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Grub doesn't install



Hi All,
I'm not a Linux guru but I would like to use Linux as an alternative to Windoze wherever possible. To that end I've tried installing a few different distros, the latest being FC4, but I appear to have screwed something up with grub. Sorry, but it's a long story so please bear with me. I had Mandrake 10.0 Official installed on the second hard drive in my PC (XP is on the primary drive) which used lilo (could never get grub to work) as it's bootloader, and all was fine. Then I tried FC4, which installed grub and again everything seemed to work okay, but I couldn't get FC4 to recognise my Windoze drive. Tried mounting the drive as ntfs but it told me ntfs was not a valid file type. A bit of RTFMing told me that the valid file types had to live in a specific file (the name of which I've forgotten now, but you probably know it). ntfs wasn't in there so I added it. Now the mount command told me /hda had an invalid or unrecognisable header. At that point I gave up. Then I bought a mag with a great new distro (according to the mag) called Ubuntu, so decided to install that. It installed grub and again all seemed to be fine, except I couldn't figure out how to change the monitor refresh rate, so my monitor looked like that Win screen saver with the waving flag. (I've never seen a distro yet that has my monitor in it, LG Studioworks 700s). Completely NG so I gave up and reinstalled FC4 (yes, I do have too much time on my hands...). Now when I booted I got what appeared to be a shell with GRUB> as the prompt. The only command that seemed likely to help was boot, but it told me the kernel hadn't been loaded yet, so that didn't work. So I reinstalled Mandrake again, thinking it would overwrite the boot loader and I could start afresh. This worked fine, Mandrake installed lilo and I could boot Mandrake (and Windoze, which settled my nerves a bit...). Reinstalled FC4 again, and made sure I asked it to install grub. Rebooted and up came Mandrake's version of lilo. FC4 had not installed grub apparently. Could still boot Windoze (whew) but if I select Linux the loader hangs. Had a look at fixing it with Windoze. Eventually figured out how to start the recovery console, which allows a "fixmbr" command to fix the mbr. However it popped up so many dire warnings about how running this command could make the rest of the disk inaccessible (i.e. lose everything in Windoze) that I chickened out and didn't do it. Finally found my way to this forum, and found the post about booting with "linux rescue", chroot /mnt/sysimage and grub-install /dev/hda. Tried that and got a message saying /dev/hdb1 (where FC4 is installed) did not have a valid BIOS file (sorry, again I don't remember exactly what the message said, but it was something along those lines. It definitely mentioned /dev/hdb1 and BIOS). Now I'm really stuck. During FC4 install I created 3 partitions on my drive, one for /boot, one for swap and the rest for /. I formatted all partitions prior to each install. My PC has an AMD2200+, 512Mb, primary drive is 40Gb (Win) and slave is 10Gb (Linux).
All help very gratefully received!
Ian


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