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Old 02-13-2003, 01:55 PM   #1
AndK
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Question Partition table unreadable [by Linux installers]


Hi All,

I'm having problems trying to install a Linux on my 6.4 GB Maxtor drive. I tried RedHat 7.2, 7.3, 8.0, Peanut.

The drive has been repartitioned many times, it's been a base for Win'98SE.
I want to keep one, 2400 MB part (C for W98 - it is running OK now from this partition - and the rest I'm leaving unpartitioned for Linux - I would like to make it 200Meg Swap, 3000 MB Root, 700 odd MB /home or just make it one big chunk for newbie convenience's sake but...

When boot from (I'll stay with RH7.2 example here) the CD and get to the point where I'm asked for decision which way I want to partition the drive both DiskDruid and Fdisk tell me:

The partition table on device hda was unreadable. To create new partition it must be initialized [what is that? - AndK], causing [mayhem] the loss of all data on this drive.

If I let it initialize the drive it (predictably) wipes it out
I did DOS (Win'98) FDISK /MBR - didn't get any feedback from this command so not sure if it did anything.

Are any obvious cures, please?

Any more involved ones? Maybe some hard-to-accomplish ones? It wouldn't matter, I'm progressing in my quest to get this Linux system from humble beginnings to actually building a whole new system to run it on. Please!

Cheers
 
Old 02-13-2003, 03:07 PM   #2
AndK
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Lightbulb

Something popped up when I triaed Automatic Partitioning of the RH7.2. It presented me with one choice: hda1 - it used only 2 Gig out of it, which I thought might have some meaning. Then I remembered reading about 1024 cylinder limitation of (hmmm, BIOSes, HDs?).

Anyways, I went on to create 1 DOS primary partition 1900MB in size and hey presto, I have now:
/dev/hda1 1-243 1906M vfat
and
Free space 244-156 101M Free space

Jeez, I remember reading that 1024 cyl limitation was rare at that time (it was in a big black Linux book with RH5.1 CD, around 1998, I think)

My mobo is an MSI 6378, video, sound, LAN on board - rather old type but currently produced; I flashed BIOS with the most recent one (Jan 2003).

Saga continues: will I manage to utilise that remaining 4.4 Gig?

Perhaps YOU, dear reader, know the answer?
Answers to this thread, please.
 
Old 02-13-2003, 04:25 PM   #3
Mara
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If the partition size is correct, everything should be OK. The problem was with old version of LILO (fixed quite long ago).
 
Old 02-13-2003, 04:33 PM   #4
Mara
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BTW, your disk is 6.4GB? It's quite late (and I'm not sure if I xount correctly) but I supose the 1024 cylinder problem would not affect you at all.
 
Old 02-13-2003, 04:50 PM   #5
AndK
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Mara,
Thanks for your reply.

Which partition? The remaining 100 megs surely is NOT enough to install RH7.2 on. Despite the hard drive being 6400 MB only 2000 MB is seen by fdisk. Linux sees this HD as 2 Gig one

RH7.2's Automatic partition thinggie reports /dev/hda1/ as having 1-243 cyls (1906M) and that is my vfat partition and it reports 244-256 cyls (101M) of free space. The drive should have 826 cylinders! Surely, I could shrink the vfat partition to, say 1Gig and use another 1G for Linux but that's not the point. I would like to use the whole 6.4 G of this drive but I am unable as far as Linux is concerned

Where does all that missing 4.6 gig go!?
[edit:] hehe, it IS late, I meant 4.4 GB! Yes my drive is 6.4GB
Cheers

Last edited by AndK; 02-13-2003 at 04:59 PM.
 
Old 02-13-2003, 05:07 PM   #6
Mara
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Try to find out what Linux fdisk says about your disk. Boot from the RH cd, but choose "rescue" mode instead of installation. Then run
fdisk /dev/hda
and press 'p' to print all the partitions. Look if it is correct.
The problem may be that your partition table is broken (after many changes it sometimes happens). In such situation the best solution is to move your data somewhere, delete all the partitions you have now and create them again.
 
Old 02-13-2003, 05:25 PM   #7
AndK
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There is no data on the HD, I just created that FAT32 partition from scratch for the n-th time, on a raw, not partitioned HD. I used DOS fdisk as I did so many times yesterday and before. This HD was always 6.4 GB (6'793'723'904 bytes)

I've just removed the vfat partition leaving the HD in a RAW state. Here's what fdisk tells me:

255 H, 63 S, 256 C
Units= Cyls of 16065 * 512 bytes
Blanks below

Which is different to what BIOS uses in Acces mode set to AUTO, which is respectively:
16H, 63S, 13176C
in LBA:
255H, 63S, 826C
==========

Now, I created a primary DOS partition of 1900MB. Went to RH7.2 rescue install and fdisk shows me:

/dev/hda1 1 - 243 1951866 b Win95 FAT32

Which points to my problem: I'm left with cylinders 244-256 which is roughly 100MB to fill up to 2 GB.

The info from the IDE HD is passed wrongly to Linux somehow. DOS (Windoze) has always used the full capacity of this HD.

Ranish Partition Manager sees the HD as 255H, 63S, 826C

Last edited by AndK; 02-13-2003 at 05:47 PM.
 
Old 02-14-2003, 03:21 PM   #8
Mara
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I guess you need the number of cylinders Linux sees manually. Run Linux fdisk, choose expert options('x'), then 'c' and enter the value. Look if it's OK now.
 
Old 02-14-2003, 05:02 PM   #9
AndK
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I did that. Entered 826 Cyls, hit 'w' but ther is only 2008 MB free space (1-256 Cyls, my DOS partition was hosed down in effect )
Then I tried changing both C number and Head and Sectors to 626/255/63 - still no joy
then:
13176/16/63 - the same miserable effect - fdisk reports 256 C and 2008 MB for the whole HD
 
Old 02-14-2003, 07:02 PM   #10
fancypiper
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I have had good luck using Ranish Partition Manager to setup partitions.

It should see your free space. You can finish partitioning with that if the install/fdisk/cfdisk confuses you.

You can boot into a working Linux with these:
KNOPPIX Linux Live CD
Linux Bootable Business Card
Tom's Root and Boot floppy
or any "live" linux CDs.
 
Old 02-15-2003, 04:39 AM   #11
AndK
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I have been using Ranish (mentioned it in my earlier posts). Unfortunately Knoppix won't work on my setup (MSI 6378 all-in-one mobo).

Last nigh I finally solved the riddle, well there was no riddle after all, just my silliness. I trusted the information on the sticker on the HD I had for years. Last night (a few hours back, actually) I confronted it finally with Maxtor install sheet and it turned out the jumper setting on the HD were flipping wrong! What a bummer! I reset one jumper (turned around 90deg) and finally not only Ranish but also Linux fdisk recognises the whole 826 cylinders.

Sorry for drawing your attention to this nonexistent problem. One consolation is somebody will learn from this thread to always make carefull preparations. I ought to know, it's like using second hand components for building an electronics project, one might get lucky one might not.

Cheers
---
Andrzej
 
  


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