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w0orw 05-16-2011 06:14 PM

Quirky dual-boot situation
I have a question and a half concerning a dual boot situation that I have run into. I have an old Tyan 500 mHz Pentium 3 with 576 Mb RAM and two 40 Gb hard drives. The primary master contains Linux and GRUB. The secondary master contains Windows XP Pro, and has four partitions - C,D,E, & F. The C & D drives are FAT32 and the E & F drives are NTFS (this is a holdover from when the PC was triple boot with Win98 on C & D). XP is installed on drive E.

If I pull the power plug from the Linux drive, Windows boots and runs just fine. If I use a live CD for PCLOS 2009.1 or 2009.2, the Windows "D" drive is nowhere to be found but C,E, & F are right there. After installing PCLOS 2009.1, the same situation occurs and the bootloader can't find Windows.

If I use a live CD for Mint, Knoppix, or Ubuntu, all Windows drives are present and readable. But when attempting to install either Ubuntu 10 or Mint 8 I get an error message which indicates that either the CD has a problem (they work okay in other PCs), the laser in the drive is dirty (I cleaned it), or the hard drive has a problem (some distros install just fine). Mint 9 however installed without any problems, and the bootloader works flawlessly.

So, can anybody tell me if I might have an impending failure or if it's just a quirky old PC?

Larry Webb 05-16-2011 06:47 PM

It will be hard without knowing the error on which distro? Is the error the same for all the distros you tried that failed to install? Your cd reader may be getting weak? Mint or knoppix are not dvds are they?

jefro 05-16-2011 08:43 PM

In about that time there were some buggy partition apps. Might be overlapping or goofy partitions or even deals to cheat bios for larger hard drives.

About that same time cd-roms were just beginning to read cd-r media. I'd reburn the iso after you checked it (md5 or shal) with a burner on the very slowest speed. Use a black cd-r. Avoid cd-rw's.

Along that same line the newer distro's are not really made for that old of a system. I'd try puppy or some other older hardware based distro.

Any of this on a pci add on card or raid card?

w0orw 05-17-2011 05:21 PM

The error message was same for both Ubuntu 10 & Mint 8. Mint 9 works fine.

The CD drive is 52X, not original. The disks were CD-R burned at 4X. The PCLOS 2009.1 disk which started this whole mess works fine on my other Pentium3 and on my Pentium 4, both of which are dual boot with this distro and WinXP Pro.

None of the distros were on DVD.

I hear what you are saying about new distros and old PCs - likewise old CD drives. I made that discovery a few years ago. I keep a stack of old distros around for just that reason. I use the newest one that will perform acceptably on the old machines. YouTube and sites which use Flash are not on my menu unless I can get the Pent4 away from the wife.

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