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Old 01-25-2002, 04:39 AM   #1
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Alicante , Spain
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Installing Suse 7.0 (2nd time) on my Dell 8100

Hi All,

Hopefully one of you Suse experts will be able to help me . The story is quite long whereas the problem is simple . Here goes .

About 6 months ago I bought a new Dell 8100 P4 1.4G 256M . It came with ME . I wanted to install Suse 7.0 so I created some "free space" with Partition Magic on the Maxtor 20Gb HD and started the install .

I had the basic P4 problems . I had to download the P4 bootdisk and add the echo "arch_compat" etc..... line before the first reboot . No problem . The install completed successfully and I installed the drivers for my Nvidia video card . I used Boot Magic to switch between both OS's . Everything was fine .
I later removed Suse from my PC as I needed the space .

Now here's my problem . Last week I decided that I wanted to re-install it . Since the last time it was installed I've added more memory . I've now got 512M and added a second HD (Seagate) .

This time I wanted to install it on the slave HD so I followed the same procedure . Created free space , boot with P4 floppy , add the echo line before reboot etc...

The first problem during the install was that it would NOT copy LILO to the floppy . I kept getting the same error message "LILO can't be copied to the floppy . Please check that floppy is formatted and not write protected" . I tried it with 5 floppies all formated in DOS . I also tried formatting them from a Solaris system . Same problem . The strange thing was that the floppy light didn't even come on which makes me believe that Suse wasn't even trying to access the disk .

Anyway , fine , I've got Boot Magic . I'll copy LILO to the /boot partition and use BM . I activate "Advanced partition hiding" in BM , select the partition and reboot . Nothing happens , black screen . OK , I disconnect all my HDs . Reconnect my old Maxtor as master . Now bear in mind that now I have only one (formatted and fdisk /mbr) HD connected . I install again and this time I choose to install Lilo to the MBR . Reboot , nothing , black screen again .

OK , 6 days of playing , installing , reformatting . It's driving me crazy !!

I then put everything back the way it was . 2 HDs . So , after reading all the problems on the Suse web support page I install it again on my slave and reboot . This time I keep the P4 boot floppy in . I type "manual" at the boot prompt and I select "Boot Installed System" /dev/hdb3 and the system boots and completes the installation . The problem is that I now have to use this procedure every time . On top of that I've now got x11 problems . No graphical display etc...

Anyway , I'm not worried about the other problems . I'm sure they're "fixable" . However I am worried about the LILO problems . I'd rather use BM like I did before but . The only physical change I've made in my PC since the last time is add more memory . The BIOS has been updated to A09 . I also tried reverting back to A06 which was on it when I got it but the problem remained . I can't understand why it won't install LILO and boot from floppy or from the MBR . I had none of these problems before . I was going to remove my added memory but I thought I'd ask you guys first to see if anyone can give me some help .

That's the story . Sorry for it being so longwinded but better too much information than too little .

Thanks in advance .


PS If anyone can fix this I'll buy them a virtual beer . It's been on 4 forums . Total replies "0".

Last edited by pmcmill; 01-25-2002 at 06:27 AM.
Old 01-26-2002, 10:40 AM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Alicante , Spain
Posts: 7

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Ok Folks ,

Let's try and simplify what's happening . I'll go through everything that I'm doing step by step to see if I'm doing something stupid .

System : Dell 8100 P4 1.4G 512M RAM Nvidia video BIOS A09
HD Master : Master WinME (unpartitioned)
HD Slave : 20Gb Unused

Have Partition Magic 6 and Boot Magic installed in WinME.

Want to install My Suse 7.0 professional .

1) Boot from my downloaded Suse P4 boot floppy .
2) Follow installation instructions , keyboard , language etc ..
3) Where do want to install Suse ? I choose HD2 .
4) Suse says there are no partitions on this drive .
Suse will use the whole drive for the installation . I say OK .
5) Where do you want to install Lilo . I choose NOT to install Lilo (/Boot have own Boot manager).
6) Installation finishes on CD 1 . Do you want to Reboot ?
7) I say "No" . Ctrl/Alt F2 . I enter echo "arch_compat: i?86: i686" >> /mnt/usr/lib/rpm/rpmrc
(Suse support told me that I have to add this line to prevent RPM errors on reboot)
8) Then Alt F7 to return to Yast2 memu .
9) Now I click OK to reboot
10) After reboot I'm now back in WinME . I check Partition Magic and my 3 Linux partitions are
defined (/Boot,Swap and /).
11) I open Boot Magic . I type "Add" , "Advanced" I select "Linux Ext2 , Disk 2 , Pri -1" (/Boot).
12) Boot Magic tells me that I may have to enable "Advanced Partition Hiding" in order for this
partition to boot properly . I select this option and in the "Visible Partition" options Disk1
has WinME hidden and all partitions in disk2 are unhidden . Looks OK , no ??

I activate Boot Magic and reboot . On reboot I select Linux and I get a black screen .
It doesn't boot .

If I reboot and insert my boot floppy and enter "manual" at the boot prompt I can then select
"Boot Installed System" , "dev/hdb3" and it boots and I can finish the installation . The problem
I then have is that x11 is screwed because I booted with the floppy .

All I want to do is use Boot manager to boot Linux . Can anyone see what I'm doing wrong ??

Thanks Again


Last edited by pmcmill; 01-26-2002 at 11:54 AM.
Old 01-27-2002, 12:26 AM   #3
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Registered: Jan 2002
Posts: 1

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As I recalled trying to install SuSE 6.3 last year and I had some problems installing it on my tower computer with BootMagic. I never installed it on my Dell Inspiron 8000 laptop computer until I got 7.3. My advice to you is to obtain SuSE 7.3 by downloading it from a mirror site or buy one from a store. It's much easier to use and it works very well with BootMagic and Dell's Inspiron laptops.

Recently, I've at compiled the latest version of linux kernel 2.4.17 to SuSE 7.3 on my laptop since it has better support for Dell Inspiron's hardware components especially monitoring the battery, fan controls and advanced power management.

I was impressed with SuSE 7.3 installation process and it went very smoothly without a glitch.

Old 01-27-2002, 03:32 PM   #4
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Registered: Jan 2002
Location: Alicante , Spain
Posts: 7

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Well guys I installed Lilo to "/" and I've now got it booting . It took me a week but it's now 100% installed . Now I just need to master this "grep" command ............

Thanks for all your help !! Keep up the good work .



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