LinuxQuestions.org
Download your favorite Linux distribution at LQ ISO.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Hardware
User Name
Password
Linux - Hardware This forum is for Hardware issues.
Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

Notices

Reply
 
Search this Thread
Old 01-17-2010, 08:42 PM   #1
bgraybr
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 21

Rep: Reputation: 15
Can't install boot loader- both Grub and Lilo failed. And other problems.


I have a Dell Inspiron 1721. Recently I replaced Windows Vista Home Edition (32 bit) with Slackware Linux 13.

Lilo wouldn't work, when I turned on the computer it printed "Li" and then 20 lines of 090909... and then the computer would hang up. So I just used my Slackware-boot-flashdrive-thing that I created during installation to boot my computer and told myself that I would fix it later.

Also, when I installed, cfdisk (or it might have been sfdisk) complained that /dev/sda did not contain a valid MS-DOS partition table. fdisk still worked, so I used it to create a new table, and cfdisk worked fine and the installation went along normally.

I reinstalled Slackware about two days later (I realized that I had installed the 32 bit version instead of the 64 bit). Lilo still didn't work.

I thought it might be something wrong with the Slackware DVD, so I downloaded and attempted to install about 4 different distributions. None of the CDs would work. The computer would start up, Linux would start to load, and the computer would freeze.

Xubuntu was the only distro I had that I could get to install. Halfway through the installation, (Surprise!) I got an error, something like "Package Grub failed to install, you will not be able to boot your new operating system".

The rest of the install went fine, so I restarted my computer and tried to use another one of my CDs to boot Xubuntu. I got the error "/dev/sda does not contain a valid partition table", and later "ext4-fs: checksum failed on dev sda at sector...", and "please specify a valid partition for root=". I am absolutely positive that I entered the correct partition, I triple checked and entered other partition names to make sure.

-----

I'd also like to add that the computer makes horrible crunching noises when it starts up and when I do stuff like press keys. So is something seriously wrong with my hardware, or is there another explanation for all of this? Because I really don't want to have to try to repair the computer and can't pay to have it repaired.
 
Old 01-17-2010, 09:17 PM   #2
kbp
Senior Member
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,758

Rep: Reputation: 643Reputation: 643Reputation: 643Reputation: 643Reputation: 643Reputation: 643
I originally thought that your BIOS may have boot sector protection enabled but after you mentioned crunching noises I would have to guess your hard disk is on the way out, try replacing it.

cheers
 
Old 01-18-2010, 07:47 AM   #3
onebuck
Moderator
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest USA, Central Illinois
Distribution: SlackwareŽ
Posts: 11,061
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374
Hi,

I think 'kbp' may be onto something with the locked BIOS. Check your BIOS for entries.

The disk activity could be the BIOS accessing the IPL repeatedly to attempt the boot.

 
Old 01-24-2010, 07:45 PM   #4
bgraybr
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 21

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
Hi,

I think 'kbp' may be onto something with the locked BIOS. Check your BIOS for entries.
Try as I might, I can't find anything in the BIOS settings that resembles boot sector protection or a lock. I'll keep looking.

Quote:
The disk activity could be the BIOS accessing the IPL repeatedly to attempt the boot.

I think that's probably it, since the noises stop some time after the computer boots.
 
Old 01-24-2010, 07:53 PM   #5
damgar
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2009
Location: dallas, tx
Distribution: Slackware - current multilib/gsb Arch
Posts: 1,949
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 201Reputation: 201Reputation: 201
I had a similar problem with my current disk. I couldn't install Grub and I couldn't install LILO. I know that the HDD is dying, but that doesn't seem to have been the problem with the boot loader. What I had to do was to use fdisk to write an empty partition table, then add my partitions (I chose one primary for / and 2 logicals on an extended partition for /swap /home, then when the Slack installer asked I did the SLOW option to format the primary partition that checks for errors. For /home I just used the regular method because all the bad blocks caused the install to just sit for a couple of hours. I then installed LILO to the MBR when asked and all has been working fine.

EDIT: I also set the primary partition / as bootable in fdisk before entering setup.

This may or may not work for you, but it did get me a litlle life out of a dying drive.
 
Old 01-24-2010, 08:23 PM   #6
bgraybr
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: Aug 2009
Posts: 21

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by damgar View Post
I had a similar problem with my current disk...
This may or may not work for you, but it did get me a litlle life out of a dying drive.
Oh! When I ran fdisk again and I got the following warning:

The number of cylinders on this disk is set to [a large number] This is slightly larger than [a slightly smaller number], which may cause problems with some software that runs at boot, such as older versions of LILO.

Could this be the problem?
 
Old 01-24-2010, 08:44 PM   #7
damgar
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2009
Location: dallas, tx
Distribution: Slackware - current multilib/gsb Arch
Posts: 1,949
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 201Reputation: 201Reputation: 201
I think you are talking about the LBA warning. I don't think that would be the issue.
 
Old 01-25-2010, 07:58 AM   #8
onebuck
Moderator
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Midwest USA, Central Illinois
Distribution: SlackwareŽ
Posts: 11,061
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374Reputation: 1374
Hi,

GNU/Linux doesn't require the 'boot' flag being set.

 
Old 01-25-2010, 08:52 PM   #9
damgar
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2009
Location: dallas, tx
Distribution: Slackware - current multilib/gsb Arch
Posts: 1,949
Blog Entries: 8

Rep: Reputation: 201Reputation: 201Reputation: 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by onebuck View Post
Hi,

GNU/Linux doesn't require the 'boot' flag being set.

Good to know,
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
grub boot loader to lilo guruvayur LinuxQuestions.org Member Intro 1 09-24-2008 05:45 AM
How to change from grub boot loader to lilo boot loader linuxjamil Linux - Software 1 05-27-2008 01:47 PM
trouble install boot loader grub or lilo tilley Linux - Software 10 10-24-2003 04:13 PM
Lilo to Grub Boot loader Maurice Arthur Linux - Software 3 07-23-2001 09:07 AM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 07:00 AM.

Main Menu
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
identi.ca: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration