Search Members Help

» Welcome Guest
[ Log In :: Register ]

Mini-ITX Boards Sale, Fanless BareBones Mini-ITX, Bootable 1G DSL USBs, 533MHz Fanless PC <-- SALE $200 each!
Get The Official Damn Small Linux Book. DSL Market , Great VPS hosting provided by Tektonic

[ Track this topic :: Email this topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Topic: blinking cursor hell, syslinux install failure?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
tame1 Offline

Group: Members
Posts: 1
Joined: Dec. 2004
Posted: Dec. 02 2004,01:46 QUOTE

I am stuck in blinking cursor hell. I have followed manually and scripted, at least a dozen times. I have tried partition type 0B (FAT32), 06, and a few others.

I get no errors during the install. Everything goes smoothly.

This system does boot usb keys, and in fact has booted this very key before. However, the key was made for me by someone, and it's a little wierd. It's all written using /dev/sda, not sda1, and he used a mix of isolinux and freedos. Why, I don't know, but it works to boot my Dell D600 as an LTSP client against a corporate server.

Anyhow, every time I try and boot the DSL usb key, I get the blinking cursor on a black background. Through every file system type, every script run, they always come out the same.

Previous (I'm an old fart) experience building old 1.X Slackware tells me that the MBR doesn't have the boot loader (or even pointers to one). Isn't syslinux supposed to take care of that?

Someone please take pity on me and free me from this hell!!
Back to top
Profile PM 
cbagger01 Offline

Group: Members
Posts: 4264
Joined: Oct. 2003
Posted: Dec. 02 2004,03:06 QUOTE

Try reformatting your drive with the following MS Windows utility program:

THEN try and install the DSL usb version.
Back to top
Profile PM 

Posted: Dec. 02 2004,12:24 QUOTE

Well I found the cause. It appears that Windows XP has lost the ability to fix/add an MBR. Formatting doesn't work. I had to download the HP utility just to properly (with MBR) format the keyfob!!!
Back to top
The Linux way of solution

Posted: Dec. 03 2004,05:59 QUOTE

It's simple in Linux to make a USB stick bootable. Just those old tricks, not any special craps.

1. Boot up Debian or Knoppix

2. Make sure the 'mbr' packages was installed:
 try 'install-mbr --help' as root

3. Insert your USB stick

4. Check the partitions in the USB stick.
 (a). The first partition must be FAT16 (type id 6) for best compatibility with different vendor's BIOS.
My Acer TM-800 NB is quite good at this as it's capable of booting from USB device partitioned in whatever way. But all the desktops I have a touch failed to boot if I I wan't to use Lilo on a ext2/ext3 partition. The only sure way is to use 'syslinux' to boot a FAT16 partition.
If not partitioned as required, just use fdisk to clean it up and create a new partition table.
 (b). Make sure this partition's 'active' flag is on.
 If you did create new partition, use the following command to format the first partition:
 root> mkfs.msdos -v /dev/sda1

5. Install a MBR onto the USB drive under Linux:
 root> install-mbr /dev/sda  #-- don't place a number after 'sda'

That's it. Your USB stick is now bootable. It just need the OS loader, such as lilo or syslinux.

Another frequently encountered problem specific to the 'syslinux' boot loader is that your USB stick may has a boot sector loader and a 'ldlinux.sys' file from different version of 'syslinux'. When you directly install 'syslinux' on the USB device, both will be updated. But you may then install newer version DSL or other small distribution and overwrite the 'ldlinux.sys' with different version without your knowing. The surest way is to rerun syslinux after installing or upgrading OS. Of cause, this could also be done in Linux:

 root> syslinux /dev/sda1 #-- note the '1' after the 'sda'

 (* Make sure the '/dev/sda1' partition is not mounted when issue the above command. syslinux won't be able to write boot sector loader on the partition and not telling you about this)
Back to top
3 replies since Dec. 02 2004,01:46 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >

[ Track this topic :: Email this topic :: Print this topic ]

reply to topic new topic new poll
Quick Reply: blinking cursor hell

Do you wish to enable your signature for this post?
Do you wish to enable emoticons for this post?
Track this topic
View All Emoticons
View iB Code