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Old 04-28-2014, 09:47 PM   #16
blueinca99
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^ @ John VV - I want to get rid of XP- the reason I am trying to re-install it/make it work is - the PC starting having booting problems at around the time XP became unsupported, but being without an OS makes it difficult to asses & diagnose & fix issues. The plan is to fix the (probable hardware/hard drive) issue, & then get rid of XP & install Linux Mint or similar as the OS.

Also - thank you for posting helpful replies regarding whether or not to wipe the disc, track 0, or delete partitions- given that it now appears there is a hardware/internal hard drive issue, wouldn't it be best to wipe the whole disc (thereby getting rid of anything that's causing the booting problem) and then install a Linux OS? In other words deleting partitions or writing random data or zero out track O may not be the the most effective way to get rid of the error?
 
Old 04-28-2014, 09:49 PM   #17
blueinca99
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I've just seen onebuck's reply (just as I did my reply post) - that sounds like a plan onebuck - thank you - that is the sort of thing I am looking for!
 
Old 04-29-2014, 12:18 AM   #18
haertig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maples View Post
Out of curiosity, why is only track 0 all you need to do? Is that where the partition table is stored? Or is the MBR involved?
Track 0 contains the Master Boot Record (MBR), which in turn contains the Partition Table. The partition table is 16 bytes within the 512 byte MBR within the 32kbyte Track 0. This is the traditional way things are set up. Now there is a newer alternate way to set things up, called the GUID Partition Table (GPT).

In the traditional MBR setup, here is a lot of space between the 512 byte MBR and the end of the 32kbyte Track 0. That is unused in Windows. So software vendors started storing their copy protection schemes there. Only they didn't know if some OTHER vendor had stored THEIR copy protection scheme there. So they were stomping all over each other making a mess. Then virus writers came up with the wonderful idea of storing THEIR viruses in that unused space of Track 0. So you could reformat your hard disk and their stupid virus would still be there (unless you also wiped Track 0, something a normal format does not do).

In the traditional setup for Linux, that extra space in Track 0 is usually used by the boot loader. For example, the GRUB bootloader stores it's Stage 1 files there.

So to clean everything out before installing a new OS, you wipe Track 0. That gets rid of the MBR (which would be gotten rid of anyway with the reinstallation), but it also gets rid of old Windows software copy protection schemes, viruses, and old boot loaders. You don't need to wipe beyond Track 0 because the new OS will just see everything past that as free space and will happily write over it (not 100% true, because your extended partition table will be out there past Track 0 if you have logical partitions, but the statement is close enough to true for our purposes here). Technically, you don't NEED to wipe Track 0 before installing a new OS. The installation will put what it wants there anyway. But it's a good idea to wipe it, especially if you are reinstalling a Windows OS, because of the copy protection and viruses that may still lurk there from the previous Windows. In Linux, it doesn't matter.
 
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Old 04-29-2014, 04:51 PM   #19
blueinca99
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Quote:
Originally Posted by haertig View Post
Track 0 contains the Master Boot Record (MBR), which in turn contains the Partition Table. The partition table is 16 bytes within the 512 byte MBR within the 32kbyte Track 0. This is the traditional way things are set up. Now there is a newer alternate way to set things up, called the GUID Partition Table (GPT).

In the traditional MBR setup, here is a lot of space between the 512 byte MBR and the end of the 32kbyte Track 0. That is unused in Windows. So software vendors started storing their copy protection schemes there. Only they didn't know if some OTHER vendor had stored THEIR copy protection scheme there. So they were stomping all over each other making a mess. Then virus writers came up with the wonderful idea of storing THEIR viruses in that unused space of Track 0. So you could reformat your hard disk and their stupid virus would still be there (unless you also wiped Track 0, something a normal format does not do).

In the traditional setup for Linux, that extra space in Track 0 is usually used by the boot loader. For example, the GRUB bootloader stores it's Stage 1 files there.

So to clean everything out before installing a new OS, you wipe Track 0. That gets rid of the MBR (which would be gotten rid of anyway with the reinstallation), but it also gets rid of old Windows software copy protection schemes, viruses, and old boot loaders. You don't need to wipe beyond Track 0 because the new OS will just see everything past that as free space and will happily write over it (not 100% true, because your extended partition table will be out there past Track 0 if you have logical partitions, but the statement is close enough to true for our purposes here). Technically, you don't NEED to wipe Track 0 before installing a new OS. The installation will put what it wants there anyway. But it's a good idea to wipe it, especially if you are reinstalling a Windows OS, because of the copy protection and viruses that may still lurk there from the previous Windows. In Linux, it doesn't matter.
thank you haertig for the time you have put in contributing to my topic. A lot of this is beyond me, but I am learning with your (& others)help.........
 
Old 05-03-2014, 02:23 AM   #20
blueinca99
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@ haertig

I used the dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=63 command & it seemed to clear the track0 & worked successfully (very quickly - like instantaneous - so thank you so much. I then triad a few distros, & eventually installed Mint Mate 13 - which was successful - on installation it recognised windows xp (even in it's half installed fashion!) & asked to either wipe it & just use MINT (which I obviously did) or maintain XP with Mint installed as a second OS.

I only issue now is to work out how to get my Seagate External HD to be recognisable - ie mount I guess ..............

Thanks again for everyone's help
 
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Old 05-03-2014, 04:43 PM   #21
haertig
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I would expect Mint to recognize and auto-mount your external drive just by plugging in the crive into a USB port.

If it doesn't, you can mount it manually. After plugging in your powered up drive, wait 3 to 5 seconds and then run the command:
Code:
dmesg | tail -25
You should see some output that lookes like this example (your output will not be identical)
Quote:
[3712642.556120] usb 2-6: new high-speed USB device number 12 using ehci_hcd
[3712642.690986] scsi14 : usb-storage 2-6:1.0
[3712643.730422] scsi 14:0:0:0: Direct-Access SAMSUNG HD103SI PQ: 0 ANSI: 2 CCS
[3712643.731878] sd 14:0:0:0: Attached scsi generic sg4 type 0
[3712643.732874] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] 1953525168 512-byte logical blocks: (1.00 TB/931 GiB)
[3712643.733631] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] Write Protect is off
[3712643.733643] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] Mode Sense: 28 00 00 00
[3712643.734581] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] No Caching mode page present
[3712643.734593] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
[3712643.738009] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] No Caching mode page present
[3712643.738021] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
[3712643.799788] sdc: sdc1 sdc2
[3712643.803264] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] No Caching mode page present
[3712643.803276] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] Assuming drive cache: write through
[3712643.803284] sd 14:0:0:0: [sdc] Attached SCSI disk
[3712645.654074] kjournald starting. Commit interval 5 seconds
[3712645.655574] EXT3-fs (sdc2): using internal journal
[3712645.655588] EXT3-fs (sdc2): mounted filesystem with ordered data mode
The line I highlighted in bold above is telling you that your external drive is assigned /dev/sdc and it has two partitions on it, sdc1 and sdc2. I don't know how many partitions YOUR drive will have - at least one, maybe more. So for this example, let's say I want to manually mount that first partition. Here is how I would do that, and look at its contents (at the top directory level):
Code:
mkdir /mnt/external
mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/external
cd /mnt/external
ls -l
Notice that in the mount command above I did not specify what type of filesystem the external drives partition is using. That's because Linux will guess correctly most of the time. However, if it does not, you can manually specify the filesystem type in the mount command. Here are a few examples of that:
Code:
mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdc1 /mnt/external
mount -t fat /dev/sdc1 /mnt/external
mount -t ext3 /dev/sdc1 /mnt/external
When you're done messing with the external drive, you will want to unmount it. Note that you will not be able to unmount the external drive if your corrent working directory is on that drive (because the drive will show up as being "in use"). So you need to change directory away from that drive before you can unmount it. Also note: to unmount a drive, the command is "umount", not "unmount".
Code:
cd /
umount /mnt/external
 
  


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