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I'm using KVM to host a Debian unstable guest on a Debian unstable host. Emphasis on 'unstable' :-) Until recently (and until a recent round of Debian package updates on both host and guest) this was working fine.

Now the Linux guest will boot from a CD-ROM image, but it will not boot from a hard disk image stored in an LVM2 LV.

A Microsoft Windows guest stored in a separate LVM2 LV continues to boot perfectly under KVM on this host.

When I configure the Linux guest to boot from device 'hd' (ie, the LVM2 LV disk image) and view the guest's console using virt-manager, I see:

Booting from Hard Disk...
Boot failed: not a bootable disk

The disk image seems to have a valid MBR:

sudo cat /dev/vg1/myguest|file -
/dev/stdin: x86 boot sector

I can also mount the root filesystem contained within the LVM2 disk image (the offset below having been calculated from fdisk output - the disk image contains two partitions):

sudo mount -o offset=1998743040 /dev/vg1/myguest /mnt ; echo $? ; ls /mnt/boot ; sudo umount /mnt
config-3.8.0  config-3.9.0  grub  vmlinuz-3.8.0  vmlinuz-3.9.0

I tried configuring the guest to boot from an ISO image of Debian 7.0.0 AMD64 netinst. This allowed me to boot into rescue mode from the CD-ROM and re-install the GRUB boot loader into the MBR of the LVM2 LV. However this does not change the above behaviour - booting from the hd still fails.

To my eyes, it is as if the MBR is valid, but KVM refuses to recognise that it is valid.

Q1: How can I best confirm that the MBR on the LVM2 disk image is valid? Perhaps attempt to boot a real physical machine from a copy of the LVM2 disk image on a real disk?

Q2: What is required in order for a disk image to be bootable by KVM?

Ie, what exactly does 'not a bootable disk' mean? Could there be more necessary than just a valid MBR?

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Are you really using Unstable in production? That is just asking for trouble. – kce Jul 14 '13 at 14:53
Indeed. Please feel free to find those responsible and tell them. But that is not my current problem. – AnotherSmellyGeek Jul 15 '13 at 2:18

1 Answer 1

Downgrading seabios from 1.7.3-1 to 1.7.2-3 causes the VM to boot from hard disk again. Time to file a bug report...

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Copying the disk image to a Debian Stable KVM host, defining a VM using it, then attempting to boot that VM gets past the initial boot stage, which I think is a fair way of proving that the MBR is valid. I still would like some easier/better way, and which gave more detail than the 'file' test in my question. – AnotherSmellyGeek Jul 15 '13 at 3:41
"Not a bootable disk" means that the signature in the MBR is not what Seabios expects it to be. – AnotherSmellyGeek Jul 15 '13 at 4:09
This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. – Falcon Momot Jul 15 '13 at 4:27
The fact that this does not (yet) provide an answer to either of my two questions is why I have not accepted this as an answer. But thank you for pointing this out - perhaps it is not as obvious to others as it is to me and you. I do not require any critique or clarification from myself at this time (I just asked myself again). Nevertheless, thank you for explaining how I would do that using this web site if (for some bizarre reason) I decided to. – AnotherSmellyGeek Jul 15 '13 at 7:28

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