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I've just installed Linux (Slackware 8.1) for the first time and the installation went smoothly, but whenever I boot from the hard drive all I get is a blinking cursor and no prompt, and the system doesn't respond to anything. I'm at a loss for what to do, as I've only just begun to learn Linux.
I'm not sure why you chose Slackware, but that behaviour sounds normal, it sounds like it's waiting for you to login.
Anyway, if you're new to Linux, Slackware is not the distro for you to put it mildly. It's an OS for people for whom operating systems are a hobby. I'd go for Redhat or SuSE, there will still be plenty to learn with them, then once you've lost your training wheels as such you'll be better prepared to sort out problems with Slackware.
I chose Slackware because I wanted to learn, and I pretty much knew what I was getting into. If I really can't solve this I'll go to something else, but I'd like to try a little more with this distro.
I've been able to boot up properly with LILO on a floppy disk, but when it boots from the hard drive there's no login prompt and I can't enter any text. It does restart with ctrl+alt+del, but I don't know what else to do with it. Could it just be something incredibly simple that I'm not aware of yet?
There's a chart labled "PCI device listing ..." at the bottom of which it says "Building DMI Pool ..................... Success". After that, if I've told the BIOS to boot from the CD drive before the hard drive, it says "Boot from CD :" with a blinking cursor at the start of the next line. If the hard drive is supposed to boot before the CD, the blinking cursor just comes after the "Building DMI Pool" message. I can boot from a floppy disk (either with the boot disk created during installation or with LILO on a floppy) and from a CD (the installation CD obviously works, as does a Knoppix disc), just not the hard drive.
It sounds like windows XP has a problem with you wanting to use LILO. It's typical and can only say that's where i'd look into. I don't have the info at hand. The MBR of the HD is different than all other boot options and i'm sure that's where the problem lies.
Uh, well Slackware is the only OS I've ever installed on this computer, but I think I understand the problem now. I tried installing LILO to the MBR instead of root, and it worked, but in doing so I realized it hadn't been working because I never made the root partition bootable. Slight oversight, broke the whole thing.