift key down during the entire boot process. This brought up the “ELF magic” error message, and also told me “press any key to continue”. I hit a key and got into Linux Mint!

      I rebooted again, this time without holding down the shift key. I got to the “ELF magic” message and “hit any key”. I hit a key and got into Linux.

      Things got better — I rebooted again, not touching anything. About 10 seconds after the “hit any key” message, it automatically went to Mint, without my hitting any key.

      In other words, it got better with each reboot. And now that I can log straight in without any problem, I can live with a few seconds of delay during the boot process.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #204673 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Interesting story, and glad to hear things worked out.

      Puzzled by the grub boot menu thing though.  I have done clean Mint installs on a freshly formatted HDD before and never saw any of that on a single partition drive.  The only time I saw grub was when I was dual booting, etc.

      I wonder if the Mint installer thought there was an existing boot partition on that hard drive that you recycled?

      • #204693 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        There WAS an existing boot partition on the hard drive. It had Windows 8.1 on it. I figured that when I told Mint to do a clean install, all the old stuff would be wiped off of the drive. I guess that didn’t include the boot partition.

        I’ll bet if I had run GPARTED while in Linux live, deleted all partitions from the hard drive, and created one new partition, I wouldn’t have had this problem. There are still some remnants of that problem; and I haven’t saved anything to the hard drive; so maybe I should do that and then install Mint again after doing it, just to see what happens.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #204778 Reply

        anonymous

        Even on a Linux-only machine, my experience is that the Grub menu appears at startup — to offer the alternatives of a normal startup, repair mode, or two test functions. [Or something like that.]  Because otherwise you can’t get to repair mode.

        The choice between Linux and Windows (in a dual-boot Grub menu) is only an extension of the Linux-only Grub menu.

        There is a way to set the Grub menu timeout to zero, so that in effect the menu never appears.  [So if you DO want repair mode, say, you have to press — I think it’s Shift — while the machine boots, to force that menu to appear.]

        The point was made to me, emphatically, by one of my advisers (because I was very new to this game), that THERE HAS TO BE A BOOT LOADER of some sort, and in this case Grub is most likely.  We have been spoiled by 20 years’ experience of Windows installations, which hide the existence of the Windows boot loader almost completely.

         

        • #204788 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          I have done several clean installs of different distros of Linux, and this is the first time that the Grub bootloader has snagged me while the computer was booting up. In every other case, the computer has gone straight to Linux without prompting me for input, or stopping for any other reason.

          There is always a bunch of text that has flashed across the screen whenever I boot to Linux; but it never stops before getting all the way into Linux.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          • #204791 Reply

            anonymous

            Curious.  I have two experimental machines running Linux, both installed from the same *.iso, one configured as dual-boot Linux+Win7, the other as Linux only.  In both cases, the Grub menu initially appeared (but I found how to turn it off — mostly — in the Linux-only machine).  One machine does momentarily flash up an error message (probably to do with a USB driver) at startup and also at shutdown.

            These mysteries are sent to try us.  (Smile)

            Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit, Group W since Dec 2017, main machine;

            Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon (with Wine), two experimental machines as described.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #204681 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody MVP

      ..from when I upgraded my wife to an SSD,

      I think you may have lost out there.. 😉

      | 2x Group A- W8.1x64 | Group A+ Linux x64 Hybrid | Group B W7x64 Pro | Group W XP Pro
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • #204695 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Actually, I am glad to let my wife have the SSD. For some reason, her Windows 8.1 laptop is slow, even though she has an SSD and 8GB of RAM. So every little bit helps.

        Meanwhile, I am thrilled to have had an almost new 500 GB hard drive available to install in my new laptop. I paid nothing for the laptop and nothing for the drive, so I made out really well with this one.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #204720 Reply

          Microfix
          AskWoody MVP

          Perhaps I should upgrade my wife to a ferrari then.. 🙂

          | 2x Group A- W8.1x64 | Group A+ Linux x64 Hybrid | Group B W7x64 Pro | Group W XP Pro
            No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
          • #204732 Reply

            MrJimPhelps
            AskWoody MVP

            Happy wife, happy life!

            Group "L" (Linux Mint)
            with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
            2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #204687 Reply

      anonymous

      https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=273058 (Re: Installing Linux Mint 19 from ISO, please read, EFI installs only)

      Due to numerous issues posted here and on ubuntuforums.org recently, I would advise anyone installing Linux Mint 19 from the ISO to do so without an internet connection, install without updates. There seems to be an issue with some recent Ubuntu updates

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #204694 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Too late! I am fully updated. And I have had an internet connection continually since I began the install process.

        So far, so good. Only three problems, which I don’t believe were caused by a bad update:
        * I can’t access my shared network drive from this laptop.
        * There is a problem with my printer profile – it won’t print, even though it immediately found the printer when I added the printer. It sends the print job, but the printer never gets the job. I can likely fix this by installing the Canon Debian printer software.
        * External monitor can’t be set any better than 1024×768.

        On the bright side, Simple Scan worked immediately, without my having to do ANYTHING!

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #205084 Reply

        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        @anon #204687

        Now fixed with new ISO’s issued.

        https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=273833

        | 2x Group A- W8.1x64 | Group A+ Linux x64 Hybrid | Group B W7x64 Pro | Group W XP Pro
          No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
    • #204702 Reply

      anonymous

      Jim, I don’t really know what caused the problem, but I would be suspicious of that disk.   I’d run the gnome-disk-utility (hit the Meta key, type “disks”) and check the drive’s SMART data to make sure it’s not in pre-fail or something (click the hamburger menu in the upper right).   BTW, for 25 bucks US you can get one of these ssds and have a lot nicer rig (if you do, please go through Woodie’s amazon affiliate button, sorry I couldn’t figure out how to do that in this message).

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #204716 Reply

        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        A rule of thumb I use when installing a linux distro’s on hardware, is never to apply updates automatically when connected to the Internet during set-up, as some distro’s don’t have the firewall enabled by default during set-up process.

        It’s been a practice of mine for many years without any issues.

        At least Pjotr in the above post linux-mint link by anon, knows what he’s talking about as he has written lots of articles on linux as well as his own how-to website:

        https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/Home

        | 2x Group A- W8.1x64 | Group A+ Linux x64 Hybrid | Group B W7x64 Pro | Group W XP Pro
          No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
      • #204738 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        It’s probably always advisable to run SMART diagnostics on any disk that you plan to redeploy.

        But in Jim’s case here, as he said, it was likely that leaving the Win 8.1 partition in place that caused the issue when he told Mint to clean install.  Nuking the partition prior with GParted would most likely have provided a clean slate to work with.

        • #204745 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          The disk worked fine about a year ago when it was in my wife’s laptop. But you never know…

          I plan on rebooting into Linux Live and then nuking all partitions via GPARTED, then creating one new partition. I’ll then do the install again. I expect that the install will be uneventful this time around.

          This time, I’ll take Microfix’s advice and not do any updates until after the install is complete.

          I’ll report back here once I have done that.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #204797 Reply

          anonymous

          Good points, but I’d use gparted to create a new partition table (see the Device menu) with a partition table type of ‘msdos’ (because, guessing from the path in the grub error message, Jim is dong a 32-bit non-uefi install).

          That old drive most likely has a guid partition table (gpt) since it was used for Win 8.1.  While that *should* work with old-style bios booting, it’s a bit unusual and maybe not as well tested as one would hope.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #205081 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      Well, I booted to Linux Live on the computer, ran GPARTED, then nuked all partitions on the hard drive. I then created one new partition covering all space on the drive. I then ran Install, to install Mint on the hard drive. The install seemed to go well; but when it was all over and I rebooted, I was back to the GRUB RESCUE prompt.

      So I went from a working Linux install to a non-working Linux install.

      I booted once again with the GRUB2 disk, but this time around, there is no Linux option listed in the GRUB boot menu. It’s as if there are only empty folders showing when I type ls (hd0,1).

      I chose the GRUB option which said to print the partition information. It ran for a couple of minutes, then returned the message Device hd0: No known filesystem detected.

      Apparently when I deleted all partitions, I deleted the one containing the boot information; and a simple reinstall of Linux doesn’t recreate that information. Neither does an install of Windows — I tried that too, to see if Windows would write that information to the disk. The Windows install seemed to be successful; but it didn’t fix this problem.

      I’m thinking if I do a sector-by-sector clone of a smaller disk, then restore it sector-by-sector to this disk, perhaps whatever I nuked by deleting all partitions might be written back to the disk.

      Or maybe a low-level format.

      I had a working install of Linux Mint 19 on this computer; but I decided to experiment with deleting all partitions, then recreating one partition, then reinstalling Linux Mint. Now I have nothing. That’s the biggest frustration with this whole thing.

      On the bright side, Linux Live works fine on this computer.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #205090 Reply

        anonymous

        Try installing the much more stable LM 18.3.

        • #205137 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          I tried installing 18.3, but it wouldn’t run after I installed it. The only thing that will run is Windows.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          • #205150 Reply

            anonymous

            @ MrJimPhelps

            How did you create your Live LM media.?

            If using the Rufus program, ensure that Rufus mode and the computer BIOS Setup mode are the same, ie both in UEFI/GPT or Legacy BIOS/MBR(ms-dos) mode.

            YUMI(Multisystem) and UUI(Universal USB Installer) only work for Legacy BIOS mode.

      • #205092 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        When you installed Mint did you tell the installer the following?

        1. Installation Type:  > Erase disk and install Linux Mint.

        2. Choose entire disk > If you choose to use the entire disk, its content will be erased and Linux Mint will be installed as the only operating system on your computer.

        If you choose to install it alongside other operating systems, the installer will use the free space available on other partitions to create a new one for Linux Mint. You will be asked how much space you want to allocate to it. The installer will then shrink a partition and take care of everything for you. Post-installation your computer will have a boot screen from which you’ll be able to boot all your operating systems.

        If you choose to specify partitions manually, a partition editor will appear, giving you full control over the partitioning of your hard drive. This is recommended only to advanced users who understand how partitioning works under Linux. Note that Linux Mint requires a partition of at least 9GB and that the default size for a swap partition is 1 to 1.5 times the amount of RAM available on the computer.

      • #205093 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Multi-boot; Fix the boot sequence (mount the Linux Mint partition and re-install the grub menu:

        https://linuxmint-installation-guide.readthedocs.io/en/latest/multiboot.html

         

      • #205149 Reply

        anonymous

        Does Gparted tell you what kind of boot partion was created, old BIOS style or the new UEFI kind? For the dual boot configuration, Ubuntu Budgie installed grub to the UEFI boot partion which shows up as a somewhat hidden FAT32 file system.

        Are you able to get into the system setup?; This may help diagnose your issue if the previous owner did not password protect the computer.

    • #205083 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      …on the other hand, there is this:

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07621PNWC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&psc=1

      …a 120 GB SSD for $30.69, with free two-day shipping!

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205125 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Lounger

      This discussion illustrates a rational motive for many people running Windows to stay away from Linux: trying to install it in their own PCs (in single or in dual boot) always carries the risk of failing to do so. To them, this is an unacceptable risk, because if it happens, it can effectively brick their machines, as they do not have the knowledge necessary to recover from such a bad outcome, or recourse to someone who does and that also can help them in person.

      Is installing in a Virtual Machine any safer, and practical (i.e., how much of a slow down may result when running Linux that way)?

      • #205139 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Installing Linux in a Virtual Machine poses no risk to the host machine.  The OS in the VM is isolated by the Type-2 hosted hypervisor.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypervisor

        These hypervisors run on a conventional operating system (OS) just as other computer programs do. A guest operating system runs as a process on the host. Type-2 hypervisors abstract guest operating systems from the host operating system. VMware Workstation, VMware Player, VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop for Mac and QEMU are examples of type-2 hypervisors.

        With modern computers using hardware virtualization enabled in the CPU, there is really no slowdown in performance experienced.  It performs basically the same as if you were running on the native hardware.

        If you blow up the VM, you can just reload a copy of it you made from a backup disk.  Copying them is drag and drop simple…

      • #205141 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Oscar:

        There is always a risk of bricking your machine whenever you do something like this. But I think the risk is slight. In my case, I have never tried to set up Linux as a dual boot with Windows – I have always put it on its own hard drive. Therefore, the only thing which could be bricked is that hard drive.

        Installing Linux in a virtual machine is a very safe way to do things. If you have at least 8 GB of RAM, then it shouldn’t be slow. I have only 4 GB of RAM, and so for me a virtual machine can be slow sometimes. On the other hand, you can set up as many virtual machines as you want; and if you run only one at a time, it won’t be that slow.

        Jim

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        • #205156 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Lounger

          MrJimPhelps,

          Thank you.

          If one installed Linux on an external disk, would it be necessary to modify the PC’s BIOS or UEFI to subsequently boot Linux from that external disk or, alternatively, Windows from the PC’s hard disk as usual?

          What would that take to make such modification, if needed, and how risky it might be for someone with limited knowledge of how to recover from a bad situation?

          • #205165 Reply

            johnf
            AskWoody Lounger

            It’s easy to create a live Linux USB in Windows using Rufus (after downloading the linux iso file). All you need to do the is to press a key during startup (on my HP it’s F12) to select what medium you want to boot from (in this case, it may be legacy USB). You could also promote your USB above your hard drive in your Bios setup (see how to change your boot order), so you just need to have the USB inserted before bootup).

            You won’t risk anything using a live USB stick, and it’s a great way to learn. If you do decide to try dual boot, go the distro’s forum for help (along with a google search for dual boot instructions with that distro), and make a system backup (I like using Macrium Reflect Free). It’s easy to do, and a good idea anyway to make system backups on an external disk.

             

          • #205170 Reply

            JohnW
            AskWoody Lounger

            Linux is actually “installed” to an internal disk, just like Windows, either as a single partition, or shared with a dual-boot, dual partition setup.

            Running it from an external USB drive does not require an actual installation on the computer’s internal drive.  If you boot Linux from an external USB drive, you will be running in “Live Linux” mode.  Preparing the USB to become bootable for this use is a different process.

            Live Linux is a good way to test your hardware and preview a Linux distro, and some of the utilities are very useful for routine or emergency computer maintenance.  It will not write anything to the internal drive by default, so it is a low risk usage.

            Live Linux typically creates a virtual HDD in RAM for the live session, so it may run a bit slower as it copies files to RAM from the USB.  When you shut down the PC, the live session is erased from the computer’s memory.

            • #205171 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Lounger

              But how about installing it in an *external hard disk* (not an USB or an internal HD), as MrJimPhelps mentioned?

              • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by  OscarCP.
            • #205173 Reply

              JohnW
              AskWoody Lounger

              Don’t think that can be done easily, due to the way Linux mounts and assigns drives and partitions, unless you were somehow able to install grub on that external drive, and force your BIOS to look there first for boot.  That might be even more risky and complicated than attempting any other method.  I’m fine with a HDD install, Live Linux, or VMs, LOL!

              https://www.cyberciti.biz/faq/linux-list-disk-partitions-command/

              Usually, your hard disk drive divided into one or more logical disks called partitions. This division is described in the partition table found in sector 0 of the hard disk. The device is usually /dev/sda, /dev/sdb or so on. A device name refers to the entire disk, and the device name will be as follows:

              1. /dev/hd* – IDE disks. /dev/hda will be first IDE hard disk, /dev/hdb will be second IDE hard disk, and so on.
              2. /dev/sd* – SCSI or SATA disks. /dev/sda will be first SATA/SCSI hard disk, /dev/sdb will be second SATA/SCSI hard disk, and so on.

              https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/35676/how-to-choose-a-partition-scheme-for-your-linux-pc/

              http://linuxbsdos.com/2014/11/08/a-beginners-guide-to-disks-and-disk-partitions-in-linux/

              https://www.digitalocean.com/community/tutorials/how-to-partition-and-format-storage-devices-in-linux

              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #205195 Reply

              MrJimPhelps
              AskWoody MVP

              If you can successfully install Linux Live to an external USB3 hard drive, you will have a good thing, because USB3 means that it will be fast.

              I believe you will be successful if you create two partitions on the disk: a small one (say, 32 GB), and a big one (the rest of the drive), then install Linux Live into the small partition. This would give you plenty of room for Linux, including 4 GB of persistent storage for any setting changes; plus you would have the big partition as a second drive. You could use that second partition for your data and for installing all programs.

              Group "L" (Linux Mint)
              with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
              1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #205194 Reply

              anonymous

              I’ve done dozens of installs to external USB drives, both hard drives and memory sticks.  In fact, I’m typing this in Firefox running under Linux Mint 19 which I installed to a 32GB USB 3 SanDisk memory stick.  Note that this is not a live/install USB, but a full “normal” install of LM19.  It’s a bit slow to boot, but just fine after it’s up and running.

              It’s always a bit more complicated to do an install when multiple drives are involved, and there is increased opportunity to mess things up.  You can avoid disaster by removing your existing internal hard drive(s) before doing an install, replacing them when you’re done.

              Or, if you’re as lazy as I am, you can use VirtualBox to install directly to a USB drive rather than to a virtual hard disk.  Details on request, but it’s really pretty easy, if a bit slow.  I’ve always used a Linux host of one sort or another to do this, but I’d be very shocked if it didn’t work exactly the same way under a Windows host.

              2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #205140 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      This discussion illustrates a rational motive for many people running Windows to stay away from Linux: trying to install it in their own PCs (in single or in dual boot) always carries the risk of failing to do so. To them, this is an unacceptable risk, because if it happens, it can effectively brick their machines, as they do not have the knowledge necessary to recover from such a bad outcome, or recourse to someone who does and that also can help them in person. 

      I would never recommend that anyone install a new operating system on their main computer, without having a backup image and the knowledge and confidence that they can restore the system back to exactly the way it was before their experiment.

      But in Jim’s case, it was a gift computer, so there was no risk to his daily driver.  So no harm, just a fun learning experience!  I have no doubt that he will get it sorted, and have a decent Linux laptop to use for free! 🙂

      • #205337 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        It’s good to have a couple of spare laptop-sized hard drives laying around! You’re right, it’s a fun learning experience!

        Not only did I already have a hard drive, but I also have a carrying case — about a year ago my daughter gave my wife a laptop bag; she stashed it in the closet, thinking that one day we would use it. Today is that day!

        Two other things I need to fix on this laptop:

        * The hard drive bracket I have is for an Acer, not a Dell. The mounting holes on the bracket don’t line up with the retaining screws in the laptop. I have ordered a hard drive bracket on Ebay for around $2.50, with free shipping! Delivery is going to take about a month – it is coming from China! In the meantime, the Acer bracket causes the drive to fit very snuggly in its space, so that it is not likely to move around. But I won’t take this laptop out and about till I secure the drive with the correct bracket.

        * The laptop battery is shot. The laptop works fine when it is plugged in the wall; it dies immediately as soon as you unplug it. I am trying to find a way to take the battery casing apart, to see if I can replace what is inside, rather than paying full price for a new battery. (The cheapest battery that I trust is $49 from Duracell.)

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205162 Reply

      anonymous

      Jim, have you looked at the drive’s smart data, as previously suggested?  Have you held down the f12 key while booting and run the built-in hardware diagnostics?

      • #205193 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        No, I haven’t looked at the drive’s smart data. However, I found another hard drive (a 160 GB drive with Windows on it), and I was able to do a clean install of Linux Mint Cinnamon 18.3 64-bit with this drive installed in the computer. So far, everything is working fine. I am using Redo Backup to do a sector by sector, bare-metal backup, which will blindly back up everything on the 160 GB drive. I will then reinstall the bad drive and do a sector by sector, bare-metal restore to that drive. The Redo Backup is taking a long time, so I can’t report on it yet; I’ll report on it once it is all done and tested.

        My thought is that some low-level formatting got messed up, or the boot sector, or something else that is not touchable by normal means. A sector by sector, bare-metal backup and restore will grab all of that info from the good drive and write it correctly to the bad drive.

        This is a situation when a sector by sector clone will be better than an image backup.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205247 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      Redo Backup had made absolutely no progress after several hours — it was stuck at “preparing to do backup”. There was plenty of room for the backup on the target disk, so I know that this was not a problem of a lack of space.

      I rebooted the computer, this time with a Macrium Reflect “Rescue Media” disk in the drive. This caused the computer to boot into Macrium Reflect. I then initiated an “Exact Copy” (sector by sector) backup. It was about 1/5 of the way through the backup when I left for work this morning, so when I get home, I will do a restore to the bad drive, to see if this fixes it. If so, then I will have discovered a situation in which a sector by sector backup is the way to go.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      • #205250 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Or you could always try DBAN (Darik’s Boot and Nuke)  https://dban.org/

        Pretty much guaranteed to eliminate all bits on a drive, including boot sectors and hidden partitions…

        A hard drive disk wipe and data clearing utility

        Darik’s Boot and Nuke (“DBAN”) is a self-contained boot image that securely wipes the hard disks of most computers. DBAN is appropriate for bulk or emergency data destruction.

        And I would think a single pass should so it …  🙂

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #205262 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          If I am unable to fix the drive by doing a sector-by-sector bare-metal restore to it from a working drive, then I may try DBAN on the bad drive prior to trying a Linux install again.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          • #205310 Reply

            anonymous

            You’re a glutton for punishment my friend.  Look at the SMART status.  If the “overall assessment” is anything other than “drive ok” (or words to that effect) you’re wasting your time.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #205329 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Some light reading about master boot record (MBR) in case of any long wait times encountered for disk wipes and backups. etc. 😀

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Master_boot_record

      https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-master-boot-record-mbr-2625936

      https://www.howtogeek.com/193669/whats-the-difference-between-gpt-and-mbr-when-partitioning-a-drive/

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #205331 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Some light reading about GNU GRUB (GNU Grand Unified Bootloader) if you have already covered MBR.  😀

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_GRUB

      https://www.gnu.org/software/grub/manual/grub/grub.html

      https://www.linux.com/learn/how-rescue-non-booting-grub-2-linux

       

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #205334 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Wikipedia often has excellent technical information on IT topics.

        After I nuked all the partitions with GPARTED (and then created one new partition), and then installed Linux Mint 19.0, it brought me to a GRUB RESCUE prompt. I couldn’t find any of the files that Wikipedia lists: core.img, boot.img, diskboot.img. And it also couldn’t find Linuz-….. I had a feeling at that point that I nuked those files when I nuked the partitions, and the Linux install couldn’t put them back onto the drive.

        I am hopeful that a sector-by-sector blind backup and restore will copy those files from the good drive to the bad drive.

        Interesting that I was able to successfully install and run Windows 7 after nuking the partitions. I had hoped that a Windows install would fix whatever damage I caused by nuking the partitions; it may have fixed the stuff that Windows requires, but it didn’t fix whatever Linux requires.

        Perhaps some of the GRUB configuration tools would help here. But I’m going to try the sector-by-sector backup and restore first; because if I can fix the drive simply by doing a sector-by-sector backup and restore from a working drive, I will have found an uncomplicated, straightforward, easy-to-understand way of fixing these things.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #205697 Reply

      MrJimPhelps
      AskWoody MVP

      I tried two times to do a bare-metal, sector-by-sector backup — first with Redo Backup, and then with Macrium Reflect Free. In both cases, I booted the computer with the respective software’s boot disk, then I tried to back up the drive I was able to install Linux Mint on (the 160 GB drive). Redo just sat there for hours, telling me it was preparing to do the backup. Macrium got much of the way through the backup, but then it told me that the remaining time was 447 hours! And it was creeping along, consistent with that many hours remaining.

      I will now try to nuke the bad drive using Dban. I will also check the SMART data for the drive, as was suggested to me several times! I really want to see if I can recover this drive. In fact, I was able to install Windows 7 on it, so I don’t think it is physically bad; I think some low-level info somehow got messed up on it.

      At any rate, I do have a working Linux Mint drive (160 GB), so at least I can use the computer without any problem.

      Group "L" (Linux Mint)
      with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #205698 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        DBAN will wipe the entire drive, not just partitions.

        DBAN walkthrough: https://www.lifewire.com/how-to-erase-a-hard-drive-using-dban-2619148

        DBAN Review: https://www.lifewire.com/dban-dariks-boot-and-nuke-review-2619130

         

        2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #205762 Reply

        anonymous

        Jim, if  you’re lucky, you have a bad drive.  If unlucky, you could have a flaky sata controller in the laptop.  The laptop’s built-in hardware tests (f12 at power on) should be able to do at least a cursory check of the controller.  If that says it’s bad, it almost certainly is.  If it passes the tests, you’re not totally out of the woods, because some problems appear randomly, or when the machine gets too warm, etc.  It certainly worth checking though. Better to know, ignorance is not bliss.

        A sata to usb cable like this will let you examine the drive on another computer.  Unfortunately, IME  the gnome-disk utility can’t display smart data for a usb-connected device.  All is not lost though, smartctl in the smartmontools package can.  That’s a command line utility, but the gsmartcontrol program is a nice gui front-end.  Doing “sudo apt install gsmartcontrol” should get you everything.

        Drives can perform their own self-tests, and you can run them with gsmartcontrol.  The “short” self test should be your first stop.  If it’s bad, no reason to continue.  The “extended” self test will run for several hours, but it’s a much better test.  A prime thing to look for is the “reallocated sector count.” All drives have surface defects, and more develop over time.  Drives have a small pool of spare sectors that can be transparently swapped in, but when the pool is exhausted, you have permanent bad blocks on the drive.

        As far as “low-level formatting” goes, that’s done at manufacture time and you can NOT low-level format modern drives, it’s simply impossible.  The last drives that I actually did low-level formats on were the size and shape of top-loading washing machines, back in the 1970s (yes, I’m a fossil).

         

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #205796 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody MVP

          When I say “low level format”, I am using that phrase generically to describe the hidden information that is untouched by a regular format, such as the GRUB files.

          I did a couple of low level formats decades ago. Seems like just yesterday!

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205701 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      I tried two times to do a bare-metal, sector-by-sector backup — first with Redo Backup, and then with Macrium Reflect Free. In both cases, I booted the computer with the respective software’s boot disk, then I tried to back up the drive I was able to install Linux Mint on (the 160 GB drive). Redo just sat there for hours, telling me it was preparing to do the backup. Macrium got much of the way through the backup, but then it told me that the remaining time was 447 hours! And it was creeping along, consistent with that many hours remaining.

      I have always relied on Clonezilla Live (free) for imaging my Linux drives: https://clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live.php

      It has been a reliable, however slightly techy approach, to doing disk images and restores.  It is a combo of Debian Live and Clonezilla.

      Clonezilla step by step examples: https://clonezilla.org/clonezilla-live-doc.php

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #205703 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Looking on this page, I find that I can choose Expert mode for a disk to disk clone. Some of the options include:
        * Reinstall grub on target hard disk boot sector
        * Clone the hidden data between MBR and 1st partition
        * Resize the filesystem to fit partition size of target partition
        * Force to use sector-by-sector copy

        This looks like exactly what I need to try to fix the bad drive.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #205708 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Looking on this page, I find that I can choose Expert mode for a disk to disk clone. Some of the options include: * Reinstall grub on target hard disk boot sector * Clone the hidden data between MBR and 1st partition * Resize the filesystem to fit partition size of target partition * Force to use sector-by-sector copy This looks like exactly what I need to try to fix the bad drive.

      Well done Jim!  You found the advanced settings without really trying.  May the force be with you!  🙂

      The thing about Clonezilla, is that you really, really, need to read the instructions.  The pictures help out a bit too, as the Taiwanese/English translation* sometimes has subtle clues… 😉

      * Clonezilla is designed by Steven Shiau and developed by the NCHC Free Software Labs

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Center_for_High-Performance_Computing

      Stable Clonezilla live (2.5.5-38) Released:  https://sourceforge.net/p/clonezilla/news/2018/04/stable-clonezilla-live-255-38-released/

      Featured Clonezilla review at SourceForge:

      “It does exactly what it says on the box. Its an essential no messing around utility. If you screw it up it means you haven’t read the instructions. It is really that easy.”

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #205716 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        Now all I need to do is install some additional SATA ports in my computer, so that I can connect both drives at the same time! (All four built-in SATA ports are in use!)

        In fact, what I will likely do is get a couple of really long SATA cables and power cables, and extend them out of my computer. In this way, if I ever need to connect an internal drive or two, I just power down, hook up the drives to the extension cables, and power up. No need to open the computer!

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205728 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Now all I need to do is install some additional SATA ports in my computer, so that I can connect both drives at the same time! (All four built-in SATA ports are in use!) In fact, what I will likely do is get a couple of really long SATA cables and power cables, and extend them out of my computer. In this way, if I ever need to connect an internal drive or two, I just power down, hook up the drives to the extension cables, and power up. No need to open the computer!

      Another trick is to just buy an inexpensive USB/SATA adapter, or enclosure.  That way you can hook internal drives up via USB.  Perfect for cloning or imaging.

      https://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Description=usb%20to%20sata%20adapter&Submit=ENE

      If your system has USB3, I would leverage that speed.  I’ve has good luck with USB3.  It’s about as fast as internal SATA for images.  Taking an image with USB2 now seems glacial by comparison!

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #205734 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        That’s a good idea.

        I like this one the best, because it has two USB inputs — the USB3 is for data and power, and the USB2 is for additional power. I am always concerned that a device dependent on the USB wire for its power might not get enough power; the extra USB connection will give me that extra assurance that the device will have enough power.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205738 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      That’s a good idea. I like this one the best, because it has two USB inputs — the USB3 is for data and power, and the USB2 is for additional power. I am always concerned that a device dependent on the USB wire for its power might not get enough power; the extra USB connection will give me that extra assurance that the device will have enough power.

      I got one similar to this, which comes with a separate AC/DC transformer to supply power, via the SATA power plug.  Also has an adapter cable for legacy IDE power.

      https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIACJF6NW5537&cm_re=usb_to_sata_adapter-_-9SIACJF6NW5537-_-Product

      It supports 2.5″ and 3.5″ IDE/SATA form factor drives.

      • #205742 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        I’ve read some horror stories about some of these AC adapters. Some have reported that the AC adapter has fried their drive. If I needed a power supply for a drive, I would purchase a computer power supply and use that. It would already have the needed connections for internal hard drives, so that would be an added benefit. I would much rather do that than trust one of these AC adapters.

        Sounds like your results have been good with your AC adapter.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #205802 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      I’ve read some horror stories about some of these AC adapters. Some have reported that the AC adapter has fried their drive. If I needed a power supply for a drive, I would purchase a computer power supply and use that. It would already have the needed connections for internal hard drives, so that would be an added benefit. I would much rather do that than trust one of these AC adapters. Sounds like your results have been good with your AC adapter.

      This is the adapter I purchased, by Inatek for $26.99: Inateck Universal USB 3.0 to IDE/SATA Converter Hard Drive Adapter with Power Switch for 2.5″/3.5″SATA HDD/SSD & IDE HDD Drives Optical Drive, Support 6TB, Include 12V 2A Power Adapter & USB 3.0 Cable(UA2001)

      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MLYV5XY/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=inateck00-20

      I just noticed that Inatek has a similar model but is SATA only for $19.99:  Inateck USB 3.0 to SATA Converter Adapter for 2.5 inch/3.5 inch Hard Drive Disk HDD and SSD, Power Adapter Included(UA1001)

      https://www.amazon.com/Inateck-Converter-Adapter-Included-UA1001/dp/B00N4JUOI2

    • #205805 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      The last drives that I actually did low-level formats on were the size and shape of top-loading washing machines, back in the 1970s (yes, I’m a fossil).

      We used to have a roomful of these back in the 80’s… and yup, they did resemble washing machines, LOL!  Hard to believe their capacity was only 317.5 MB!!!

      IBM 3350 direct access storage

      https://www-03.ibm.com/ibm/history/exhibits/storage/storage_3350.html

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #205986 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      Here is what I would like to get: I would provide power to the drives with this — Corsair 400W power supply for $29.99: https://www.amazon.com/CORSAIR-VS400-Active-Supply-Certified/dp/B01MYNN9PL/ref=sr_1_1?s=pc&ie=UTF8&qid=1532608562&sr=1-1&keywords=computer+power+supplies&refinements=p_89%3ACorsair I would use the Inateck adapter you linked to, along with SATA data extension cables, for the data connection.

      Yes, that would work, but like you mentioned it would be necessary to extend the SATA port from the adapter with a SATA data extension cable in order to provide room to attach an external power supply to the drive.

      At least no worries about over voltages, or shorts, from a cheap power supply that way!  Cheers!  🙂

      Fyi: I did read some reviews about fried power supplies with some cheap adapter brands, but I haven’t had any issues with my Inateck.  I also bought a couple of Rosewill 3.5″ aluminum USB drive housings a few years ago.  They included a power supply.  No issues with Rosewill either.

      • #206006 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        I’m happy for you that you have a power adapter that works correctly. Perhaps I am being over cautious here, but I don’t like to take chances. And I won’t be taking any chances if I get a good-quality desktop power supply.

        I used to have a rather large junk pile, so I know I had some good power supplies; but when I moved years ago, I decided to reduce the size of my junk pile for practical reasons. I had some really cool junk — floppy drives (both 5-1/4 and 3-1/2, as well as a few combo units — both drives in one unit); an external CD reader, still in the original package, that plugged in the parallel port; and misc. parts such as power supplies. I did save a few floppy drives, and I just installed one of those in my old eMachines computer — and it works!

        I’m surprised that no one has ever marketed a genuine desktop power supply as a good option for a bench power supply.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #206007 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Lounger

      I’m happy for you that you have a power adapter that works correctly. Perhaps I am being over cautious here, but I don’t like to take chances. And I won’t be taking any chances if I get a good-quality desktop power supply. I used to have a rather large junk pile, so I know I had some good power supplies; but when I moved years ago, I decided to reduce the size of my junk pile for practical reasons. I had some really cool junk — floppy drives (both 5-1/4 and 3-1/2, as well as a few combo units — both drives in one unit); an external CD reader, still in the original package, that plugged in the parallel port; and misc. parts such as power supplies. I did save a few floppy drives, and I just installed one of those in my old eMachines computer — and it works! I’m surprised that no one has ever marketed a genuine desktop power supply as a good option for a bench power supply.

      Well if you are ever having to troubleshoot system hardware, the best way to begin is to remove the motherboard/CPU to a bench, and just connect only a PSU, GPU (if not integrated), one stick of RAM, and see if it powers up and self tests.  Then proceed to add components back one at a time until you can reproduce the failure.

      The key to this would be having a spare PSU to bench test with!  🙂

      • #206041 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody MVP

        I think I’ll put a new PSU on my wife’s list of what to get me for my birthday!

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM

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