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Old 05-18-2005, 03:13 PM   #1
ltd602
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Exclamation ROFL! Long-time Linux box no longer accepts Windows installs/drives


This is actually pretty funny, although a bit frustrating for me.

I have a VERY strange problem. Let's see if any of you can figure out what's wrong.

About a year ago I decided to buy a new computer. My old one kicked the bucket, but it gave me an excuse to buy another and reinstall Mandrake 10.

Bought a Compaq Presario SR1135CL, but it was all 3rd-party stuff out of the box. Cool. Plus, it was really great because the fan was almost inaudible. I just put all my hardware into it. Lots of good USB stuff, plus card-reader capability.

Specs:

Athlon 3000+
1 gig RAM
ATI Radeon 8500 128mb
Soundblaster Audigy X-gamer
Western Digital 120gig HD
Western Digital 40gig HD
Western Digital 30gig HD
CDRW, DVDR
VIA mobo

So, WindowsXP came installed on the box. I promptly got rid of it by reformatting and installing Mandrake 10. Life was good.

I also had an XP installation on a 30gig drive, so I decided to use that as well, since there were still some cool PC games I wanted to play now and then. I NEVER dual-booted. I always just swapped drives. Life was still pretty good.

A friend of mine gve me his old computer, an 800mhz P3. Said the hard drive was unstable. I threw the drive onto my system, and couldn't load XP from it. Nor could I install XP. Seems my mobo wouldn't recognize it, or just refused to let me partition it. Oh well. He was right.

Months went by and I tried out different distros, eventually settling on Ubuntu. Revisited my friend's bad drive, and found out that it could successfully hold a Linux installation! LOL. Nice.

Never touched XP for months. But I recently decided to reinstall XP on one of my other drives.

PROBLEMS:

XP would not install onto the (previously bad) 30 gig drive, although this drive WOULD hold a linux installation.

I bought another 40gig drive (tested in-store), and XP would NOT install on that drive, either.

In either case, I would get an NTLDR problem at bootup, a "disk-boot error", or something similar. When I booted from the XP CD, XP the CD would not allow me to partition any of the drives! It was an endless loop, where it would classify my drives as "unknown" even after formatting and creating a new partition.

WHAT"S REALLY FUNNY: My buddy's old computer, also with a VIA mobo, WOULD recognize Windows drives, and would also allow me to install WinXP onto any of them. MY computer, however, would not be able to read them!

So basically, my computer refuses to boot Windows XP drives. LOL, I couldn't even install Win98 on any of them! Linux installs and works easily on them, however.

ROFL, HELP!!! I'd still like to use WinXP for games, but I can neither install XP onto them, nor boot any of them when the DO have XP installed.



 
Old 05-18-2005, 03:27 PM   #2
NoobieDoobieDo
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It sounds as if it may be an issue with between the bios, mobo and XP. Perhaps the commands XP uses to call the drive are, bad, for that motherboard. See if there is a firmware update for the motherboard and read the release notes for it to see if u even need it.

Secondly, what error does xp/98/blah give you ? it simply can't find the drives ? if so could it be because the drive is filled with linux partions ? trying killing the drive with (dos) fdisk/format.

gl.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 04:25 PM   #3
Croaker
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The problem is with windows. It doesn't recognize any other filesytems. If you are really keen about getting XP on that drive, you need to disconnect all your drives that formatted in linux. Then connect the drive you want XP on and install. Then you pull it out and reconnect you linux drives. One of the wonderful things about windows, refuses to accept the existence of non-windows filesystems. That's kind of the outline. I've read a few threads here and there about it. There's a bit more to it, but I can't remember now.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 04:42 PM   #4
fraz
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Ok I noticed this problem on my own linux box too. Windows setup just hangs with the ext3 formatted drive. Really not good, especially since I don't have a floppy in my linux box to boot from. I gave up with mine because I was going to dual boot but have a winxp box anyway.
P.S. Have you thought about Cedega?
 
Old 05-18-2005, 05:32 PM   #5
J.W.
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Moved: This thread is more suitable in General and has been moved accordingly to help your thread/question get the exposure it deserves.

No biggie but all Windows questions live in General -- J.W.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 05:36 PM   #6
syg00
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Stick a fat32 partition on it (from Linux) - bet the install works then.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 06:03 PM   #7
ltd602
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J.W. thanks for moving this to the appropriate section.

The 40gig drive on which I want to install windows xp has NEVER seen Linux. That's the weird part.

syg00 may be on to something with the FAT32 suggestion. But wouldn't that be strange: a mobo which ran XP fresh from the store, which was exposed to Linux and the ext3 filesystem, which now had a 40gig hard drive installed to it, for some reason no longer like NTFS partitions??

Things I've done so far:

1.) Swapped RAM sticks. Both 512s check out fine.

2.) Reformatted drive through Windows Repair Console oof the CD (DOS, I assume.)

This drive works just fine in the OTHER computer. I installed windows on THAT computer, and then transferred that drive to MY box . . . on which it will not boot.

When I try to install Windows XP onto my 40gig, the problem is that the "installer" does not let me go beyond the create partition/delete partition phase.
Typically, I make it to the User License screen. I hit F8. I go to the installation screen. I see my drive there, I see 38159mb free, and I either see a RAW partition or an "unknown" partition. Normally, just hitting ENTER should work, but it says that Windows needs to write some files to the drive, and the partition is unknow, so I should delete the partition and create a new one. Ok, fine. I go back and choose "delete", then "create", then ENTER. I throws me right back into the part where it says the partition is "unknown." Doesn't matter whether I delete it, crete a new one, or let XP do it on its own.

I CANNOT GET PAST THE PARTITION/INSTALL SCREEN.

It's a vicious loop.

Here's what I see on the install screen (there are up and down arrows on it, so I'll show the whole thing):

Unknown Disk

(There is no disk in this drive.)
unkown disk

(There is no disk in this drive.)
unknown disk

(There is no disk in this drive.)
unknown disk

C: Partition1 [New Raw] 38159mb (38159mb Free)

. . . . and the usual options to install, delete, create, etc.

And, the thing is, nothing about my hardware has changed. The BIOS settings look the same as when I first purchased the box, and Windows actually worked then. It worked a few months ago, too. Until recently.

I'll try to troubleshoot other hardware like my CDROM and DVD drives, the floppy drive, etc.

Remember that my 40gig drive is hardly used, in-store tested, just purchased specifically for WindowsXP. My computer did the same thing to the suppposedly faulty 30gig drive, which now comfortably holds an Ubuntu Linux install.

I'll keep you all informed.

THANK YOU for all the replies and the kind help. Makes me feel less sorry for myself. ;-)
 
Old 05-18-2005, 06:13 PM   #8
fraz
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I can't see how the mobo could be affected but assuming it is my next course of action would be to first clear the CMOS settings, then try again. If that didn't work I would update the bios or reflash if no update available.
Finally the only other thing I can suggest is that you check there is no master/master jumper conflict on the HDD and other device sharing the cable.
Oh and one last thing, check that the new harddrive is running through an appropriate cable i.e. ATA66 cable instead of a standard IDE for instance.
Beyond that I am as stumped as you, maybe you need to try formatting the partition with your windows pc and try again.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 06:29 PM   #9
Glas
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One of the thoughts that keeps jumping into my head after reading this is that there is a possibility that the MBR of the drives are not getting cleared correctly during the Win installations. My suggestion would be to totally scrub the drives with a utility like autoclave or IBMs Secure Data Disposal (which is a free download). These apps will write 0's over the whole HDD clearing all sectors and making sure the drive is completely clean. Once those are finished go ahead and try a fresh WinXP install.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 09:25 PM   #10
ltd602
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Wow, thanks for those ideas. I've got a buddy who'll deep-format my 40gig HD (1's and 0's), so that might work. In the meantime, I did the following:

1.) Formatted the HD as FAT32 in the other comp.

Threw the drive back into my box. It didn't work. In fact, my box didn't even let me use any drive with even a *hint* of windows data as a slave to my primary Linux install. That's right, any drive that ever had so much as a *hint* of Windows data is rejected outright. So I can't even reformat the drive from my own Linux install.

So, the FAT32 install wasn't recognized by my box. I got a "disk boot failure" message.

It's as if Ubuntu Linux has taken over my box completely, LOL, and refuses to pollute itself with anything even resembling something out of Redmond.

Ubuntu: Muwhwhwhahahahahaha !!! You shall have no other OS's besides ME! Foolish mortal, do you think I would allow you to pollute this temple with anything other than Linux??

Me: B . . bu . . but . . . what about Half Life 2, Doom 3, Morrowind, and, and even Oblivion??!!

Ubuntu: No! You shall have none of those. For they are abominations! They have been touched by Redmond and its disgusting children: DirectX 9, .dll's, and all it's driver-spawns. No Half Life, no Morrowind! Not even the groundbreaking next-gen RPG called Oblivion . . . . . you shall have whatever I decree!!

Me: But what about a windows slave-drive?? Please, Great Ubuntu, it's only a little slave-drive!

Ubuntu: NO!!! For it, too, has been touched by the slime of Redmond! If you dare attach it, I shall drown you and all your brethren in a sea of Kernel-Panics and INIT failures!!!!!

I guess my last resort is to deep-format it, and reduce it to 1's and 0's. I'll try some of the other ideas as well.

I'll keep all of you updated.
 
Old 05-18-2005, 11:49 PM   #11
Dommy
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Quote:
Originally posted by ltd602
Wow, thanks for those ideas. I've got a buddy who'll deep-format my 40gig HD (1's and 0's), so that might work. In the meantime, I did the following:

1.) Formatted the HD as FAT32 in the other comp.

Threw the drive back into my box. It didn't work. In fact, my box didn't even let me use any drive with even a *hint* of windows data as a slave to my primary Linux install. That's right, any drive that ever had so much as a *hint* of Windows data is rejected outright. So I can't even reformat the drive from my own Linux install.

So, the FAT32 install wasn't recognized by my box. I got a "disk boot failure" message.

It's as if Ubuntu Linux has taken over my box completely, LOL, and refuses to pollute itself with anything even resembling something out of Redmond.

Ubuntu: Muwhwhwhahahahahaha !!! You shall have no other OS's besides ME! Foolish mortal, do you think I would allow you to pollute this temple with anything other than Linux??

Me: B . . bu . . but . . . what about Half Life 2, Doom 3, Morrowind, and, and even Oblivion??!!

Ubuntu: No! You shall have none of those. For they are abominations! They have been touched by Redmond and its disgusting children: DirectX 9, .dll's, and all it's driver-spawns. No Half Life, no Morrowind! Not even the groundbreaking next-gen RPG called Oblivion . . . . . you shall have whatever I decree!!

Me: But what about a windows slave-drive?? Please, Great Ubuntu, it's only a little slave-drive!

Ubuntu: NO!!! For it, too, has been touched by the slime of Redmond! If you dare attach it, I shall drown you and all your brethren in a sea of Kernel-Panics and INIT failures!!!!!

I guess my last resort is to deep-format it, and reduce it to 1's and 0's. I'll try some of the other ideas as well.

I'll keep all of you updated.
If all else fails you might get a job as a B-grade scfi dialog writer
 
Old 05-19-2005, 12:14 AM   #12
ltd602
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Success!

SUCCESS!!

I'm typing this reply from my WinXP installation.

I'm not sure what I did, exactly, since I was so frustrated and trying so many things that I wasn't really keeping track of what I did, blow-by-blow.

In any case, here are the CONDITIONS under which my 40gig hard drive (which never saw a Linux install) was recognized and "allowed" to hold a WinXP installation, by my VIA mobo:

1.) HD should be made FAT32 somehow. This has something to do with the MBR, but I'm not sure what.

2.) BIOS settings should be reset. The hard drive onto which WinXP will be installed should be on a Master IDE Channel, and should be set to "Auto" recognition, not "Manual." If the drive has been detected successfully, it's Heads/Cylinders information should be displayed by the BIOS somewhere.

3.) Turn off all unnecessary options in the BIOS, such as On-board sound (if you are using a Soundcard), and the On-board LAN.

4.) When booting from the XP cd, you should be able to get to the stage (eventually) where it asks you if you want to format the drive as NTFS. Do a full format (not "Quick"), and it should be smooth sailing from there.

These seem to be the correct conditions, although I don't quite know the exact procedure I used. It likely had something to do with the MBR being messed up, and also certain unnecessary BIOS settings. I tihnk the main thing is for the HD to be FAT32, and for it to be Auto-recognized.

In any case, it's working, and I think I can safely remove the drive and plug it back in, and have XP load normally.

Thanks for all the help, folks! All of you gave me a few ideas here and there, and the sum of all that happened to equal a successful XP installation.

Many thanks!
 
Old 05-19-2005, 04:12 PM   #13
Crito
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I bet resetting your BIOS did it. You probably accidentally turned off LBA at some point while tweaking, which Linux doesn't mind at all but Windows requires for drives with more than 1024 cylinders.
 
Old 05-20-2005, 08:31 PM   #14
KimVette
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dommy
If all else fails you might get a job as a B-grade scfi dialog writer
Are you saying that he could improve things at Paramount?

/is still pissed off at Paramount for killing off Boone in E:FC and introducing suckage in seasons 3 through 5
 
Old 03-02-2008, 11:54 PM   #15
antus
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This is an old thread, but google landed me here and I dont see the correct solution. Ive seen this on disks with a linux master boot record. Clearing the first 512 bytes in linux

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

will fix it, or use windows fdisk to write a win98 master boot record from a win98 boot disk:

fdisk /mbr

Windows can clear other OS partitions, just not the MBR.
 
  


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