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  1. Wacky hack
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    Linux, windows and partitions


    I had a really odd experience recently and I'm wondering what people think of this. I've been setting up my girlfriend's computer, and I stuck SuSE 7.3 on first without any major problems. I say major, because we had to replace a dodgy IDE cable, and on boot an error message along the lines of "dma_intr Bad CRC" comes up a few times, but we thought nothing of it as it all worked fine.

    Then I installed Win98 SE on the 4th partition (under instruction )and had all sorts of problems getting it to recognise the sound + video chipsets (onboard), then tried Win2k and it gave me an error about a BAD_BOOT_DEVICE. I decided to wipe the hdd on advice from the people I'd bought the machine from, and tried installing both Win98 and Win2k again but they kept throwing up more hdd related problems.

    I eventually got so fed up of it I sent it back to the shop for them to install Windows on it. As usual the people in the shop ignored a note I'd written for them describing in details what had been happening, and told me all sorts of odd things about partitioning - they now claim that installing GNU/Linux screwed the motherboard?!

    They said the following:

    - Windows *has* to be on the first partition
    - GNU/Linux then goes onto the 2nd (one partition?! lol) and writes LILO to the 1st partiton (isn't the MBR seperate?)
    - GNU/Linux can mess up HDDs so Windows won't go onto them properly

    What do people think about that? I'm fairly sure I did nothing wrong, and it was just a dodgy hdd/motherboard, and that they're talking rubbish
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    Devshed Demi-God (4500 - 4999 posts)

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    Points 1 and 2 are correct, as I understand it (except for the single linux partition. . .)

    I don't believe point 3 usually is, but it most certainly is possible to do nasty things to your HDD in a linux install, if not done correctly.

    But yes, is usually is suggested that you install windows first, let it take over the MBR, and then install linux and let THAT take over the MBR again with either lilo or grub.

    Linux is smart enough (and friendly enough) to allow other OS's to coexist- I don't believe it's possible to do a windows install (maybe they got it right with XP, I don't know) without overwriting the MBR.

    It could very well be buggy hardware. Check all the connections.

    My suggestion would be to wipe the entire drive and all partitions, split it into two partitions with fdisk, install windows, and THEN install linux and partition your linux partition as you like.
    Last edited by Hero Zzyzzx; April 5th, 2002 at 02:13 PM.
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    Re: Linux, windows and partitions


    Originally posted by telex4
    they now claim that installing GNU/Linux screwed the motherboard?!
    No way, especially if you got the errors already when installing Linux.
    - Windows *has* to be on the first partition
    No, although this is very advisable.
    - GNU/Linux then goes onto the 2nd (one partition?! lol) and writes LILO to the 1st partiton (isn't the MBR seperate?)
    One partition can be enough for Linux, if you have enough RAM and don't intend to fool around with kernels. If Win 2K is to be installed on the PC, LILO should go to the LInux root or boot partition's boot sector. Then you dd the boot sector to a file, copy the file to C: and edit C:\boot.ini to get an entry for Linux.
    - GNU/Linux can mess up HDDs so Windows won't go onto them properly
    Nope. Well, if you really try, you can do that to a certain extent. But otherwise not.
    I'm fairly sure I did nothing wrong, and it was just a dodgy hdd/motherboard, and that they're talking rubbish
    The typical attitude is to assume the error to be caused by the customer. Unless the customer proves the falsity of this assumption, s/he won't be believed and probably will have to pay to get the machine repaired.


    If all fails, try this: start the SuSE rescue system from CD, run fdisk and delete all partitions. Then save the partition table. Now create a new partition for Win 98 and another for Win 2K (or just one for both, but I don't know whether 2K/98 multiboot will work). Install first Win 98, then Win 2K. Now install SuSE Linux, creating necessary partitions in YaST.

    If nothing works: try exchanging the HD against another one. If the new HD works without problems, you'll know what's broken. I personally find it hard to believe that Linux has broken the mainboard.

    Btw, try looking up the mainboard's chipset in Google, searching for problems with Linux. And/or have a look at the kernel docs, there's quite a lot of info on this topic.

    HTH (although I'm not so sure)

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