can't install dsl on hard drive


Forum: User Feedback
Topic: can't install dsl on hard drive
started by: miaafr

Posted by miaafr on April 09 2008,13:38
Hi,

Can someone tell me how to install dsl on my hard drive as the default boot system? I can boot dsl from the CD, and I've managed to get dsl to copy its boot files from the CD to the hard drive, but the computer, on restart, doesn't seem to recognize them, and just sits without booting (when I set BIOS to look on the C: drive only). Is there something I need to do in BIOS or another part of setup to make this happen?

thanks,
miaafr

Posted by Juanito on April 09 2008,13:47
Did you simply copy the boot files or did you try the "install to hd" option from the right-click menu?
Posted by miaafr on April 09 2008,14:15
I selected the "install to hard drive" option when booting from the CD (via one of the function keys which prompted the right text string to type)
Posted by curaga on April 09 2008,14:18
you did say yes to installing a bootloader?
Posted by miaafr on April 30 2008,20:09
Quote (curaga @ April 09 2008,14:18)
you did say yes to installing a bootloader?

Here is what I did:  first I made a CD and booted from that.  During boot it is possible to change  options by using the function keys.  I issued the boot command:

dsl tohd=/dev/hda1

as this is recommended for copying files to the hard drive.

DSL responded by saying:


"copying DSL image to /dev/hda1
please be patient"

I was patient and waited for this to complete.

The system then booted, but of course it was not obvious that it booted from the hard drive.  So I rebooted. This time I changed the BIOS to boot only from the hard drive, not from the CD drive.  So the computer was unable to boot up from the DSL CD.  The computer should have been able to boot from the hard drive, though, using the previously copied files.  Alas this did not happen.  The boot process stops midway, with the message:  "Verifying DMI pool data..."
It will remain in this state forever.  

I can only get DSL to boot by going back to the CD.

The weird thing is that I cannot access the hard drive at all when booting from a CD; it's as if it doesn't exist. I know the hard drive works, because windows works with it.

I don't mind using DSL from a CD using memory only for casual web b browsing, but a few things are not possible without the hard drive. First one can't save files or any options between sessions. Second, plugins like Flash are impossible to download and run.  Obviously it's nice to have a harddrive at one's disposal.

Can anyone help with this?  thanks!

Posted by ^thehatsrule^ on April 30 2008,22:13
That will only copy the image over, useful for upgrades and the like.
Try one of the various "install" options via a wm menu, cheatcode (ie "dsl install"), or script (ie frugal_grub.sh)

Quote
The boot process stops midway, with the message:  "Verifying DMI pool data..."
That's part of the bios POST afaik.

Quote
The weird thing is that I cannot access the hard drive at all when booting from a CD; it's as if it doesn't exist. I know the hard drive works, because windows works with it.
You need to mount it first (assuming it is formatted etc.)

Quote
Second, plugins like Flash are impossible to download and run.
If you do that and the system breaks, you need more memory.

For more information, see one of the various install guides.

Posted by miaafr on April 30 2008,22:41
Quote (^thehatsrule^ @ April 30 2008,22:13)
That will only copy the image over, useful for upgrades and the like.
Try one of the various "install" options via a wm menu, cheatcode (ie "dsl install"), or script (ie frugal_grub.sh)

Quote
The boot process stops midway, with the message:  "Verifying DMI pool data..."
That's part of the bios POST afaik.

Quote
The weird thing is that I cannot access the hard drive at all when booting from a CD; it's as if it doesn't exist. I know the hard drive works, because windows works with it.
You need to mount it first (assuming it is formatted etc.)

Quote
Second, plugins like Flash are impossible to download and run.
If you do that and the system breaks, you need more memory.

For more information, see one of the various install guides.

Thanks!

Can you give me  more instructions on these install options? What is a wm menu? How do I get and run the script you mention?

Also, once I have DSL running from a CD, do I always have to mount the hard drive manually?  How do I do this?  Is there a way to mount it automatically?  

Do you have a URL for the install guide(s)?

Coming from windows and mac I'm not used to all the interactions with hardware...

thanks again.

Posted by curaga on May 01 2008,14:00
Hey

Wm menu = window manager menu, the thing that opens when you click on your desktop :)

The wiki has loads of info on the different install options, so we prefer not to repeat them.
Here's an install guide:
< http://distro.ibiblio.org/pub....wto.pdf >

Posted by miaafr on May 04 2008,01:03
thanks, sorry for my lack of knowledge :)

OK, I've tried two boot methods, and though I made progress, neither method worked:

(1) the pdf you recommended asked me to partition the harddrive, then run /usr/sbin/frugal_instal.sh  I did the partitioning using cfdisk.

But frugal_instal.sh doesn't seem to exist, at least not in the path set up by DSL.  Am I supposed to locate it on the net somewhere and download it? The problem will be how to make it accessible to DSL, which is running only from memory and CD.  I would have thought it would be included on the DSL CD, but it's not there, or at least I can't find it.

(2) I found a link on the DSL site containing install instructions:
< http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/dsl-hd-install.html >

which explains how to install in a jiffy.

Here I was told to run a script dsl-hdinstall.  This worked, to a point.
At its conclusion the script instructed me to reboot with the CD out of the drive, and this resulted in the letter L followed by a long string of 99s (e.g. "99 99 99 99 ...") on the screen; nothing further happened after that.

I rebooted DSL from the CD and tried to finish the instructions.  I was supposed to run a script called mkliloboot.  However this script doesn't exist either, at least not in the path set by DSL.

Please help!
thank you

Posted by curaga on May 04 2008,12:23
The info in 2) is very outdated, I can't figure out why it's still online..

Since you have finished partitioning, you only need to run dsl-hdinstall, and say yes to "do you want to install a bootloader", no need to mess with mkliloboot yourself. If you did say yes, and chose lilo (for your L hang), try grub. Sometimes one works better than the other.

Posted by miaafr on May 04 2008,15:48
Thanks very much for your advice.  

I did what you said; no luck - got "error 25" upon booting with grub.
Searching the internet for a while I figured out that I need to change CMOS settings in the BIOS to list the HD as "LBA".  (I know this is probably obvious to Linux people, but believe me it's completely non-obvious to the casual user!)  Setting the HD as LBA allowed me to advance to the next stumbling block:   finally I could begin to boot from the HD!

After booting, grub came up, asking me to select some configuration options.  I chose what seemed the best choices in each case - sometimes prompted by grub. In the end I had to set monitor res and bit depth. I think I selected 1024 x ? and 16 bits -  I'm afraid I didn't record all my choices.  At the end of this process the monitor turned itself off and remained black. I suspect I may have erred in my choice of monitor resolution or bit depth.

On the next boot from HD I was told I could change settings with xsetup.sh and even received a prompt (the dsl windows didn't start up) but at the prompt this didn't work.

On the next boot nothing worked at all.

Back to the CD boot.

I thought I'd try lilo instead, so went back do dsl-hdinstall and redid the entire install, this time selecting lilo.  Now when I boot from the HD, to my surprise, I still get grub. This time it gives me "error 15".  Why is grub still around? I thought I'd cleaned the slate, so to speak.

The process is rather involved!  In particular I don't understand why it's so easy to mis-set setup options when booting from the HD (I suspect this is my problem) while booting from a CD is such a snap (I never had to specify any options for my monitor when booting from CD - it just worked).

Posted by curaga on May 05 2008,14:24
It's a part of the first-time-install configuration to ask you for your preferred resolution.

Installing lilo should have cleaned the slate - I have no idea why grub persisted. Also, the bootloader only handles things upto "booting the kernel", so if you get to that point, the bootloader has worked fine, so you should probably reinstall with grub.

Did you choose Xvesa or Xfbdev? This is another "try the other one" thing, where one might work better than the other.

If you'd like an explanation for your LBA problem, it's because the bios is too old to boot without LBA enabled.

Posted by lucky13 on May 05 2008,15:03
Writing LILO to the MBR *after* GRUB does *not* automatically overwrite GRUB. You can zero out your MBR and then repartition with ©fdisk. If you do it exactly as it is now, you should only need to install GRUB or LILO and not go through a complete reinstall.

I don't like reinstalling as a first resort -- not even as a second or third. I try to recover rather than reinstall. There are too many issues that occur and you lose whatever effort and time you already invested. The best practice, IMO, is always to figure out what's going on before reinstalling and see if you can recover from whatever problem. That way you learn and know exactly what's going on so you can recover both now and in the future instead on repeating and/or compounding whatever errors put you in any given position.

Posted by miaafr on May 05 2008,15:35
Quote (lucky13 @ May 05 2008,15:03)
Writing LILO to the MBR *after* GRUB does *not* automatically overwrite GRUB. You can zero out your MBR and then repartition with İfdisk. If you do it exactly as it is now, you should only need to install GRUB or LILO and not go through a complete reinstall.

Thanks to both of you for all this advice.

So how exactly do I "zero out my MBR"?
Then I will redo everything & "try the other one" when grub initializes...

btw, I know the BIOS is old...the computer is old too. But my position is that many useful computers are being retired because they can't run the latest Windows - while the computer manufacturers profit and the environment suffers.  The beauty of DSL, in my opinion, is that it assumes so little. I'm trying to get many more miles out of an admittedly "old" (meaning:  > 3 years) computer (it's really not so old; we expect refrigerators to work for 20 years; why not computers?) with only 4 gig HD and very little memory - but it's just fine for so many tasks.

Posted by curaga on May 05 2008,15:51
dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1

zeroes the MBR out for you.

Posted by miaafr on June 04 2008,04:48
many thanks; finally I have everything working, more or less...
:)

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