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Old 01-25-2004, 06:19 PM   #1
the theorist
Registered: Apr 2002
Distribution: Fedora Core 5 & 6
Posts: 47

Rep: Reputation: 15
Fedora CDs not bootable on older machine with SCSI drives

I've inherited an old machine, dual Pentium II with SCSI drives (hard drive and CD-rom). I want to install Fedora on it, but the bootable Fedora CD 1 gets skipped during bootup and XP loads instead.

First: The CD is OK. md5 checksums match for the .iso files. You can browse the files normally after XP loads. Furthermore, it boots to the "Fedora" initial installation screen on another machine (with an IDE CD-ROM).

Second: The BIOS parameters seem to be OK, since one of my old Red Hat 7.2 CDs boots fine! I don't have much experience with SCSI, but the BIOS and SCSIselect parameters look good.

Third: The Fedora CD does not boot on one other machine I tried that has a SCSI CD-ROM.

When I try to boot the Fedora CD, the system says something like "Bootable CD detected", but it doesn't boot from it, and goes right through to XP eventually.

Any ideas? I'm guessing its the SCSI aspect of the problem, and since I don't know a whole lot about that, any basic workarounds are welcome.
Old 01-25-2004, 08:43 PM   #2
Registered: Aug 2001
Location: Off the coast of Madadascar
Posts: 498

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Don't know much about SCSI, but here's a "basic workaround", throw in a IDE CDROM for the install then hack that SCSI CD-ROM till your thesis is done.

Old 01-26-2004, 06:50 PM   #3
the theorist
Registered: Apr 2002
Distribution: Fedora Core 5 & 6
Posts: 47

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Thumbs up Problem Solved!

It turns out the problem was SCSI secondarily --
the real problem was MICROSOFT!

Turns out that bootable CDs changed formats awhile back. I read somewhere (amidst my casting of many nets to find an answer) that Microsoft pressured a change in bootable CD formats -- from "floppy emulation" to something new, which under Linux, comes under "isolinux". My relatively old BIOS (probably) didn't know what to do with the new format, but it did know how to process the old format which my Red Hat 7.2 CDs used! (All my BIOS settings with regards to SCSI were fine.)

So you need to do it the real old fashioned way, booting from a floppy. I made boot floppies using floppy disk images (*.img) from the first Fedora CD. Here's how to do it:

1) Get blank floppies (Most will need just one for a boot disk, I needed an additional one for my old SCSI drivers (Adaptec AHA 2940 UW, runs off aic7xxx.o module); I think notebook users need a different one for PCMCIA drivers)
2) On a linux system, put in a floppy and mount the first Fedora CD
3) Type (as root)
cd /mnt/cdrom/images
dd if=bootdisk.img of=/dev/fd0  (this writes your boot disk)
(put in the other floppy)
dd if=drvblock.img of=/dev/fd0   (for SCSI, and probably a couple other things, too)
4) Reboot the target system (make sure its set to boot from floppy in the BIOS) with the boot disk in.
5) You should get the Fedora splash screen; type "linux" in the normal case.
6) After vmlinuz loads, you pick a few options and then you have to pick drivers (for me, my SCSI stuff). Select the "have driver disk" option, put in your driver disk, and it finds the right drivers for you! Proceed as normal.

And now I'm installing!
(Doubtlessly, with more questions to come soon....)

When I tried installing Red Hat 7.2, it did all that automagically... ugh...

P.S. No thanks to tarballedtux! -- do CCNAs (certified dork) deliver IDE hardware on demand?


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