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Old 03-26-2009, 01:23 AM   #1
lawlonslawt
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Partitioning issue


I've posted this in two other forums, so I'm literally going to copy and paste the post. I'm just trying to find someone to can lead me in the right direction.
_______________

I posted a similar thread on the Vector Linux (the OS I was trying to install when I came across this issue) forums, but they haven't been much help thus far. I thought I'd try my luck here.

I'm a bit new to Linux. The last time I tried anything was about a year and a half ago. I successfully installed Arch with the help of a friend. That laptop died, and since then, I've been Linuxless.

I'm currently dealing with a Compaq Presario 1236. AMD K6 @ 233mhz, 190Mb of RAM, 4Gig HDD. This is the oldest computer I've ever used, and it's been giving me a pretty hard time. Being unfamiliar with Linux doesn't help much.

I popped the VL Light 5.9 disc in, got to the second menu of the installation, and decided to have a go at partitioning the drive to get started. My problem is.. Cfdisk and fdisk aren't cooperating with the hard drive. It wouldn't let me choose an option to partition the drive. I tried opting for a new partition table, that didn't work. I chose the option for the existing partition table, and that didn't work. The screen just flashes once, quickly. There's no response. I took out the installation CD, popped in Knoppix, and used Gparted to partition the drive. It seemed to work fine. I wiped it completely, set aside space for swap and root. There were no issues, and the commands went through (so it seemed). I went back to VL, and the same shit occurred. On both Knoppix and the VL installation, I receive errors for Cfdisk and fdisk. Fdisk is "unable to open the drive," and Cfdisk encounters a fatal error.

I ran a utility for the hard drive to verify it's functionality, and all went well. It was some bootable utility HP support directed me to a little while ago.

Someone on the VL forums advised that I do fdisk -l and show him the output. There was no output. The HDD seems to be ignored. I don't understand this because Windows 98 was running perfectly fine before I took it off to make space for Linux.

Sorry for the long post. If you've read this far, I appreciate it. If anyone has any information for me, I'd be very grateful. As aforementioned, I'd consider myself a nub, but I'm patient and willing to learn, so throw whatever you've got at me.
_______________

Thanks for your time.
 
Old 03-26-2009, 02:52 AM   #2
FredGSanford
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Maybe try " /sbin/fdisk /dev/hda " command.
 
Old 03-26-2009, 03:31 AM   #3
roy_lt_69
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Check dmesg | less and look for your hard drive.
It should be hda or sda, with partitions listed as hda1, hda2, or sda1, sda2, ...
Then do the fdisk with the appropriate identifier.

Or you can post the entire dmesg here for us to look at.
 
Old 03-26-2009, 09:26 AM   #4
JZL240I-U
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Ummm. I seem to vaguely remember that some firms put in some nasty hiding software to reserve some space on the hd. I can't for the life of me remember more, perhaps somebody else can carry that idea from here?

Did you check the BIOS for nasty surprises or are all parameters inconspicuous?
 
Old 03-26-2009, 01:12 PM   #5
Nishtya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JZL240I-U View Post
Ummm. I seem to vaguely remember that some firms put in some nasty hiding software to reserve some space on the hd. I can't for the life of me remember more, perhaps somebody else can carry that idea from here?

Did you check the BIOS for nasty surprises or are all parameters inconspicuous?

I don't know about hidden software but Compaq Presarios did have a paritition that contained set-up information. If you used partitioning software that nuked it, you would be unable to get into the BIOS. For people who did it accidentally or upgraded to a larger hd and the hd sw didn't recognize to clone that partition, they had a downloadable "soft paq" with the setup program on it.

Are you able to get into BIOS anymore - is setup gone? (F8 wasn't it?)
 
Old 03-26-2009, 02:35 PM   #6
lawlonslawt
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Finally, responses. Thank you all. I'm currently at school (laptop's at home), but yes, the BIOS is still functional. This reminds me, though; there's another error message regarding the HDD when I boot, and this is even without an OS. From my recollection, the error says a Save to Disk partition can't be made or found. It hasn't affected any performance to my knowledge, but it may ring a bell (or I may be dreaming) for somone. I tried resetting the BIOS, and no dice. It's annoying to have an error message and not understand why I can't fix it. As soon as I can, I'll get to the laptop and take the advice that's been offered. I'll edit this response, or respond again, as soon as I reach the Presario at home. Again, thank you guys.

Another thing worth mentioning: Puppy Linux recognized the drive without any issues. No problems with fdisk or anything. Not yet, at least. I've honestly never messed with fdisk. Consequently, I didn't finish partitioning due to the time, 230am, and amount of homework to be done. Although, I'm still curious as to the friction with VL and Knoppix.

F10, btw. (:

Last edited by lawlonslawt; 03-26-2009 at 03:08 PM.
 
Old 03-26-2009, 06:35 PM   #7
thorkelljarl
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You might try this...

You might try using a partitioning CD such as Parted Magic or GPartedLiveCD. They have both GParted with its GUI and fdisk and cfdisk at your pleasure. Is there any problem with the live-cds booting?

Are all the devices correctly found by the BIOS? You might try to have the BIOS re-acquire them.

From the second error message it seems that the BIOS has an expectation of a rescue partition. You have tried to change this in the BIOS settings, Have you tried to find an updated BIOS from HP for this machine to see if that improves the situation?

HP has built this Presario with hardware ordered and modified to its specifications, and that error message may need to be lived with.

Good Luck
 
Old 03-26-2009, 08:22 PM   #8
lawlonslawt
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I contacted HP about the boot error not too long ago. The guy just advised using the utility he supplied via link, and resetting the BIOS to defaults. I did both. I may email him back asking about the possibility of a new BIOS.

I did try Gparted on Knoppix before posting this thread. It seemed to do the job, but VL still didn't recognize the partitions whatsoever. When I try to use fdisk or cfdisk through the terminal on Knoppix, it fails much like the VL installation. I have a meeting at work, I haven't been able to try out Fred and Roy's advice on the situation. When I have output for the commands, I'll post.

Thank ye', guys.

Edit: I did dmesg | less. I can't really copy and paste it onto here, but I did see that hda was detected, hda1 specifically. I tried fdisk/cfdisk and still no luck. Pretty baffling to me. Contacted HP again. No new BIOS, and I'm not surprised. I didn't expect anything. The guy actually went as far as advising against Linux.

Last edited by lawlonslawt; 03-26-2009 at 10:33 PM.
 
Old 03-27-2009, 01:06 PM   #9
thorkelljarl
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Try HP, if the system is not too old...

Try going into HP support online and searching under the model name and product number of this machine (P/N). You might also try using the same information, plus BIOS, and google.

As an alternative, try opening the case and finding the make, model, and version of the mother board and using google. A problem may be that HP has used its own modification of the board with a different BIOS.

HPs designation for the system, serial number, etc. should be on a sticker somewhere on the case.

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/d...&product=94989

Good Luck

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 03-27-2009 at 01:19 PM.
 
Old 03-28-2009, 10:59 PM   #10
lawlonslawt
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I noticed that Puppy, which won't boot, by the way, detects my hard drive as sda, while Vector Linux sees it as hda. I decided to switch to Puppy, since it could recognize my shit, but HEY! Grub is completely distorted at boot and the computer locks up. I changed the VGA settings and everything. That's another problem on its own. I'm about to take apart the computer and do what the guy above me advised.

'til then, if anyone else has any other input, fire away. I'm about to set this shit afire.
 
  


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