Again, thanks for the replies.
Fortunately there is no "important info" on either HD
The Rescue attempt saw it fail at the same place...
I was very hopeful with the text-based install, but that was dashed as well. It actually got past where it used to kill it after I specified the mount point, but it killed it a few steps later. *edit: I saved the report/dump/whatever it was to a floppy, and can post if it might be helpful.*
fdisk /mbr on my version of DOS (the one that comes with Win98SE) writes a few hundred bytes with 0s....up to about where the partition tables start, so it shouldn't actually affect the partition tables. I ran it anyway, and I ran fdisk /cmbr 2 (which effectively runs the same thing but on hdb) and these didn't help. fdisk /mbr did help me clear a bootloader earlier, but that wasn't really a problem
I keep coming back to this one unhandled exception in RH9... I would suspect it was the medium, but not only did I verify the md5sum after download, but RH's media checker passes my cd1 and cd2... Could it still just be bad media? Maybe I should head out to a store and pick up a retail copy of RH or mdk? Might that help?
As an unfortunate, nearly unrelated aside, I must have accidentally allowed RH9's installer to overwrite hda's partition table in the last few minutes, because DOS no longer boots...and Win98SE setup reports only unpartitioned space on c:
oubipaws, I would try "gentoo, debian, or libranet" if I weren't a total newbie, didn't only have 2 blank disks left after all that burning, and didn't suspect they'd fail at the same place. I'll keep those distros in mind if I happen to give up for now though. thanks.
Are "cfdisk" and "linuxs fdisk" the same thing? If so, can I make a bootable floppy containing them? It sounds like it may help out...even if nothing with PartitionMagic has been terribly succesful...