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Author Topic: problematic install on old system  (Read 2952 times)
Xheralt
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Posts: 6


« on: August 09, 2007, 11:11:44 pm »

I'm fairly new to Linux. but of technical enough inclination to handle things pretty well.  I've done a fair amount of distro-hopping, and Vector has emerged as a favorite "welterweight" Linux, something to try on machines with 64MB or so of RAM.  Even if having to manually partition the hd's before installing is a pain.  I sometimes use partitioning tools from other LiveCD's to prep a Vector install.

Anyway, I'm attempting to revitalize an old machine, a Gateway 2000 P-I with 64MB of RAM and I'm being confounded at every turn.  I've gotten Vector to run on a P-II with 64MB RAM, so this ought to be doable...

1.  The machine will not boot from CDROM, only floppy or HD.  No USB at all.  It has valid Win98 and WinNT-workstation installs currently, over 4GB on two drives split into 5 MSDOS partitions (4 FAT, 1 NTFS).  I'm not looking to keep any of the Windows installs, I may keep the 480MB NTFS partition as such.
2.  The process outlined in the README in %cdrom%/boot/dos isn't working.
   a.  Booting the system from it's HD in MSDOS mode causes it to lose it's CDROM drive(s).   No MSDOS drivers for MSCDEX.EXE!
   b.  Booting the system from a Win98 boot floppy, which has CDROM support, allows %cdrom%/boot/dos/linux.bat to be executed, BUT procedure hangs with message "kernel panic: init not found.  include init= in boot parameters" -- except that should have been included in or handled by the batch file!
3.  The process listed on the Vector FAQ for creating boot floppies using RAWRITE can't be applied, because the bare.i and root floppy images (and the directories they're supposed to be in) aren't on the current Vector LiveCD anymore, probably because /boot/dos/linux.bat is supposed to work  Roll Eyes ...are they buried somewhere in the website?
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muskrat
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« Reply #1 on: August 10, 2007, 10:23:57 am »

I'm basicly lazy, I would take easy street.

I'd remove the HD and place it in a system that boots from a CD rom and do the install. Then replace it back into the PC that doesn't boot from CD rom.
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"Who needs windows? When we have no walls!"
saulgoode
Vectorite
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Posts: 340



« Reply #2 on: August 10, 2007, 01:00:52 pm »

You should be able to boot from your CD drive if you use a Smartboot floppy.
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A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that works.
nubcnubdo
Vectorian
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Posts: 675


« Reply #3 on: August 10, 2007, 03:37:42 pm »

Maybe you're trying to boot an old Gateway with curved sides. The CDROMs on that style of tower were not very durable. So you could turn the tower on a side and open the other (top) side, connect up another known working CDROM, proceed with installation from there. After installation return computer to original condition.

Before you try that, though, you should be setting the BIOS so the first boot device is CDROM. Look for a setting in BIOS named "Boot order". If you're already doing that and it won't boot from CDROM, exchange the CDROM (substitute another working CDROM) temporarily to install the OS.

Also, as a preliminary step, you should clean the drive of other operating systems. You can do this with FDISK on a Win98SE boot disk.
http://www.bootdisk.com/

You need 3.2 GB or so of hdd space for an install of VL 5.8 Std.

« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 03:44:31 pm by nubcnubdo » Logged
Xheralt
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Posts: 6


« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2007, 05:18:08 pm »

SaulGoode, thank you, that is precisely the sort of thing I was looking for, rather than the two-floppy boot disk/root disk method I knew about.

Maybe you're trying to boot an old Gateway with curved sides...

No, this is a massive (heavy!) tower with straight sides.  I'm not home now, so I don't have the model name handy.  In the final analysis, this detail is probably irrelevant, anyway.

Before you try that, though, you should be setting the BIOS so the first boot device is CDROM...

I'm not THAT much of a newb -- I tried that.  The bios options are very specific; I can boot from Drive A or Drive C only.  So, maybe if I remove ALL the HD's, the CDROM will become the C drive....but then, where would I install to?  Wink

Also, as a preliminary step, you should clean the drive of other operating systems. You can do this with FDISK on a Win98SE boot disk.
http://www.bootdisk.com/

Or, I could just use gparted and/or mke2fs from a terminal window once I get the LiveCD booted.  Like I said, I'm not THAT much of a newb.  You apparently didn't notice when I said (bullet point 2b) that I'd tried booting the machine from from a WIn98 floppy, which sort of implies that I already have one.  But thanks for the website, if I ever need to replace it.  As far as nuking the existing OS's, it's usually prudent to not break something that's working until one is certain to be able to get it working again.

You need 3.2 GB or so of hdd space for an install of VL 5.8 Std.
That sux -- any Linux that won't fit on a single 2.5GB drive is obviously getting bloated!   Kidding!  Cheesy  But why did you even mention that? I already said I have at least 4GB available.  Even if I *don't* absorb that 480MB ntfs partition, which I still might.

Xheralt
chown -R us ./base   <! I know, old joke, but I still think it's funny>
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Xheralt
Member
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Posts: 6


« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2007, 08:10:38 pm »

OK, Smart Boot Manager floppy does the trick, gets isolinux going.  Dust on CD foiled first attempt, now retrying.

It's gotten as far as initializing the basic system and starting /sbin/udevd, and the screen cleared -- but may be hung up.  I'm being very patient, given the age and expected slowness of the system.

I'll close out this post now, and edit it when I have further news.

Edit:  Ain't happenin'.  I think the hardware is just too limited.  Morphix, D*mn Small, and Puppy Linuxes also hung or kernel-panic'ed on me.  A Knoppix remaster called Feather Linux finally worked.  Maybe I can parlay that into getting Vector going on this -- I'm sure if there were a defined Linux swap partition available, most if not all of the LiveCD's would be happier...

So, maybe not on this machine, but I've got other machines that Vector is still a top choice for....

Xh.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2007, 10:59:37 pm by Xheralt » Logged
verndog
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Posts: 7


« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2007, 09:17:54 am »

I'm basicly lazy, I would take easy street.

I'd remove the HD and place it in a system that boots from a CD rom and do the install. Then replace it back into the PC that doesn't boot from CD rom.
I know this is an old topic, but I would like to have this idea explained. I try removing my laptop hd , put into desktop and create the linux OS. But when I put the laptop HD back into the laptop it would not boot up into desktop. Lots of error messages. I did get Linux running. Is there some files that can re-initialize the desktop?
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lagagnon
Global Moderator
Vectorian
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Posts: 1922



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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2007, 10:18:59 am »

I don't quite know what you mean. By "desktop" do you mean the graphical X GUI desktop? Otherwise Linux works fine? If that is the case run 'vasm' as root in a terminal and choose XWindow, XConf and try reconfiguring X.
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"As people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers". Robert G. Ingersoll
verndog
Member
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Posts: 7


« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2007, 08:27:29 pm »

I don't quite know what you mean. By "desktop" do you mean the graphical X GUI desktop? Otherwise Linux works fine? If that is the case run 'vasm' as root in a terminal and choose XWindow, XConf and try reconfiguring X.
That's it exactly, thank you. I did mean the graphical x windows doesn't start, when I tried 'startx'.
Wow, if this works it's better than the so-called Poormans Install!
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Thorn168
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Posts: 2


« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2007, 10:27:40 am »

Xheralt,

Did you verify that the motherboard bios can work with a Hard drive larger then 2GB?

Computers of that vintage usually had a HD size limit of 2GB.

So if your OS needs at least 3.2 GB for the stock install then it could be that your system's bios is causing the installs to hang.
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