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Old 08-23-2005, 01:38 PM   #1
mcmillan
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Can't get Linux to work on new computer


I just got a new system built and haven't been able to get any installation to work. The most relevant specs of my computer are:

AMD Athlon64 3000+ processor
MSI K8T Neo-FSR motherboard
XFX Geforce FX5200 videocard
Don't remember the harddrive model, but one is a new 80GB Seagate setup as a master, the other is 40GB Western from my old gateway computer connected as the slave.

When I tried to install Ubuntu it just froze at the start of the installation. I tried to boot off a knoppix disk I have. That didn't respond any keyboard commands at the start, but continued to boot after about 30 seconds. The boot seemed to work normally, though it didn't recognize my ethernet connection on the board. Now I tried to install Mandriva, which was on my old system. This had the same non-responsive keyboard initially, but than went though the full installation, including seeming to recognize my ethernet when it updated packages. When LILO comes up it also doesn't seem to respond to the keyboard, but will continue to start Mandriva as the default OS. Then when I try to logon, the system freezes before anything will come up. I tried reinstalling it, this time it didn't connect to update packages. And after the installation it's freezing just before the logon menu comes up. With Mandriva it's also been having problems when it reboots, the system will end everything, and then not restart, forcing me to turn off the power manually.

Any advice on where to go from here?
 
Old 08-23-2005, 02:20 PM   #2
aysiu
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Freezing usually occurs because of one of two reasons:

1. Bad CD
2. Bad hardware

The only way to tell is to check the MD5 SUM on your .ISO files, and burn them at a slow speed (2x or 4x).
If you're still having trouble, something may be wrong with your computer. Otherwise, there's no way you would be having trouble with all three distros.
 
Old 08-23-2005, 03:24 PM   #3
sundialsvcs
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I agree: have the hardware checked-out first. A 30-second delay is a dead giveaway for an "I give up" timeout.

Turn the computer off, then check that each and every peripheral card and memory-card is firmly seated in its socket, and that all internal power connections are secure. If the problem persists, have the unit serviced.
 
Old 08-24-2005, 01:48 AM   #4
Trio3b
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Install lockups

Agreed, not likely all CD's are bad.

Built about 6 PCs now and here are the top several hdwr lockups.

Disconnect any unnecessary peripherals and check the following:

1. Bad memory - Google for windiag or memtest86. Yes brand new memory can be defective
2. Cheap / incompatible memory - lots of problems loading Wxp until I started using Samsung (excellent value)memory.
Believe it or not, several technicians for all the large memory manufacturers recommended using Wxp as a test for good quality memory as Wxp is very finicky about that. They use high quality memory to install the OS because installation requires lots of CPU - memory traffic, then remove it and put in the cheap stuff after install.
3. Poorly seated memory - as smart as MB design engineers are,it's amazing to see how many times there are no support standoffs near the mem slots. On some MB's you must take the MB OUT of the case, lay it on the conductive foam on a hard flat surface and push hard (carefully) to seat the memory.
4. Not likely, but check all your Cd's again.
5. Try another optical drive
6. Try with just one HD in master position
7. Try the Cdrom on primary IDE BUS and HD on secondary
8. Check all BIOS settings - usually set defaults / best performance settings works fine

good luck
 
Old 08-24-2005, 11:38 PM   #5
mcmillan
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Thanks for the responses.

I tried the memtest and that came up normal, though I found it odd that the keyboard wasn't working while this was running either, I wasn't able to exit it when I pressed esc.

The memory I have is this Kingston one. I was recommended Kingston by the people at the shop that put the system together, though I'm starting to realize they're very windows orienteted, so if this one doesn't work good with linux they probably wouldn't really know.

All the hardware seems to be well connected. I don't really have a good setup at my house to go as far as taking out the mobo, but from what I can do with it in the case looks good.

I reburned Ubuntu at 2x, I think I originally had it at 6x, but still the same result. The other disks I don't think should be a problem, they worked fine on my old system, so that seems to lend support to the idea that this is probably a hard ware problem.

I don't have a spare drive laying around to try out, but that's something I might ask them to try out if I take it back to the shop to let them play around with.

I disconnected the slave HD and it didn't work. I also tried changing the setup so the 40GB was the master, both by itself and with the other as a slave. This I think I didn't have configured right since when they were both in place the bios listed them both as master, one as secondary the other as primary, and when it was by itself it gave me an error when bios loaded up. I'll try to look into this on google, but right now it's getting late and I have other things I need to do.

When the original tech set up the system he had the CD on the primary as a slave, the other hard drive was a slave at the secondary bus. Could this be a problem? I didn't try to change this part.

I set the bios to all the default settings, except for the boot order which I changed to boot from CD before the HD, and the setting to allow me to see the messages while it is booting instead of a picture of the MSI logo. The only thing this seems to have done is now I can't get into the bios setup anymore. I changed a couple things inside the case without testing the bios settings by themselves, but I think I restored it back to the original configuration now, and still doesn't respond to get to the setup.

The fact that knoppix kind of works makes me think there could just be a compatibility issue. Would it make sense to try some other distros to see if they would work better, or should I take it as a bad sign that these ones aren't working? I was thinking of checking out Mepis, though the mirror is freaking out on me tonight and giving me errors when I try to download. I'll try again tomorrow maybe.

Anything else I should try before I take it to have someone look at?
 
Old 08-24-2005, 11:49 PM   #6
danimalz
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I can tell you that I am using kingston RAM 3200 DDR,
works fine with linux.

Perhaps the kernel you're loading isn't compat. with AMD64..?

I would try to (god forbid if u have it) instlall a copy of windows to
see if that works - it would prove out the H/Ware
 
Old 08-25-2005, 12:59 PM   #7
mcmillan
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I don't think it would be the AMD64 since the Ubuntu disk is a version specifically for 64 bit, though it may be a concern for the other two since I originally burnt them for my pentium 3 system.

The only windows disks I have are the restoration ones from my old system so those are pretty much useless. I did put it in to see if it would try installing, it comes up with a menu asking to either install windows or load windows, but again the keyboard's not working and the default timeout is to go to windows, which then brings up LILO.
 
Old 08-26-2005, 08:00 PM   #8
xode
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You want to get some version of the GIMPS prime number testing program running on your computer and then run its torture test for at least 24 hours. At the end of that 24 hours, you want to be able to stop it and have it say: "0 errors; 0 warnings" You can find that prime number testing software at http://www.mersenne.org
 
Old 08-26-2005, 08:12 PM   #9
corbintechboy
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I also have a 64 bit cpu. It is backward compatible! I would unplug my harddrive (just the ide cable) get damn small linux and do a dsl toram and see if it boots. If it does then check out the harddrive(s).
 
Old 08-26-2005, 08:15 PM   #10
syg00
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Quote:
Originally posted by mcmillan
I disconnected the slave HD and it didn't work. I also tried changing the setup so the 40GB was the master, both by itself and with the other as a slave. This I think I didn't have configured right since when they were both in place the bios listed them both as master, one as secondary the other as primary, and when it was by itself it gave me an error when bios loaded up. I'll try to look into this on google, but right now it's getting late and I have other things I need to do.
This sounds like a jumper problem - unless they are set to "cable select", you shouldn't just go removing and/or moving the disk(s) around. Might explain the "time-out" mentioned above as well.
Quote:
The fact that knoppix kind of works makes me think there could just be a compatibility issue. Would it make sense to try some other distros to see if they would work better, or should I take it as a bad sign that these ones aren't working?
I have always found the Knoppix hardware detection to be excellent - that's why so many other distros use it. If Knoppix can't find it, you *have* a problem.

Your keyboard isn't USB is it ???.
 
Old 08-26-2005, 08:53 PM   #11
fair_is_fair
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I have almost the identical hardware as the problem poster. I have no trouble with linux. Older versions of Mandrake and Pclinuxos would not support my sata drive but new versions do.

If he is using a usb keyboard he will not be able to boot grub. He will be able to boot lilo if usb legacy support is enabled in bios but windows may not boot. I would recommend using a ps2 keyboard to prevent problems.

Ubuntu has given me grief too and so has Xandros. Knoppix live cd works ok but hangs on shutdown. I have had no problem with the newest Pclinuxos, Kanotix 64 and 32 bit, Mepis, Alinux, and many others.
 
Old 08-27-2005, 05:23 PM   #12
mcmillan
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I do have a a usb keyboard, so if that is probably part of my problem. I thought of testing the keyboard before, though the only ones around my house are all usb so it didn't make any difference. It might be a couple days till I track down a ps2 board to check that out, hopefully that will help. That's too bad if ubuntu wasn't working with similar hardware, from what I've heard I really liked that distro. But Mepis was also looking good, and I don't know much about kanotix, I'll have to check that one out too. Thanks for the help.
 
Old 08-27-2005, 08:09 PM   #13
fair_is_fair
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I was all through the usb keyboard problems the other day. Went and bought a $20.00 ps2 board.

You may want to look at Kanotix 64 bit. Works quite nice for me and there is a noticable speed increase. You will not have the selection of software like the 32 bit distros have but it does fly along. Only thing I really miss is Opera browser.

Good luck.
 
Old 08-27-2005, 08:23 PM   #14
mcmillan
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Actually I was able to borrow a keyboard pretty quickly. That seems to have been the only issue. I got Ubuntu more or less up and running and it seems to be working great so far, I'm using my own computer for the first time in almost two weeks which is really nice. Wish I had realized this was the problem sooner, it would have definitly saved me a bit of stress. But on the other hand in the process of trouble shooting I managed to learn a bit more of about what's inside the case, something which I was definitely lacking knowledge about before. I still might check out kanotix and mepis, the little bit I've had a chance to read up on seems pretty good, other than the fact that like gnome a bit better than KDE, but that's a pretty minor issue. I'll probably be reinstalling anyway to change with the partitioning a bit (I just did the defaults real quick tonight to get a functional computer) so I might play with those live cds a bit before the final installation. Thanks for the help.
 
  


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