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Old 08-15-2003, 07:59 AM   #1
drben
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Exclamation Is my BIOS ****ed?


Help me save my marriage! And help me install Linux too!

I have a Pentium 3 550Mhz, intel SE440BX motherboard. I had one HDD on the primary master IDE, and a CD burner and a CD reader on the master and slave of secondary IDE.

All this running Win98SE quite happily.

In order to try out linux, i bought a Fujitsu 20BG HDD, checked it for errors in another machine with MS ScanDisk (was fine) and installed it as the primary slave drive (middle position on the IDE cable). Jumpers set up correctly.

I set my BIOS to auto-detect the HDD.

SInce then i simply dont understand what's up :cry :. The BIOS takes forever to detect the various drives, and only picks up the new HDD *intermittently*. Win98 does seem to see the HDD though (twice for some reason) . However, Win98 is totally unstable and freezes all the time - i get a lot of "Disk Write Errors".
WHen i tried to reformat the new HDD in Partition magic, it froze the system and then reported that the new HDD's boot sector was corrupted. Now when i ScanDisk my OLD HDD, it freezes every time and makes a nasty noise.

I have tried everything - connecting to the 2ndry IDE, swapping the cables over. I have managed to backup my data onto CD so am ready and willing to try anything to get my computer working again. I would be really grateful for any help/pointers. Might this be due to a virus?

THanks to you all in advance. TEaring out what little hair is left.
Ben
 
Old 08-15-2003, 08:31 AM   #2
MasterC
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First off, your marriage:

Ok, so tell us about your father.. Now that we've got that outta the way, computers

This really just sounds like a case of bad jumpering/BIOS not liking all the changes. Clear your BIOS first thing. If you aren't sure how, consult your BIOS documentation, short of that, you can usually remove the battery, unplug the computer and wait a good 30 minutes or so. You usually need to set the 'clear CMOS' jumpers though as well, if you can find them on the board, do that instead (first).

After we've cleared the BIOS, check ALL your drives. Make sure each one has different jumper settings. Assuming you only have 2 HD's, I'd suggest putting them both on the same IDE channel. Jumper 1 slave, and 1 Master. Assuming you only have 1 CDROM, jumper it Master and stick it on the Secondary channel. Fire up the computer, enter the BIOS. Auto detect all drives, but make sure it correctly identifies the HD's. Once it does, make sure it's booting from the Primary Master. Install windoze on that. Then, install Linux on the Primary Slave (Fujitsu right?).

I know you said Jumpers are set correctly, but it really sounds like that is your problem. Make sure on each channel (IDE channel) that the jumpers are different (No 2 Master's on the same Channel, nor 2 slaves).

And finally:
Moving to the Hardware Forum

Cool
 
Old 08-15-2003, 08:37 AM   #3
leonscape
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Try setting the drive up normally in the BIOS, autodetect isn't worth doing on every start up, and some boards primarily use this for cd-roms etc. When you do set it as normal (They usuakky have a detection thing built in.) Make sure the numbers match with the drive. (heads cylinders, etc)

You say you've got the jumpers correct, check both drives on the cable, and then just try your new drive on its own. Your system won't boot, but at least you'll eliminate the chance of conflict.

If that doesn't work, well theres always reinstalling the IDE devices in Windows
 
Old 08-15-2003, 09:41 AM   #4
flump
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some old bios dont like new drives.
 
Old 08-16-2003, 12:25 AM   #5
Tommi
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Perhaps BIOS upgrade could make it accept the new device?

-Tommi
 
Old 08-16-2003, 09:04 AM   #6
geoff_f
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I agree that jumpering is probably the culprit here. But you need to use a deliberate troubleshooting procedure to get things right. The first thing to do is to restore the configuration to what it was before you added the Fujitsu drive. Ie, remove the Fujitsu drive and make sure the settings for your old hard drive are as they were beforehand. When you're checking the Master/Slave settings, check the IDE pins at the back of the drive to make sure there aren't any bent pins.

Then follow MasterC's BIOS setup procedure, but only for your original hard drive. Make sure that its jumper is set for Master, and it's connected to Primary IDE. The connector on the end of the IDE cable must be plugged into the drive (not the middle connector). Go into the BIOS and make sure that it is detected as Primary Master. If all is OK here, your BIOS is probably OK, and the problem lies elsewhere. Put a Windows boot floppy in the floppy drive, exit the BIOS (saving changes) and wait for the computer to re-boot to the command prompt from the boot floppy. At the command line, type:

fdisk /mbr

and press Enter. This will re-write the Master Boot Record of the hard disk, which should eliminate any possibility of a virus being in the MBR. When that's finished, type:

scandisk c:

and press Enter. Scandisk will check the hard drive for errors. This is only for interest sake here, because Windows will insist on doing this again later during the first stages of the installation procedure. If all is going well, close down the computer.

Disconnect the original hard drive (both power and data connectors) and connect the power and data connectors to the Fujitsu drive. Make sure the Fujitsu drive has its jumper set for Master and is connected to the same connector that you used for the original hard disk (ie, the end one). Then repeat the BIOS and boot floppy procedure for this drive, looking for the same results.

If you have trouble getting either hard disk to be detected properly, use a new IDE cable and start again. (It's quite possible that a damaged IDE cable could be causing your problem - repeated plugging and unplugging can cause the connection of the wires at the plugs to become intermittent, which is not good for data integrity).

If both drives behave correctly, shut down the computer, re-configure the original hard disk as a Master, and with only it connected (Fujitsu disconnected at power and IDE connector) re-start and immediately go into the BIOS. Check that the original drive is correctly detected as Primary Master. Shut down and connect the Fujitsu drive as Primary Slave. Booting with both drives connected, go into the BIOS and check that both drives are detected as Primary Master (original) and Primary Slave (Fujitsu).

If the Fujitsu is not detected as a Slave, then the jumper is set incorrectly, the IDE cable is faulty, or the Primary IDE channel is faulty. If you suspect the Primary channel, you could try this whole procedure on the Secondary channel to see if both drives can be made to work there. If that's the case, a new motherboard is indicated.

If both drives are now detected as they are set, you can now start installing Windows and Linux.

Come back with any problems you find in this troubleshooting procedure, and include the exact place in the procedure where you found the problem. This procedure looks repetitive, but it is important you follow it faithfully; it is designed to reduce the number of variables at each step for easier and more accurate tracking of the problem.

Good luck.

Last edited by geoff_f; 08-16-2003 at 09:08 AM.
 
Old 08-16-2003, 11:10 AM   #7
drben
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Many many thanks to everyone who replied. As things stand I have removed the fujitsu, entered the BIOS setup and selected "load defaults". things are at least working normally again. Wife placated for now!

Before i take the plunge, please could I ask for clarification on a few points:

1. Clear my BIOS first
Have i done this by loading the defaults?
I dont seem to have a manual or install disk for the BIOS, so i'm a little reluctant to remove the jumper from the motherboard to reset BIOS as it says a disk is required.
As for flashing the BIOS, I have the latest drivers from Intel but without a get-out plan I'm not sure I'd dare...

2. Using fdisk /mbr
Does using this command commit me to a full Windoze re-install?

If so, I'd like to repartition the original HDD so i can have different partitions for Win98, data and swapfile. I presume that this would be the best time to do it...

Should I use the fdisk that came with Win98 or are there newer verrsions out there?

3. Bent Pins on IDE interface
YES- on the fujitsu one of them was slightly bent and pushed into the plastic. I've pulled it back/straightened it as much as possible. Is this likely to be fatal? The HDD did work briefly after being re-connected with the pin straightened.

Anyway, once again, I am really really grateful for your help.

Ben
 
Old 08-16-2003, 11:20 AM   #8
MasterC
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1. Clearing your BIOS, resetting your BIOS, and flashing your BIOS should scare you. That's the good of it. If it didn't, you'd be as much of a hardware nut as the Moderators of this forum However, jumpering the pins sorta does a 'factory reset' which shouldn't need a recovery disc. On older systems maybe, on older OS's probably. But the way things are now, purty much OK. The flash is probably not gonna do a whole lot, but is definitely worth a shot!

2. fdisk /mbr will in fact clear the MBR and allow windoze to boot, at best it will fix things, at worst, yes, it will require a full reinstall. Partitioning: Definitely the best time, and you will surely be happier doing it then than at any other time.

fdisk that came with win98 is just fine for windoze.

3. Probably not fatal, drives can take a beating at times. If it worked, it's likely to continue (unless it's bad sectors or things like that, I believe drives are a 'work or not' type thing. But with bad sectors it's more like it works sometimes..)

I think a flash, wipe the drives, repartition the whole lot and reinstall everything will really clear everything up. Just make sure the BIOS recognizes everything as you go.



Cool
 
Old 08-16-2003, 07:49 PM   #9
Electro
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I would not suggest you use fdisk /mbr. It can destroy your Windows drive if you are using any special software or you have a boot sector virus. Only use it if you are uninstalling a LINUX bootloader and you have boot disk(s).

In the BIOS, use LBA instead of auto for the hard drives.

The cable could be bad. Replace it.
 
Old 08-16-2003, 08:18 PM   #10
geoff_f
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Quote:
1. Clear my BIOS first
Have i done this by loading the defaults?
Not strictly, but good enough. 'Clearing the BIOS' is normally a process where all voltage is removed from the CMOS memory, whereupon the settings are lost. The BIOS code itself is in non-volatile memory, meaning that it is retained when power is removed. Most motherboards (well, the latest ones anyway) have a jumper that specifically resets all the settings held in the CMOS memory. This just saves having to wait the 30 seconds or so for the voltage to drop to zero. When the BIOS is cleared, on next re-start the BIOS will complain of a 'checksum error', and the user will have to select 'defaults' when first going into the BIOS. Since I doubt the BIOS was the source of your problem (bent pin on Fujitsu drive the most likely) your setting defaults has achieved the same purpose for ruling out the BIOS as the cause for further troubleshooting. Unconnected with your present problem, I would check that the BIOS settings are appropriate for your computer, and for your intended installation of Linux. Things such as configuration of on-board sound, modem, graphics, power management, etc, may not be what you want them to be. So it would be wise, before installing Windows, to go into the BIOS and check those settings. A good source of installation tips for Mandrake 9.1 is here:

http://www.mandrake.tips.4.free.fr/install.html

The BIOS settings advice is important for a smooth Linux install.

2. - agree with MasterC, except I doubt that using 'fdisk /mbr' will require a full Windows install. It only places the same Master Boot Record on the hard disk that it does in the original installation. It doesn't touch any other Windows files. If you had a multi-booting setup, booting Win98 with WinNT/2000/XP, then you might have to do full installations. But since you are only using Win98, you shouldn't have any problems. It would, however, prevent booting into Linux if you had it installed and had elected to place the boot manager (Lilo or Grub) into the MBR. That's another good reason to make a boot floppy when prompted by the Linux installation procedure.

3. Hard to say. The good sign is that it seems to be working now that it is straight. Your hard disk could work forever, but be alert to any errors down the track and remember that they could be caused by a tiny fracture in that bent pin upsetting the signal voltage levels. If that happens, you would be best advised to cut your losses and get another drive. The worst that could happen is the pin pulling out with the connector when unplugging.
 
Old 08-16-2003, 08:42 PM   #11
geoff_f
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I disagree with Electro on 'fdisk /mbr'. Sometimes the only way of getting rid of a boot sector virus is to overwrite the virus code with the original boot sector code. This is done with 'fdisk /mbr'. It won't 'destroy your Windows drive'; at worst, any software method may cause other software to malfunction, but it won't destroy your drive. All hard drive problems short of physical damage (head crash, worn bearings, etc) can be recovered by zeroing the drive - writing zeros to all disk locations - so that it looks to any operating system like a new hard disk that has never been partitioned or formatted.

But, drben, you needn't worry about this, as your problem is most unlikely to have been a boot sector virus.
 
Old 08-17-2003, 12:54 PM   #12
drben
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Thumbs up

What can I say but a big thank you, especially to Master C and geoff_f

I reckon it was the dodgy pin and my hamfisted efforts to use partition magic to try and reclaim 500mb of unused space wot dun the damage.

still, following the instructions, all is working fine now - ok i admit i did chicken out of the bios reset thing...

once again, your help was invaluable




bye for now!
ben
 
Old 08-17-2003, 01:23 PM   #13
MasterC
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Glad I could help

Cool
 
Old 08-17-2003, 04:26 PM   #14
geoff_f
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Glad to be of help. And thanks for the feedback; I really appreciate it.
 
Old 08-24-2003, 12:32 PM   #15
drben
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Angry Dammit

OK

Problem is back. Have tried everything, changing cable, changing IDE channel. Grrrr.

Is it possible to disable the Fujitsu slave drive in BIOS, create a boot partition for linux on the master drive and then have linux recognise the fujitsu slave?

Ben

ps. sadly, changing the motherboard/buying a new PC not an option right now...
 
  


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