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I have an HP pavilion 752n that came with WIndows XP Home edition. I upgraded it a week ago or so to XP Professional.
Next, I added a brand new hard disk (40GB) on which to install Linux.
I got the Redhat 9 distribution and created the 3 CD images. I then install Redhat 9 on /dev/hdb2 and told it to install GRUB on the boot sector of /dev/hdb2. All seemed to go totally smoothly, and I said yes and created a Linux boot disk at the end of the install.
When I try to boot from the floppy, it seems to load images, and then I get a bunch of devices detected, etc (scrolls pretty fast), but somewhere after detecting some stuff, after a couple lines that indicate which IRQs some things are on, the screen blanks and the system restarts again (with the HP logo screen that is the first thing on reboot).
I thought maybe because my BIOS settings did not have the second drive as a boot device, maybe that was the problem, so I tried setting it as a boot device instead of the first drive. Didn't change behavior, so I switched back.
Actually, I can't say it didn't change behavior at all. I tried setting the bios to have the second drive bootable instead of the first, and boot without the floppy, and I got a prompt that says "GRUB", but I can't do anything. So anyway, as I said, it is currently changed back.
The one thing I haven't done yet, is turning oFF PnP in the BIOS. That's probably next.
Update: I tried disabling PnP and booting from the floppy. The result was that instead of seeing the system reboot after detecting a bunch of hardware, it gets to what appears to have been the exact same point in terms of text on the screen, and then just hangs.
That is if PnP is turned off and /dev/hdb2 is NOT configured in the BIOS as a boot device. If PnP is off and /dev/hdb2 IS configured in te BIOS as a boot device, then when it gets to the same point, it DOES still result in rebooting over again.
The one other thing I CAN do is a "boot rescue" from the installation CD. That gets me command prompts and I can wander about looking at the Linux files on /dev/hdb2, but since I am a Linux newbie, I don't know what to lok for. (Years ago, I was a 10 year UNIX veteran, but that just means I know the difference between /etc, /bin. and /usr. Doesn't really give me much to go on as far as troubleshooting Linux boot problem - though it does mean if someone can tell me what I may what to look for, I will likely understand it well enough.
I tried the options that seemed to be potential things applying to my system, and by process of eliminaiton discovered I needed the apm=off setting. Apparently I was crashing the BIOS if it did not have power management disabled.