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Old 07-29-2005, 08:27 AM   #1
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Kernel Panic -- not syncing: attempted to kill idle task

I am trying to install Linux (RedHat, Fedora) and am running into some serious problems. Any help/insights will be really appreciated.

I have a Windows XP machine and VMWare Workstation 4.0 installed on it. I downloaded Fedora's ISO files from and tried installing on a new virtual machine I created. In the virtual machine settings, for CD-ROM, under "Connection" setting I selected "Use ISO Image" and gave the full path for the first ISO file. The "Virtual device node" was set to "IDE 1:0 CD-ROM1". When I started the virtual machine, it went to Fedora's initial install screen and I hit enter to start the installation process. Some text scrolls through the screen and it stops with the last message being "Kernel Panic -- not syncing: attempted to kill an idle task". I have tried the following with same result:

1. Removed the virtual machine and recreated and tried from the iso file.

I thought may be the ISO file was corrupt so I did the following:

2. Removed and recreated the virtual machine and tried to install RedHat Enterprise 4 from a CD, no luck.
3. Reformatted the partitions, created a brand new virtual machine and tried installing Redhat Enterprise 4 -- no luck.
4. The same Redhat CD works on another machine, where I created a new virtual machine and ran the install.

I am basically stuck and don't have a clue on what to do. My guess is that the new Redhat installation I am trying is somehow picking up the boot loader from the failed installation of Fedora. Now here are my questions:

1. When using VMWare and installing a guest OS, does it put all the files related to that guest OS within the folders designated for the guest OS?
2. Does it put some of the files outside the folders designated for guest OS (somewhere within the host OS folders)? If so which folders?
3. Does a guest OS install write anything to the host OS's MBR even when using VMware and virtual machines? If so, how do I get rid of it from the MBR?

Thanks in advance for your help
Old 03-29-2006, 11:55 PM   #2
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same problem

I hope that some one can help us since I have exactly the same problem as. This happens with fedora and Mandriva. This however doesn't seem to be a problem for whitebox liberation.

I have also tried different emulators. Vmware and connectix. Both have the same response
Old 08-21-2006, 07:05 PM   #3
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Solution for VPC 2004

Install service pack 1 for VPC 2004.Linux will easily install with this service pack.
Old 09-12-2006, 09:09 AM   #4
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I had same issue trying to install 2 differ Linux flavors on a laptop. solved after I pulled the 2 memory sticks, swapped them (reseated) and all worked fine
Old 04-11-2007, 04:50 AM   #5
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Wow I have no idea why swapping the 2 RAM sticks around worked....
But it did.
Thanks BillyMac
Old 04-22-2007, 01:59 AM   #6
Registered: Aug 2004
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What if you only have 1 stick of memory?
Old 04-23-2007, 08:41 AM   #7
Registered: Nov 2006
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1 stick?

try putting it in the other slot?
Since then I have found that I also blew my network card
But thats orite im getting a new one theyre not too expensive!
Have fun.
Old 04-24-2007, 09:00 AM   #8
Registered: Aug 2004
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I am getting a similar problem with Connectix Virtual PC 5.1 - identical error message.

So far I have tried Slax (Frodo, Popcorn & KillBill), Olive, Vector, Knoppix, and Debian. The live cd's as both images and real disks, and debian from an HD image.

I think it has something to do with the 2.6 kernel, as ever since I recompiled my deb hd image from 2.4 to 2.6 I get that error. Any suggestions? It all works fine in the latest Beta version of VMWare, but I can't afford to buy that so would really like to fix VPC.

(If it helps I have a 3.0 GHz Prescott with 2GB Ram)
Old 08-05-2007, 04:56 PM   #9
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i had the same with a amd k6 2/400 box. had a play with the dimm modules and i got it working. this kind of error is related to memory? well it did for me.

have fun,
Old 08-06-2007, 01:29 AM   #10
Registered: Aug 2004
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This is what I see:
Red Hat nash version 4.12.17mdk starting
Loading jbd.ko module
Loading ext3.ko module
Mounting /proc filesystem
Mounting sysfs
Creating device files
Mounting tmpfs on /dev
Creating root device
Trying to resume from /dev/hdb6
Unable to access resume device (/dev/hdb6)
echo: cannot open /proc/suspend2/do_resume for write: 2
Mounting root filesystem /dev/root
mount: error 6 mounting ext3 flags defaults
well, retrying without the options flags
mount: error 6 mounting ext3
will, retrying read-only without any flag
mount: error 6 mounting ext 3
Switching to new root
ERROR opening /dev/console!!!!: 2
unmounting old /proc
unmounting old /sys
switchroot: mount failed: 22
Initrd finished
Kernel panic  not synching: Attempted to kill init!

Last edited by mr805newbie; 08-06-2007 at 01:31 AM.
Old 10-23-2007, 10:29 PM   #11
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Hate to bump an old thread but wanted to let it be known that swapping memory around did the trick for me also. I found this thread during a Google search and wanted to help anyone who might be experiencing the same thing.
Old 04-23-2008, 11:27 PM   #12
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Thumbs up

This worked for me also, trying to install on an old Compaq with Debian Etch 4.0r3. Seems very strange that this would work but it does!
Old 04-28-2008, 03:24 AM   #13
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bear in mind that linux (or os/2) is more sensitive with memory than windos. i had that with an 386 laptop years back. windos fine but no go with os/2, memory errors. i needed (under warranty) a new mainboard since a faulty dimm socket was causing the problem.
Old 04-28-2008, 12:33 PM   #14
Registered: Aug 2004
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My Opinion Regarding an Linux Installation

Maybe Linux needs a switch (similar to Windows) to behave the same as Windows when installing and utilizing (and inspecting) memory. Linux/Mandriva/Ubuntu installations should be "easier" than Windows installations.
Old 10-20-2009, 06:57 AM   #15
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Dodgy RAM The Culprit

Just thought I'd share my experience with the kernel panic mentioned above. Tried switching the RAM around, but it was still causing problems.

It turned out to be a dodgy stick of RAM. Pulled one of the sticks out and the system worked fine.

Come to think of it this explains a lot!

I guess I'll buy a couple of 2GB sticks (good quality- not the cheap- and different- stuff I've got now) and be done with it.


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