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Old 09-24-2004, 03:36 AM   #1
demerson3
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new hard drive on compaq armada 1750


This problem was ultimately resolved, though the posted question has very little to do with the real problem:

Certain older Compaq models (mine is a Compaq Armada 1750 laptop) require some BIOS info on the hard drive. If you buy a new hard drive, you'll have to get this BIOS info on the hard drive BEFORE installing an OS, if you ever want to boot from your shiny new hard drive.

See Post #3 (or scroll down, if you're viewing the thread) for details on fixing this peculiar problem. Included there is a link to download bootable floppy images.


Here's my original post:


// QUESTION //

how can I get parted-1.6.15 onto a bootable floppy or CD?

Or, if it'd be better, another partition table / MBR fixer?

I read somewhere ( e.g. lists.gnu.org/archive/html/bug-parted/2004-08/msg00046.html ) that parted versions 1.6.11 and lower can mess up partition tables. I believe that's my problem, though I suppose I could be wrong (details below, in the story section).

The official parted page only has older versions of parted in the bootable floppy section... I have been struggling for... let's see, about 5 hours now... to get a newer (as in 1.6.12 or higher) version of parted working on this machine, and thus the forums become my last resort.

// STORY //

Compaq Armada 1750 laptop: PII/333MHz/256k L2, 192 RAM
New hard drive: 30 GB Samsung MP0302H (actually 28 GB if you divide by 1024)
Problem: Compaq stores part of the bios on the hard drive. (but I'm getting ahead of myself, that's a fun part of the story...)
SimplyMepis 2004.01 LiveCD...
- NEWER (2.6.7 kernel) completely failed to boot.
- FAILSAFE (2.4.20-something) booted, but no mouse! unacceptable.
- DEFAULT (2.4.20-something) completely failed to boot.
- NEWER menu > FAILSAFE 2.6.7 did the trick...
linux kernel identifies the drive properly by brand/model#, and seems to see the whole 28GB.
Looks great! touchpad mouse, SaMBa network, internet, Let's try the installer...
Graphical qtparted keeps dying on me. Just disappears while running. Let's try parted from tty2 (Ctrl+Alt+F2)...
I believe SimplyMepis 2004.01 has parted 1.6.9
seems to be running ok, but at some point I got: "Losing too many ticks! TSC cannot be used as a timesource" ... Parted hung! Left it hanging there. (How do I "kill" something in a virtual terminal?)
So I opened parted again in tty3 (Ctrl+Alt+F3 ... risky business, eh? maybe that was a bad move)
Interestingly, print tells me that the last partition creation operation I performed (prior to the hang) was successful. So I continued partitioning here...
Finished partitioning... what the heck, may as well post this, since it may be interesting:

Minor | size | fs type | purpose

2 | 15 MB | unknown | compaq diagnostics
1 | 800 MB | fat32 | C:\Win98
3 | 100 MB | ext2 | /boot
4 extended...
5 | 500 MB | fat32 | windows swap (yes, it can be partitioned!)
6 | 400 MB | linux-swap
7 | 3.5 GB | fat32 | windows Program Files
8 | 6 GB | fat32 | personal files, to be shared between linux and windows
9 | 6 GB | ext2 | / (mepis)

and some extra space, to be partitioned when necessary...

Run the mepis installer... It hung while preparing its root partition.
grrrrgh...
boot win98se CD...
install win98
looks like it went smoothly... reboot to run windows for the first time
"Boot from hard drive or cd?" > of course, I want to boot from the hard drive. (I think win98 is polite for giving that option)
"Non-system disk or disk error"... hard drive can't seem to find the win98 boot record. That's weird. In all of the dozens of times I have installed windows 98, I have NEVER seen it completely fail to start the boot process.
OK, let's try mepis again... this time the installer went smoothly.
reboot...
same problem. hard drive can't seem to find its MBR! how obnoxious!
Aha! I found out that compaq stores part of the bios on the hard drive (?!!)
Need "PC Diagnostics" (SP16085) and "Compaq Setup for Portables" (SP8975) - those SP numbers are the latest as of September 2004. You must run Windows in order to write the floppies (I should dd images of those and post them somewhere). Both are bootable floppies. And both intermittently have trouble booting at all. But you have to boot from PC Diagnostics - and have the compaq SETUP for portables disk on hand - in order to install the compaq diagnostics partition. It's under "Manage Diagnostics Partition" or some such.
It argued that it couldn't find the necessary hard drive space. I guess that's because I first partitioned hda2 as FAT32 instead of just leaving empty space.
PAUD 1.0.4 (Parted And Utils Disk) with Parted 1.6.11 (soon I would painfully find out that I needed 1.6.12 or better)
What the heck, I just deleted all the partitions.
Alright, installed the stupid compaq diagnostics program. It only sees 8GB of the 30GB drive. Perhaps it's got the geometry incorrect? Well, parted saw it as 3654/255/63.
1024 * 255 * 63 / 2 / 1024 B/kB = 8032kB, the exact size the diagnostics program saw.
3654 * 255 * 63 / 2 = 28GB, sounds about right.
So it would seem that compaq's diagnostics program is seeing a geometry very similar to what parted 1.6.11 is seeing; the compaq diagnostics just can't see past cylinder 1024. Perhaps both programs are getting that geometry from the bios.
OK, so I boot the PAUD again, run parted 1.6.11, and it gives me a funny message: "Warning: unable to align partition properly. This probably means that another partitioning tool guenerated an incorrect partition table, because it didn't have the correct BIOS geometry. It is safe to ignore, but ignoring may cause (fixable) problems with some boot loaders. Ignore/Cancel?"
Alright, this is interesting; I wasn't getting this message before, which leads me to believe that the compaq diagnostics installer has rewritten the partition table.
Cancelling out tells me that the OS thinks the geometry is 3654/255/63.
Ignoring lets me partition the entire 28 GB drive. I attempted to rescue the previous partitions, since I had written down all the start/end locations. But it failed to rescue them. So I reinstalled mepis and windows. Again, the installations looked fine.
No luck. I still can't seem to boot anything, except now I can press F10 and get into the compaq diagnostics program, which does not seem to give me any access to what's up with the BIOS. I have yet to see a BIOS screen on this computer.
SimplyMepis LiveCD > installation center > repair > put GRUB in MBR
OK, now I boot up and get a GRUB menu. I guess I must have previously told it to put GRUB in /boot rather than in the MBR. To mepis's discredit, I have no option for win98 or for the compaq diagnostics boot. (When I installed Debian Woody, with its ancient 2.2 kernel, LILO found both the windows and the compaq bootable partitions, and put them on the menu)
Anyways, so I try to boot mepis. no luck... I get a splashscreen, and slowly, the following text appears:

hdb: drive not ready for command
/bin/sh: nomce: No such file or directory
kernel panic: Attempted to kill init!

And it hangs there.
Alright, so that's charming. hdb would be my CD-ROM.
I tried booting both the 2.4.20-something and the 2.6.7 kernel. One of them gave the above three lines, and the other also gave three lines, the first two of which were different, and the last of which remained "kernel panic: Attempted to kill init!"

So what the heck, I edit grub's menu.lst and put in the standard entry for windows... something along the lines of:
rootnoverify (hd0,0)
chainloader +1
savedefault

or something like that... this is off the top of my head, and it's likely wrong. Hey, I just looked it up and it seems I got it right :-) the last line is optional.

It hangs as well, but with less information cuz, y'know, windoze doesn't give you any useful information when it's booting.

Oh, and great news: I can no longer hit F10 to get to the compaq diagnostics partition. Grub seems to have made that inaccessible.

OK, so that's rather heartbreaking, seeing as I've put in about 16 hours trying to get this hard drive working. Booting from a floppy or LiveCD, I can mount all the partitions, and everything looks fine, just cannot boot from the hard drive, which makes it... well, it makes it rather useless, actually.

ideas?

~David.

Last edited by demerson3; 04-08-2006 at 04:09 PM.
 
Old 10-03-2004, 09:13 AM   #2
aus9
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David tell you get a better reply I will have a go.

1) The F10 option appears to be your manufacturer sticking some stuff onto the hard drive.

2) Assuming your mbr is mucked up, when you run w98 from cd you MUST choose run from cd to allow it to install system files

3) But I would like to recommend a slight change to your wish list partitions and mbr fix first.

A) W98 c drive wants to be the first drive first partition and the diagnostics stuff must have been hidden b4. If it was of no use lets overwrite it so
partition 1 (P) w98 C drive
P2 w98 swap (and yes I did it in the past and can remember how)
P3 w98 balance (shared only if not system files)
P4 linux /boot
P5 linux balance
P6 linux swap

Now I know some who would like you to have separate linux partitions for /home and /usr etc but you choose ok?

4) To make those changes I recommend you have a proper rescue cd that creates a ram drive and can run partimage to save images of your partitions and with 6 steak knives includes qt_parted a graphical parted program.

If you can download it the website is www.sysresccd.org.

Bearing in mind we can only choose 4 primary partitons we can discuss if you are unsure.

5) Am I reading your post correctly in that you have never seen your bios?

6) if your first partition is diagnostics it is (hd0,0) and therefore not C drive.
and my brain says c drive is (hd0,1) but I agree that the diagnostics is crap as it failed the geometry test so ignore it......rescue cd will report it correctly in qt-parted.

7) In summary w98 C drive likes to be on first partition make it so

read my tutorial if you want to stay with grub

in my opinion any distro that prefers you stay with ext2 for a newbie may not be my first recommendation......choose ext3 or reseiserfs
 
Old 10-04-2004, 06:57 PM   #3
demerson3
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problem solved!

Gosh, I should have updated this when I got the problem solved last week... but just in case anyone else looking for solutions for a Compaq Armada 1750 comes this way...

What I ended up doing is just wiping the MBR and starting from scratch. To wipe the mbr:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

bs=512 tells it to do 512 bytes -- that's how big your mbr is!
count=1 tells it to do those 512 bytes only once.

After wiping MBR, I started my process by putting the compaq diagnostics on FIRST. It seems these computers store part of the bios on the hard drive, so it's important that you get that information onto the hard drive before doing anything else. Compaq's diagnostics installer is at least smart enough to install itself on partition 3 (hda3) -- although it designates hda3 at the beginning of the drive, which windows doesn't mind.

If you have windows (or wine...) running on a computer with a floppy drive, you can use the (windows executable) Compaq SoftPaqs to create the floppies. As of October 2004, the SoftPaqs to get are these:
- SP16085 bootable Diagnostics - 10.40A - 7 Dec 00
- SP8975 Computer Setup for Portables - 2.01 H - 24 Jan 99

Though both of these are bootable, you should boot from the SP16085 "Diagnostics", NOT from the 8975 "Computer Setup for Portables".


For those of you who don't have windows (or don't want to use it) check out the following:

http://david9.freepgs.com/armada/
http://geocities.com/demerson3/compaqarmada/

There is a file called Armada1750-NewHDD.zip which contains floppy disk images for the two softpaqs, as well as a README and MD5SUMS.

Yahoo Geocities won't let me post .tar.gz archives, so I was forced to use .zip. A simple "unzip Armada1750-NewHDD.zip" should open it up. If you don't have "unzip", then with debian you can "apt-get install unzip".

Again-- while both disks are bootable, you need to boot from the PC Diagnostics disk in order to do the installation properly. After installing, you should be able to get into the diagnostics program by pressing F10 when the computer is showing the compaq logo at the beginning of bootup.

With any problems, you can email me from linuxquestions.org:
http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...ember&u=139910

After wiping the mbr and starting from scratch with the compaq setup disks, I installed windows and mepis, and everything is running fine!

What is still unclear is whether running parted 1.6.11 (i.e. lower than 1.6.12) messed up my partition table, and whether it would have been possible to rescue my setup without starting from scratch. I guess I'll never know...

~David.

Last edited by demerson3; 10-26-2009 at 02:29 PM. Reason: new link, geocities is going down
 
Old 10-05-2004, 09:49 AM   #4
aus9
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thanks for updating to help others.

one question if you are still tracking

Are you sure that a part of the bios must be put on the hard drive or are you advising it is helpful for troubleshooting?

the reason I ask is the bios should not need the hard drive.
 
Old 10-06-2004, 12:24 PM   #5
demerson3
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bios on compaq hard drive

from what I gather, yes, I do believe part of the bios is on the hard drive. That's what compaq told me on the phone, and messages about it seem to be all over the net. It appears that compaq did this for a number of years.

It may have been possible for me to solve my problem without wiping the mbr, but I sure worked at it (for over a dozen hours) and was unsuccessful. On the successful installation, I also used cfdisk instead of parted, which saw a different disk geometry (xxxx/240/63 instead of xxxx/255/63).

Last edited by demerson3; 10-06-2004 at 12:26 PM.
 
Old 10-07-2004, 12:57 PM   #6
kbman
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Compaq Machines and the Bios.

Some machine, especially your Compaq Servers, take the first couple of megs on a drive to install utilities and stuff.

It's not really a BIOS, it just tools that you use to run diagnostics on the server etc.

Gerard
Web Design, Web Hosting, Search Engine Optimisation
 
Old 04-08-2006, 03:56 PM   #7
demerson3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kbman
It's not really a BIOS, it just tools that you use to run diagnostics on the server etc.
I disagree. This computer WOULD NOT BOOT from that hard drive until I installed the stuff properly.

There's no reason a computer should refuse to boot because it lacks a diagnostics partition. But if that partition holds BIOS information, all of the described behavior makes sense.

I don't know about compaq servers, but for these old Armada laptops, it seems to be pretty well established that they did put BIOS info on the hard drive.
 
Old 09-24-2007, 06:51 PM   #8
simple man
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Smile motherboard???

hello my name is jozef
 
Old 09-24-2007, 06:51 PM   #9
simple man
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motherboard 1750 armada compaq

hello,maybe a somewhat old problem to you but i came across this on the net,
http://www.siliconchip.com.au/cms/A_102415/article.html


i found the same problems with my pc notebook and have not yet found a thing that will work,pretty dissapointed tho,cause i thougt icould fix it or find a way to deal with the problem with the diagnnostics disks,but mine wil not even acces the harddrive and the cdrom doesn't register either,with any kind of boot disks i made or found,is it the motherboard?
or is it something else???
anybody?
thanks from this newbie here ;-)jozef
 
Old 09-25-2007, 04:42 PM   #10
demerson3
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jozef,

Rather than tacking a reply onto this thread, you should really start a new thread with your question.

That link you posted from siliconship.com.au is not at all helpful: there are several problems and computers described there; I have no idea which problem you are experiencing, or which computer you are working with.

You need to give the make and model number of your computer, and give a much more detailed description of the problem you're having. You should also describe the troubleshooting you have already performed, and the results from that troubleshooting, which led you to reach your conclusions.

Good luck solving your problem
~David.
 
Old 12-26-2007, 07:27 AM   #11
SCerovec
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The geocities link was broken, so i updated from OEM (sure rough stuff this armadas :-) )
http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport...35&swEnvOID=20
in case anyone still updates the HDD in one...
 
Old 12-26-2007, 01:08 PM   #12
demerson3
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fixed the geocities link

Geocities is going down. New link:

http://david9.freepgs.com/armada/

fixed the geocities link:
http://geocities.com/demerson3/compaqarmada/


~David.

Last edited by demerson3; 10-26-2009 at 02:30 PM. Reason: fixed the link again
 
Old 12-27-2007, 10:18 AM   #13
SCerovec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by demerson3 View Post
fixed the geocities link:

http://geocities.com/demerson3/compaqarmada/

~David.
Yep, it works now (double checked)
 
  


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