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Old 05-07-2007, 08:35 PM   #1
daveoily
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Question hdd format problems


I've had more success with linux distros of late, mainly i believe because of knoppix and its autoconfig routines, but I may be wrong...

I'm not a total noob, but this is such a disaster, I think a noob would easily make this sort of error, and advice in sorting out this type of thing probably belongs in the newbie section, thats why I posted it here

a little background... I'm trying to run a tiny version of linux on an old pc I have kicking about, all it really needs to do is play media files, mp3s, mpgs, avi's perhaps, hell, if I'm lucky, I may even get it to play dvds, but I doubt it. So my idea was to look for small distro's that doesn't hog processor time, I also want to do some networking, but that I consider later as right now I have a more pressing problem.

I had a look at feather linux and decided to try one of its install scripts, all looked well, right up to the point where it refuses to boot into a gui. So, I thought "well, why not try putting dsl on it instead?" seemed sensible enough, the install script from dsl seemed to do a format of the hdd, got to rebooting stage, and voila! it attempts to boot feather again!

now I seem not to be able to delete either installation(I attempted from the bootable disc environments of feather, dsl and lfs!), xp boot disc fails to get me even a windows environment (as did, unsuprisingly 98se which also hung), xp moans about disc space, of which I know theres plenty!

I think the problem may be with lilo or grub, having not toyed with either, I'm not too sure what they do, or how to alter it, I guess what I'm really looking for is a disc formatting utility, preferably bootable from a cd, I've had a little look, but haven't come up with any winners just yet.

once I've got a clean un-knackered hdd, I'll have a go at the dsl install again, but I'm going to need some help getting there, any ideas?

thanks in advance

dave
 
Old 05-07-2007, 08:58 PM   #2
Larry Webb
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The first thing to do is try and run repair on any system you have on the disk (including Windows). If this doesn't work use a live distro and run fdisk to look at the partitions. I suspect you will have to repartition your hd.

Last edited by Larry Webb; 05-07-2007 at 09:02 PM.
 
Old 05-07-2007, 09:05 PM   #3
syg00
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Let's see the output from "fdisk -l" (lower case ell) - from any of the install disks should be o.k., or Knoppix if it'll run.
 
Old 05-07-2007, 10:36 PM   #4
daveoily
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I went and got a low level disc formatting utility from the vendors seagate at

http://www.seagate.com/ww/v/index.js...00dd04090aRCRD

and zero filled the drives

now of course i seem to have got rid of feather completely...

from dsl's live cd, fdisk -l gives

cannot open /dev/hda
cannot open /dev/hdb

would that be because they are unmounted?

as you can probably tell I have 2 hard drives, both were working quite well until I decided to start this little project yesterday morning....

sorry I didn't follow your advice larry, I got back to the forums after trying to solve this myself, I think perhaps I shall await wise words next time before getting myself any deeper into this hole I keep digging....

so, repartitioning, how does that work? I'm used to it under a working o.s. but I don't think there's any data left on the disk, xp install disk is still telling me there's no room for it I only tried it to see if I could get an easy to install o.s. onto the disk, but I really don't want it on there.
 
Old 05-08-2007, 01:14 AM   #5
syg00
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveoily
from dsl's live cd, fdisk -l gives

cannot open /dev/hda
cannot open /dev/hdb

would that be because they are unmounted?
Older versions of fdisk used to do that if the disk signature bytes had been zero'd out. Newer versions don't care - try it from Knoppix; anything after about 3.9 should be o.k.
Like you I am mystified that XP installer won't talk to you - unless that is a *real* old machine, and the BIOS won't handle big disks.
Let's see what Knoppix says.

Edit: Just to be sure, do it as root. Before doing the fdisk, enter "su -" (with the minus sign); there is no root password on Knoppix, don't know about the others.

Last edited by syg00; 05-08-2007 at 01:17 AM.
 
Old 05-08-2007, 07:19 AM   #6
Larry Webb
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If you are still having problems please give us some specs on your computer and if you are trying to duel boot. You have us guessing in the dark.
 
Old 05-08-2007, 09:07 AM   #7
daveoily
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su - fdisk -l gave me some options, like I'm not using it properly...

however sudo fdisk -l gave

Quote:
Disk /dev/sda: 131 MB, 131072000 bytes
16 heads, 32 sectors/track, 500 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 512 * 512 = 262144 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 500 127984 b Win95 FAT32

Disk /dev/hda: 4311 MB, 4311982080 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 524 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System

Disk /dev/hdb: 20.0 GB, 20020396032 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 2434 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hdb2 * 1 2434 19551073+ 82 Linux swap
the first bit is my usb disc, I didn't want to write it down then copy it back on a different comp in case of errors in transposition, i'm pretty prone to typos... odd it says 131 mb, i thought it was 128mb

i think the last bit is the swap space I created using dsl's install script, I tried to do it once I'd wiped the discs, but it didn't seem to want to play ball installing to hda1...

could that be the prob, I may have got confused, its not as simple as c: d: etc in linux is it?

maybe I should have tried to install to hda

if I set the 20gb one to master and the 4gb as slave perhaps that will work... I'll try it and see, if it doesn't work I'll put it back as it is here

oh, and larry, dual boot is not the issue here, I want windows off this machine.

another thought occurs, is there a nice linux command to print out the specs of the comp? well, I know there is under ubuntu, using the same bash shell, but I forgot it, I'll look it up, if you know it off hand, i'd appreciate it if you mention it, if not, I'll mention it when I find it.

found it, but it didn't work, command not found... sudo lshw ... perhaps it's not the same shell i'm using here.

Last edited by daveoily; 05-08-2007 at 10:11 AM.
 
Old 05-08-2007, 10:09 AM   #8
daveoily
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well, i tried swapping the discs over on the ide cables and resetting the jumpers appropriately, no dice nor did putting the 20gb in on it's own as master. Both resulted in just a blinking cursor.

Then after a bit of a heartstopper putting the stuff back where it was and dsl not even picking up, fumbling around (one of the power cables was a bit loose) everything we've talked about is as was now...

phew!
 
Old 05-10-2007, 10:35 AM   #9
daveoily
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Okies, I sorted this one, I'll write it up, just for completeness....

It seemed that my hdd wasn't properly connected before, because after taking it apart and reconnecting the hdd's and power, then attempting to install windows, this time, windows wanted to install !

So I stopped it installing, re-used the seagate software to zero the hdd again, then booted into dsl

The same procedure worked for feather, might be useful to newbies, I'm not exactly an oldbie myself...

To set up the disc partitions properly, I used the command...

sudo cfdisk /dev/hda

Apparently you need one linux partition and one swap space, at least I think thats how it goes, swap space, I won't go into here, mainly because I know nothing about it!

The interface to cfdisk is very easy to use and I'm very impressed with it, fdisk by comparison I guess would take a lot longer to figure out how to use, so I'd recommend cfdisk to newbies with a need for command line partitioning anyday

Erm after that, the install scripts took care of everything for me, so now I have a shiny new operating system to play with.

If you have the same intentions as I did, and just want a multimedia box to play dvds and music files on a low spec pc using a lightweight operating system, I'd have to go probably with feather as it has a dvd player in it by default, although I guess it's probably not too difficult to install one on dsl.

Now i've fiddled with the themes on it, I can't seem to get the penguin to return! It's the best desktop on feather, my advice, leave it alone... or tinker with it, I guess, that's kinda what linux is all about isn't it?

Maybe I'll just reinstall it, it doesn't take long to do

Last edited by daveoily; 05-10-2007 at 10:36 AM.
 
  


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