Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by mike » Sat, 05 Aug 2000 04:00:00



Hi,
    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?

                                                        Thanks
                                                                    Mike

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Svend Olaf Mikkels » Sat, 05 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>Hi,
>    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?

>                                                        Thanks
>                                                                    Mike

The problem was that the Linux installation made cyclic partition
tables. DOS cannot boot in that situation. Since no suitable
partitioning tools exist for Linux, you cannot expect to be able to
install Linux or expect data to be safe, if other operation systems
are in the system.
--
Svend Olaf

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Stewart Honsberg » Sat, 05 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>>    the problem may be due to the basic hardware and bios
>>configuration, but it happened after an install of Mandrake 7.0
[...]
>>   Does anyone know why it happened and how I can setup
>>my present hardware to do what I origionally wanted it to do?
>The problem was that the Linux installation made cyclic partition
>tables. DOS cannot boot in that situation. Since no suitable
>partitioning tools exist for Linux, you cannot expect to be able to
>install Linux or expect data to be safe, if other operation systems
>are in the system.

Would you mind backing this statement up with some facts, please?

I partitioned both a 6 and 4 GIG HDD with SuSE Linux 6.4, installed
SuSE, then installed Win'98SE on the FAT32 partition I'd previously
created with SuSE. Both OSs boot without any problems. Windoze doesn't
see my ext2 or swap partitions, which is exactly the behaviour I was
looking for.

His problem more likely lies in the fact that his system (BIOS) is too
old to recognize the large HDD. The fact that in the first place he
could only see 8GB should have been the first clue. Installing Windoze
on it was likely his first mistake.

My advice to the original poster; try to find a recent BIOS flash on
the manufacturers's website and see if that'll allow you to see a HDD
larger than 8GB. Failing that, I'm afraid a hardware upgrade would be
the only other avenue I could forsee.

--


Humming along under SuSE 6.4, Linux 2.4.0-test5

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Svend Olaf Mikkels » Sat, 05 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>Would you mind backing this statement up with some facts, please?

In this case there is no other possible explanation than cyclic
partition tables. A tool that make these is not suitable. If you
believe a suitable partitioning tool exist for Linux, you are welcome
to name one, and I will test it, and tell you why it is not.

Quote:>I partitioned both a 6 and 4 GIG HDD with SuSE Linux 6.4, installed
>SuSE, then installed Win'98SE on the FAT32 partition I'd previously
>created with SuSE. Both OSs boot without any problems. Windoze doesn't
>see my ext2 or swap partitions, which is exactly the behaviour I was
>looking for.

This is a matter of luck. The remarks in the fdisk manual page
(version 2.9y) can be extended to other Linux partitioning tools as
well:

"fdisk is a buggy program that does fuzzy things - usually it happens
to produce reasonable results. Its single advantage is that it has
some support for BSD disk labels and other non-DOS partition tables.
Avoid it if you can."

Quote:>His problem more likely lies in the fact that his system (BIOS) is too
>old to recognize the large HDD. The fact that in the first place he
>could only see 8GB should have been the first clue. Installing Windoze
>on it was likely his first mistake.

>My advice to the original poster; try to find a recent BIOS flash on
>the manufacturers's website and see if that'll allow you to see a HDD
>larger than 8GB. Failing that, I'm afraid a hardware upgrade would be
>the only other avenue I could forsee.

There is no way missing BIOS support for disks larger than 8 GB could
have any influence in this case. If this is attempted, and it
succeeds, it is a matter of luck. Something then was done differently.
--
Svend Olaf
 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Stewart Honsberg » Sun, 06 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>>Would you mind backing this statement up with some facts, please?

>In this case there is no other possible explanation than cyclic
>partition tables.

To quote another respondant; rubbish. I told you already that I created
partitions using Linux's fdisk 2.10f, on which I installed Windoze'98SE.

Quote:>A tool that make these is not suitable. If you believe a suitable
>partitioning tool exist for Linux, you are welcome to name one, and I
>will test it, and tell you why it is not.

Linux's FDisk. I've done partition management with it that Windoze's
FDIsk and even PQMAGIC couldn't handle. Both programs bombed with
infinite circle loop error messages, (PQMAGIC just gave an error
number and quit, while Windoze's FDISK told me that I couldn't remove
the extended partition because logical volumes existed, but that I
couldn't remove logical volumes because none existed).

With Linux's FDISK I removed all partitions, created a PRI DOS partition
typed as FAT32 on which I installed Windoze'98SE + Plus!

Quote:>>I partitioned both a 6 and 4 GIG HDD with SuSE Linux 6.4, installed
>>SuSE, then installed Win'98SE on the FAT32 partition I'd previously
>>created with SuSE. Both OSs boot without any problems. Windoze doesn't
>>see my ext2 or swap partitions, which is exactly the behaviour I was
>>looking for.

>This is a matter of luck. The remarks in the fdisk manual page
>(version 2.9y) can be extended to other Linux partitioning tools as
>well:

Taken out of context. They're talking about other partition types such
as BSD ("slices" they call them, and can't be seen by Windoze FDISK
or PQMAGIC from what I've seen) and "other non-DOS partition tables."

Quote:>>His problem more likely lies in the fact that his system (BIOS) is too
>>old to recognize the large HDD. The fact that in the first place he
>>could only see 8GB should have been the first clue. Installing Windoze
>>on it was likely his first mistake.
>There is no way missing BIOS support for disks larger than 8 GB could
>have any influence in this case. If this is attempted, and it
>succeeds, it is a matter of luck. Something then was done differently.

I suggest you do some reading when it comes to BIOS support for large
HDDs. You are completely, and without a doubt incorrect. Missing BIOS
support for the drive has everything to do with the problem at hand.
The BIOS is the first thing that has to look at the hardware during
POST, and then towards the boot process.

The drive was detected as an 8G drive. This indicates a problem with the
BIOS. As a result, the partitioning utility used would have created
partitions conflicting with the BIOS values, thus created mass system
confusion.

There is no doubt in my mind that you are incorrect on this matter. I've
upgraded motherboards for customers who've experienced this same problem
when attempting to install 20, 30, or even 40G HDDs in older systems. I
do this for a living, thus I speak from personal professional experience.

The only thing he could attempt to save himself a BIOS/mobo upgrade would
be to manually enter the parameters for the drive, rather than allowing
the BIOS to auto-detect. Some systems will allow this and detect the drive
at proper size, but they're very definately the exception, rather than the
rule.

--


Humming along under SuSE 6.4, Linux 2.4.0-test5

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Michel Catuda » Mon, 07 Aug 2000 04:00:00


Stewart Honsberger a crit :

Quote:

> The only thing he could attempt to save himself a BIOS/mobo upgrade would
> be to manually enter the parameters for the drive, rather than allowing
> the BIOS to auto-detect. Some systems will allow this and detect the drive
> at proper size, but they're very definately the exception, rather than the
> rule.

You are quite right as your experience seems to miror mine. I find fdisk under Linux
to be far superior to other winblows or dos.

As for this section which I left of your message. I did patch the correct information in
my bios and the 14G drive was correctly seen. On the other hand both NT4 and Corel Linux still
managed to blow the partition table. Winblows 98, Slackware, SuSE, Mandrake, RedHat as well as
Caldera Linux had no problem whatsoever.

--
Vous en avez plein l'casse du plantage avec Ti-Mou?
C'est l'temps d'essayer Linux
http://www.netonecom.net/~bbcat/
We have software, food, music, news, search,
history, electronics and genealogy pages.

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Svend Olaf Mikkels » Tue, 08 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>Taken out of context. They're talking about other partition types such
>as BSD ("slices" they call them, and can't be seen by Windoze FDISK
>or PQMAGIC from what I've seen) and "other non-DOS partition tables."

This was your comment to my quote from the fdisk manual page:

"fdisk is a buggy program that does fuzzy things - usually it happens
to produce reasonable results. Its single advantage is that it has
some support for BSD disk labels and other non-DOS partition tables.
Avoid it if you can."

I suggest you read that again.
--
Svend Olaf

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Bob Hau » Tue, 08 Aug 2000 04:00:00


On Mon, 07 Aug 2000 15:14:37 GMT, Svend Olaf Mikkelsen


>This was your comment to my quote from the fdisk manual page:

>"fdisk is a buggy program that does fuzzy things - usually it happens
>to produce reasonable results.

I'm afraid that my copy of "man fdisk" does not contain this text.  It
does contain this though:

BUGS
       There  are  several  *fdisk programs around.  Each has its
       problems and strengths.  Try them  in  the  order  cfdisk,
       fdisk, sfdisk.

None of the manpages for these versions of fdisk contains the text you
quoted.  Perhaps you have a very old copy of fdisk?  My manpage is
dated 11 June 1998.

If your theory of "cyclic partitions" were correct in general for large
disks, then we would be hearing the screams of pain from all quarters.
Instead, we hear only from people with old BIOS.

--
 -| Bob Hauck
 -| Codem Systems, Inc.
 -| http://www.codem.com/

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Stewart Honsberg » Tue, 08 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>If your theory of "cyclic partitions" were correct in general for large
>disks, then we would be hearing the screams of pain from all quarters.
>Instead, we hear only from people with old BIOS.

He appears at first glance to be a troll. If he is speaking from some
sort of experience, my guess is he's using a large HDD with an old BIOS
and blamed Linux's fdisk for his flawed partition table.

I've partitioned a 20G HDD under RedHat, creating a 6G pri. FAT32 with the
rest extended; 6G FAT32 log., 6G ext2 log, 1G ext2 log, with the remainder
as swap space, I believe. Linux installed like a champ, as did Windoze'98SE.
Windoze very obediently looked at only the two FAT32 partitions (C: and D:)
and used the 6G secondary drive as its E: drive, and ignored the ext2
partitions as it should. It's currently dual-booting with DocsBoot
(http://www.docsware.com) with no problems whatsoever.

There is no evidence, either personal or professional that could point to
a problem with Linux's fdisk software.

--


Humming along under SuSE 6.4, Linux 2.4.0-test5

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Svend Olaf Mikkels » Tue, 08 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>I'm afraid that my copy of "man fdisk" does not contain this text.  It
>does contain this though:

>BUGS
>       There  are  several  *fdisk programs around.  Each has its
>       problems and strengths.  Try them  in  the  order  cfdisk,
>       fdisk, sfdisk.

>None of the manpages for these versions of fdisk contains the text you
>quoted.  Perhaps you have a very old copy of fdisk?  My manpage is
>dated 11 June 1998.

You can get a newer Fdisk version at

http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/utils/util-linux/

Quote:>If your theory of "cyclic partitions" were correct in general for large
>disks, then we would be hearing the screams of pain from all quarters.
>Instead, we hear only from people with old BIOS.

I have a BIOS that supports large disks, and a 9670 MB harddisk.
According to Linux fdisk the partition tables look like this:

Disk /dev/hdc: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 1232 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes

   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
/dev/hdc1   *       127       256   1044193+   6  FAT16
/dev/hdc2           257       512   2056320    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hdc3           513       768   2056320   16  Hidden FAT16
/dev/hdc4          1024      1232   1678792+   5  Extended
/dev/hdc5          1024      1029     48163+  82  Linux swap
/dev/hdc6          1030      1200   1373526   83  Linux

I cannot boot DOS when this disk is in the system, not even from
floppy. Why?
--
Svend Olaf

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Bob Hau » Wed, 09 Aug 2000 04:00:00


On Mon, 07 Aug 2000 19:44:49 GMT, Svend Olaf Mikkelsen



>>If your theory of "cyclic partitions" were correct in general for large
>>disks, then we would be hearing the screams of pain from all quarters.
>I have a BIOS that supports large disks, and a 9670 MB harddisk.
>According to Linux fdisk the partition tables look like this:

[snip]

Quote:>I cannot boot DOS when this disk is in the system, not even from
>floppy. Why?

I don't know, but I would suggest that if you can't boot DOS from the
*floppy* when this disk is in the system, then you have a hardware
problem and partition tables are the least of your worries.  Perhaps
there is an IRQ or IO port conflict, or some sort of BIOS bug.

--
 -| Bob Hauck
 -| To Whom You Are Speaking
 -| http://www.haucks.org/

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Svend Olaf Mikkels » Wed, 09 Aug 2000 04:00:00



>>I cannot boot DOS when this disk is in the system, not even from
>>floppy. Why?

>I don't know, but I would suggest that if you can't boot DOS from the
>*floppy* when this disk is in the system, then you have a hardware
>problem and partition tables are the least of your worries.  Perhaps
>there is an IRQ or IO port conflict, or some sort of BIOS bug.

This is not the correct answer. Actually it is completely wrong.
--
Svend Olaf
 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Svend Olaf Mikkels » Wed, 09 Aug 2000 04:00:00




><<SNIP>>

>>I have a BIOS that supports large disks, and a 9670 MB harddisk.
>>According to Linux fdisk the partition tables look like this:

>>Disk /dev/hdc: 255 heads, 63 sectors, 1232 cylinders
>>Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 bytes

>>   Device Boot    Start       End    Blocks   Id  System
>>/dev/hdc1   *       127       256   1044193+   6  FAT16
>>/dev/hdc2           257       512   2056320    7  HPFS/NTFS
>>/dev/hdc3           513       768   2056320   16  Hidden FAT16
>>/dev/hdc4          1024      1232   1678792+   5  Extended
>>/dev/hdc5          1024      1029     48163+  82  Linux swap
>>/dev/hdc6          1030      1200   1373526   83  Linux

>>I cannot boot DOS when this disk is in the system, not even from
>>floppy. Why?

>because you forgot to partition cylinders 1 to 126.

>DOS is too braindead to be able to find itself on some partition that
>starts somewhere halfway up your disk.
>repartition your disk, make cylinders 1 to 126 your c: drive.
>This will also gain you and extra gigabyte or so  (:
>make it bootable from a dos floppy by executing "format c: /s" from the
>dos bootfloppy.
>then install linux, write a good /etc/lilo.conf.
>execute lilo, and if all went well from the lilo prompt you will be able
>to boot into dos.

>Now, what you read in the fdisk manpage is a disclaimer, where the
>buggyness that is referred to perhaps points to fdisks idiotic behavior
>to start the cylindercount at 1 instead of 0.
>However, this doesn't say that you cannot write a suitable partitiontable
>with it.

Well, I cannot boot to a DOS floppy, even if delete current hdc1 and
make a primary FAT partition at 1 based cylinder 1 to 126, zeroes the
boot sector (and backup boot sector if FAT32), and make that partition
active, and insert the disk as hda.

Now what? How can I then do format c: /s

Please note that I know the explanation. You are completely wrong.
DOS/Windows has no problems with primary FAT partitions that are not
in the beginning of the disk. At least not with a single primary FAT
partition at cylinder 126 to 255.
--
Svend Olaf

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Bob Hau » Wed, 09 Aug 2000 04:00:00


On Tue, 08 Aug 2000 08:01:24 GMT, Svend Olaf Mikkelsen



>>>I cannot boot DOS when this disk is in the system, not even from
>>>floppy. Why?

>>I don't know, but I would suggest that if you can't boot DOS from the
>>*floppy* when this disk is in the system, then you have a hardware
>>problem and partition tables are the least of your worries.  Perhaps
>>there is an IRQ or IO port conflict, or some sort of BIOS bug.

>This is not the correct answer. Actually it is completely wrong.

How about you being to thick to change the boot device in BIOS before
trying to boot from that floppy?

--
 -| Bob Hauck
 -| Codem Systems, Inc.
 -| http://www.codem.com/

 
 
 

Almost Lost New Hard Drive After Linux Install

Post by Bob Hau » Wed, 09 Aug 2000 04:00:00


On Tue, 08 Aug 2000 08:02:16 GMT, Svend Olaf Mikkelsen


>Well, I cannot boot to a DOS floppy, even if delete current hdc1 and
>make a primary FAT partition at 1 based cylinder 1 to 126, zeroes the
>boot sector (and backup boot sector if FAT32), and make that partition
>active, and insert the disk as hda.

Isn't that amazing!  You can't boot from a disk that has the MBR zeroed
out!  Not from a floppy either if you have a hard disk as the first
boot device in BIOS and aren't clever enough to change it.

You are correct, Linux fdisk can't fix that.  You need to use DOS fdisk
("fdisk /mbr") unless you have saved a backup copy of the boot sector
somewhere in which case you can fix it with "dd".  Or you could put
LILO on the MBR instead.

Quote:>Please note that I know the explanation. You are completely wrong.

Yeah, yeah, "circular partitions".

--
 -| Bob Hauck
 -| Codem Systems, Inc.
 -| http://www.codem.com/