HowTo: Stop GRUB preventing auto-start of the OS after a previous boot failure

Tutorials
The GRUB boot menu by default will generally show its menu for about ten seconds before automatically booting the OS, but if something goes wrong, or an over-zealous party interrupts the boot process because he thought it had hung, the OS will tell GRUB that. Now that's all well and good, but GRUB's default action in such an instance is to abort the automatic timeout and stay at the GRUB boot menu waiting for a manual action, such as entering recovery mode. On systems that are unattended or without keyboards, this proves to be very annoying and generally you'd like the OS to boot up anyway despite the reported failure. So here's how you can fix it. (more…)
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HowTo: Fix Apt-Get failing with a “Method did not start correctly” error

Tutorials
So, you decide to install a new package on your system, or perhaps update your system with some outstanding updates. You either use the Software Centre or the Apt-Get command from a terminal to do this and you are suddenly greeted with the following error: Failed to exec method /usr/lib/apt/methods/ E: Method  has died unexpectedly! E: Sub-process  returned an error code (100) E: Method /usr/lib/apt/methods/ did not start correctly And everything stops. Repeating the command produces the same error over and over. What just happened and how do you fix this? (more…)
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HowTo: Fix Postgrey not working after upgrading from an older version of Ubuntu to a newer version.

Tutorials
Scenario: You've got some Postfix mail servers running with Postgrey for anti-spam greylisting. They're all using older versions of Ubuntu such as 10.04 LTS. You've decided that it's time to upgrade them to the next LTS, Ubuntu 12.04. You do the upgrade and it goes without a hitch. You restart the server, everything looks good, until you start seeing this message in your server's mail log:   Jan 23 21:17:58 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: connect from somecompany.com[100.200.300.400] Jan 23 21:17:59 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused Jan 23 21:17:59 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused Jan 23 21:18:00 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: connect to 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused Jan 23 21:18:00 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: warning: problem talking to server 127.0.0.1:10023: Connection refused Jan 23 21:18:00 mymailserver postfix/smtpd[7976]: NOQUEUE: reject:…
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HowTo: Configure an APC UPS to communicate with your Ubuntu Desktop or Server

Tutorials
It's been a while since I've written something here, so time to break the drought. APC make some great UPS products and they all have the ability to communicate with a host PC to advise of its state, eg: on mains, on battery, fault, etc. The support software is available aplenty for Windows and Mac, but what about Linux? This guide will show you how to hook up an APC UPS to an Ubuntu-based Desktop or Server PC and allow your UPS to email you when mains power has failed, when mains power has been restored, and also give your PC ample opportunity to shutdown when battery on the UPS gets to a critical low. (more…)
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HowTo: Fix a missing eth0 adapter after moving Ubuntu Server from one box to another.

Tutorials
Scenario: You have a box running Ubuntu Server. Something happens to the box and you decide to move the hard-drive to another physical machine to get the server back up and running. The hardware is identical on the other machine, so there shouldn't be any issues at all, right? The machine starts up fine, but when you try and hit the network, you can't. Closer inspection using the ifconfig command reveals that there is no "eth0" adapter configured. Why? Here's how to fix it. (more…)
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HowTo: Restore the Windows Master Boot Record (without using a Windows CD) using Ubuntu Karmic.

Tutorials
You know how it is - you take a client's Windows based machine, do a dual-boot installation of Ubuntu (which replaces the Windows Master Boot Record, or MBR, with GRUB and sets up an option to boot Ubuntu or Windows) so the client can evaluate Ubuntu, but then later on for whatever reason, Ubuntu is no longer wanted. It's removed and you need to restore the system's ability to natively boot Windows directly without a GRUB menu. You're probably thinking "why the hell would anyone want to do that?!"... well, the fact of the matter is you sometimes come across a client who is just too mind-set and refuses to use anything but Windows, so yes - sometimes you need to restore the Windows MBR, but how do you do…
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HowTo: Reclaim reserved disk space on non-system drives taken by the Ext3 filesystem.

Tutorials
I made a rather alarming discovery today, quite by accident. Like most people, I use an external hard-drive to backup data to, or to shift things around if I'm low on space on my PC's internal drive. Well, today that external drive reported that it was full. Damn. So I fire up Ubuntu's Disk Usage Analyser, aka Boabab, to find out what's consuming the most space. I use a 1TB external drive and it's formatted total is about 916GB, which is about right, however Boabab reported that the total consumption of data on the drive only added up to about 860GB - wtf? Even Nautilus's Volume Properties window was reporting that the drive still had 50GB-odd free, so why is the system telling me it's full? I use Ext3 on…
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HowTo: Image your hard-drive for transfer or backup using dd

Tutorials
Imaging, also known as Ghosting in the Windows world, is the act of creating a sector-by-sector copy of a hard-drive and saving it to a file, or transferring it to another hard-drive. Such uses for imaging include: Backup to an image file Clone to another hard-drive (eg: building multiple identical workstations) either directly or via an image file Data recovery (it's safer and easier to examine an image file than risk further damage to the hard-drive itself) Linux has a neat little command that can do this for us called simply "dd". It is completely filesystem independent, so you can backup any hard-drive regardless of whether it was Linux formatted, Mac formatted or Windows formatted. It copies the drive bit by bit, sector by sector, not file by file. (more…)
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