I have a similar issue that I can't seem to figure out. All of the details are posted on the Ubuntu forums: http://ubuntuforums.org/showpost.php?p=10644915&postcount=8
I can boot with my USB drive but I cannot boot with my HDD. I never get a GRUB screen. I just see a blinking cursor. When I boot with my USB drive it goes to the ubuntu screen and loads. I am using Ubuntu Server 10.10 with GRUB 2.
I created the installer using unetbootin so that may be an issue. Unfortunately, I immediately went in to installing stuff so I really don't want to lose that now by trying to install again.
Great news everyone; the problem has finally been fully solved!
Intel released a BIOS update a few days ago (03/25/2011) which solves the linux boot from usb problem:
BIOS Version 0078 - MWPNT10N.86A.0078.2011.0325.1330
* Fixed issue where system will not boot from a Linux* partition on USB flash devices.
I've flashed my board and installed Ubuntu 10.04.2 LTS 32bit onto a 8gb usb stick and it boots and runs perfectly .
Note that installing to a (cheap) USB stick will take a long time, I think it took about 3-4 hours for me. Compare that with 30mins for a normal SATA HDD.
Other things that probably doesn't matter but I'll mention them anyway:
I had partitioned (but not formatted) the USB stick beforehand to make sure the partition was aligned (to avoid additional performance loss on this already slow usb stick). I then created a single ext4 partition with mountpoint '/' and options 'noatime' (also for performance) during the installation.
Next step is to try 64bit Ubuntu which I expect will work equally well. Then I will investigate if it's worth disabling journaling to gain even more performance from the usb stick. It might hurt reliability though, do you guys have any experience with disabling journaling or suggestions why/why not to do it?
Happy hacking in Linux everyone, cya!
I'm the original poster but for reasons I don't understand I can no longer log in. (Can't even reset my password. )
Thanks all for the help getting this solved. I was trying to get this resolved so I could set up a NAS using this board and a pair of drives that were in a RAID1. Time ran on and I needed to move so I finally repartitioned my RAID so I could boot from that and no longer have the need to use this. But perhaps someone elas will.