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I'm doing a fresh install of CentOS 5.9 x64 on a server with 8 disks in RAID5. At some point during the install, it gave me the option of configuring Grub, or not bothering. I chose not to bother, since CentOS was the only OS I would be installing. After installing and rebooting, sans install media, it wouldn't boot--just sat there with a blinking cursor at the BIOS message saying it would try to boot from the HD now. Is that normal?

So I put the install media back in, rebooted, did linux rescue, ..., chroot ..., and grub-install /dev/cciss/c0d0, and everything looked good. When I reboot without the install media, though, I just get a grub> prompt, and no matter how many times I have it write the configuration again, I'm stuck with the grub prompt on boot now, and I'm not even sure I need Grub. Do I actually need it, or is it a false solution to the blinking cursor problem? If I do need it, why is it stuck despite success messages when I root and setup?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Technically, no. No bootloader is needed. However, having a bootloader handles a great deal of hassle for you and on PC type systems (ranging from desktops to servers) there aren't any practical reasons not to.

Without a bootloader you need the kernel installed directly to the boot sector. As far as I know, no installers give you direct access to do that (although you might be able to if you pop over to the auxiliary console). You're given the option to skip installing a bootloader in case you already have one from a previous OS install.

Basically, unless you know exactly what you're doing then you should install grub with the OS installer.

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