the problem may be due to the basic hardware and bios
configuration, but it happened after an install of Mandrake 7.0
I just installed a 20 gb hard drive in my old pentium 166 system,
80 mb memory. The bios only recognized about 8 gb so I
assumed that I could put Windows on the 8 gb and then
proceed to install different versions of Linux on the rest of
the drive. I installed Win95 and then Mandrake 7.0. The
installation went without hitches. When rebooted the
system, I got "LI" and lots of zeros.
During the install of Mandrake, I made a seperate /boot
partition of 7 mb below the 1024 cylinders. It was very close
as it complained with 8 mb. Win95 would not boot either.
I removed the "linear" switch in lilo.conf and Mandrake booted.
Win95 still wouldn't boot.
I figured that I would regenerate the MBR via fdisk /mbr.
What happened was very disturbing. My Win95 boot floppy
would not boot, but the Linux boot floppy would boot.
I tried to regenerate the MBR by doing Lilo - u , which I believe
is supposed to do it, but it didn't.
The next step that I thought of was to make the new drive
a slave and put my old 6.4 gb Win95 drive as master. I figured
that I could somehow repair the drive with a bootable Win95
system. My old drive wouldn't boot either.
I decided that the only possibility would be to try to fix the
hard drive through Mandrake. I did fdisk -o, which put a
DOS partition on the hard drive. After I did it, I was able
to boot my Win95 floppy. I did fdisk / mbr and it did not
regenerate the C: drive. I used Partition Magic and deleted
the existing Win95 partitions and then used fdisk again.
I then tried to transfer the Windows DOS with sys c:
and it said system transferred, but it wouldn't boot. Then
I did format c:/s and I got a message "not enough memory
to load system." Then I did just plain format c: and it formatted
the c: drive without the system. Again, I did sys c: and the message
was "system transferred", but again it didn't boot and said "
missing operating system".
Finally I did format c:/s again and it said "system transferred"
and it actually worked.
This was the most frustrating time I ever had with a computer.
I can't understand why a change on the MBR of a hard drive
would prevent a DOS boot floppy from booting. I thought
that if the bios was set for A,C booting that the floppy would
take priority independently from the hard drive, whether it
was bootable or not or not even there, but it seems that what
probably happened was that the boot process somehow still
needs some sort of confirmation from the hard drive. I
wish I had a handle on what happened because I never want
it to happen again.
Does anyone know why it happened and how I can setup
my present hardware to do what I origionally wanted it to do?