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After an update yesterday my Dell X300 will only boot to a screen with an option to perform 2 memory tests. If I perform these tests, it will only go back to this same screen, offering a choice of memory test again, 86+ or 86+ serial console 115200. This screen is headed - GNU Grub version 1.97 beta 4. This is a full install on my hard drive. How can I get back to booting normally?

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Looks like your GRUB is corrupted, check here for a possible solution:

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There are two possibilities here:

  • Grub hasn't recognized your kernel after an update
  • There's no kernel installed right now

So my suggestion is that you chroot from a Live-CD into your system, reinstall the kernel and update grub.

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there's actually a few other possibilities, mostly of the "OP hasn't given all the details of what he actually did" variety. for example, this result could happen if he's been monkeying with the grub scripts in /etc/grub.d. – quack quixote Jun 14 '10 at 12:32
@quack quixote: True, my assumption was that he did nothing but an update... – Bobby Jun 14 '10 at 13:20

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