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I have a coupla questions that I couldn't find the answers to.
First off, I'm running Gentoo on an old 667MHz Pentium with plenty of hardrive space and 192KB of RAM, but when i boot up, I get "error loading operating system."
What exactly does this mean? I have some data on there that I want (like half my music collection) so I don't want to completely just reinstall. I've seen knoppix suggested as a recovery, but when i go to the website, I can't make heads or tails of it (as I don't speak german). So, can anyone tell me what is knoppix, what makes it great, and will it work?
second, after i get what i want off my hd's, should i just scrap the system and reinstall? if i do that, what distro do you recommend?
As for knoppix, they have english version of their site And to download it, or other live cds (there are tons), can get them off of LQ even LQ isos They are just distros that don't need to be installed, they can run from the cd. I think knoppix has k3b which you could burn your stuff from your harddrive to back it up.
You could boot up a live cd and if you have 2 cd roms, or an external harddrive, back it up and then install your OS, if you are a bit new to linux, like myself, I would suggest mandriva, fedora core, or ubuntu. All are pretty easy to set up, I used mandrake for a few months and it was really easy to use, just a few bugs here but nothing major. That error message your getting could also mean the hard drive's boot sector is messed up, but I'm not sure.
When does it say "error loading operating system"? Is it the very first thing that comes up after the post bios screen, or does a bit of text scroll by first?
If it is the very first thing then it must be your boot loader. A rescue disk will help you retrieve your data & burn it to a disk or copy it to a different disk / partition that you don't need to reformat.
As for which disto, I've tried a few, & for a beginner I would probably recommend Mandrake or Fedora Core 3 (don't bother with Core 2) they both have lots of gui's to aid setting them up. Although, I have only used Fedora now for quite a while, so I don't really know what's happening in the Mandrake world these days.
If you give me a bit more info about the loading error I can try & help you further.
The error is the very first thing that pops up after the blue "hewlett Packard" screen that has always come up on loading. The computer sorta sits there for a minute or two, with the cursor blinking in the upper left, then it just says "error loading operating system."
And yes, I did have gentoo running (with the help of my b/f) and we had fluxbox installed on it too. I mainly use this computer for a stereo atm.
If I wanted to copy over a network to a windows box, I would need to get samba running, right?
That error is, I believe, a MS DOS error message, and it's telling you that the MBR was not re-written when you installed Linux. Your system's trying to boot (from the message) Win98 or WinME, and not finding it.
Use the "rescue" function (when you boot from CD) to replace the MBR with a Linux boot MBR.
(As a check, the "rescue" function should find your Linux system. If it doesn't, you may have other problems.)