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Old 01-12-2007, 11:45 PM   #1
rturney
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Question New HDD - can't install Linux or start Knoppix


I have started using removable internal hard drives to try new versions of Linux. My boot drive is in a tray that I can swap out with a different hard drive that contains a different os. I've got WinXP on one drive, SUSE 10.2 on another and PCLinuxOS on another. It works great for me. (I was getting paranoid I might lose everything with a multi-boot setup). The problem is I had just bought a new Western Digital OEM drive yesterday (cheap) and was trying to install Vector Linux on it tonight by putting the install disk in the CD drive turning off the the power, switching out the current HDD tray with the new blank HDD and powering back up. This has worked before with Kubuntu and PCLOS, but this time nothing happened. I tried several distro install disks but nothing happened. I finally tried to boot Knoppix thinking I could partition the new drive using it, but Knoppix would not start.

I thought that Knoppix would work if you had a bad hard drive. I suspect that the new HDD is bad but I'm wondering why Knoppix would not boot? Does it need a functioning hard drive?
 
Old 01-13-2007, 06:34 AM   #2
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rturney
I tried several distro install disks but nothing happened. I finally tried to boot Knoppix thinking I could partition the new drive using it, but Knoppix would not start.
"Does nothing" is way too inaccurate. I bet something is happening, like the power lights coming on, the power on self test runs etc.

Where EXACTLY does the boot process stop. Please post the last three lines on your screen before the boot process stops.

jlinkels
 
Old 01-13-2007, 09:13 AM   #3
pixellany
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I do not believe that a hard-drive has to be present to boot from CD.

Have you tried putting another drive back in? ie go back to a known good congfiguration.
 
Old 01-13-2007, 09:27 AM   #4
rturney
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I'm sorry to be so vague, but nothing appeared on the screen at all.

The sequence of events after turning on the power are:
1. Computer power light comes on.
2. Removable HDD light comes on.
3. DVD rom light comes on intermittently as it reads the disk
4. Nothing has been shown on the screen during these steps, not even the bios screen.
5. Wait around four to five minutes and nothing visibly happens.

I can put the known good removable HDDs in and the normally expected screen displays take place quickly during the boot process and then the knoppix screen appears in less than a minute.
 
Old 01-13-2007, 10:20 AM   #5
jlinkels
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rturney
I'm sorry to be so vague, but nothing appeared on the screen at all.
[...]
4. Nothing has been shown on the screen during these steps, not even the bios screen.
[...]
If even the BIOS screen is not displayed it has *nothing* to do with Linux or any other OS. When The BIOS screen comes back when you insert another HDD, it is clear that the problem is in the HDD.

I have seen this before in case of
1. a totally broken drive (don't let the drive light fool you, that might be the only thing still functioning)
2. error in the data cable. This includes the connector on the HDD, the connection in the HDD bay, or the HDD PCB which you cannot access
3. a power problem, either you made a wrong connection inside the removable bay, the HDD uses too much power, or shorts one of the power supplies.


jlinkels
 
Old 01-13-2007, 10:44 AM   #6
rturney
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Thank you for your help! I don't have much experience troubleshooting hardware problems so this forum is amazing. I will remember your info about the possible causes for future reference. I am going to return the HDD today for a new one.

So with this information, do you think I can conclude that Knoppix will not boot if the boot HDD is not functioning? If so, I had the false impression that it could run despite a faulty HDD.

Thanks again!
 
Old 01-13-2007, 10:57 AM   #7
jlinkels
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I am not sure whether Knoppix boots when there is no HDD at all, never tried it. But in this case your machine did not even come to the point of booting.

You can easily try it by starting without any hard drive at all.

Before the CD is read, and the boot process starts, a lot of other things happen in the computer, like the Power on Self Test (POST) and "press DEL to enter setup", Plug and Play detection, etc.

Only after that is done, the BIOS looks for the first boot device. When that is the HDD or CDROM, it reads the boot sector from that device.

As an aftertought, check that the master-slave jumper is set correctly on the drive you have problems with.

jlinkels
 
Old 01-13-2007, 11:25 AM   #8
rturney
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I'm sorry I failed to mention that I'm using a SATA HDD. I'm not sure about how Master/Slave status is determined with SATA drives. I don't think there is a jumper config as in IDE drives. Since I only have one HDD, I suspect that the status is determined in the BIOS. When I get back from returning the bad drive I plan to go in there and look to see.

Thanks for sharing the valuable knowledge!
 
Old 01-13-2007, 03:28 PM   #9
rturney
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I returned the suspected bad HDD for another identical WD Caviar 250 GB SATA (OEM). This time the Vector Linux install almost immediately jumped into action (right after the BIOS screen)! Problem solved - the original HDD was bad.

Using the Vector Linux install program, I partitioned the drive and installed the OS and am posting here using Vector Linux.

Just for knowledge purposes would someone be kind enough to explain what was going on with the bad HDD that prevented the BIOS screen from displaying and (if anyone knows) why Knoppix would not boot? I may have to post the last part of this question to the Knoppix forum.

Thanks
 
Old 01-13-2007, 04:29 PM   #10
jonny_b4e
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why it wouldn't boot....

hey, I'm not really good for linux, I'm a Windows guy myself trying to know linux. As for the drive, the most probable thing happened is the jumper (it's happened to me in the past). I don't think it had anything to do with the drive's condition, so even if the drive was off, it should still load the bios. Knoppix as well as other distros don't need a hard drive to run- out of curiosity i tried a few of them without any hard disks, on two of my computers -one old p3@500mhz with 512mb ram and ata100, one new core2duo with 2GB Ram and sata2. Knoppix,Kubuntu and Kororraa loaded with no disks present. Just make sure (if you still have the disk) whether master/slave settings on ALL DEVICES on your system are properly set.

Don't at any case use cs(cable select) unless a device is alone on a cable and has trouble with the master setting...

Last edited by jonny_b4e; 01-13-2007 at 04:32 PM.
 
Old 01-13-2007, 07:23 PM   #11
rturney
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Thanks for the info. I was worried about a jumper on the "bad" drive too, but I've found that the SATA drives don't use them. I have read that the BIOS sets the boot drive based on the channel or the order they are plugged into on the motherboard.

That's good to know about being able to boot Knoppix without any HDD present at all. I'll try that tomorrow. But I'm still wondering what was going on with the "bad" drive that was preventing Knoppix from booting and why not even the BIOS did its thing.
 
Old 01-14-2007, 06:13 AM   #12
uranid10t
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More than likely the HDD was creating a short in the system, and the system was protecting itself by not booting or showing anything.

Correctly the computer should boot without a HDD in at all with a live CD, be it Knoppix or any other live cd. I did this just last week to find out the configuration for a computer before I even put a HDD into the machine. I just took a copy of DSL -n and booted the computer to it. Works like a charm.
 
Old 01-29-2007, 01:32 AM   #13
SpaceGhost270
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My 2 cents. When checking jumper settings, look in more than one place. I have a 40gb baracuda with a label (on drive cover) showing jumper settings that are opposite of the ones shown in the manual. The manual was right in my case. Almost pulled hair out.
Who's an id10t?

Last edited by SpaceGhost270; 01-29-2007 at 01:36 AM.
 
Old 03-27-2007, 05:44 PM   #14
UhhMaybe
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Cool

Checking the Boot Order in YOUR BIOS is the starting place. Then check all the cables. Then check the usual checklist YOU have for Yourself from previous experiences and new things learned. Does YOUR power supply have enough for the SATA Drive(s)? Were the items in YOUR BIOS all looked over; page by page, or was that assumed to be O.K.? Really friend, looking at the BIOS items is well worth the time invested. IMO the little plastic washers used with the motherboard screws work great. Keep YOUR system clean, and clear of dust build ups. Keep CD-ROM discs clean. A small speck can mess with a Distro. Because we all live in different areas, the CD-ROM behavior is different. If possible install YOUR Distro when the system is cool. Like from the off position, boot, then install. Good luck.
 
  


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