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I have what seems to me a rather strange problem: a Linux system that acts like Windows.
I have two harddrives: one dedicated to RH9 Linux, and the other to Windows 2000. I decided today that my win2k partition, which had until that point been a monolithic 80GB on my primary harddrive, needed to be shrunk down a bit. So I did. I booted Windows, ran Partition Magic, and trimmed about 50GB from it.
That's when things began to get weird.
I rebooted my computer back into windows to let it reset itself and whatnot - it did its thing, and everything seemed to go without a hitch. So, naturally, I shut that bitch down and rebooted back to Linux. It got all the way to the (graphical) login screen before things took a turn for the worst. I entered my screen name and password, hit enter, and immediately an error message appeared saying something to the effect: "your x-session lasted less than 10 seconds; this may be due to lack of disk space..." etc (if anyone is interested in this problem and needs that message verbatim, I'll get it). It suggested that I log on in failsafe mode, so I did. I checked all my partitions - the files are all right where I left them, and are perfectly accessible.
So, I log out, and try to log on, this time expressly saying I want to log into my GNOME desktop (that's the default). It loads, if you can call it that; the display is way funky, reminiscent of the times that I've had my windows desktop set to a resolution it didn't like. In addition, big red X's start popping up on my desktop - they look like retarded error messages (try to imagine Sean Penn in "I Am Sam" saying - passionately - "something's wrong!" but having no idea how to articulate it). The little GNOME-ish foot is visible in the upper left of the screen, which I click, but only to be greeted by more truncated offerings. So I hit the restart button.
You may now be asking how it is that I'm writing this very, very long message, if my standard desktop is the total wasteland I say it is. Well, that's the really odd thing: I'm in KDE space now. For some strange, unfathomable reason, my computer will now boot - intelligibly - just into KDE, and not GNOME. It still isn't an entirely clean boot, however: two error messages appear each time I logon. One mentions a problem with the rhn, which I couldn't care less about, since there's no way in hell I'd ever pay for a service I can do myself with a bit more effort, and the other... well, I actually forgot what the other was :-/.
There was also a mention, when trying to log onto my "last session" of an error log entitled .xsession-errors which was, upon further investigation, entirely empty.
At any rate, and without any pretensions of making a long story short, is there ANYONE out there who has ANY idea how to go about getting my old GNOME desktop back? The only option I can now imagine is a windows-inspired one: reinstall my OS, and hope for the best.
If I understand you correctly you had two hard disks, each with a single partition. You changed the partition size of one disk from 80GB to 30GB. Then you began having problems with the other drive. Do I understand you correctly?
Also, what did you do with the 50GB you freed up?
Perhaps you could post your /etc/fstab for both before and after the partition change.
I haven't changed the fstab since before my last partition.
To clarify: I have 2 hdd's, yes, each with a total size of 80GB. On my primary hdd was my win2k partition, which I resized from 80-30GB (it is the one mounted on /mnt/win2k) - I have yet to do anything with the 50GB of free space.
On my secondary ("slave") hdd are 6 partitions: 3 primary (boot, root, and swap), and an extended that holds 2 logical partitions (/multimedia, and /stuff). /multimedia and /stuff each hold information that had recently been transferred from my /mnt/win2k partition, in anticipation of reducing that partition's size. All those files are still readable.
I did not defrag my primary hdd (/dev/hda) before this last partition *shakes head in embarrassment*, but I did defrag it within this past 2-3 weeks, so it ought to have been more or less ok in that regard.
I use GRUB - it's on my slave drive, right at the beginning, where the Red Hat install prog put it.
/multimedia was created several days ago, and my computer has been through a number of reboots since.
/stuff was indeed created the same day that the fateful repartitioning took place - however, I did reboot afterward, to make sure my /etc/fstab entry worked properly, and it did.
I've not adjusted my bootloader in anyway since I installed Red Hat a month ago. As I mentioned earlier, my /boot partition is on /dev/hdb - although I admit ignorance as to how precisely that works.
I do wonder if Partition Magic, the prog I used to resize my win2k partition, updated my partition table in some indefinable way; when I loaded the program in windows, it initially sent an error message saying that two values which were supposed to be in sync, regarding my Linux partitions, were not, and it could change them... being a windows prog, however, I chose not to let it do that - my mistake to use it to do anything at all, apparently.
I do want to reiterate, though, that, as odd as it sounds, all my files are still accessible, provided I access them through a KDE desktop. Somehow, whatever I did has only caused problems loading my default, GNOME desktop - although it may be that I'll discover more and deeper problems soon. I happen to be at my mother's house for the weekend however, without direct access to my computer, so I won't be able to test it as I might otherwise like to.
Are there any config files I might want to look at? Is there a way to check the stability of the bootloader? Do I even have any idea of what the right questions are to ask...?
I had a similar experience. I've no idea what caused it, but I could get into KDE perfectly, but not Gnome. To correct it, after tearing my hair out for a few hours, was to create another "dummy" user. Logged in to that "user", made sure I could access Gnome, and then checked the .config files at the "dummy" home, copying them to a floppy.
I then booted into my real user (in KDE which still worked after a fashion), opened the floppy and compared the various config files. Somewhere along the way, my PATH in .profile had been altered, and a few other files.
I restored them to what was in the "dummy" users home, rebooted, and I got Gnome and my original PATH back.
Now this was a weird way to fix things, and did not address the real problem of why I had lost Gnome etc. But everything is working again.
yeateg, that sounds like it's worth a shot - could you tell me what config files I should be looking for? Every day it seems like I discover a next configurable text file, and always feel like there's more I don't know.
One way to fix gnome is to reinitialize it. You delete the directory /home/user/gnome. Then the next time you log into gnome it acts like it is the first login after an install. gnome creates a new gnome configurtion with all of the default settings. The disadvantage of this is that you lose all of your old settings and have to reconfigure the default gnome settings to your preference.
You could check out .gnome from within KDE. Compare the /home/user/.gnome tree with the /root/.gnome tree.
Well. In the end - and a good thing I hadn't started drinking yet, for I was about to reinstall RH9 entirely - all I ended up having to do was create a new user, and login from there. I tried several previous suggestions, including deleting my home directory so it would reinitialize *shudder* - thank god I backed that up first - but nothing else worked.
Onto a more esoteric question: why the hell would repartitioning my primary hdd have the negative effect - and the sole negative effect, thus far - of preventing me from logging on as what had been my default user? I could logon as root, I could log on to KDE, I could do the "failsafe" logon right to bash - but, I couldn't log on as my default. *shakes head slowly* ....