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BIOS problems? - Linux Setup, Configuration & Administration

I have been using linux on an old PII machine for years. I am attempting to install linux on a new computer with a Matsonic MB and a Duron processor. (SIS chipset) The new computer also has two 40GB Maxtor diamondmax-plus-8 hard drives. One drive has WIN-98 installed and I want to install Linux on the other. I have several different distributions that I can use. Mandrake 8.2 fails utterly (no error message). Redhat 7.1 at least gives an error message. Here's a few lines (hda1 contains the DOS partition): partition check hda: hda: timeout waiting for DMA ide_dmaproc: chipset ...

  1. #1

    Default BIOS problems?

    I have been using linux on an old PII machine for years.

    I am attempting to install linux on a new computer with a Matsonic MB
    and a Duron processor. (SIS chipset)

    The new computer also has two 40GB Maxtor diamondmax-plus-8 hard
    drives. One drive has WIN-98 installed and I want to install Linux on
    the other.

    I have several different distributions that I can use. Mandrake 8.2
    fails utterly (no error message). Redhat 7.1 at least gives an error
    message. Here's a few lines (hda1 contains the DOS partition):

    partition check
    hda: hda: timeout waiting for DMA
    ide_dmaproc: chipset support ide_dma timeout func only: 14

    Upon investigation I find that the disk geometry in the bios is not the
    same as that which is listed on Maxtor's web page. I cannot change the
    numbers. Something about tbe bios does not allow me to actually input
    the correct numbers. Auto-detect gives the wrong numbers. The correct
    numbers are: 16383/16/63 the numbers that the bios finds by autodetect
    are 4998/255/63. (I have also emailed Matsonic for information on how
    to change the numbers in the bios).



    Two questions:

    1) Am I on the right track? In other words, if I manage to get the
    bios correct will the install proceed properly?

    2) I also have the cds for Slackware 7.1. Using them I can actually
    boot linux on the new machine and get the "root" prompt (neither
    Mandrake nor Redhat will get to the point of giving me a "root"
    prompt). Will using cfdisk to change the geometry of the disks help or
    hurt me? BTW, Slackware does detect the hda1 partition correctly. I
    think that I could probably go ahead and install Slackware (I did not
    attempt it) but the computer is really for a friend who needs a more
    user-friendly distribution. (Besides I want to install something more
    recent than the 2.2.14 kernel).

    thanks
    sam stansfield
    S.E. Guest

  2. #2

    Default Re: BIOS problems?


    "S.E. Stansfield" <com> wrote in message
    news:com... 

    Try using the text install method, so that you can see errror messages.
     
    contains the DOS partition): 

    Suggests this is a problem with UDMA/DMA support.
    Try turning down/off UDMA speeds.

     


    Thats just normal translation. Currently it just means that a cylinder is a
    reasonable size.
    Well, that means that your old bios calls (such as dos 6 and before uses )
    are limitted to 8 gigabytes, instead of 512 megabytes. Thats all. 

    Nope with regard to disk geometry.

    Yes with regard to bios settings, particular IDE interface "UDMA"
    settings. turn off UDMA and it might work better.

    I think the problem with the newer distribution is its too smart and is
    trying to do something the drive or cable wont do.



    Also there are "kernel options" to turn off the UDMA ...

     

    It wont change geometry, it just makes the partition table appear as if the
    geometry was different.
     


    hurt you.



    Leon. Guest

  3. #3

    Default Re: BIOS problems?


    "S.E. Stansfield" <com> wrote in message
    news:com... 

    Why can't you use at least RH 7.3, if not RH 9?
     

    I don't know why you are resetting this. Most drives basically lie to the
    controllers about their drive geometry, and setting 266 heads, 63 sectors is
    extremely common to reduce the number of cylinders you have to cope with.
    The numbers seem to add up to similar drive sizes: if you really want to
    play with them, you might be able to use the Linux CD's to reset those with
    "fdisk", but I'm not sure you need to bother.

    Also, do you have identical IDE controllers on your motherboard, or did they
    do that trick ASUS used sometimes and make one a RAID controller?
     

    I doubt it, it doesn't *smell* like a BIOS issue, but I can't be sure.
     

    You should be using RH 9 at least, maybe Fedora, if you want RedHat based
    distributions.


    Nico Guest

  4. #4

    Default Re: BIOS problems?

    > > 1) Am I on the right track? In other words, if I manage to get the 
    >
    > I doubt it, it doesn't *smell* like a BIOS issue, but I can't be sure.

    >
    > You should be using RH 9 at least, maybe Fedora, if you want RedHat based
    > distributions.[/ref]


    Actually what he is saying is that new distributions dont work , while old
    ones do work.

    This may be because of the support for UDMA or some other feature of the PC.
    The old distro doesnt support the feature doesnt try to use it, and hence
    uses the older protocol,system and avoids crashing.

    The new distro recognised and supports the feature, tries to use it but
    crashes.


    Therefore he has to diagnose what is wrong.
    If he has USB devices unplug them.
    If he has UDMA turned on, turn that off.

    If he has any other cards he can take out, take them out.


    Leon. Guest

  5. #5

    Default Re: BIOS problems?


    "Leon." <net> wrote in message
    news:rivernet.com.au... 
    > >
    > > I doubt it, it doesn't *smell* like a BIOS issue, but I can't be sure.
    > > [/ref][/ref]
    or 
    > >
    > > You should be using RH 9 at least, maybe Fedora, if you want RedHat[/ref][/ref]
    based 
    >
    >
    > Actually what he is saying is that new distributions dont work , while old
    > ones do work.[/ref]

    No, what he's saying is that those *particular*, slightly newer
    distributions don't work. I had quite a bit of fun with the early 7.x
    releases from RedHat and getting them to run on various even slightly
    non-standard hardware distributions, especially on laptop. The newer
    releases, such as 8.0 and 9, have gotten much more robust at installation
    due to patches and bug-fixes to support the last few years of hardware.
     
    PC. 

    Or try a vastly newer distro with the last 3 years of hardware support
    already built in.


    Nico Guest

  6. #6

    Default Re: BIOS problems?

    Nico Kadel-Garcia wrote: 
     
    >
    > No, what he's saying is that those *particular*, slightly newer
    > distributions don't work. I had quite a bit of fun with the early 7.x
    > releases from RedHat and getting them to run on various even slightly
    > non-standard hardware distributions, especially on laptop. The newer
    > releases, such as 8.0 and 9, have gotten much more robust at installation
    > due to patches and bug-fixes to support the last few years of hardware.

    > PC. 
    >
    > Or try a vastly newer distro with the last 3 years of hardware support
    > already built in.[/ref]

    Hmmm.

    Interesting.

    The only card is a modem. The mouse is a USB mouse. I think I was
    saying that the newer distros just crash on an attempt to install.
    Sound and the disk controllers are on the MB. There is no RAID
    according to Slackware. Both drives are on the same controller. The
    new machine also has a cd-rom and a separate cd-rw (on the second
    controller).

    Ultimately I want to install Mandrake, I think. I like that one the
    best. Right now I don't really want to buy yet another distribution
    unless I absolutely have to. My modem/phone line is slow so downloading
    really isn't much of an option. I wanted to use a relatively recent
    distribution so that I can use glibc 2.1.

    This discussion has led me to several more questions. One is: How do I
    turn off the UDMA? There's no such option in the BIOS. Somebody said
    that there's a kernel option. I haven't used those at all and don't
    know what I'm doing in that regard. Is the USB mouse supported by
    Linux? I can't seem to find that out. Is that the problem?

    I'm going to try the text based installation of Mandrake. I'm not sure
    if it'll fly. I recall seeing that option when I installed it on my old
    computer but I think the new one never got to the point where the option
    was presented. I'll try it with the "rescue" disk. It's possible that
    that may work. My old computer actually has three boots, a win 3.1 for
    a single piece of software (which is not supported by Wine). Slackware
    7.1 which I mostly use and the Mandrake 8.2. One of the main reasons
    for getting the Mandrake was so that I could use Wine only to find that
    I can't use it.

    thanks
    sam stansfield
    S.E. Guest

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