LinuxQuestions.org
Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - General
User Name
Password
Linux - General This Linux forum is for general Linux questions and discussion.
If it is Linux Related and doesn't seem to fit in any other forum then this is the place.

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 01-27-2006, 06:52 PM   #1
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Rep: Reputation: 15
Linux on a computer without boot from cdrom


ok.

i just got an old compaq presario 7478 for free. i want to put linux on it. it cant boot from a cd so im stuck.

i tried puting the hard drive in an external case and installing it externaly through my laptop. i was trying to install "overclockix", a live knoppix cd with an install script. it used the setting from my laptop though and when i put it back in its own box it wouldn't boot.

i then wanted to try just installing straight onto that computer. my major problem, however, is that it wont boot from a cd. i reflashed the bios and still didn't have the option. so i found out that you can use "rawrite2.exe" and "sbm.bin" on a windows machine to make a boot floppy that will alow you to boot from a cd through the floppy.

i wanted to install dos onto the computer, use its floppy drive to make a boot disk, and go from there. the mbr had some sort of crapped up lilo on it and i couldn't do it. i finaly got a hold of a computer with a floppy drive and got the disk made.

i put it in with high hopes and... it didn't work. it showed the cd-rom as being there in the menu, but there was no information, meaning it thought there was no disc in it. i couldn't read from the cd drives when it still had win98 on it. i thought it might have just been windows so i discarded the thought.

now onto the questions.

what do i have to do to read from the cd drives? (neither the cdrom or dvdrom work.)
how can i install it externaly with generic boot options? (painlessly)
is there another way to put linux on this computer?
 
Old 01-27-2006, 07:01 PM   #2
amosf
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Australia
Distribution: Mandriva/Slack - KDE
Posts: 1,672

Rep: Reputation: 46
If you put the drive in another PC to install, then it has to be in the same place... I recently installed mandrake 10 by putting the drive on the primary master of a P4, installed it, then put the drive on the primary master of the p166 and let it boot and find new harware. Went well...

Otherwise you will need a distro that has provision to make a boot floppy which will then read the CD and install... Sounds like you tried that. It should work and I have done it many time (rawrite and then boot and install). Sounds like the cdrom drive is no good...
 
Old 01-27-2006, 07:03 PM   #3
saikee
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
Yes, remove the hard disk and put into a PC with it alone (no other disk or working as external). Install a Linux in it and put it back.

Fedora, Mandrake and Suse will automatically adjust the settings for you.

You could install it as an external disk but you need to know how to alter the system files (about three) because the partition reference for an external disk is sda or hde whereas as an internal it would be called hda. That is why I advise you to install it as an internal disk in another PC.
 
Old 01-27-2006, 07:59 PM   #4
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
i had thought of that. but all i have here at home are laptops. i could use my dads at his office downtown but that just gets into a whole different issue. my dad doesn't realy understand that it wouldn't mess up anything on his comp.

anyway. you said there were about three files to edit if i want to do it externaly. do you have any idea as to what and where they would be?
 
Old 01-27-2006, 08:26 PM   #5
amosf
Senior Member
 
Registered: Jun 2004
Location: Australia
Distribution: Mandriva/Slack - KDE
Posts: 1,672

Rep: Reputation: 46
mostly /etc/fstab

but you also need to be able to boot the machine, which involves the mbr, so if you install it on an external drive you are going to need a rescue floppy to boot the machine so you can edit lilo/grub conf files and run lilo/grub and then get the machine to boot...
 
Old 01-28-2006, 01:56 AM   #6
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
how do i make a rescue floppy?
 
Old 01-28-2006, 04:35 AM   #7
saikee
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
Editing needed for a Linux moved from one partition to another

For a Grub based distro

(1) /boot/grub/menu.lst (partition reference on the "root" statement + "kernel" statement when there is a parameter of "root=/dev/hda?"

(2) /boot/grub/device.map (make sure the (hd0) matches the hda or sda etc)

(3) /etc/fstab (the root partition to be mounted by kernel, this should match with the kernel statement in (1) above.

For a Lilo-based distro

(a) /etc/lilo.conf (the statement "root=/dev/hda?" should be corrected)

(b) /etc/fstab ( same treatment as the Grub case in (3) above)

In a nut shell if the Linux is installed in an extenal hard disk it will has the root reference sda1. Just change all of them to hda1.

In Grub case Item (1) Grub specifies the root by a different method and alsoways counts from 0 so both sda1 and hda1 will be known as (hd0,0) to Grub, meaning the 1st partition of the 1st disk, therefore no change should be necessary.
 
Old 01-28-2006, 10:41 PM   #8
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
thank you. i was able to boot succesfully from grub. however, it starts to load and then i get and error saying:

ALERT! /dev/hda1 does not exist. Dropping to a shell!

then it drops to a shell (BusyBox v1.0-pre10). i am using ubuntu (linux for cheaters) on this comp by the way. the shell is minimal with no access to the hdd. im not sure what to do from here but at least im making some progress.

my car also wont work. need a new computer. no pregress for weeks. but thats another story.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 05:18 AM   #9
saikee
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
Having a shell is a good sign.

I am not sure how good you are with the hardware. If /dev/hda1 does not exist there could be a number of reasons like

(1) You use a Sata disk and did not realise it is called sda intead of hda
(2) You did not hook you hard drive as the master of the primary IDE cable. It can then be named as hdb for being a slave in the primary cable, or hdc as the master of the secondary IDE cable or hdd as if it has been hooked as slave in the secondary IDE cable.

Grub can boot it partitially because Grub uses a numbering system and so the kernel has been booted up. To get the system up you need the correct partitioning reference in files (1) to (3) inclusively I mentioned previously.

-------------------------------------

All is not lost because in a shell you can edit all the above files using the editor "vi".

It is a tough one to use if you haven't tried it before. Need to read up a bit first but the basic commnads to get by are

i for insert
esc for stop insertion
dd to delete a line (while not inserting)
x to delete the next character (while not inserting)
:q to quit
:w to save the file
:q! to force a quit and save nothing

Good luck
 
Old 01-29-2006, 12:45 PM   #10
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
im sort of okay with hardware stuff. i'm about 95% sure i've got everything in the right place.

what do you mean by "Sata disk"?

as i said its a very minimal shell. i dont even know if i would describe it as a shell. it doesn't have any progs like vi. i think its somehow built in with the bootloader.

anyway, i tried changing everything to hda, hda1, hda2, sda, sda1, hdd, hdd1, hdc, and fd0. i even tried (knowing it wouldn't work) just setting root=/.

in the shell thing, i cant even access the hard drive at all.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 12:58 PM   #11
saikee
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
A Sata disk is a recent (many years in existence already) type of hard disk. IDE maximum transfer speed stops at 133Mb/s. Sata started off at 150Mb/s and the SataII has been out doing 300Mb/s.

IDE has two channels and each channel supports 2 IDE devices of hard disk and CD drives. Linux assigns them as hda, hdb, hdc and hdd. Therefore the Linux you installed in another computer should match the IDE position to your own PC.

The command you can used in a shell to check the hard disk designation is
Code:
fdisk -l
The "l" is a small "L".

"vi" is part of the kernel.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 02:25 PM   #12
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
i dont have access to the hd. still i can do nothing. if i type "fdisk -l" i get this error.

/bin/sh: fdisk: not found

same thing with vi or any other simple programs. this "busybox" thing realy sucks. it gives you hope and then squashes it like a tiny insect under a fat man.

it has a built in command list. it consists of about 50 or 60 commands, most of which are just basic file management. but all of that is useless unless i can see the hard drive contents.

it is an IDE disk by the way. so thats not my problem. its the disk that came with the computer and used to work with it.

im going to try and find a way to install it differently. if i could just stick it in another box it would solve all my problems.

anyway... if you think of any other ideas it would be much appreciated, but dont stress over it too much.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 02:39 PM   #13
saikee
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
Do you know if you have root privileges?

Try to preceed system-related commands with sudo like
Code:
sudo fdisk -l
type just type "su" and then supply the password. System-related commands can only be issued by the root user.

Last edited by saikee; 01-29-2006 at 02:40 PM.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 02:46 PM   #14
nenyo
Member
 
Registered: Jan 2005
Location: Alamogordo
Distribution: Gentoo 2005.0
Posts: 136

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
i dont think you understand.

http://www.busybox.net/screenshot.html

this is what i'm trying to work with. its barely functional. not even that. i dont even have nearly that many commands available. certainly not any that might help like fdisk, more, vi, or dmesg.

as you can see, it cant realy be considered a shell, in the normal sense.

Last edited by nenyo; 01-29-2006 at 02:49 PM.
 
Old 01-29-2006, 03:25 PM   #15
saikee
Senior Member
 
Registered: Sep 2005
Location: Newcastle upon Tyne UK
Distribution: Any free distro.
Posts: 3,398
Blog Entries: 1

Rep: Reputation: 112Reputation: 112
But both fdisk and vi were there according to the screen shot, were they not?
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
An HP computer won't boot most linux distros dracolich Linux - General 3 10-23-2005 03:40 PM
How do I get the linux kernel onto cdrom so that I can boot to it.. Yerp Linux - General 10 10-23-2005 07:51 AM
Installing Vector Linux on computer with no CDROM drive DaneM VectorLinux 2 02-13-2005 09:32 PM
Best linux boot from CD for older computer? cranston Linux - Newbie 5 02-29-2004 04:32 PM
How can I tell my computer to boot from Linux? GT_Onizuka Linux - Newbie 5 08-22-2003 02:00 AM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:14 PM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration