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Old 08-25-2004, 02:48 PM   #1
e_avgo
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Milky Way
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Angry Everything Crashes


Greetings,

I am facing a small problem with my Linux system...

I was using Linux on my desktop computer for almost 8 months now (SuSE 9.0) until I had to replace it, due to the nature of my work, with a laptop. The problem is that I am not able to make any Linux distro work on it:

SuSE 9.0 - 9.1: crashes during installation on random points
Red Hat 9.0: crashes during installation on random points
Knoppix: same as above
Debian: guess what...
Mandrake 10.0: it's not very hard to figure out what happens during installation...

I tried installing with the "noprobe" option, "no acpi" option, "no apm" option, using the 2.4 kernel instead of the 2.6 one, text installation instead of a graphic one, and even different compinations of these options; the result was always the same. The computer would crash on a random point - even when just copying files to the hard drive or formatting the swap partition!

The SuSE distros were bought while the others were downloaded. I checked the iso images with the md5 and also the burned CDs. So the possibility of a corrupt medium cannot exist.

My WinXP partition works very smoothly and without any problems (no crashes and things like that). I run also a memory test and a hard drive test but there was no problems.

You are probably wondering, if anything actually worked. Well, FC2 installed!!

In order to install it, I had to use the graphic installation with the "noprob" option enabled. If I try anything else (for example text installation with or without "noprob") it crashes.

The problem is that the computer won't start. Although the installation finished up just fine and I got no error messages it always crashes during the KDE start-up usually when the "initializing peripherals" message apperars. Sometimes it will crash right before the login prompt appears and once it displayed something like the following message: "The 'x' is respawing to fast. Will be enabled again in 5 minutes." That was right before the login prompt.
Well I waited 20min and nothing happened (it had crashed again).

If I try to install Gnome instead of KDE (I have no problem using any of these two) the computer will crash right after it finishes copying the files and the "performing post install configuration" message appears! (It's true!)

The computer is an Acer 1355LM

Processor: Mobile Athlon 2600+
RAM: 512MB (64 are used by the Graphics card)
Graphics card: VIA/S3 KM400
Optical storage: Pioneer DVD-R K12RA
Networking: 1394 net adapter, VIA Rhine II fast ethernet, Agere Systems winmodem
Pointing devices: Synaptics and I also use a USB mouse
Sound device: Realtek AC'97 Audio
HDD: 40GB - 20GB for the XP partition and the rest for Linux

The funny thing is, that I checked also the "linuxonlaptops" site for help and I found two persons having similar laptops with the mine (only the graphic card or the HDD would be different) and they have virtually no problems! (they both use SuSE 9.1 I think)

I need to commend all of you who managed to read until here and if anybody has anything to propose I would be grateful.
 
Old 08-25-2004, 04:50 PM   #2
Jmcatch742
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Registered: Jul 2004
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Quote:
The funny thing is, that I checked also the "linuxonlaptops" site for help and I found two persons having similar laptops with the mine (only the graphic card or the HDD would be different) and they have virtually no problems! (they both use SuSE 9.1 I think)
Maybe thats your problem.....just a guess.
 
Old 08-25-2004, 10:02 PM   #3
Franklin
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How did you partition your drive for linux? I know this sounds stupid, but did you create a swap partition? What file system are you using and what did you use to partition your drive?

I've seen this error described with various memory issues. The other problem may be the shared video memory. I have no reason to suspect this other that the odd issue with text install not working and graphic install working (sort of). Usually it's the other way around. Did either of the other lap tops have the same video card as you?

Just some thoughts

edit: just saw reference to swap, sorry

Last edited by Franklin; 08-25-2004 at 10:06 PM.
 
Old 08-26-2004, 02:15 AM   #4
myriad-zero
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Registered: Aug 2004
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Two possible problems may be...

1. Your RAM is faulty.
-> Run 'memtest86' to check it.

2. Your CPU is overheating.
-> Keep an eye on the CPU temperature (if monitorable).
 
Old 08-26-2004, 12:14 PM   #5
e_avgo
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Milky Way
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I need to thank you all for your concern and trouble.

Indeed the other laptops had slightly different graphic cards. The GPU is from the same family and the only thing changing are the amount of memory and some extra characteristics.
I fear that the problem is probably there also but I figured out that somebody else would some more few ideas...
It's probably something with the X server but I can't work it out..

About the memtest I already run the 'memtest86' (all night long)!
Also the temp of the CPU is always in normal levels...

Thanks again for your answers
 
Old 08-27-2004, 06:28 AM   #6
Franklin
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There may be a problem as well with the way in which the hard drive is formatted for linux during the install process. You did mention that one install died in the middle of formatting the swap partition. I have always found that the most trouble free installation was when I formatted my disk with swap, /, /home etc. partitions prior to the install and just chose the mount points during install.

Just wanted to give you one more thing to try.

Not enough info to add anything else.


Good Luck
 
Old 08-27-2004, 01:19 PM   #7
e_avgo
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Milky Way
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Thanks for your response Franklin. Much appreciated!

I will give it a shot as soon as I have time. That means probably another lost weekend...

You mentioned in your post that you didn't have enough info in order to add anything else. Well, that's because I don't have any!
Everything simply crashes without any error messages or a pattern. The only error message that I have is the one I wrote about in my first post and I have no idea what it means...
OK, I understand that there is something wrong with the X server, but after that what?
Anyway...

If you think that I can add some more info that may be helpful please let me know so that I do so.

Again, I appreciate your answer.
 
Old 08-27-2004, 03:43 PM   #8
Franklin
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No, just wanted to make you aware that I was as clueless as you and, if there was by chance any other things you may not have mentioned, that they might be helpful.

Did not want to be throwing useless crap at you to try - see that much too much unfortunately.

If you can get a copy of Partition Magic, make a set of boot floppies and partition your drive with it. I use PM 8.0 and what I usually do is set up swap, /boot (ext2), / (ext3), and /home (ext3) directories.
PM does not recognize reiserfs but you can change during install. If you are successful doing this you may be able to load up a distro.

I suspect that the swap partition was corrupted during one of the installs and if you did not choose to reformat, this may have carried through to other attempts.

Then, it could be the vid card......

Anyway good luck.

Post back if you succeed.
 
Old 09-01-2004, 12:30 PM   #9
e_avgo
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Registered: Aug 2004
Location: Milky Way
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OK, news update!

I didn't have the chance to use Partition Magic, so I had to try some more tricks..

I tried to install FC2 using the 'no dma' option as suggested to me in a another forum. After 30min I was looking at the Gnome desktop.. (if you remember when I was trying to install Gnome the installation would never finish)

That didn't last long. About 5-10min later the system crashed and I had to make a hard restart. During bootup it says that something is wrong with the file system and the story ends there.

I figured I should try some other distro as well so I grabbed Red Hat 9 (it was the first one I saw in front of me), 'no dma' and 'noprob' options active, and the installation finishes up nice and smoothly..

KDE is up and running and I have no obvious problems. However the 2.4 kernel doesn't seem to work very well with the power management (that's not of a big problem however) and it doesn't recognise my NTFS partition
I tried to mount it altering the 'fstab' but it says during bootup that the kernel doesn't support NTFS.
(SuSE 9 with also 2.4 supports NTFS - reading that is - just fine as I recall, anyway)

For now this are the only (serious) problems. I will try to upgrade the kernel to 2.6 and if that works without any problems (that means that it won't start crashing again) I will try to get the latest KDE version (I'm a techno-freak, what can I say?)
Provided that I still get no crashes it's bye-bye Windows.

I visited VIA's site for linux drivers for my graphics card and althought there is a file, when you download it you find out the in the zipped file is only the documentation on how to install a driver, but the driver files are not there..
I hope that they will realize their mistake soon..

I need to thank all of you who answered for your time and effort. I'll keep you up-to-date for any progress or more problems..

Last edited by e_avgo; 09-04-2004 at 10:23 AM.
 
  


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