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Old 03-30-2001, 12:08 AM   #1
TIMMY!
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Question


Let me give you the setup.

System running @ 866 on an Intel 810 chipset
20GB WD hard drive

I brought the system home from work to do some Linux testing/learning and have run into a peculiar problem.

I started out with a clean drive, 20GB, no partitions. I partitioned 8GB with DOS FDISK and formatted it FAT32, and then installed Win98SE on this partition. Once 98 was configured and I knew the network was working using ICS on another computer, I installed RH Linux 7.0.

The hard drive at installation time had an 8GB partition formatted FAT32 and the rest was not partitioned. During the Linux install, I let the default partitioning take place and all seemed fine. In LILO, both linux and windows (I changed the name from 'dos' to 'windows')are available choices. Linux boots fine. If you try to boot to Windows you get a message that says, "Loading Windows..." with a flashing cursor underneath, but nothing happens. On the computer itself the hard drive LED is lit up solid, but no HD activity.

Now for the peculiar part...

I thought that somehow the MBR was corrupted so I was going to run fdisk /mbr from a DOS prompt to repair it, but I can't boot into DOS. I've tried from a Win98 boot disk and with the Win98 CDROM, but nothing happens. With the diskette, I can hear it starting to boot, but then it stops and the HD LED is lit up solid. With the Win98 CD, I get the option on whether to boot from HD or CD, and when I choose CD, I get the same problem that I have with the floppy.

Has anyone ever heard of this? Does anyone know how I can fix it? It's like Linux took over the computer and won't let me boot to DOS or Windows from any media. It almost sounds like RH is stooping to MS tactics, but it's probably something simple that I'm overlooking. Any help is greatly appreciated.
 
Old 03-30-2001, 08:30 AM   #2
gui10
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Talking

hi... am not an expert in this field, just a linux fan and giving my 2 cents worth...

firstly, most people don't advocate installing both systems in the same hard drive... i think 2 10GB HDD is always better than 1 20GB HDD and i have had no problems with numerous installs on 2 seperate drives... i think that Windows doesn't like a co-existent OS in the same HDD... (don't think it's Linux's problem... but again i have no direct proof of that... )

well... just my input... for more expert advice, i think you have to wait for people with more expertise and experience...

cheers!

[Edited by gui10 on 03-30-2001 at 09:37 AM]
 
Old 04-04-2001, 02:22 PM   #3
juswhitaker
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Wink

Yo TIMMY!

I've got a dual boot DELL laptop, win 98 and SUSE 7.1. My system is happy, with a mere 10GB hard drive. Isolationism is not healthy, not matter what zealots say.

I used to have RH 7.0, which I thought was quite sufficient, along side a ME partition. RH7.0 should give you no problems with this, but it seems that RH 7.0 is looking for the DOS partition, not windows. IT's remarkably stubborn like that.

Here's what you should do. Grab disk 1, go back through the install process, but instead of new system, choose update linux system. Let the process go forward (it's going to update your kernel, gcc, etc.), and reinstall LILO to the MBR as is. No editing.

That should do it.

When you reboot, you should have the option between DOS and Linux. Normally, WIN 98 loads DOS, then starts loading windows. If it doesn't, just type "win" at the C: prompt, and it shold load then.

PEACE!
JW
 
Old 04-04-2001, 10:26 PM   #4
KevinJ
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weird

I could be wrong.. but I don't think thats going to help. If he can't boot to a good Win98 floppy, it has nothing to do with Linux or the MBR.

As far as dual booting Linux and other OS's on the same harddrive.. its not a problem. I have numerous successful dual boots on all sorts of hardware with Linux and Win2k, WinME, Win98, Win95, etc.

If you can't boot to a Win98 floppy and you are sure its a good floppy, then you are going to have a hell of a time fixing Windows. Before proceeding any further, make sure you have a Linux boot floppy that works if you want to preserve your Linux install.

You might want to try resetting your BIOS to the factory settings. If that doesnt work, you can try removing all of the hardware from the system other than the video card. If you get it to boot, start putting it all back, booting after each piece is put in there.
Try everything, including disconnecting the harddrive and the CDROM. Not being able to even boot to a floppy does not sound good, particularly if you can boot to both the Linux boot floppy and CDROM.


 
Old 04-05-2001, 08:25 AM   #5
gedi1
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Same problem!

I have exactly the same problem!
I have a new pc, no OS supplied, 20 gb hard drive
128mb ram, AMD ATHLON 800mhz processor.
First off installed Windows 98 se in 8 gig partition- Fine!
Then installed RedHat 7.0 on to the remainder of the partition. Selected install LILO .
When you startup it shows the lilo screen , linux works ok but if you choose dos (windows) it says Loading dos and the disk acces light is on permanently. This happens also if you boot from a Win 98 boot disk and CD.
I used Linux Fdisk to delete all partitions on the drive THEN my Win 98 boot disk worked! I re partiioned using DOS FDISK and installed windows again- works fine!
BUT as soon as I install Linux now the whole thing is screwed - on boot up it searches for a boot record from IDE0 and the disk acces light comes one permanent. I can only get Linux if I use a boot floppy and Windows not at all!.
Any body any Ideas?
 
Old 04-05-2001, 09:52 AM   #6
mathi
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Strange problems! It could be that Redhat setup writes boot-sector of the first partition in a way DOS/98/ME doesn't understand, and worse, crashes on! It looks like it crashes when the first dos files get loaded (IO.SYS/MSDOS.SYS).

I don't use RH (suggest you do the same) but the easiest way to fix the problem is indeed removing all partitions with linux, reinstall Windows, and reinstall RH, making lilo stay in the MBR (/dev/hda).

If you want to keep your linux partition, you can write a few blocks of /dev/zero's to /dev/hda1 (make a backup, read man dd, and don't make typing errors!!!) and try to install Windows again. Then boot into RH with a boot-floppy and reconfigure lilo (of course, read man lilo and man lilo.conf, and no typo's!) to make it install to /dev/hda.

If you also want to keep your DOS/Win partition, you have to find some info on the boot-sector of a FAT-disk, and do it by hand.

Whatever you do, backup!
 
Old 04-05-2001, 10:44 AM   #7
gedi1
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Thanks, but....

By the way, I rebooted and reinstalled Windows and Linux in every configuration I could think of- must have done it 20 times now! Its a full clean install so I dont have to worry about data. I tried FDISK /mbr from dos boot disk but it made no difference at all. I tried to reinstall the last copy of the MBR from Linux, but that didnt work. I Reformatted the windows partition installed Windows ok then installed Linux WITHOUT LILO and it still doesnt work.
One point of interest. when I first did my install I created a partition of roughly 10Gb installed Win and the Linux. I selected LILO to go on the MBR but lilo didnt work at all and windows started ok , but I could use a boot disk to get linux.
After several days and about 19 re installs I would happily accept that now! ( In fact thats what I tried to do with my last install - no Lilo - but somehow having Linux on my hard drive seems to stop windows from working at all!)
Anyway, right now Im beginning to think I should delete everything again and Dos Format the whole drive and then repartition and try again.(Hmmm, how about a low level format - what do you think? -)BTW I have a Laptop with Redhat 6.2 and win98 that boots fine with LILO.
Help!

 
Old 04-05-2001, 11:17 AM   #8
mathi
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gedi1, couldn't it be a problem like the hard disk or the bios doesn't allow you to write to the MBR? Also I've heard of a problem that DOS needs the last partition to be a FAT-partition, but I have never experienced serious problems with that, only that explorer crashed (duh). Please keep me informed, I'm going to repartition my disks this evening (ECT) and I'll try to reproduce your problem. btw, you can try Partition Magic, it creates quite robust scemes.
 
Old 04-05-2001, 11:57 PM   #9
noel
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dual booting problems

I'm shooting in the dark here, but the suggestion to go to BIOS default settings is right on the money,for one thing.
However-What's rininging in my head about this problem is something the two of you who have it have in common- Very large DOS partitions. Now I dunno why I think that may cause a problem but I've never done a dual boot with a DOS partition larger than 2GB- Perhaps LILO cannot read a DOS partition that large and doesn't know how to boot it. One other thing-
Are you certain that your DOS partitions still exist!!!???
Better make sure,especially if you've both Linux and Win on the same drive,that you have'nt accidently deleted your DOS partition[then again,LILO would tell you that no such "image" existed if you had].
Lastly- Try toggling LBA in your BIOS,and definately turn off boot virus detection.Turn off PnP OS options as well.
The main thing is to try out using smaller DOS partitions.
Remember also that your DOS partition must be made active or else it won't start.I've never had a problem in this area,but mainboards and HDDs are different and may require this step.
 
Old 04-06-2001, 10:02 AM   #10
KevinJ
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the other thing...

The other thing I have been seeing a lot lately is persons using the "linear" option in LILO when installing. Thats by default, but its not really needed for IDE disks.
It doesn't really prevent you from booting, but that line might need to be changed to "lba32" in lilo.conf

Thats what I had to do on this laptop. The thing is.. it didn't give me an error on install. It just goes on its merry way and then you can't boot. You then have to boot into rescue mode to try to reinstall LILO. That is where you get an error of some substance. Then you can edit lilo.conf making the changes I mention above and it can be installed to work properly.

The thing that is weird is that there is NOTHING with LILO or Linux that should prevent you from being able to boot to a floppy or a CD. That is just wacky. I think it absolutely has to be something with the BIOS and I bet if you guys with the similar problems started posting your BIOS type and revision you would see that there is also a similarity there. It is very possible that your BIOS could be seeing LILO as a Boot Sector virus or something like that.

I don't think the problem is with your partition sizes. This is Win9x/VFAT, not DOS/FAT. This laptop has a 10Gb Fat32 partition with WinME and a 6Gb partition with RH7.

As far as not recommending RH7... thats a load of poop. Don't let anyone tell you that any of the major distros (i.e. Redhat, Suse, Slackware, Debian) is not a good choice. They are all good.
 
Old 04-09-2001, 05:44 AM   #11
gedi1
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OK

Hi all

The dos (acually WIN9xVfat) partition is definitely there and is active - I tried different partition sizes with the same result.
I have already considered turning of the Virus protection in the bios (Lilo writes to the MBR, and so do some viruses, right?) but why turn off the PnP?
The drive is a Seagate UDMA drive - lba32 should be ok I think. I have downloaded from software from Seagate which *should* enable me to basically low-level format the drive -this is a last resort though. Definitley I will turn off the virus protection in the bios and try again - will let you know!
 
Old 04-10-2001, 04:23 AM   #12
gedi1
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Cool Success!! - (but how?)

Hi

Ok - the bios virus protection was disabled and always has been! - so I went back to my first idea and used a little utility called wipe I found on the net - this wrote zeros
all through the hard disk. I then re partitioned using fdisk like I did before - 7 gig for Win 98 and installed Windows- windows worked fine. Then I installed Linux with a custom class install - used disk druid to set up swap, /boot and /, using up the free sapce of the HD.
I DID NOT INSTALL LILO at all!
Now it boots up into W98 fine on startup, and if I want linux I use my linux boot disk and it works fine.
I guess in the future I will set up LOADLIN to start up linux.


Any comments as to why this happened?
Thanks everyone for your help!
Regards
 
Old 04-10-2001, 09:06 AM   #13
KevinJ
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BIOS related

well... I can only speculate, but I would have to say that its BIOS related. What version of BIOS do you have?

Did you ever try booting to a floppy or CD after unplugging the harddrive?

I have used LILO on hundreds of different machines with all sorts of BIOS and never had a problem. Some of them brand new, and some of them very old.

LILO writes to the MBR on the harddisk. If you are booting correctly to a floppy or CDROM, that MBR is not used. The BIOS controls what and how you are allowed to boot however.
 
Old 04-10-2001, 08:12 PM   #14
LMVogue
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Lightbulb

I had the same thing, new 20Gig drive, originally partitioned 8Gig WinMe, 2Gig Linux, rest dos standard...

After about 5 installs (no LILO, and kept getting the gdm murdered...) I finally got LILO on there, but completely lost access to Win and the Win boot floppy... Absolutely no way of accessing the floppy drive to fsidk /mbr, believe me I tried everything I knew of...

Well, after a whole lot of swearing, freaking out, and nearly frying my computer by trying to fool it by booting with my old drive then plugging in the new one while running (yes, flash of light, all down, dumb I know...) I used my OLD RH 6 CD to boot up, delete the partitions, and start afresh. NOTE: It appears that the RH 7.0 CD will NOT LET YOU DO THIS!! It only lets you save the partitions if you keep going, which could then screw you around if you want to re-install Win...

Anyhow, if you manage to get back to a blank drive, here's how I've now set it up: 5Gig WinMe, 2Gig Linux (+96M swap), rest dos. I did this to make sure everything was below the 1024 cylinder boundary, as otherwise it appears to screw everything up. Also, when installing Linux I made sure I UNCHECKED linear mode - apparently this also screws stuff up.

So, now it at least boots properly and runs... now I've just gotta get the res past 640x480...
 
Old 04-11-2001, 04:43 AM   #15
gedi1
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Unhappy Hmmmm...

Last night I decided that I wanted to do it all again!
Dont ask me why...
I did a low level format on the 20gb HD and then also filled
with zeros. Created partition usinf WIN Fdisk 10gb.
Formatted and installed Win98 - no probs as usual.
Installed RH 7.0 - did not install LILO at all.
Guess what - problem came back exactly as before!
So I reformatted again and made a win partition of 7.5 gb
installed linux again (no LILO) and now it works fine - boots win 98 and can get linux with a boot floppy. So it seems to be related to the size of the partition. Is it to do with the 1024 cylinder limit or the old 8.? gb barrier?
I cant believe this but its the only thing I can think of.
Thanks for your help
 
  


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