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I have scanned the forum and looked at July's similar post to mine (bad cables?) - i think my problem is different. I have an old PII PC with 3 ...
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  1. #1
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    BIOS Can't see Harddrive - need GRUB & Partition advice


    I have scanned the forum and looked at July's similar post to mine (bad cables?) - i think my problem is different.

    I have an old PII PC with 3 hard drives (hda, hdb, hdd) and a DVD burner that has been running W98 (sorry) for a long time. When I added the third drive (hdd) - 120Gb Samsung, the BIOS failed to find it, but W98 does when it finishes booting - apparently this is quite normal on older PCs like mine where the BIOS cannot be updated any more, but W98 and the HDD seem to find eachother because of some code built in to the disk? (Ok, I'm clearly not an expert)

    So I've installed Fedora Core 2 on hdb in a 3Gb partition with Grub - no problem - all the disks were visible. Then I made the mistake of reinstalling (completely) in to a much larger partition on hdd. Now Grub will not even start - "Hard disk error". The rescue CD works fine and my installation is sitting there happily on hdd.

    Theory: My BIOS can't 'see' hdd and therefore Grub can't either so it is failing?

    Solution: If the theory holds? Can I move a minimal subset of my install to hdb (currently mounted as \tmp) and get Grub to load the kernel from there?

    As you can tell... I'm a bit new at this (actually it's been about 9 years since I last installed Linux and although it was an old crappy PC then too...) - any advice gratefully received, and please talk me through it like an idiot.

    Thanks!

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    Linux Guru loft306's Avatar
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    Well the quick and easy way would be to just move the 120gb disk to the slave location on the primary ide cable and it will become hdb.... and change your /etc/fstab to match and redo grub setup and grub.conf to match. but there is probably a way to get grub to boot(it is just prabably a misconfiguration in grub since windows see's it) it but i cant think of it rite now...

    Could you post your grub.conf .
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    Thanks for a speedy reply Mike.

    I will post my grub.conf as soon as I can get back in front of the machine (it's at home, I'm at work).

    However - quick clarification - when I bought the big disk originally and the BIOS couldn't 'see' it, I tried exactly what you've suggested - and the BIOS still couldn't see it. Windows98, when fully loaded, can see the disk, if I boot in DOS mode, it cannot. When I have fully booted Linux (e.g. off rescue CD) it can see the disk. However - if GRUB is just an OS loader (apologies to any GRUB authors) - then is it relying on the BIOS level 'view' of my disks too? If so, that's why I was hoping that I could move a limited part of my installation to one of the disks that the BIOS can see (e.g. hdb) while leaving the bulk of it on the new disk (hdd).

    I'll post my grub.conf as soon as I get home.

    Thanks again!

    Paul

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    Linux Guru loft306's Avatar
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    Hey just thought of something... is the jumper in the correct place? IE: if that box is realey old it might not be able to use cable select and if the jumper is set to cs it might not be seen it should be set to either master or slave!!

    and if as you say is the problem then you should be able to boot off of a floppy...(and then also how would the cd find it?).but i think that if it is not a jumper problem then grub shoule be able to boot it, because you tell grub where it is, grub just dosnt go looking for it
    ~Mike ~~~ Forum Rules
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    Mike,

    I'll rip the panels off and check that too. It's been in there a while, and I'm *fairly* certain it is configured as the slave on the second IDE controller (the DVD burner being the master). When I looked for help after trying to install it, it looked like quite a common problem - the forums talked about something called dynamic disk overlay (DDO) and turned out that the Samsung disk had this s/w on it - hence W98 eventually sees it, even though the BIOS doesn't?

    I'll check the Master/Slave dips and post the grub.conf...

    Thanks again,

    Paul

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    Dip switches are appropriately set (slave) and my grub.conf says...

    default=1
    timeout=10
    splashimage=(hd2,1)/boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz
    title Linux (2.6.5-1.35
    root (hd2,1)
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.5-1.358 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet
    initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.5-1.358.img
    title Windows
    rootnoverify (hd0,0)
    chainloader +1

    Any use?

    Paul

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    Linux Guru loft306's Avatar
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    Ok first i must ask what is the exact error that you get when you try to boot fc2, also dose the pretty splash screen come up(boot screen background)
    I'm thinking if that comes up then this or something like it will be the fix
    kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.5-1.358 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet real_root=/dev/hdd added with a space to the kernel line or maybe root=/dev/hdd

    if no splash screen then it will be the wrong root(wrong drive or wrong partition) for fc2. thus if the first change didnt work try changing root (hd2,1) to (hd2,0) or possibly (hd3,0) )because in my mind hdd would be (hd3,0) and the cdrom would be (hd2,0)

    And in fc2 did it setup grub for you or did you do the setup of grub?

    Loft306 goes to read the GRUB manual again.........
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    Grub doesn't seem to get going at all - it says "Hard Disk Error", and the splash screen doesn't appear. Fedora Core Install did the Grub installation.

    I got pi$$ed at it last night and after several tweaks and Grub reinstalls (none worked, though I got a different message at one point - Error 21 which the Grub manual isn't too specific on), I reinstalled completely (parted and reformat included) putting -

    hd0,0 - Win98
    hd1,0 - Win98
    hd1,1 - /boot
    hd1,2 - swap
    hd2,1 - /

    Three CDs and 90 minutes later... problem solved, Grub reinstalled on /dev/hda by FC2 too.

    Still suggests that Grub can't handle disks that the BIOS can't see, e.g. those like mine that use dynamic disk overlay to get 'seen' in Windows. As the kernel is loaded it finds hdd on IDE2 without a problem, and so putting the kernel in /boot on hd1,1 seems to have fixed my problem.

    I would like to know if I could have made it work without doing this... but life is probably too short. Thanks very much for your help - please stop reading the manual unless you've already found my obvious mistake!!

    Thank you

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    Linux Guru loft306's Avatar
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    np and i couldnt find the grub manual i was looking for....just the 1 you were looking at and i agree it sux.......but there is another that i have seen that is great..... and atleast u got it working
    ~Mike ~~~ Forum Rules
    Testing? What's that? If it compiles, it is good, if it boots up, it is perfect. ~ Linus Torvalds
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