Help - Search - Members - Calendar
Full Version: Drive Switching Fiasco
Linuxhelp > Support > Technical Support
Ill start at the beginning. I have 2 systems, One running WindowsXP that I use constantly, and an older system I put together from scrap parts.

The older system has no CD-ROM drive, so it is impossible to install an OS on it.

I removed the drive from the older system and installed it as the primary slave on my Windows system. I formatted it for FAT32, and tried to install Mandrake onto it so that I could install it into my scrap system and have an OS on it.

I installed it fairly easily, and it seemed to work perfectly on my Windows system. When I removed the drive and installed it into the scrap system, it wont boot. When the BIOS gets to Boot from HDD, it says "NO OS!" and stops dead.

I tried to hook up my original primary slave drive back to my Windows system. Now that system wont boot at all, either. I cant get into Windows at all, and I cant get to any of the files that are associated with it. When that system gets to the Boot from HDD, it says "LI" at the bottom of the screen and stops dead.

So I can install the drive from my scrap system into my WindowsXP system, and it will load Mandrake perfectly. But, I cant load Windows. When I return my Windows System to its original configuration, it wont boot at all.

At this point, All I want to be able to do is be able to get back into WindowsXP and get to my files. The scrap system isnt much of a concern. If you have any suggestions at all, I would REALLY appreciate it.
Hopefully you didn't wipe out your XP. Boot the XP install CD and run the command fixmbr to remove lilo from the master boot record.

The reason that the scrap PC didn't boot was because there isn't a bootloader installed on that HD (it was loaded on the primary disk). You would need to use a boot floppy and reinstall lilo. You will also need to change the /etc/fstab file since it is pointing to the drive as installed in your XP machine as a slave drive. You did change the jumpers settings from slave to primary or jumpered to CS if using a CS IDE cable?

You didn't say what distro you are using but you can install linux to a PC without a CDROM. There are distros that can be installed from HD. I know its possible with Redhat and Mandrake. If you have enough disk space you can copy the install CD's to a FAT32 partition by sticking the drive back in to your XP machine. Since linux has its own filesystem don't use the whole drive. Then create a boot floppy disk using the hd.img file.

The other method if you have a network card for the scrap machine is to install via http or ftp. You either need a broadband internet connection or setup a ftp server on your XP machine (You can download a free server ) and then create a boot floppy disk with the net.img

With Mandrake and Redhat there is an image directory that contains the different boot images on the 1st CD and a dosutils folder which has applications to create a boot floppy disk. There is a readme file that expains how. For Mandrake vist there website for complete documentation. Also check your specific distro install documentation or website for additional help.

It is possible to install linux on one PC and move it to another. Make sure the distro compiled architecture is compatable with both PCs. i.e. 386 vs 586 vs 686. Remember you will need to change the /etc/fstab file and modify / reload the bootloader.
I agree, it sounds to me like the following happened:

You installed linux fine on the second harddrive, but opted to install lilo in the MBR, which would be on your first drive. When you pulled the second drive and put it into your other computer, it won't boot because the bootloader is on the first drive. When you start up your first system, it won't boot (or freezes on LI) because it can't find the linux partition it is expecting.


Grab a dos bootdisk (or any windows bootdisk), and start your first system with it. When booted into dos, issue the command "fdisk /mbr", this will wipe out the MBR on the first disk, thus allowing you to boot into Windows

I never really liked the idea of installing an OS on a disk while it's sitting in another system, if your second system has a network card in it and is connected to the internet, then it's best to install like that, 99% of my linux installations are netinstalls wether it be Debian or SuSE.

If you have to do it the way that you're doing it, then at the end of the isntallation, choose to make a bootdisk. When you pop the hard drive into the second system, pass the root=/dev/hda to lilo to boot into the system (using bootdisk) and re-config lilo.conf there.

Or, it may just be easier to take your cdrom out of your first system, and put it in the second system for the isntall only, and take it out afterwards. That would cause the less headaches smile.gif
Thanks a lot.

If the FIXMBR command works, I will simply go into Windows, format the drive with Linux on it, install my CD drive into my scrap system, and start from scratch this time.

Ill let you guys know if it works, and if I get any more problems. I appreciate all of your help!
It all went to crap. blink.gif

Well, I ended up botching the entire thing. I had to format both of my drives and lose Windows and all of the files in it. I installed Mandrake Linux as my new operating system, so at least SOMETHING good came of all of this mess. wink.gif

I installed my CD drive into the other system, and tried to put Mandrake on it. I found out that it doesnt have enough memory, and just locks up during installation.

So now I have some newbie questions. What do I have to do to get Linux to run Windows based programs? I am an AOL subscriber, and I cant get on the internet until I either find a Linux version of AOL or a way to make it work.

Step 1. Get Rid of AOL
Step 2. Get a real ISP, not just a money sucking corporation that overcharges for internet service.

Anyway, on a more serious note. It is possible to get some windows programs running under linux via a program called WINE (Wine Is Not an Emulator). I'm not sure if wine supports programs that need to dialup through a modem, and if so it would be a MAJOR pain to try to get it working. Another option, if you have like $250 to spend on a commercial product, there is one called VMWare that lets you actually run Windows from linux. I've never used this program, because it's so expensive, but there's all sorts of stuff out there on it. I hate to say it, but I think you're going to have to install WinXP again. You might try a dual boot on the computer that formerly ran XP. If you need a direction from there, just ask and I can give you all sorts of instructions (I've had to do it about 4 times in the last couple of months... mostly due to me screwing up my linux distro).


PS. If you had another internet provider that didn't use a program to dialup to the internet (ie AOL, Juno, EarthLink), it would work fine under linux.
This is a "lo-fi" version of our main content. To view the full version with more information, formatting and images, please click here.
Invision Power Board © 2001-2018 Invision Power Services, Inc.