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Having trouble installing a piece of hardware? Want to know if that peripheral is compatible with Linux?

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Old 02-28-2005, 01:59 PM   #1
Spudley
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New motherboard; now system won't boot.


Hi All,

I'm writing this in bit of a panic, so I hope someone will be able to help me out fairly quickly.

The motherboard on my main computer suffered a catastrophic failure a couple of weeks ago. (I was typing an email, and suddenly the screen went blank, and there was a faint burning smell).

Anyway, two weeks later, I've finally got the box back from the shop, with a new motherboard. The good news is that I get the boot screens when I turn it on, which is an improvement. The bad news is that trying to boot into Linux doesn't work. It gets through a few setup stages, and then dies with a kernel panic.

So I can't get at my system, and I don't know what to do next. I have some work on the hard drive that I really don't want to lose (it's been driving me crazy not having it for two weeks). Reverting to backups is an option, but not a preferred one, as I would lose a fair bit, including the things I was working on just before it died, which are quite important.

Can someone please help me get at my system. I don't care if it doesn't boot properly, and I don't care if I have to do a completely fresh install afterward, but I would really like to get a few files off the drive before I break anything.


You'll want to know the technical details, so here goes: (let me know if I've missed anything important)

The motherboard that died was an Asus A7N8X-E Deluxe, and the new one looks identical. I don't belive any other parts have been replaced. The HD that my system is installed on is a 160 gig SATA drive, and seems to be working fine.

The drive has SuSE Linux 9.0 installed. (I actually had the 9.2 disc on my desk waiting to be updated when it died... too bad I didn't get round to it, because I would have had a bang up-to-date backup if it had died after an update).


My SuSE install disc has a rescue option, which I've tried. It gives me a command prompt, but it couldn't seem to find the hard drive (the best response I got from mount was "hda is not a block device"). I think this may be because it's a SATA drive - I've heard there are sometimes problems with them.


For what it's worth, my backup device is a 120 gig Maxtor external hard drive, connected via USB; If I'm going to get my files off the drive, that would be a good place for them to go.


So does any one have any ideas how I can recover my system? Please help!

Thanks in advance
 
Old 02-28-2005, 02:26 PM   #2
Matir
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Well, the one detail I'd like that you may have overlooked is: what does the error message say? Is the old motherboard chipset the same as the new?
 
Old 02-28-2005, 03:28 PM   #3
Spudley
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Thanks for replying, Matir

I had assumed that the board would be pretty much identical to the old one - it's certainly got the same model number on the board. I can't tell you whether the chipset is the same, as I don't have any reference on the old one.

The SuSE boot sequence goes as follows (I'm typing this manually, so forgive any typos, and I'll only type the last few lines)...

Code:
Loading kernel/drivers/scsi/sd_mod.o
kmod: failed to exec /sbin/modprobe -s -k scsi_hopstadapter, errno=2
Loading kernel/drivers/ide/raid/ataraid.o
Loading kernel/drivers/fs/reiserfs.o
kmod: failed to exec /sbin/modprobe -s -k blok-major-33, errno=2
VFS: Cannot open root device "hde2" or 21:02
Please append a correct "root=" boot option
Try booting with pci=noacpi, acip-ht or acpi=off on the command line
If one helps, please report the following lines:
DMI: BIOS: Phoenix Technologies, LTD, ASUS A7N8X-E Deluxe ACPI BIOS Rev 1031 , 11/12/2004
DMI: System: ASUSTek Computer INC., A7N8X-E, REV 2.xx
DMI: Board: ASUSTek Computer INC., A7N8X-E, REV 2.xx
Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 21:02
This much at least seems to be the same whether I try to boot normally or in failsafe mode.

Hope that helps.

(its interesting to note, given your question about the chipset, that the date on the bios quoted above is fairly recent - the motherboard that died was about 10 months old, so the new one definitely has a newer bios version than I had before)


(btw - right now, I'm considering whether it would be worth trying to do an install of SuSE 9.2, and create a separate partition for it, so I leave the old installation in place, and see if I can access it from the new install... would that be a good idea?)
 
Old 02-28-2005, 03:32 PM   #4
Matir
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I guess my next question is this: which kernel version are you using? Under recent 2.6 using libata, SATA drive show up as SCSI. Have you tried booting a livecd to confirm that the hardware is indeed showing up properly?
 
Old 02-28-2005, 03:59 PM   #5
Spudley
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I'm fairly sure the installed SuSE 9.0 has a 2.4 kernel. I can't get into it, so I don't know the exact revision, but I had been keeping it patched

I don't seem to have a recent live CD version, which is weird, because I've got dozens of copies of Linux in various guises... just no recent live CDs, apparently. (old ones, plenty, but not new ones)

Booting my SuSE 9.2 install disc and selecting 'rescue' gives me a the command prompt with a kernel version 2.6.8-24-default. But as I said, I don't really know what to do next from there; can't seem to see the HD (at least, not with my limited knowledge of 'mount')
 
Old 02-28-2005, 04:53 PM   #6
Spudley
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Additional note:

I just ran the SuSE 9.2 update program, to see what it would say. I got the following error message when it was analysing the system:

Code:
The root partition in /etc/fstab has an invalid root device
It is currently mounted as /dev/sda2 but listed as /dev/hde2
See the SBD article at http://portal.suse.com/sdb/en/2003/0..._possible.html
for details on how to solve this problem.
The web page referenced says the follows:
There are two possible causes:
Mounting one or more partitions might not be possible because the file systems entered in the file /etc/fstab (by the kernel included on the installation CD) at the time of the update are not supported. Another possible cause might be faulty entries in the file /etc/fstab.

A second cause might be your hard disk being attached to a controller where the device names for hard disks have been changed (e.g from "/dev/hda" to "/dev/sda"). That could be the case in connection with SATA hard disks.


This second cause sounds quite like it may be the cause.

The solution given is to "Change the device name (e.g. from "/dev/hda" to "/dev/sda") in the file /etc/fstab before updating." ... Which doesn't help, because I can't get to existing system to change it.


Okay, it feels like I'm making some progress here, but I'm still stuck. Where do I go from here?
 
Old 02-28-2005, 05:44 PM   #7
Matir
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Sure it does. Boot a LiveCD, mount the hard drive (depending on the LiveCD kernel, it may be /dev/hde2 or /dev/sda2) and edit fstab. Also, you might want to update lilo/grub as needed. (Don't forget to mount /boot, if it is a separate partition)
 
Old 02-28-2005, 06:45 PM   #8
Spudley
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Okay!!! YES! We have definite progress.

I was able to mount the harddrive with my rescue disc as sda2. Who'd have guessed?. I also mounted the DVD, formatted a blank DVD I had lying around, and kicked off a copy of my entire home directory.

I'll feel a whole lot better about things once that's finished.

After that, I'll get back to the original problem of getting the system working. Now I've got everything backed up, I might very well just start from scratch with a fresh install.

But the copy is taking quite a long time. I'm not too worried about it - there's a lot to copy - but it's gone half past midnight here now, and I have to work tomorrow, so I think I'll leave it copying and go to bed. I'll sort out the rest tomorrow evening.

I'll post here if there's anything to report tomorrow when I get back to it.

Whatever happens, I just want to say thank you so much for your help. I've learned a lot from this, so thank you.
 
Old 02-28-2005, 07:12 PM   #9
Matir
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I'm glad I've been able to help. I had similar problems when I was using a SATA hard drive as my / and /boot. (I'm back to PATA not because of SATA issues but because the hard drive died and I wanted to rebuild my box BEFORE Seagate handled my RMA). Doing a full reinstall is not likely to be neccessary, unless you really want to. My guess is a change to lilo is all that'll be needed. Perhaps an upgrade with that 9.2 upgrade while you're at it.
 
Old 03-01-2005, 04:49 PM   #10
Spudley
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I'm back. Things have gone fairly well, but I did promise a progress report, so here goes...

Well, I got the backup done, I changed the fstab as explained, and I ran the 9.2 update. Software installed okay. Had a couple of dependancy errors, but nothing more serious than freeciv, so I ignored them. Also had a few problems getting GRUB to work (it still wanted to boot hde) but got that sorted out after a bit of fiddling.

So now I have SuSE 9.2 booting up successfully into KDE. I can open a konq window and browse around. All my files are still there. So I'm exploring the system. There's a few things that don't seem right, but I'll play around a bit and see if there are any problems. But if I do find anything else I need help with, I'll start a new thread for them, because the original problem in this thread is well and truly solved.

Thanks again for the help, Matir. Much appreciated.
 
Old 03-01-2005, 07:53 PM   #11
Matir
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No problem. I'm very glad it worked: and also glad you posted your results here. I'm sure people with a similar problem will really enjoy it.
 
  


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