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Old 12-31-2003, 11:45 AM   #1
LinuxBie
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Cannot Boot


I bought myself a copy of Redhat linux 8.0. I have two hard drives, C and D. C is my main drive. Windows XP is installed on C drive. I partitioned C drive using partition magic 8.0, I created /Boot / 'root' and Swap partitions. I then installed red-hat linux with LILO boot manager. However, I cannot boot into linux, and when I set /boot or / 'root' partitions as active, I get the error message 'error loading operating system', otherwise, I cannot load or get the LILO up and running. I installed Linux on ext2 so as the boot. Please help me to boot into linux. Thanks
 
Old 12-31-2003, 11:53 AM   #2
XavierP
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From reading other posts, when you create your Linux partitions with PM, the install often goes pear shaped.

Far better would have been to simply create one partition and asign the mount points from within the RH installer. BTW, you do know that RH8 and 9 are due to go end of life fairly soon...?
 
Old 12-31-2003, 05:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
[b] Far better would have been to simply create one partition and asign the mount points from within the RH installer. BTW, you do know that RH8 and 9 are due to go end of life fairly soon...?[b]
I already have the partition (made use of RH installer), yet I cannot boot into linux or get the lilo/grub working despite their existence within the partitions. When I install the OS, on which partition should I set Active status?

Why will RH go end of life? tell me about it ? Should I stick with Windows instead ?
 
Old 12-31-2003, 05:06 PM   #4
XavierP
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Red Hat have ceased production of their desktop offering. If you go to the RH website, you will see a link to the Fedora Project. Effectively, they have picked up the gauntlet and will produce future offerings based on Red Hat. And I am definitely not suggesting you stick with Windows. If you don't want to try Redhat, try SuSE, Mandrake or any of the other distributions.

When you installed LILO or Grub, where did you install it to? I normally install to the master boot record (MBR).
 
Old 12-31-2003, 09:01 PM   #5
kc8tbe
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A few things to try:
1. Do you have any "special" bios installed? The bios included with Western Digital hard drives to recognize large hard drives (some old bios can't do this on their own) has trouble starting LILO. You'll probably have to uninstall these bios.
2. Xavier is absolutely right; you want LILO on the MBR of your master drive (probably the C drive). What partition you make "active" won't really matter, since the bios should boot you off the MBR.
3. You mentioned making partitions "active". This tells me you are still using Partition Magic. Bad idea. Ditch partition magic, reinstall LILO to the MBR, and see what happens.
4. Make sure you are booting off the correct hard drive. Typically a bios will boot of the primary master by default (this would be your C drive), but they can be configured to boot of the primary slave (D drive). Which is your bios configured to boot?

Good luck!

> Should I stick to Windows instead?

Uh, no. If you like RedHat, try the Fedora Core (a form of Linux). For newbies (and even power users who like ease-of-use), I would suggest Debian - or if you don't like Debian, Mandrake.
 
Old 01-01-2004, 12:03 PM   #6
LinuxBie
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Thank you all for your valuable suggestions. I tried linux boot on both, MBR and First Boot, but all failed. I think probably the problem is due to my bios settings, though I trust it is not an old one. Where and what should I do to correct the problem, if BIOS is the culprit in hand ?

Thanks
 
Old 01-01-2004, 12:22 PM   #7
XavierP
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Probably the first thing to do is:
check what your bios is treating as the first hard drive - is it the same one you think is first?
maybe flash the bios from drivers found on your mobo mfrs site.
 
Old 01-01-2004, 02:06 PM   #8
kc8tbe
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> I tried linux boot on both, MBR and First Boot, but all failed.

Whoa - English, please !
Here's a little checklist to help you figure out what isn't working. Study it, and then post again.

Step 1:
When a computer boots up, the BIOS checks its configuration to see what hard drive it should boot off of. It then boots the MBR (master boot record) on that hard drive.

Step 2:
The MBR will load a first-stage bootmanager. This first-stage is configured to to look in a partition (i.e. the Linux boot partition) for the second, third, etc. stages of the boot manager.

Step 3:
Once the boot manager is fully loaded, you get the pretty menu, graphics, etc. Once you select which OS you want to boot, the boot manager will load that OS however is appropriate.

If you turn on the machine and a) the bios does its thing and then nothing happens or b) you get the wrong bootmanager, then you have a problem with Step 1.
Try a) wiping the MBR and installing a new bootmanager (lilo or grub) b) having lilo or grub install itself over whatever is on the MBR (this will overwrite the MBR with lilo or grub, or c) make sure the bios is booting off the hard drive whose MBR lilo or grub is installed on.

If you turn on the machine and the bootmanager kind of loads, but then gives you an error then you most likely are having a problem with Step 2.
Try a) reinstalling the boot manager to the MBR b) making sure the partition with the boot manager's stage 2 exists, is not corrupt, and has the bootmanager on it, and c) make sure the boot partition with the MBR's stage 2 is near or at the beginning of the hard drive.

If a) the bootmanager says the kernel cannot be found or b) you get a kernel panic, you have a problem with Step 3.
Try a) reinstalling the boot manager, b) making sure the partition with the kernel on it exists and is not corrupt, c) check to see if the bootmanager is passing valid arguments to the kernel, and d) see if your kernel needs autoresize geometry (see below).

Hopefully this checklist will help you narrow down what needs to be fixed. Don't hesitate to post more questions to the forum, and please be coherent and concise so that we can better assist you!



What the heck is autoresize geometry? Some old bios, including some phoenix bios, cannot see large hard drives. If you install a 60GB hard drive, the bios only sees the first 40GB of it. Likewise, the Linux or Windows kernel will only see the first 40GB of it.
Western Digital includes a special bios with their hard drive that enables Windows to see the rest of the large hard drive, but the special bios prevents linux from booting, so you must uninstall it. I assume you already have.
This produces boot problems if the partition with the kernel on it is created with Partition Magic running from Windows with the special bios. In this scenario, the partition will extend beyong the 40GB boundary. But the Linux kernel can only see the first 40GB. As a result, the kernel panics on bootup.

You can fix this by compiling "autoresize geometry" into the 2.4.x kernel. I don't know if you need to compile it into the 2.6.x kernel. This enables the kernel to automatically detect the rest of the large hard drive without the bios's help. If you have a recent bios, or if your bios config shows that your hard drive is as big as it should be, then you don't need to bother with this.
 
Old 01-01-2004, 02:48 PM   #9
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I have all (root, swap, and boot) in one drive, but all after the main drive where XP is located.... I think my problem is because linux is not at the beginning of my partitions, is that the cause? How do I determine if BIOS is the problem?
 
Old 01-01-2004, 02:50 PM   #10
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Also... Should I set the partitions to primary instead of logical?
 
Old 01-01-2004, 04:42 PM   #11
kc8tbe
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You must make some partitions logical if your drive has more than four partitions on it. Otherwise, all or some partitions may be primary. All partitions from which you will boot must be primary. Additionally, all partitions from which you boot should be as close to the beginning of the disk as possible. Swap partitions should be either at the beginning or end of the disk. Here is an example paritioning scheme for you, assuming only the four partitions you've mentioned. Note that the MBR is not shown.

[1][----------2----------][----------------3----------------][ x ][--4--]

1: The linux boot partition. This has stages 2, 3, etc. of the bootmanager and the bzImage of the linux kernel.
2: Your WinXP partition.
3: Your root partition.
x: a good place to put free space (if you want/have any)
4: swap partition

Since there are only four partitions, all of them may be primary. If you add more partitions, make sure that 1 & 2 stay as primary.

> How do I determine if BIOS is the problem?

Your bios may be messing you up in several ways:
1. The bios is corrupt and, as a result, nothing boots.
2. The bios is booting the wrong HD (assuming you have more than one HD).
3. The bios has a bootmanager built into it and is booting right off of a partition rather than off of the MBR; this is unlikely.
4. The bios is very old and you have a hard drive larger than 40GB.

How to know if this is a problem:
1. When you turn on your machine the screen flashes and shows weird characters, you hear repetitive beeping errors, or you get an error from your bios then your bios may be corrupt. You must flash and reinstall the bios. Consult your computer manufacturer for instructions.If you see the message "DMI pool update success" or "DMI pool OK" then this probably isn't your problem. If you ever get to see a bootmanager (lilo, grub, or even WinXP), then this definitely isn't your problem.

2. I'm guessing you don't have more than two HD's. They are probably called C and D. If you see a bootmanager on startup but it's the wrong one (i.e. WinXP instead of lilo or grub) go into the bios setup and change the boot order so that C comes before D or vice versa. If you then get to see the correct bootmanager on startup, problem solved.

3. If your bios configuration allows you to select a partition to boot off of then your bios has a built in bootmanager. Try to disable it (to boot off of the MBR instead), reconfigure it to boot the linux boot partition, or make the linux boot partition the first partition on your hard drive (and make it "active"). Your best option is to get your bios to boot off the MBR.

4. If your hard drive is larger then 40GB, see if the bios configuration shows the HD as being its correct size. If it doesn't, compile autoresize geometry into the kernel to avoid a kernel panic or a partition table read error. Make sure all bootable partitions are before the 40GB boundary.
 
Old 01-02-2004, 12:20 AM   #12
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My Partitions currently stand as follows :

[1][2][3][4]

1 - Fat 32 Windows XP
2- Swap
3- /
4- Boot

Of course, sizes vary, where swap is 500, / has 10GB , and Boot is 100, and Fat 32 has lots of 14GB.

I loaded Grub in MBR, then to LILO, but all failed.

1 - Where am I going wrong?

2- Also, if I were to modify my partitions or delete some of the partitions using Partition Magic, will I loose the diskspace, or will it be allocated and back to the original state. I really do not want to delete the partitions and then find myself having wasted a lot, instead of making use of them in the same drive, as it used to be.?

Last edited by LinuxBie; 01-02-2004 at 12:24 AM.
 
Old 01-02-2004, 10:49 AM   #13
kc8tbe
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Firstly, back everything up before you proceed.

Partition Magic will not change the physical geometry of your HD, so you will not "lose" space per sey. PM could corrupt your partition tables and cause some free space (or even a partition) to dissapear. In a worst case scenarios, you can always pop in a Linux bootdisk, wipe the partition tables created by Partition Magic, and start with a clean slate - but doing so will destroy all data on the disk.

It sounds like your HD is around 30GB, so any given point of it should be bootable. That is to say, it shouldn't matter where partitions are located. Likewise, autoresize geometry is not a concern. To increase SWAP performance, I would suggest moving the SWAP partition to the end of the drive - but this will not help you boot.

I can't really help you any further unless you can post a specific error message or tell me exactly when the boot process goes pear shaped.
 
Old 01-02-2004, 10:25 PM   #14
LinuxBie
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Hi,

The error message that is displayed "error loading operating system". I now intend to do a complete backup then re-install the OS again. Any suggestion how to start and what to do ? My plan is to have WinXP and Linux. I have two Hard Drives, C and D. One is 40GB and the other is 20GB.


BTW, can I delete the partitions created by PM then all space would be allocated to the original drive. For example, Drive C was 40, then 30 + 10. If I delete the space allocated for 10 GB, would my drive C go back to 40?


Thanks
 
Old 01-03-2004, 12:58 AM   #15
Brianstech
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Hey! This is one I can help with! I'm still new to Linux, but the one thing I've been successful with is removing it, without damage. In my case I've used Icepack Linux 2.75 install disk to delete all non-Win partitions. From what I understand, pretty much all the distros have a built in partition program on their install disk. I've had the best results removing Mandrake 9.1, Xandros, and others with an Icepack disk. Your Redhat disk should probably work fine. Set your BIOS to boot to CD, go through the normal setup routines, when you get to partitioning, delete all new ones leaving just your Windows one. Exit , or abort the install, pull your disk, and reboot with a Windows startup floppy. At the A:/ prompt, type "fdisk/mbr", shut down, and restart to find your machine acting as though you never tried to venture off into the wonderful world of open source.
Please don't quit there, we all need to stick with it longer than our first attempt. I've had a few distros running, none with great success, but running. I've left off on my pursuit for awhile while building this PC, but I'm getting ready for another venture into this crazyness. I can only wish you luck, as I hope you are doing for me!
 
  


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