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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).


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Old 12-15-2003, 03:10 PM   #1
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04/9.10 (64-bit)
Posts: 149

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Can't see hard drive on Presario 900...

This is on a Compaq Presario 900 laptop, dual-booting Windows XP and Linux. Athlon XP 1900+, 512MB RAM, 40GB HDD, DVD/CD-RW drive.

Actually, I currently have Mandrake 9.2 RC2 installed on this machine right now dual-booting with Windows XP. Problem is, I had to reinstall Windows XP and that wiped out the Linux boot loader. At a minimum, what I need to be able to do is somehow boot a rescue image, mount the root partition, and reinstall LILO.

However, I no longer have the Mandrake 9.2 Release Candidate media. Instead, I have tried using the offical release of Mandrake 9.2. It loads the graphical setup without problems, but then it gives me this:

An error occured
An erorr occured - no valid devices were found on which to create new filesystems. Please check your hardware for the cause of this problem.

I've checked the other VTs, and I can see some kernel messages which look like:

hda: status timeout: status=0xd0 { Busy }
drive not ready for command
ide0: reset timed-out, status=0xd0
end_request: I/O error, cmd 0 dev 03:00 (hda) sector [56]

I don't know why the Release Candidate of Mandrake 9.2 worked and the official release won't. So, I downloaded Core 1 of Fedora and tried it. To be quite honest, I would rather have Fedora on this laptop than Mandrake--but I have an even bigger roadblock there: it cannot even find the installation media. Here's what it says:

The Fedora Linux Core 1 CD was not found in any of your CDROM drives.

I also see similar "end_request: I/O" errors for the CDROM (hdc) on the other VTs for the Fedora installation. Also, I see similar errors for the hard drive (hda), so I'd imagine that I'd run into similar issues there even if it could mount the media.

I have tried booting both distributions with the "nomce ide=nodma pci=biosirq" kernel arguments--and they have no effect whatsoever. I've even tried adding "hdc=ide-scsi" for the Fedora installation to help recognize the DVD-RW, and it didn't do anything.

Any ideas?


Last edited by sancho; 12-15-2003 at 03:11 PM.
Old 12-16-2003, 01:44 PM   #2
Registered: Sep 2003
Distribution: Ubuntu 9.04/9.10 (64-bit)
Posts: 149

Original Poster
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Got it running...

Okay, I've managed to get Fedora Core 1 installed (and the same should work for Mandrake as well, FWIW). The magic kernel argument I needed was:


I know I used some of the other "commonly used" arguments as well--nomce for sure. I did not, however, need use ide=nodma, and if I figure that's a good thing because DMA should ideally be enabled for best performance.

After I got the kernel arguments right, Fedora installed without any hitches. There are only two other things that need to be done after Fedora is installed:

1. Append nousb to the list of kernel parameters that GRUB passes at boot time (press "a" when you see GRUB). I didn't need this argument when I installed Fedora, but it is neccessary after it's installed or else the system will hang when it tries to bring up the USB subsystem. Yes, that means no USB support (at least out of the box--haven't tested what a custom kernel might be able to do).

2. Disable kudzu. To do that, I needed to boot the Fedora recovery console (using the same kernel arguments when used to install), mount and chroot into the system root directory, and then run "ntsysv --level=5" to disable kudzu from running at boot time. If you don't disable kudzu, your system will hang.

After taking the previous two steps, I had Fedora Core 1 running great on my machine. The video is perfect, sound is there, network works, the touchpad works, and the DVD/CD-RW drive all work great. I haven't tested the PCMCIA capabilities (since the only PCMCIA card I have is a Netgear wireless card and isn't compatible with Linux), and I don't know what the deal is with the USB.

Hopefully this should be helpful to anybody with a similar problem.
Old 12-17-2003, 09:44 AM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: London, UK
Distribution: FreeBSD, OpenSuse, Ubuntu, RHEL
Posts: 417

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That's good to know. I did a Slackware 9.1 install on a buddies 915US. I had to use ide=nodma nousb nd pcmcia=off, or something like that. I had to keep those parameters in order to boot, but after I installed 2.6.0-test11 I never tried to boot without changing these parameters. It would be nice to know what kernel config you have so you don't have to disable dma on ide. However, if you do an hdparm does it specify whether dma is enabled on the drive?
Old 12-26-2003, 05:12 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: May 2003
Posts: 1

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I have the same problem here with a presario 910 EA. I think the hardware is almost the same.

So, like you, after trying to get Fedora Core 1 about 3124*12/5 times whith all the parameters that I knew, I've tryed at the command prompt "linux acpi". and from here the instalattion went smoothly.
Hope this helps everyone who's trying to get Fedora Core 1 installed on their presario 9xx series.



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