Kernel Panic during install

I have the following machine config and I'm planning to use both drives for linux so I fdisk both disks and didn't partition it at all for DOS usage.

P133
2 1GB IDE
4x IDE CD-ROM
32 MB RAM
No OS on machine

I created the bootdisk using rawrite.exe as instructed then booted the PC. I have the red-hot CD in my CD-ROM and was planning to install it that way.  After reboot, the PC goes to a boot: prompt and I press Enter. For a while, it started detecting all the hardware on the PC and it seemed to go fine.

The first error I received was when it was checking hda. Both hard drives were detected fine earlier.  I received something like Device I/O error (and some hex number).  After 3 of the same error message, it prompted me for a disk (I think it was something like VFS?).  I press Enter since the only disk I had was the boot disk.  It gave me 6 more of
the same error message, then it says: KERNEL PANIC:...  (I don't remember the exact error message).

What does this mean and how do I fix it so I can complete the install?

I haven't even gotten to the screen where you can select the monitor
type.
lsantosoAsked:
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n3mtrCommented:
Are you sure both drives are still listed in cmos correctly?  Maybe try booting with a dos boot disk and see if you can access them with fdisk.
FYI the older versions of linux require two disks one boot and one root.  The newer versions are all on one disk.
Which distribution and version are you trying to install?
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lsantosoAuthor Commented:
Yes, I can still boot with a dos disk and still see both drives because I tried to check to see if I needed to partition the drives before the install for the install to work.

The book says that It's Red Hat Linux 4.1.  I gathered that both boot and root are both on 1 disk after reading the linux setup newsgroup.

One of the suggestions on a similar problem in the newsgroup says to recompile kernel specific to my hardware but I don't know how to do that. Is this a possible solution?
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MikeCristCommented:
If the error message is "Kernel Panic: Cannot mount root filesystem" or "Cannot mount root device" It probably means that you have a bad block on either the hard drive or the floppy disk.  You might try formating the drives in DOS first.  This will tell you if you have any bad blocks there.  BTW, you can reformat to ext2 later in the install.  If you have bad blocks, they will be marked so.  You also might try formating the floppy disk also with:

format a: /c /u

This will test all the blocks on the floppy, and mark the proper one's bad.  You can't use a floppy with bad blocks.
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macdonaldCommented:
I had exactly the same problem on a similar system (P120 1.7 Gig hard drive, 32M RAM).  The problem with that machine was that one of the SIMMS had become slightly loose.  It was passing the memory test on the CMOS just fine, but while the kernel was decompressing it would lock up as it hit the corrupted memory.

I would recommend opening the case, re-seating all the SIMMS (the machine I was working on had 4 8-Meg and the second had become loose) and then try.  If that doesn't work, check the cables to the controller cards.  Don't worry if it doesn't _look_ like the SIMMS or the cables are loose, they may be just loose enough that the connection isn't being made but not enough to see.

If that isn't the problem, let me know and I'll ask around to see if anyone I know has had similar problems.

My experience is that the basic system that comes with any distribution is normally pretty robust and that a Kernel Panic is not likely unless you have some REALLY eclectic hardware.

Of course, once you do get everything fully installed, you should recompile the kernel for the specific hardware, but that is a performance issue.
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lsantosoAuthor Commented:
Thanks.. I'll check that.  I did remove the SIMMs when I had the motherboard swapped out cause it was bad.
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