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Old 09-03-2006, 01:24 AM   #16
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDent
Hello folks,

I have a real problem here.

My main distro of choice is Fedora Core 5 which is - if you like my "production system" that I use every day. I have heard so much about Ubuntu however that I thought I would give it a go myself so I tried the live distro and subsequently installed it on a spare partition (over an old version of Mandrake actually).

Everything seemed OK until I shut down last night. Now when I boot I can ONLY boot into Ubuntu. All other distros (FC5 with 2 kernels, FC4 with 3 Kernels, Suse 10.0, and Gentoo each on their own partition) ALL crap out during the boot process - the PC simply reboots itself.

The scary thing is that I can't even boot from a live CD (e.g. Knoppix) same thing happens.

I have tried to boot from the FC5 DVD and use rescue mode - same problem.

Apart from Ubuntu the only thing I can now use is Win98 (which is on a separate disk - HDA)

From Ubuntu I can read the contents of the FC5 partition (HDB6) which seem OK.

How do I troubleshoot this?

Where do I go from here?

I really need FC5 back. My data is OK (/home is on its own partition) but I have everything I need in FC5.

HELP!

Thanks in advance

Mark
Sorry, but if even a live-distro that doesn't need your installed
stuff *AT ALL* dies in a similar fashion, too, I'd say that you
have some crucial part of the machine dieing ...

Do you have memtest or other diagnostic tools on a bootable CD?


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 09-03-2006, 05:54 AM   #17
ArthurDent
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Galego - Thanks:
Quote:
the change is "root" to "rootnoverify" this may be causing a conflict.
try this first and see if you can boot into both windows and FC5. I know you already CAN boot into windows.
Thanks for that Galego - I hadn't spotted that. However, having made the changes I can confirm that I can still boot into Win98 (on its own disk - HDA) but I still cannot boot any distro other than Ubuntu.
Quote:
it seems the issue is with menu.lst. unless Mandrake and FC5 shared root or they were together in an extended partition and Glenn Close separated it. in which case.......
For a time however I was booting from my original FC5 /etc/grub.conf (just edited to add the Ubuntu boot options) and that's where the problems first started. I switched to Ubuntu's /boot/grub/menu.lst thinking that might help (I did grub-install /dev/hda from within Ubuntu to restore Ubuntu's boot loader). Still the same - and now I'm stuck with it. I could try simply copying FC5's grub.conf over Ubuntu's menu.lst (keeping a backup copy of course) if you think it will help - but I don't see any real differences between the two.
Thanks for the link - there is a lot of stuff in there. One thing I haven't tried is using Grub on a boot floppy. Do you think that would be worth a try?

Hi Tinkster - glad to have you on board...
Quote:
Sorry, but if even a live-distro that doesn't need your installed
stuff *AT ALL* dies in a similar fashion, too, I'd say that you
have some crucial part of the machine dieing ...
Tha's what really freaks me. At this stage - despite the months of setup to get FC5 just right (I have proxy server, SSH keys, mail transfer daemons - all kinds of stuff just working) - I am almost prepared to try re-installing FC5.... However.... When I try to boot the FC5 installation DVD.... (Sigh...)
Quote:
Do you have memtest or other diagnostic tools on a bootable CD?
Ummmm - I can't boot from a bootable CD....

However, Those nice people at Ubuntu have very kindly provided me with a "Memtest86+" option (see menu.lst above) which I am running now (I'm typing this from my work laptop). It's been running for about 25mins now - It's on Test 6 and doesn't seem to be showing any errors yet. I've never used it before so I have no idea what it's doing and what - if anything - it will tell me when it's done...

Any other suggestions - from anyone! - very gratefully received. I'm getting desperate here! I'm back at work tomorrow and if I can't SSH into my FC5 box from work I will not be able to do stuff...

Thanks to all

Mark

[Edit]
Does anyone know how this Memtest thing works? After 45Mins it finished Test #8 and the overall "pass" line showed 98% (no errors apparent anywhere) and then just seemed to start again at test #1 with the overall pass line reset to 0%. Does it just keep going round till I tell it to stop?
[/Edit]

Last edited by ArthurDent; 09-03-2006 at 06:11 AM.
 
Old 09-03-2006, 12:21 PM   #18
galego
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i dont know for a fact but it should not loop. if the mem test passes you may want to look into the power supply. if your power supply is dying out it is not uncommon for it to cause memory problems. which in turn might have had something to do with this whole issue.
the fact that booting from cd starts and then fails i would say that you may have Hardware problems. just guessing but worth a look.
 
Old 09-03-2006, 12:59 PM   #19
ArthurDent
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Yes - After about an hour and a half of watching little "#"s crawl across the screen I got bored. However, by that time I think I had worked out that the Memtest does as many "passes" through its set of tests as you will let it. By the time it had completed 2xPasses I had lost the will to live...

Anyhow - The tests showed no errors at all.

I too am worried that it might be a hardware problem but I do think it is odd that Ubuntu can still boot but no other distro or CD.

Also, with a bit of effort, I managed to get the Ubuntu live CD to boot (only in failsafe mode however).

Another point: I made a comment above about Ubuntu complaining that it wasn't shut down properly. Well - after a little experimentation this is what I now think is happening:
If I load Ubuntu and shut it down it will restart cleanly. If I shut down Ubuntu and try to boot FC5 (on /dev/hdb6 remember) and then restart Ubuntu it complains as follows:
Code:
/dev/hdb7 was not cleanly unmounted
INODE 2004435 i_blocks is 64, should be 8, FIXED
It then insists on another reboot and all is well once more in the Fatal Attraction world of Ubuntu.

Is this significant?

Mark
 
Old 09-03-2006, 03:43 PM   #20
debiant
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Like I said, it will say that anytime you do not shutdown properly. Everytime the power goes out mine does it to. Have you tried the Win98 recovery disk to see if it works?
 
Old 09-03-2006, 03:58 PM   #21
ArthurDent
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Quote:
it will say that anytime you do not shutdown properly
But the thing is Ubuntu was shut down properly. From a cold restart the bootloader was then trying to load FC5 which resides in /dev/hdb6 - the next partition to Ubuntu's /dev/hdb7. When it failed I would then restart Ubuntu - from cold - but now it says that it wasn't shut down cleanly.

Or am I just being stupid (quite likely)....
 
Old 09-03-2006, 04:10 PM   #22
debiant
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The computer has not been shut down properly. This is detected by any of your distros regardless of which distro you shutdown from.

Another question for you that might mimic hardware issues. Do you have any USB devices plugged into the computer, any PCMCIA, just unplug any unneccesary devices.

And what about Win98 recovery disk?
 
Old 09-04-2006, 12:46 PM   #23
ArthurDent
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OK - Ubuntu won't boot now either...

I am now close to being convinced that it is a hardware problem - but....
Quote:
And what about Win98 recovery disk?
It took me a while but I eventually found it (in a shoe box at the back of a cupboard) and guess what - The Win98 recovery disk boots just fine.

So where is my H/w problem?

Any live distro, which as Tinkster says shouldn't touch the hard drive, fails to boot; but the Win98 rescue disk works. Is it my DVD or is it my Hard drive that is at fault?

I have one more thing to try:-
Quote:
Do you have any USB devices plugged into the computer
Well I do actually. This PC connects to my wireless network via a Belkin USB wireless connector. It requires a kernel module to be present and it needs to be connected at boot time in order to have network connectivity. Up until now I have not tried disconnecting it (as it is such an essential bit of kit - and has caused no problems in all the time I've had it) but I'm going to try that now.

Anything else requires a screwdriver and moving furniture and will have to wait for the weekend I'm afraid.

Any suggestions as to what I should try first?

Thanks to all

Mark

p.s.

Stop Press! Ubuntu just booted! - It took about 30 tries but it eventually booted to the logon screen. I didn't bother to login because I was tying this on my laptop and then - boom - reboot...

[edit]
Removed the USB wireless connector - Still the same problems.

Ubuntu has rebooted successfully however - Umm... no network though - ummm
[/edit]

Last edited by ArthurDent; 09-04-2006 at 12:54 PM.
 
Old 09-05-2006, 12:03 AM   #24
debiant
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ArthurDent
OK - Ubuntu won't boot now either...

I am now close to being convinced that it is a hardware problem - but....
It took me a while but I eventually found it (in a shoe box at the back of a cupboard) and guess what - The Win98 recovery disk boots just fine.

So where is my H/w problem?

Any live distro, which as Tinkster says shouldn't touch the hard drive, fails to boot; but the Win98 rescue disk works. Is it my DVD or is it my Hard drive that is at fault?

I have one more thing to try:-Well I do actually. This PC connects to my wireless network via a Belkin USB wireless connector. It requires a kernel module to be present and it needs to be connected at boot time in order to have network connectivity. Up until now I have not tried disconnecting it (as it is such an essential bit of kit - and has caused no problems in all the time I've had it) but I'm going to try that now.

Anything else requires a screwdriver and moving furniture and will have to wait for the weekend I'm afraid.

Any suggestions as to what I should try first?

Thanks to all

Mark

p.s.

Stop Press! Ubuntu just booted! - It took about 30 tries but it eventually booted to the logon screen. I didn't bother to login because I was tying this on my laptop and then - boom - reboot...

[edit]
Removed the USB wireless connector - Still the same problems.

Ubuntu has rebooted successfully however - Umm... no network though - ummm
[/edit]

The fact that the Win98 recovery CD will boot, as long as Windows 98 itself, seems to contraindicate problems with the hardware then no? I'd say at this point wipeout the partition that has ubuntu in it and see if that cures your ales...
 
Old 09-05-2006, 03:40 AM   #25
ArthurDent
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Quote:
I'd say at this point wipeout the partition that has ubuntu in it and see if that cures your ales...
OK - I guess at this stage I have nothing to lose. My PC is effectively a piece of junk at the moment.

If I have a quiet evening this week I'll give it a go and I'll keep you posted...

In the meantime if anyone has any other suggestions for things to try I would be very happy to hear them.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank Debiant and everyone else who has tried to help me through this...

Thanks

Mark
 
Old 09-05-2006, 04:07 AM   #26
Tinkster
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Quote:
Originally Posted by debiant
The fact that the Win98 recovery CD will boot, as long as Windows 98 itself, seems to contraindicate problems with the hardware then no? I'd say at this point wipeout the partition that has ubuntu in it and see if that cures your ales...
But what about the fact that not even Knoppix will boot?

I've had cases where Win98 was running quite happily but
linux would crap out with segfaults all the time; in the end
it was one bad RAM module that wasn't even being picked-
up by memtest.


Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 09-05-2006, 08:18 AM   #27
ArthurDent
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Quote:
in the end
it was one bad RAM module that wasn't even being picked-
up by memtest.
So how did you find out that you had a bad memory module? I ask that because, as you can see above, my PC seemed to pass the 2 x Passes of the memtest with flying colours....

What tests - if any - should I be doing now?

Thanks

Mark
 
Old 09-05-2006, 05:27 PM   #28
Tinkster
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In my case I determined it by taking one stick out, booting on one, then
swapping them. It must have been some sort of timing issue, though, because
the stick worked fine in another machine.

I'm not necessarily harping on about RAM because I feel certain that this is
what your problem is, it could well be something more obscure, like some BIOS
setting that has changed. What I was trying to point out is that Win98 (or
95, for that matter) make nowhere near as good use of the hardware as Linux
does, and that if there's something flakey they may well run while Linux won't.



Cheers,
Tink
 
Old 09-05-2006, 09:53 PM   #29
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I don't honestly know much about it, but is it possible that the Live Cds are trying to read the existing partitions and mbr of the system and failing, where as Win 98 cannot possibly do this. I'd say eliminating Ubunutu, maybe doing a fix /mbr from Win 98 recovery and then retrying Knoppix is at least worth a shot at this point.

It just seems odd that the Ubuntu installation and grub reinstall just happen to occur while the RAM goes bad.
 
  


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