I have two physical drives. First has Windows MBR code, on second I use Syslinux with FAT16 as /boot partition. Up to now it worked fine, but today I couldn't boot second drive at all. All I get is nondescriptive "Boot error" message at the end of POST. I haven't touched the setup, partition table, syslinux.cfg file, vesamenu configuration or anything I can think of. Yesterday I ran pacman -Syu, but I've mounted Arch partition from live usb and haven't found any syslinux upgrade in /var/log/pacman.log.
Trying to fix this issue, I've ran dosfsck on boot partition (no errors), reinstalled syslinux MBR, tried alternative MBR code and ensured that boot partition is set as active - all to no avail. Googling returned some reports of faulty BIOS-es, but I haven't seen any case where certain BIOS would work with Syslinux and then stopped. I haven't ran BIOS update in the meantime and I don't have any automatic update system set up.
If I need to provide additional details, please tell me so.
Odd. Have you exhausted all the basics, i.e. resetting the BIOS settings and disconnecting all drives other than the syslinux one? And does the Windows disk boot?
Yes and yes. I have since found and fixed the issue. It appears that Syslinux emits "Boot error" message when it's MBR code has loaded but it can't go on to boot parition's VBR record and/or locate ldlinux.sys file. This error message is not clearly documented in man syslinux, nor in it's website. It may be caused by moving ldlinux.sys, which must be correctly referenced by block address in VBR. In this case, solution is to rewrite VBR with correct address from other system with syslinux command available, i.e.:
syslinux -U /dev/sdb1
I'll update wiki with this information later. Still don't know what triggered ldlinux.sys block address change, but I guess it's just good that it can be fixed
@Thar: ridiculously old thread, but this is one of two threads I can find anywhere that reference the black screen and "Boot error" message (just that text vs. the numerous other threads talking about other text like "missing operating system" or other auxiliary message text). Can you provide a reference to where you found the "Boot error" diagnosis? I'm getting this as well, with syslinux installed to /dev/sda3, and then trying to chainload it using EasyBCD from Windows since I can't mess with my encrypted Win bootloader. More details here if you're interested.
The main point is trying to understand the mysterious "Boot error" message. Initially I couldn't even figure out if it was from Windows or syslinux, as pressing any key boots me into some sort of BIOS boot menu which eventually fails and just boots me back to the typical startup process. So, I thought it was Windows, but then found this which makes it sound like a syslinux thing. Thanks for any information you can share.
jwhendy, I appreciate that you're in a rather unique situation, but please remember the forum etiquette regarding old topics.
Thar, if you do come across this message and can contribute, please reply on jwhendy's other topic, here: https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=198291
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