warning, the following rant is of a geekish nature and has several prerequisites if you are to understand the anecdotal value of it. otherwise the “short description” is less amusing, but not jibberish.
knowledge of hard drive partitions (at least that they exist)
basic understanding of linux
basic understanding of GRUB is helpful
basic understanding of Windows with relation to hard drive MBR (master boot record)
understand_prerequisites != true
i broke my computer. again. after several frustrating hours, i fixed it.
so i had the idea to try to install mac osx on my computer since it’s all intel-compatible (well, somewhat anyway), and i have this partition on my linux hard drive that i’m hardly using. i read somewhere that someone said to make the partition in Acronis which is a PartitionMagic-like application which i actually have on my windows install. so i create a 60gb partition but see that Acronis can’t format the partition in whatever filesystem format macs use, which was, as i understood, one of the reasons to use it. whatever, i can leave it. i wasn’t ready (and apparently didn’t have a good burn anyway) to actually install the OS, and figured as long as i’ve got a partition, i’m probably good.
so, when i try to boot back into linux, oops, can’t boot. grub error 17. i do everything i can think of to fix it, including booting from the Super Grub Disk ™, and i can boot to linux, and i know what partition my os is on that i need to boot to, but no matter what i do, i still get the stupid error 17 (which, incidentally, means, “i see a partition, but i can’t read the filesystem, or there’s something missing — which is fairly easy to see where that came from — the parition numbers shifted when i made a new partition and now it’s looking at one of the other partitions on that drive. in this case, the newly created, unformatted one). i spend several hours banging my head against this, trying various things until i start to think that my SGD doesn’t actually do anything, and start getting really frustrated because no matter what i do that’s supposed to work, nothing does work. ultimately i came across a forum post that said mess with stuff in bios. specifically it said to change the hard drive’s mode. well, my bios doesn’t have a mode option that i could change (at least not to auto, or whatever it was saying), but i changed which drive was my boot drive and got some interesting results. when i boot from my primary hard drive i got the error 17, but when i booted from my other hard drive (where my linux os lives), i got my grub menu, but it just couldn’t boot to linux. so then i realize that the primary (windows) hard drive is the one that grub pulls from first even though grub is actually installed on the secondary (linux) hard drive, because it’s saved in the MBR on the primary (windows) hard drive.
so, basically, i just spent the last several hours banging my head against a hard drive that wasn’t even the problem. d’oh.