-   Linux - Newbie (
-   -   Dual boot, did I break my BIOS or wreck my video card? (

faberoo 11-02-2007 11:21 AM

Dual boot, did I break my BIOS or wreck my video card?
I've just installed OpenSUSE from CD on my slave drive. My master drive runs Windows XP. The installation went well. Upon reboot (with both drives installed), the windows loader appeared, showing only the Windows XP option to boot up. I went into the setup, and asked the Windows loader to boot from my slave drive first (at least, I think this is what the option meant...). Unfortunately, I didn't ask GRUB to find Windows, like I should have. After changing this option, I rebooted, to find that there is no signal from my computer. My monitor goes to standby (I've tested it on different computers, and it's not broken). Could it be that I broke my BIOS? I was told that I might need to flash my BIOS. Any suggestions on how to proceed? THANKS.

faberoo 11-02-2007 11:32 AM

I forgot to add that I can't boot off the CD either, and not even the hardware spash screen shows up on boot up. It seems completely dead, although the computer does receive power (can open CD drives). I checked all connections with the video card, disks, everything.

dansmith127 11-02-2007 11:51 AM

When you say 'Windows Loader' do you mean your BIOS boot screen, or GRUB, or something else?

I'm not clear on whether you altered your GRUB configuration, or you changed which drive to boot from in the BIOS setup?

Have you tried getting into the BIOS setup by pressing the appropriate key? What I mean is, you probably pressed F10 or DEL or ESC or whatever the right key is for your PC, to enter the boot setup screen in teh first place? And then changed which drive to boot from? Have you tried getting back to this screen by pressing the same key after you turn the PC on? Even if you can't see anything on the screen, try pressing the same key you originally used to enter the boot screen.

Even if this isn't what you did originally, try it to see if you can enter BIOS boot screen. Just try pressing all the F keys and DEL and ESC repeatedly after turning the PC on, and hopefully you will eventually get into a setup screen.

If you can get there, you have options. For example you could choose boot from main hard drive, and hopefully XP loads up. Or you could choose 'boot from CD', then put the OpenSUSE CD back in the drive and try and boot up off that.

dansmith127 11-02-2007 11:56 AM

By the way just to reassure you, I think it's highly unlikely you've broken your BIOS, although you might have given it the wrong settings and need to change them back. And it's just about impossible that you've broken your video card. Worst case scenario, you've lost some or all your data - did you back important files up?

faberoo 11-02-2007 12:02 PM

Thanks for your reply!

I did not change GRUB - I changed the BIOS boot screen...I pushed F8, and went into a screen to choose my slave drive as the drive from which to boot. When I reboot, I just get a black screen (no BIOS, no options, text, images, anything at all), and buttons don't work. Booting from CDs doesn't give me anything either. I was told there is a way to manually reset the BIOS to factory settings? Any tips of how to do this?

Thanks a bunch

jay73 11-02-2007 12:07 PM

So are you sure that GRUB was installed to the MBR of the slave driver? Of course, you should still get the BIOS screen so that's quite puzzling.

saikee 11-02-2007 12:10 PM

You can reset the same Bios screen to boot back to XP.

Regarding how to rescue Suse you need tools. What do you have? Any other Live CD?

faberoo 11-02-2007 12:10 PM

Sorry for the confusion. The story is only that I entered the Windows loader and asked it to go to my slave drive. Please ignore the GRUB story - it doesn't do anything here.

After changing the windows loader, I got the blank screen.

faberoo 11-02-2007 12:11 PM

How would I go about resetting my windows BIOS? Is there a switch on the motherboard, or do I take out the battery?

For Suse, I just have the live CD.

dansmith127 11-02-2007 12:11 PM

If you really want to reset the BIOS, you have to open up your PC and fiddle around! This PDF I found online shows you how - it's not something I've ever done myself so can't advise you.

Have you tried unplugging your slave drive (is it removable drive) before switching on PC? Also doing this but also putting the OpenSUSE CD back in the drive before switching on?

Another idea - is the OpenSUSE a LiveCD distro? Were you able (before the problems started) to boot up straight from the CD, without installing?

If not, it might be worth trying a LiveCD to see if you can boot from that... although now your PC is down, you'd have to visit a friend with internet conntection to obtain, and burn, such a CD... a small distro like Puppy Linux or Knoppix would be perfect for this.

faberoo 11-02-2007 12:16 PM


I have tried booting it from the liveCD, with and without any of the drives in, in any combination. I also had live CDs for Ubuntu, which also failed to boot. Before the failure, I could indeed boot from live CD (this is how I installed my Suse).

After I reset my windows BIOS, I will come back to the original screen giving me just the Windows XP option. Would I need the live CD to access GRUB to make that my primary loader and add XP onto it?

dansmith127 11-02-2007 12:25 PM

Got to admit I'm stumped, and still a bit confused by this 'Windows loader' business.

If you have normal BIOS, WinXP installed and no linux anywhere, you shouldn't ever get a 'Windows loader'. It will just boot into XP without giving you any choice at all.

If you have a choice, that sounds like GRUB, not the BIOS.

To be clear, BIOS gives you choice of which *drive* to boot from (hard drive, slave drive, CD, floppy, USB, etc), whereas GRUB gives you choice of which *operating system* to boot (WinXP, SUSE, anything else you have installed).

How old is this PC? Do you have a floppy drive? And maybe a Windows boot floppy? Might be worth a go.

If you aren't worried about losing your files, (and if you still have WinXP CD) I'd try starting from scratch. Reset the BIOS, see what you get, and if necessary, reinstall both Windows and SUSE from scratch.

faberoo 11-02-2007 12:34 PM

To clear up the windows loader confusion, I have a version of XP and also Windows NT, so these are my choices with the loader. This loader was set to look in my master drive. I wanted to set it to look in my slave drive first. Turned out, that was an awful idea!

Thanks again for your help.

saikee 11-02-2007 12:34 PM

If you can boot up a Live CD, just click terminal, type this to get root privilege

sudo su
Type this to fire up a Grub shell

Type this to check the partition layout of every disk

geometry (hd0)
geometry (hd1)
geometry (hd2)

If you have Suse inside take note of the first partition with Type 83, say it is in disk (hd0) and partition 2 then these commands should make your Suse bootable in the next reboot

root (hd0,2)
setup (hd0)

Basically you locate partition (hd0,2) has the Grub files and instruct Grub to set up itself in the MBR. Adjust the disk and partition number to suit your case.

dansmith127 11-02-2007 12:43 PM

Hmm so sounds like this Windows Loader is looking on the slave drive, and finding no version of windows at all. Of course being a windows loader, and not GRUB, it doesn't understand linux and will just think there's nothing bootable on your slave drive.

But still, it is very odd you can't get into BIOS. You should be able to access that prior to the Windows loader kicking in.

Anyway, try this: to see if you can work anything out. Beyond my scope but you may be able to get something out of it.

By the by, did you try booting with WinXP CD in the drive, rather than the SUSE one?

Anyway over and out from me. This is a real brain-melter!

PS have a look here too:

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:13 AM.