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Old 01-13-2006, 07:42 PM   #1
gpalin
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Unable to install any of 3 distros - computer problem?


I recently came to have a used desktop machine, about 5 years old with Windows 98. Windows 98 was very finicky on that computer, so I thought to make it into a Linux box for my home network. I had recently bought Fedora Core 3 from a Burn on Demand sevice from Half Price Computer Books (which is also how I got the Mandrake set). I also wanted to try Suse, so I downloaded and burned OpenSuse 10.

So I try Suse on the desktop. Installer starts up fine, but after package selection, during the package installation, I get errors for various packages that failed to install.

So I try FC 3. I'm able to get to the package installation process, but somewhere along the line, I get a critical error for some package or another, which aborts the installer and restarts the computer. This has been as low as 30% through to as high as 93% through. So close.

I turn to Mandrake, which was successful before. Again, I get to package installation. Again I get errors. Most of the time, the errors are just "Failed to install x", where x is some package. It seems almost random. I just choose ignore, hoping that it might not be critical. Other times, I get something longer:

An error occurred
/mnt/tmp/drakx-images/dwd-04.png: Failed to load image '/mnt/tmp/drakx-images/dwd-04.png': Fatal error in PNG image file: IDAT: CRC error

And I get another error about how "ldconfig failed" with no information at all.

The pattern seems to be in errors with installing various packages. What are the odds of that happening with 3 different cd sets? And the Mandrake set had worked for me before...

So, I'm left with the conclusion that it must be an issue with the desktop computer itself. Is that a reasonable assumption? Would there be any suggestions for how to get SOMETHING working on the computer? From what I understand, the computer was working all right when it still had Windows 98. I was able to get the Suse 9.1 live CD working on this computer as well, so seems there's something to do with installation causing problems.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 07:47 PM   #2
zhy2111314
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Can I know the details about your computer's hardware?
 
Old 01-13-2006, 08:49 PM   #3
gpalin
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Processor: Intel Pentium III 750mHz
Memory: 256Megs (started it 128, was upgraded later, were never any problems before)
Hard drive: Fujitsu MPG3307ATF - 30 Gigs
VGA Controller: Compaq 82810E CGC [Chipset Graphics Controller]
IDE Interface: Intel 82801AA IDE

I'm not much on hardware, so I have no idea whether any of these are the problem, although if any parts are problematic, I suspect it would be one of these...

Here's the other ones, just in case...

PS/2 mouse: ImExPS/2 Generic Explorer Mouse
Keyboard: AT Translated Set 2 keyboard
Ethernet controller: Accton EN-1207D Fast Ethernet Adapter
CD-ROM: Compaq DVD-ROM DRD-8080B
CD-ROM: LG CD-RW CED-8083B
Multimedia controller: Compaq ES1988 Allegro-1
Modem: PCTel HSP MicroModem 56
USB Controller: Intel 82801AA USB
 
Old 01-13-2006, 09:07 PM   #4
MS3FGX
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Since you are talking about commercially pressed CDs, and burned CDs, the media is almost certainly not at fault.

And 98 seems to be working (you didn't mention any problems with it), so that would indicate the HDD is fairly stable.

I would look into the CD-ROM drive myself. Try to run a cleaning CD through it first, and if that doesn't help, maybe try another CD-ROM drive from another machine if possible.

The errors you are getting seem to indicate there is a problem with reading the data from the disc itself, which can happen with a CD-ROM drive of that age.

Though the problem could also be the HDD, but I would think the errors you would get would mention a failure to properly install the package (if it tried to install it to a bad sector, for instance) and not that the package was corrupted.

Last edited by MS3FGX; 01-13-2006 at 09:09 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 10:17 PM   #5
gpalin
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Suse and Fedora both provide media checkers for their CDs to ensure they are not damaged. I ran through all the CDs, no problems.

Oh, 98 won't be working anymore, not after several botched linux installs. The hard drive has been replaced before, although that was some time ago. 98 was running fine then.

As for the CD drive, the computer has a DVD-ROM drive and a CD-RW drive - two seperate ones. I tried both drives for the install process, and still had problems. Which could point back to the hard drive or something else, or just the CD drives are problematic. But I still manage to start the install process, it's just during package installation that I have problems...Oh, this is getting complicated.

Hmm. I have been thinking about making my Windows XP laptop dual-boot. I understand Suse has a nice facility for resizing Windows partitions so you don't have to reinstall Windows. Something to think about.

Actually, I wonder if it's possible to install from one computer to the other? I have a router between the two computers, forming a small network. Would I be able to install from the laptop (I know the cd drive and memory are fine there) through the network?
 
Old 01-13-2006, 11:09 PM   #6
MS3FGX
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You can install Linux over a network, certainly. The method will be different depending on the distro, but nearly all of them feature some form of support for network installs.
 
Old 01-13-2006, 11:20 PM   #7
syg00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gpalin
So I try FC 3. I'm able to get to the package installation process, but somewhere along the line, I get a critical error for some package or another, which aborts the installer and restarts the computer. This has been as low as 30% through to as high as 93% through. So close.
This says to me a heat problem, or memory ...
and this says ....
Quote:
Memory: 256Megs (started it 128, was upgraded later, were never any problems before)
I'd pull the new memory out, and run with the original 128Meg.
Linux seems to be more intolerant of mixed memory - and running memtest86 doesn't always show it.
 
Old 01-14-2006, 12:09 AM   #8
gpalin
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Also, sometimes when I tried the Suse installer, it would freeze completely. I wonder if that points to a hard drive or memory problem...Maybe this computer's just plain too old...
 
Old 01-14-2006, 05:11 PM   #9
gpalin
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I decided to try the Suse install from FTP option. So that installation took a loooong time, but there were no errors at all. First time that's happened when trying to install Suse. Maybe that indicates the CD drives were the problem...So the computer restarts, I choose start from hard disk, Suse.

After some text flashes by, I get several lines of

INIT: cannot execute "/sbin/mingetty"

And then

INIT: Id "1" respawning too fast: disabled for 5 minutes

For the numbers 1 through 6

And finally

INIT: no more processes left in this runlevel

After a while, that last line disappears and I'm left with a blinking underline cursor, with no idea what to do...Is there some extra configuration involved in getting Suse to run, or is it likely some otheR hardware issue?
 
Old 01-14-2006, 07:59 PM   #10
MS3FGX
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With all the problems you are having, it really does seem like there is some hardware failure here.

That message you are getting indicates that it cannot start the mingetty program, which means it cannot log you in. Either it wasn't installed (I have never installed SuSE, so I don't know how it handles individual package installation) or it was installed, and the system just can't read it from the HDD because it is damaged.

Have you tried running any LiveCDs on this machine? If a LiveCD boots and runs stably, then I would guess there is some HDD problem. Do you have any other HDDs you could use in this machine?

Also, it might be worth a shot downloading something like "Ultimate Boot CD" and run a HDD stress test from there to verify the system can reliably read and write to the HDD.
 
Old 01-15-2006, 02:48 PM   #11
gpalin
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That's what I was thinking, that it must be a hard drive problem. As for the live CD idea, yes I was able to get the Suse 9.1 live CD running without any problems. Which, as you indicated, may be pointing to a problem with the hard drive. The only other hard drive I have on hand is the one in my laptop, which I'm somewhat loathe to be fiddling around with the operating system setup, since it's my primary computer.

So it sounds like I'm hosed with my Linux attempt until I can get another hard drive to put into the desktop computer. Which unfortunately won't be anytime soon since I really can't be spending money on computer hardware right now. So much for a cheap working computer...
 
Old 01-30-2006, 05:46 PM   #12
mazinoz
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Perhaps you could try writing and marking bad blocks on hard drive using badblocks
man badblocks. I suggest you write down command then reboot. Or another option is to run scandisk via W98 boot disk, which should mark bad sectors non-writable,then format in W98 then try booting using live CD and mount hdd and run badblocks. Then reboot and load a linux distro. Possibly overkill but it could just get it working till finances improve. I wouldn't suggest doing this for a critical server but for a home PC it may be worth running scandisk etc overnight. [The inventiveness of having been a struggling student with a mortgage!}
 
Old 01-31-2006, 02:34 PM   #13
amosbatto
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If you don't have a Windows 98 boot floppy anymore, I suggest using your Linux live CD to bootup and then run
e2fsck -c
or
fsck -c
It will scan for bad blocks in the harddrive. Run in verbose mode or check /var/log/message if your Live CD creates that in RAM.

Last edited by amosbatto; 01-31-2006 at 02:41 PM.
 
Old 01-31-2006, 02:49 PM   #14
mazinoz
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fsck is a utility for checking file systems, not the physical hard drive.
Bad blocks can be used to read and WRITE TO THE HARD DRIVE to obliterate bad scctors, and is used in conjunction with e2fsck, ie: e2fsck -c.
 
Old 02-01-2006, 12:24 AM   #15
gpalin
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I've booted the desktop with the Suse 9.1 live CD. I then open a terminal window and try "e2fsck -c", as instructed. I get a Usage blurb about all the parameters available for the function, but nothing seems to happen, unless it's really fast? I don't get any errors...Maybe because it's a live CD...? Any other ideas?
 
  


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