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Ok, I just built a new system. I installed XP Pro last week and spent several days installing software, moving backup files over to the main paritition, etc. When I installed XP I intentionally left a 40GB partition for installing linux. I heard that would be a good thing to do... So for the past few days I've been trying to install some version of linux in that partition.
First I tried Mepis, I just got a command prompt after logging in as root, but no idea how to start the install or gui... So then I tried Knoppix. Same result. I tried Suse 9.2, but I couldn't get anything to show up with that one... So last night I tried installing Mandrake 10.1.
The installation seemed to be going very well. The only problem I noticed was that sometimes when I touched a key on the keyboard I would get a string of q's (i.e. qqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq). It didn't happen all the time, but it was a minor annoyance. So then I got to choosing the resolution. I chose vesa as the graphic device, since it didn't list my graphic chip (Intel 915G) and a reasonable resolution. The first few resolutions I treid to test didn't work, but then I finally got one to work. I was looking at a blue screen with a big "X" cursor for my mouse. But I could NOT get out of that screen. Nothing I pressed on the keyboard would get me out of that screen. Finally I pressed the shutdown button on my pc and that ended that. I rebooted and went into Windows, just to be sure everything was working ok. It was. Whew!
But then this morning I decided to try to re-install the Mandrake installation. I switched keyboards, since I thought that might be causing the problem, and I began the install. I had the same strange keyboard behavior, where it would insert long strings of q's all by itself. I pressed on. When I came to choosing the formatting option, I tried to select the existing partition I used before, but it kept saying it didn't exist. So finally I chose the "Use empty space" option. When I got to the bootloader options I wasn't sure which one to choose, and I remember being told that if you didn't know which option to choose, choose the default. So I did, which I believe was MBR...?
When I finished, it asked me login, which I did (although it was very difficult with it spitting out those strings of q's, I had to be VERY fast in typing my username and pass). But then I got to a COMMAND PROMPT!!! Same as all the other distro's I've tried. I typed KDE, but it gave me an error saying the graphics I chose wouldn't work, or something to that effect. So I rebooted.
I chose Windows on the reboot, and that's when I got the dreaded "NTLDR is missing, press ctrl+alt+delete to reboot" message. This is why I am FREAKING OUT!
I've got tons of data on that drive that I can't lose. Pictures and video of my son, documents that I do not have a backup of. I have to get into that drive. I do have three other hard drives, so if I can get in I can back up the data, but I just don't know how. Can someone PLEASE HELP!!!???!
I'm not sure this linux thing is for me. I've been usi9ng computers since DOS 2, so I'm no stranger to the command line, or editing configuration files, etc. But I don't know if I have the patience for this anymore... I was told that these distro's were relatively easy to install, very user-friendly. I've found the exact opposite...
Anyways, I could REALLY use some help right now - THANKS for reading this long message... and for responding...
You can fix the master boot record (MBR) if you have the cd for windows xp.. just pop it in and there should be an option for restoring system or something like that..
the command to fix the boot is:
fix \mbr or something like that. typing help once ur in the restore menu will give u a list of all the commands. Dont worry your windows files should still be there.
Yea, the files you don't need to worry about, even though you can't access them, this is a very easy to fix.
Now as for installing a Linux distro, I'll help on the one which I'm most familiar with, Knoppix...
What version do you have first off?
Second, why are you trying to log into as root? If I remember correctly, when Knoppix boots, it starts up x, and then kdm, is this not working? have you tried running the 2.6 kernel at boot? (type in knoppix26 and then bress enter and it'll boot into 2.6)
If that still doesnt work, try on knoppix boot "knoppix26 2" or "knoppix 2" for the 2.4 kernel. This will automatically log in as root and in commandline. Try "startx" manually from there and see if it works?
Let me know what works so that I can help from there... (is trying to mess around in a Knoppix 3.7 virtual machine to help figure this out)
I have version 3.7. As for loggin in as root, I believe I was taken directly to a command prompt, so I logged in. I didn't know what else to do. I have a feeling there's a problem identifying my graphics chip, so these distro's are choking when trying to load kdm or whatever gui they use... I haven't tried running the 2.6 kernel at the boot, but now that you've told me how, I can try...
So you're saying, forget about the Mandrake install, just boot into Knoppix and I can fix everything that way?
I'll try that stuff you suggested out. I'm at work right now, but I'll go home at lunch and give those a try. Once I do I'll let you know how it goes.
Thanks SO MUCH for your help - I really appreciate it.
If the Knoppix Live-CD doesn't understand your graphics chip, chances are mandrake won't either. There are some tweaks that can be done, but yoiu need to know things about your card and your monitor, to manyually massage them into the xorg.conf file.
Hmmm... Well I'm using graphics directly off the motherboard, which is an intel 915G chip. I belive it's fairly new, and I didn't see any Intel chips listed in the choices. So I'm guessing that's where the problem lies. If I could load a driver for it at bootup that might work...?
Well, knoppix should find your chip, and atleast boot you into some low-rez screen. But I'm pretty sure Knoppix already has Intel drivers. If the regular one doesn't work, try the 2.6 kernel on boot, and see if starting X manually helps in anyway...
Well, I went home over my lunch break and tried everything suggested here (and @ linuxforums.org). First I booted with the Windows install CD, went into recover mode, typed FIXMBR and then rebooted. That did not work. I still got the same lilo interface and when selected Windows XP I got the same error.
So I booted with Knoppix and that actually did load into KDM, but it did not show my partition with my files on it, just the linux partitions, so I could not back anything up or recover anything.
After that I booted with a CD called the "Ultimate Boot CD" which has a ton of recovery utilities. When I tried to recover my Windows partition it reported that the partition was empty... !!!
I booted back into the Windows install CD and tried to go through the Windows installation. That asked me to select a partition to install to, and it liksted the three partitions on my C drive: 5GB with nearly 5GB free, 1GB with 1GB free and 193GB with 193GB free. Nothing was left on the drive. It looks like Mandrake thought when I selected "Use free space" that I meant "Use all the space"... So I lost it all. I'm hoping I can recover some of it off of my original boot drive from my old system. I'll try that tonight.
I *MAY* try linux again, but if I do, I will install another HD just for linux, and I will NOT use Mandrake!!
Yeah, I['m really not sure what the deal is... But if I'm getting the same report of no data on the drive from both linux AND dos utilities, I'm guessing there's no data there... I'm hoping that I'll get some other linux OS installed on a seperate drive, and someday I'll look back on this and laugh... But not today! :-)
Oh...well...I never liked Mandrake anywhere Sorry if it did delete your files I'm pretty sure there are some programs that can actually recover your files, even after it got formatted.
Anyway, seeing as how Knoppix worked, I suppose you'll be using that one? There's a a Knoppix-based distro called Kanotix if you want to check it out, supposely has some better on some stuff, extra features, or you can get SimplyMepis which is also like Knoppix, but its meant more for noobs
Yeah, I'm not sure what I'm gonna try next, but it definitely won't be mandrake... But I did order a new graphics card, cuz I think some of the problems I encountered were due to using the motherboard's on-board graphics chip. So I'll be getting a new nVidia 6600GT based card next week. Then I'll try either Knoppix or Mepis, but I'm installing a seperate hard drive just for playing around with Linux!