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Old 04-18-2009, 11:20 AM   #1
freakky
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Root or Bios Troubles? post Installation Wizard


I tried installing Debian on a brand new Dell desktop pc (with Windows already installed). I made it through the installation wizard (using defaults all the way) and then let the computer reboot as requested. During the reboot, it says "Gave up waiting for root device. ALERT! /dev/sde1 does not exist. Dropping to a shell." In front of the prompt is say "(initramfs)". Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

My initial guess is I either need to change the root drive or the bios. But sadly, I can't figure out how to do that from this prompt. Plus, the computer doesn't want to shutdown when I press the power button on the tower. I'm truly stuck at the prompt on that machine.

Additional info:
This desktop only has one hard drive. I installed Debian from the internet via www.goodbye-microsoft.com (it automatically installed amd64, correct for my machine). As I previously mentioned, I made it through the installation wizard. I used all defaults, including only one partition. I didn't opted for a dual boot system - I just want Debian.

Also, I'm a complete noob. I have never used Debian or any distro of linux. I have read a lot about linux and wanted to give it a try as I hate many things about Windows. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If more details are needed, please let me know.
 
Old 04-18-2009, 11:51 AM   #2
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakky View Post
I tried installing Debian on a brand new Dell desktop pc (with Windows already installed). I made it through the installation wizard (using defaults all the way) and then let the computer reboot as requested. During the reboot, it says "Gave up waiting for root device. ALERT! /dev/sde1 does not exist. Dropping to a shell." In front of the prompt is say "(initramfs)". Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

My initial guess is I either need to change the root drive or the bios. But sadly, I can't figure out how to do that from this prompt. Plus, the computer doesn't want to shutdown when I press the power button on the tower. I'm truly stuck at the prompt on that machine.

Additional info:
This desktop only has one hard drive. I installed Debian from the internet via www.goodbye-microsoft.com (it automatically installed amd64, correct for my machine). As I previously mentioned, I made it through the installation wizard. I used all defaults, including only one partition. I didn't opted for a dual boot system - I just want Debian.

Also, I'm a complete noob. I have never used Debian or any distro of linux. I have read a lot about linux and wanted to give it a try as I hate many things about Windows. Any help would be greatly appreciated. If more details are needed, please let me know.
My guess would be, the drive controller isn't in the initrd. When the system tries to boot, it can't find a hard drive, and croaks.

You can try a different distro, and see if the problem goes away...some hand things differently. OpenSuSE, Mandriva, or Ubuntu/Kubuntu may be a good fit, for an initial try. I'd go with Ubuntu/Kubuntu in your case, since it's more geared towards the Windows-to-Linux transition users. All distros provide just about the same functionality, and are all free, so don't worry about having to stick with one. Experiment.

You CAN try to load the module manually, then go through the process of doing an mkinitrd, and adding it to the boot file, but those aren't 'newbie' type things. If you decide to go that route, we can try to walk you through it, but loading Ubuntu/kubuntu might be far easier.
 
Old 04-18-2009, 02:17 PM   #3
freakky
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Thank you for the advice.

Given that my one working computer doesn't have a writable CD drive (thus installing another distro on my non-working computer quite difficult), can I load the module manually given what's already been loaded onto the hard drive after the installation wizard completed? If so, could I please ask for the command line entries, or do I need to provide more information first, or am I fooling myself and it's way beyond simply entering a couple of commands?

Thanks in advance for sharing any knowledge.
 
Old 04-18-2009, 07:11 PM   #4
TB0ne
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freakky View Post
Thank you for the advice.

Given that my one working computer doesn't have a writable CD drive (thus installing another distro on my non-working computer quite difficult), can I load the module manually given what's already been loaded onto the hard drive after the installation wizard completed? If so, could I please ask for the command line entries, or do I need to provide more information first, or am I fooling myself and it's way beyond simply entering a couple of commands?

Thanks in advance for sharing any knowledge.
Not a problem, that's what the community is here for.

You *CAN* load the module by a simple command, something along the lines of "modprobe <module name>". However, the module-name is the trick, as it varies by controller.

You could boot from the installation CD again, and drop to single user or rescue mode, and do an "lsmod", and see what modules are loaded, then try to load it up. What is the exact model number and specs of your Dell? Maybe you could find the module referenced out on Google somewhere, because I'm confident someone else has Debian loaded on a Dell.

Or, swap your CD writer to your other working computer, temporarily, and load up another distro.
 
Old 04-18-2009, 08:35 PM   #5
thorkelljarl
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BIOS

If the system goes through POST and starts to boot it is not a BIOS problem, though it may be a problematical BIOS setting. If you know what you are looking at, you might enter the setup and look to see if there is something awry: SATA, RAID, AHCI, etc. Look in the Dell manual if you have it. Look at and note your present settings and, if all else fails, try to reinstall Debian with the BIOS set for Load Optimized Defaults.

Try to get the Debian live-cd, and a copy of Parted Magic or SystemRescueCD from somewhere. Indeed, since your Dell system surely has a CD/DVD burner and an internet connection, get any new linux distro in a live-cd. Someone will let you burn them, and you need to break into the problem somewhere. If you are going to play with us in linux, you do truly need to burn.

Luck be with you.

Last edited by thorkelljarl; 04-18-2009 at 08:44 PM.
 
Old 04-19-2009, 09:46 AM   #6
freakky
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Thanks for the help

Thanks for the help. I think my best plan, given my limited knowledge, is to try a different distro. I think I'll try noob friendly Ubuntu.
 
  


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