Restoring GRUB for dual booting of Linux and Windows

Once you end up with Windows overwriting your master boot record (MBR), you have lost the ability to use GRUB. Therefore, it would be handy to get it back if you want to start up Linux again. Though the loss of GRUB from the MBR was a deliberate act of mine, I knew that I’d have to restore GRUB to get Linux working again.So, I have been addressing the situation with a Live DVD for the likes of Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Once one of those had loaded its copy of the distribution, issuing the following command in a terminal session gets things back again:

sudo grub-install --root-directory=/media/0d104aff-ec8c-44c8-b811-92b993823444 /dev/sda

When there were error messages, I tried this one to see if I could get more information:

sudo grub-install --root-directory=/media/0d104aff-ec8c-44c8-b811-92b993823444 /dev/sda --recheck

Also, it is possible to mount a partition on the boot drive and use that in the command to restore GRUB. Here is the required combination:

sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt
sudo grub-install --root-directory=/mnt /dev/sda

Either of these will get GRUB working without a hitch and they are far more snappy than downloading Boot-Repair and using that; I was doing that for a while until a feature on triple booting appeared in an issue of Linux User & Developer that reminded me of the more readily available option. Once, there was a need to manually add an entry for Windows 7 to the GRUB menu too and, with that instated, I was able to dual-boot Ubuntu and Windows using GRUB to select which one was to start for me. Since then, I have been able to dual boot Linux Mint and Windows 8.1 with GRUB finding the latter all by itself so your experiences too may show this variation so it’s worth bearing in mind.

A way to get Rigo working again in Sabayon

After having Sabayon running on a PC until it came to pieces after an attempted version upgrade, I went away from the Linux distro for a while and Linux Mint now runs on the aforementioned machine. It only was a certain curiosity that got me installing it into a virtual machine on VirtualBox to see if my command line method of keeping the system up to date was the cause or whether rolling or partially-rolling distros have a certain fragility that is not seen in their discrete release counterparts.

Recently that ran into a hitch, the Sabayon package manager Rigo failed to start up for me. After waiting to see if it sorted itself on its own, I looked into returning to those command line ways and that line of enquiry led me to a method of restoring Rigo’s functionality from Sabayon’s wiki page on the underlying Entropy. The first step was to issue a command to become root:

su

That needed the appropriate password and the next command issued updated Sabayon’s repositories:

equo update

Once that had done its thing, it was time to install new versions of Entropy and Rigo:

equo install entropy rigo

With that complete, it was time to exit the root session with the exit command. Then, it was time to try running Rigo and it worked as expected. Any thoughts of adding in the superseded Sulfur (Rigo’s predecessor) were banished on seeing that success.

Restoring GNU Parallel Functionality in Ubuntu GNOME 13.04

There is a handy comand line utility called GNU Parallel that allows you to run Linux commands on more than one CPU core at a time to perform parallel processing of the task at hand. Here is a form of the command that is similar to one that I often use:

ls *.* | parallel gm convert -sharpen 1×3 {} sharpened_images/{}

What it does is pipe a list of files in a folder to GraphicsMagick for sharpening and outputting to a sharpened_images directory. The {} in the command is where the filenames go in the sharpening command.

This worked fine in Ubuntu GNOME 12.10 but stopped doing so after I upgraded to the next version. A look on the web set me to running the following command:

parallel --version

That produced output that included the following line:

WARNING: YOU ARE USING --tollef. IF THINGS ARE ACTING WEIRD USE --gnu.

Rerunning the original command with the --gnu option worked but there was a more permanent solution than using something like this:

ls *.* | parallel --gnu gm convert -sharpen 1×3 {} sharpened_images/{}

That was editing /etc/parallel/config with root privileges to delete the --tollef option from there. With that completed, all was as it should again and it makes me wonder why the change was made in the first place. Perhaps because of it, there even is a discussion about the possibility of removing the --tollef option altogether since it is raising more questions than it answers.