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Old 09-01-2007, 07:44 PM   #1
dcalki
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Problems installing PClinuxOS to hard drive


{SOLVED}

Based on prior advice I gave PClinuxOS 2007 a try. I like the interface. I actually got it connected to the internet (a first) and video files from the windows drives play with sound, so it's looking promising.

However....

I've gotten it to boot CDlive, but for some reason I can't get the install to my hard drive to complete. I'm trying to set up a dual boot with pre-existing Win98.

When I run the linux install from CDlive it gets to the part where it is copying files to the hard drive, then everything just stops and disappears from the display. No error messages, no finished messages, just the normal desktop like the install was never running.

Rebooting at this point without the CD and the system goes directly to Win98. No sign of a boot loader for choosing an OS.

My first thought was that maybe the empty space on my hard drive was too small for copying the OS (about 2Gb), so I deleted the linux partitions and reshuffled the windows partitions until the free space was about 3.5Gb and tried again.....

Same result, but this time the copy files window lasted longer (nearly to the end, was so close that it actually might have made it). Again, everything vanished without any prompts or completion notices. Again, on reboot without the CD the system comes up in Windows, no boot loader.

Do I need even more space on the hard drive? More than 3.5 Gb? If so, how much? My antique computer only has a 20 Gb drive.

OR

Is everything installed and I'm just not aware of how to get it booted into linux? Is there something else I need to do to finish the installation? The OS seems to be pretty user friendly so I thought it might be more informative than what I've seen so far in this regard. I was expecting a 'finished' or 'bombed out' message of some sort.

OR

Am I just a clueless newbie, lost in inner space?

Friendly advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated. I've liked what I've seen running the CDlive PClinuxOS, but going through the setup every time I boot is getting old.

Thanks.

Last edited by dcalki; 09-02-2007 at 11:26 PM. Reason: To identify that the issue had been corrected
 
Old 09-01-2007, 08:08 PM   #2
pixellany
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Please post your hardware specs---especially RAM-----"antique" could spell trouble..
 
Old 09-01-2007, 08:35 PM   #3
AceofSpades19
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most distros install grub last so if the install freezes you can still boot into windows for example
 
Old 09-01-2007, 11:42 PM   #4
dcalki
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Thanks for the posts.

OK pixellany, I'm the antique. The computer not so much. It's not like I'm using a Tandy TRS-80 with dual cassette tape drives for storage. (Yeah, I remember those too.)

My system:

AMD Athlon processor ~700 MHz clock
639 Mb ram (PC100 I think)
20 Gb Hd
PCI bus
US Robotics 56k PCI FaxModem model 5610


I was expecting that the installation would finish (or fail) gracefully and not just vanish without a trace. I figured that since a boot loader never got put in that the install must have failed for some unexpected reason. One that wouldn't even produce an error window.

Since it got further along in the copying process with 3.5 Gb than with 2 Gb, I'm inclined to think that my hard drive free space is still too small and somehow that's causing everything to stop.

Anyone familiar enough with the PClinuxOS install to know if it checks for sufficient disk space before starting the copy routine? I would think that could be verified before the copying even starts. Not enough room for a viable OS => fail message.

But that's just me guessing...

Once again, helpful hints would be greatly appreciated.
 
Old 09-02-2007, 07:09 AM   #5
pixellany
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OK--I don't think your HW is an issue. My PCLOS install currently takes 2.9GB (data is in a separate partition). You said you had 3.5 G free space---which might be divided 1G for swap and 2.5G for "/" (root)----or 500M swap and 3G /. This could be tight.

If this were my machine, I would simply add another harddrive. You can probably get 80GB (or more) for under $50. The reasoning is that 20GB means old, which in turn means more likely to have bad sectors and/or nearing end of life on moving parts. My strategy would be to simply eliminate that drive as a variable. You can leave Windows on one drive and install Linux on the other.
 
Old 09-02-2007, 10:19 AM   #6
dcalki
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Thanks for verifying my suspicions. Was already looking at getting a new hard drive since this is the original and close to 10 years old. 80 Gb should be plenty for everything I need. Will probably just image everything onto a new drive and double the size of each partition, leaving an entire 40 Gb for linux. Keep the old drive as emergency back-up capability to store images on, just in case I do something incredibly stoopid.

If PClinuxOS won't fit in 40 Gb, I don't want it.

You were close on the price guess. 80 Gb Western Digital now goes for just over $60 online. Nearer to $100 in a brick & mortar store. Guess they just don't make money like they used to.
 
Old 09-02-2007, 10:34 AM   #7
pixellany
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Good move.

Recommended layout of 80GB drive:
10-15 GB Windows
8-10GB Linux
1GB swap (regardless of RAM size)
~30GB shared data**
~30GB reserve (unpartitioned)

**I now use ext3 for all shared data. In Windows I have the ext2fsd driver which allows read/write to ext3.

http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/Produc...10901&SortBy=A
80GB starts at under $40 with free shipping
 
Old 09-02-2007, 06:48 PM   #8
dcalki
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OK. Now my 'out of touch-ness" will shine through. My system currently has an EIDE drive. Can I use an ATA drive or do I have to get an IDE/EIDE? My $60+ price was for an EIDE drive, also from zipzoomfly.

Anyway, that's secondary.

I went back and squashed/reshuffled the partitions again so I would have 5+ Gb unused. This time PCLOS completed the install gracefully.

BUT...... (you knew there had to be one of these from an old newbie)

Once again I managed to do the wrong thing in the wrong place at the wrong time. Basically I used all the default data for the remainder of the install and now, even though everything finished, the boot loader doesn't come up when booting.

Best I can remember the boot driver install asked where to put things, and the default was something like /hd9/blah-blah.

Not knowing any better I used that. It appears that the boot loader was put in the first sector of the linux partition with the presumption that the initial MBR would direct the BIOS to that code, only my initial MBR still has standard windoze stuff which goes directly to Win98, it does not redirect to the boot loader, pass go, nor collect $200.

So when I power up I go without hesitation to Win98. Never have a chance to choose the linux install as an option for booting.

I looked at the PCLOS desktop and it appears the only thing I can do is make changes to what's currently in the boot sector of that partition (start button -> system stuff -> boot stuff). Doesn't seem to be any simple way to make the initial sector MBR change to redirect the BIOS to the linux boot loader code.

Is there something I can do to remedy this or do I need to re-install the PCLOS and choose the proper inputs again?

"Fool"-proof instructions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

==============================================================================
I can tell I'm getting closer because I'm running in ever-decreasing circles.
 
Old 09-02-2007, 07:05 PM   #9
AceofSpades19
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reinstall pclinuxos and install the boot-loader to the mbr
 
Old 09-02-2007, 07:17 PM   #10
pixellany
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ATA and IDE are essentially the same thing. The only other drives you will see is SATA (SERIAL ATA) and SCSI. For your system, get ATA.

You can install GRUB to the MBR using the live CD. First, determine the partition which contains /boot. If you installed into just one partition, then that's the one.

Boot up from live CD and open a terminal.

fdisk -l ...to verify which partition is the Linux one---lets assumae it is hda3 (in GRUB-speak, this is hd0,2)
grub .....starts the GRUB shell
root (hd0,2) ......the location of /boot
setup (hd0) ......puts GRUB in the MBR
reboot

remove the CD as it is rebooting
 
Old 09-02-2007, 11:17 PM   #11
dcalki
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That did the trick! Many, many thanks.

I have booted up to PCLOS without the CD for the first time. Got on the internet first try. Only took a couple days starting from scratch for a new user (completely clueless), but good help from the smart guys found here.

Suh-weet. Everyone out there take a second to thumb your noses at Micro-squish for losing another subject.....er, I mean customer.

Pixellany, you may advance directly to GO and collect 200 vacuum tubes.

FYI. When left to do its own install from unpartitioned disk space, PCLOS actually creates 3 partitions. One for /boot, one for SWAP, and one containing the user information.
 
Old 09-02-2007, 11:40 PM   #12
pixellany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcalki View Post
That did the trick! Many, many thanks.
And thank YOU for sticking with it....so many here quit without trying.
 
  


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