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Old 05-17-2008, 11:52 PM   #1
rudy1094
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Distribution: Slackware 12.1
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slackware 12.0 install - error loading operating system


I'm a Linux/Slackware newbie. I have an older laptop that I'm trying to install Slackware on. From what I read Slackware is an OS that works well on older hardware.

I created the ISO CDs to install. I ran through the install process and then rebooted my machine. I get the error message "Error loading operating system" When it tried to install LILO it said it was unsuccessful and that I would need to boot from a disk. I'm not sure how to boot from disk. I have put the 1st ISO CD in and tried booting from there. I get to a prompt that says "root@slackware:/#" I'm not certain what to do from here. I'm guessing I need to fix the LILO boot to get rid of the Error loading operating system message, but I don't know how to do that. Ideally I'd like to get the PC to boot directly into the KDE manager, but for now I'd settle with getting rid of the error message and getting the PC to boot to a prompt. I appreciate any suggestions and insight you can provide.
 
Old 05-18-2008, 01:52 AM   #2
Bruce Hill
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First, you should use Slackware-12.1 -- recently released.

Boot with CD1 and at the prompt enter:
Code:
hugesmp.s root=/dev/hda5 rdinitr= ro
Change /dev/hda5 to your / (root) partition.

Once at the prompt, issue "chroot /mnt" then "liloconfig" and
install LILO to the MBR. Then you need to change from the huge
kernel to a generic kernel. Issue "vim /etc/lilo.conf" or if
you're not comfortable using vim use pico instead. This is my
/etc/lilo.conf -- you can study it and adjust yours accordingly:
Code:
mingdao@silas:~$ cat /etc/lilo.conf
# LILO configuration file
# generated by 'liloconfig'
#
# Start LILO global section
boot = /dev/sda
compact        # faster, but won't work on all systems.
# Boot BMP Image.
# Bitmap in BMP format: 640x480x8
  bitmap = /boot/slack.bmp
# Menu colors (foreground, background, shadow, highlighted
# foreground, highlighted background, highlighted shadow):
  bmp-colors = 255,0,255,0,255,0
# Location of the option table: location x, location y, number of
# columns, lines per column (max 15), "spill" (this is how many
# entries must be in the first column before the next begins to
# be used.  We don't specify it here, as there's just one column.
  bmp-table = 60,6,1,16
# Timer location x, timer location y, foreground color,
# background color, shadow color.
  bmp-timer = 65,27,0,255
# Standard menu.
# Or, you can comment out the bitmap menu above and
# use a boot message with the standard menu:
#message = /boot/boot_message.txt

# Append any additional kernel parameters:
append="panic=15 vt.default_utf8=1"
prompt
timeout = 50
vga = 795
# ramdisk = 0     # paranoia setting
# End LILO global section
# Linux bootable partition config begins
image = /boot/vmlinuz-generic-smp-2.6.24.5-smp
  initrd = /boot/initrd.gz
  root = /dev/cryptvg/root
  label = Slack-12.1
  read-only  # Partitions should be mounted read-only for checking
# Linux bootable partition config ends
# Windows bootable partition config begins
other = /dev/sda1
  label = Windows
  table = /dev/sda
# Windows bootable partition config ends
Now, on CD1 you'll also find a bunch of files you need to read, such as:
Code:
ANNOUNCE.12_1
BOOTING.TXT
CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT
CHECKSUMS.md5
CHECKSUMS.md5.asc
COPYING
COPYING3
COPYRIGHT.TXT
CRYPTO_NOTICE.TXT
ChangeLog.txt
FAQ.TXT
FILELIST.TXT
GPG-KEY
PACKAGES.TXT
README.TXT
README.initrd
README_CRYPT.TXT
README_LVM.TXT
README_RAID.TXT
RELEASE_NOTES
SPEAKUP_DOCS.TXT
SPEAK_INSTALL.TXT
Slackware-HOWTO
UPGRADE.TXT
Those in bold are especially important to you. From the CHANGES_AND_HINTS.TXT
you will see that you need to run a generic kernel, rather than a huge one.
 
Old 05-18-2008, 10:03 PM   #3
rudy1094
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Registered: Apr 2008
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Distribution: Slackware 12.1
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Thank you for your tips. I downloaded 12.1 and am trying to install it. I've also read through some of the documentation you pointed be to. Prior to that I had been relying on slackbook 2.0. I'm sure I'm going to be needing a lot of help from the forum to get Linux up and running. Thanks in advance for your help.
 
Old 05-19-2008, 12:26 AM   #4
Bruce Hill
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If you're installing 12.1, and you have a previous version, backup
whatever files you need to save and install 12.1 fresh. I always
create a separate home directory so that I can keep my files there
and reinstall without formatting home. I also backup /home/mingdao,
but this separate partition allows me to install the OS fresh, and
not format the home directory.

There is another good read, though it might be a little out of date.
However, those links above and Slackware Linux Basics used together,
will be really useful.
 
Old 05-19-2008, 06:29 AM   #5
rudy1094
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When I tried installing slackware 12.1 I got essentially the same results I did with 12.0

I got this error message:

Warning: Unable to determine video adapter in use in the present system.
Warning: Video adapter does not support VESA BIOS extensions needed for display of 256 colors. Boot loader will fall back to TEXT only operation;

Warning: Device 0X0800: Inconsistent partition table, 1st entry
CHS address in PT: 0:1:1 --> LBA (50)
LBA address in PT: 32 --> CHS (0:0:33)
Fatal: Either FIX-TABLE or IGNORE-TABLE must be specified
If not sure, first try IGNORE-TABLE (-P ignore)

Sorry, but the attempt to instal LILO has returned an error, so LILO has not been correctly installed. You'll have to use a bootdisk to start your machine instead. It should still be possible to get LILO working by editing the /etc/lilo.conf and reinstalling LILO manually. See the LILO man page and documentation in /usr/doc/lilo for more help. The error message may be seen above.

And when it boots it says:

"Operating System not found"
 
Old 05-19-2008, 02:33 PM   #6
T3slider
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Your partition table appears to be messed up. If there is nothing important on your hard drive, I would delete the current partition table and start from scratch. If you DO have something important on it (and you don't want to risk losing it), you may want to use a LiveCD to boot your system and then manually mount your drives and back everything up (to a USB drive if you have one, or to a CD/DVD if you have two drives or you use a LiveUSB setup instead of a LiveCD). If you can't do that, you may wish to try running `lilo -P ignore` instead of simple `lilo` when trying to write to the MBR (the "-P ignore" flag ignores the inconsistencies in the partition table and writes to the MBR anyway). Using that, there is a *chance* that you will be able to boot your system (though if it does boot you would be smart to immediately back everything up and reinstall fresh, because living with a bad partition table is risky at best). If that STILL doesn't work, you can try installing LILO with `lilo -P fix` command -- but this is VERY dangerous. The "-P fix" flag tells LILO to try re-writing the partition table to fix it -- but this has the possibility of completely wiping everything (and therefore losing all of your data). See `man lilo` for more details (or search the web for "man lilo" if you don't have access to any Linux setup with man pages).

Last edited by T3slider; 05-19-2008 at 02:34 PM.
 
Old 05-19-2008, 08:00 PM   #7
rudy1094
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I used Fdisk before I installed Slackware. I didn't explicitly do anything to format the hard drive, but I thought that was part of the Slackware install process. The format portion of the Slackware install ran very fast, much faster than when installing windows.
 
Old 05-19-2008, 08:12 PM   #8
rudy1094
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When I boot from the Slackware disk1 and try to cd to hda1 or hda2 I get the following error message: -sh: cd: can't cd to hda1

Is that another sign of a corrupt partition table?
 
Old 05-19-2008, 09:49 PM   #9
T3slider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudy1094
When I boot from the Slackware disk1 and try to cd to hda1 or hda2 I get the following error message: -sh: cd: can't cd to hda1

Is that another sign of a corrupt partition table?
Try booting with the Slackware install CD/DVD and typing the following:
Code:
# mkdir /slacktemp1
# mkdir /slacktemp2
# mount /dev/hda1 /slacktemp1
# mount /dev/hda2 /slacktemp2
# ls /slacktemp1
# ls /slacktemp2
That should be the correct way to mount your partitions (and it'll show the contents of each partition just to make sure it is readable). If your root partition is on /dev/hda1, try the following to install LILO:
Code:
# chroot /slacktemp1
# cd /etc
# vi lilo.conf                       #edit your lilo.conf file
# lilo -v -t -b /dev/hda             #this will only test
# lilo -v -b /dev/hda                #this will write MBR to /dev/hda
(The above was stolen from onebuck)

Keeping in mind what I said earlier, if that fails, try passing the "-P ignore" option to lilo as well. I would be wary of passing the "-P fix" option.
Quote:
Originally Posted by rudy1094
I used Fdisk before I installed Slackware. I didn't explicitly do anything to format the hard drive, but I thought that was part of the Slackware install process. The format portion of the Slackware install ran very fast, much faster than when installing windows.
If my memory serves me correctly (which it may not), there are a few different formatting options to choose from (no format, quick format, full format or something like that). Try fully formatting it if you try reinstalling from scratch. However, formatting a partition doesn't have a lot to do with the partition table itself, so that's *probably* not the problem. Since I don't know what you did with fdisk, I can't really determine what could have gone wrong (fdisk has always been reliable for me, but I've read a bit about fdisk and I know what I'm doing at this point. Others seem to think cfdisk is easier, but I think fdisk is probably more reliable if you use it right -- but either tool should get the job done).

At this point I can only wish you luck with this -- I don't really know enough to further help. The only thing that comes to mind is either hard drive failure (which I think is unlikely, but can never be ignored) or maybe an incorrect driver being used for the hard drive (if it's being detected as /dev/hda, it should be an IDE hard drive and NOT an SATA or SCSI hard drive -- if it IS an SATA or SCSI hard drive, that could be your problem). Of course there are other possibilities, but none that come to mind with the information known at present (and my lack of knowledge about failures, since my Linux experiences have been fairly pleasant, either fortunately or unfortunately).

Last edited by T3slider; 05-19-2008 at 09:51 PM.
 
Old 05-19-2008, 09:56 PM   #10
Bruce Hill
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Use cfdisk rather than fdisk.
 
Old 05-19-2008, 10:32 PM   #11
T3slider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce Hill
Use cfdisk rather than fdisk.
It would be nice to include REASONING as to why this is preferable. I've never had any issues with fdisk, however, after reading the man page, it seems cfdisk would be the preferred method (and I've never seen such program-bashing in the program's own man page. )
Quote:
Originally Posted by `man fdisk`
There are several *fdisk programs around. Each has its problems and
strengths. Try them in the order cfdisk, fdisk, sfdisk. (Indeed,
cfdisk is a beautiful program that has strict requirements on the par-
tition tables it accepts, and produces high quality partition tables.
Use it if you can. fdisk is a buggy program that does fuzzy things -
usually it happens to produce reasonable results. Its single advantage
is that it has some support for BSD disk labels and other non-DOS par-
tition tables. Avoid it if you can. sfdisk is for hackers only - the
user interface is terrible, but it is more correct than fdisk and more
powerful than both fdisk and cfdisk. Moreover, it can be used nonin-
teractively.)

These days there also is parted. The cfdisk interface is nicer, but
parted does much more: it not only resizes partitions, but also the
filesystems that live in them.
 
Old 05-20-2008, 08:53 PM   #12
rudy1094
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I made some progress. I was able to get the operating system to install. I used the huge.s rather than the hugesmp.s and I used the Reiserfs filesystem rather than the ext3. When I typed startx after booting my screen went blank. That's my next issue to resolve.
 
Old 05-20-2008, 10:57 PM   #13
T3slider
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rudy1094
I made some progress. I was able to get the operating system to install. I used the huge.s rather than the hugesmp.s and I used the Reiserfs filesystem rather than the ext3. When I typed startx after booting my screen went blank. That's my next issue to resolve.
Run `xorgsetup` as root to try and automatically create a /etc/X11/xorg.conf file. Then try to `startx`. If that doesn't work, try running `xorgconfig` which should generate a good working xorg.conf if you answer the questions properly (but you'll probably have to google some of your hardware, specifically your monitor to get the HorizSync and VertRefresh rates). If that still doesn't generate a working xorg.conf, post the output of `lspci -vv`. If you have an nVidia or ATI card you'll probably want to use their proprietary drivers -- there are SlackBuilds available for them at slackbuilds.org.
 
Old 05-21-2008, 04:33 AM   #14
business_kid
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It would do no harm top post exactly WHAT laptop you have, what hardware, etc. At this stage instructions will differ wildly for some older ropier hardware. Acer and a few others had some strange gear onboard.

Also be aware of http://www.linuxlaptop.net where you can find your laptop and a page on it, or something like. Usually there's an owner who will answer email, and you may find an xorg.conf up there already for you.
 
Old 05-21-2008, 07:31 AM   #15
Bruce Hill
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T3slider View Post
It would be nice to include REASONING as to why this is preferable. I've never had any issues with fdisk, however, after reading the man page, it seems cfdisk would be the preferred method (and I've never seen such program-bashing in the program's own man page. )
It's not bashing in the fdisk man page, it's just telling you the facts of the situation.

When a program's man page tells you it's preferable to use another program, there's good reason.

This person we're helping is obviously a new user, and therefore, should choose cfdisk. It will
keep them from the bad things that can (and have for them) happen with fdisk.
 
  


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