Partition Magic and possible partition problem

I used Partition Magic to create partitions for a Linux Mandrake installation on a second 18-gig hard drive.  The program allowed me to create two "Linux Ext2" partitions and a swap partition where I used to have a logical drive of 2 gigs.  The installation seemed to go fine. But now when I boot the OS I see a couple of messages that say "are you  trying to mount an extended partition instead of some logical partition?"  Everything seems fine until I log in as a user and choose "KDE." Then the screen goes black.  What does this sound like?  
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freesourceConnect With a Mentor Commented:
dfranco, you didn't follow my directions.  Print out my directions and follow them very carefully, your most recent question towards me is already answered therein.
It sounds like the Linux partitions aren't right. I've seem something very similar on a system that some special software (disk magic or some such) on the drive to allow windows to use a big disk. It must do something funny with the drive translations and it seems impossible to make valid Linux partitions. Does something like that apply here?
I took this right out of the Installation-HOWTO:

  Partitions come in three flavors: primary, extended, and logical.
  Briefly, primary partitions are one of the four main partitions on
  your drive. However, if you wish to have more than four partitions per
  drive, you need to replace the last primary partition with an extended
  partition, which can contain many logical partitions.  You don't store
  data directly on an extended partition---it is used only as a
  container for logical partitions. Data is stored only on either
  primary or logical partitions.

What it sounds like is that Linux is trying to mount an extended partition.
There are several ways to solve this, can you tell me what method you are
using to boot up Linux?  Do you get a lilo prompt?  
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dfrancoAuthor Commented:
I've only got one primary partition. When I installed the second hard drive, the partitioning software that came with it didn't give me many options.  It said I had to have at least ten partitions.  I made one primary partition and one extended, which hosts nine logical partitions.
I use Boot Magic, which came with Partition Magic. When I choose Linux, I do get a Lilo prompt and Linux seems to boot. I even get a login and a choice to run KDE.  But then everything goes blank.
According to the Partition Magic analysis of the drive, the Linux partitions are logical partitions, not the extended one.
What was the "partitioning software"? I think one of the ones that I had trouble with was something like "Disk Magic" and another was something like "Ez Bios". My guess was that they installed as a bios wedge, loaded at boot, and translated the actual disk geometry into something that the bios routines could handle. I finally "cleared" the drive by dd'ing null's across the first few cylinders. This got rid of whateverit was loading at boot and Linux was quite happy with the drive from then on.
When you get to the lilo prompt, press [Tab] to see the list of known kernel
images.  You will probably see just one.  So if it is "linux" do this:

linux single

The lilo manual explains this:

"single  boots the system in single-user mode. This bypasses most system
initialization procedures and directly starts a root shell on the console.
Multi-user mode can typically be entered by exiting the single-user shell
or by rebooting."

If "linux single" doesn't work follow the next directions:

Based on what you are saying Linux should be mounting on hdb? (? ='s a number) ..
where hdb is the second hard drive, hda would be the first hard drive,
sometimes hdb is the cdrom, it all depends on how your computer system is setup, so the second hard drive may be hdc or even hdd drive or so forth.  Applythis knowledge to what is said next.  

1 = 1st primary partion
2 = extended partition
3 = logical partition

Now we will try to get a stable mount, using the drive letter and partition
on which we think Linux's ext2 filesystem is:

linux single root=/dev/hdb1   (most likely not, based on what you said)
linux single root=/dev/hdb3   (should be, but may be hdc3 or hdd3)
(you know the other combinations, hopefully we are just limited to the
third partition)

You will have to reboot your computer system or do the Ctrl-Alt-Del thing
when things don't work.  

If you can't get this far, after trying all combinations possible .. stop
because something else is going.

Otherwise, if you succeed in getting a stable mount point run "fdisk" from
them command line.  Press "p" and you will see a "Device" column and a
"System" column.  Note which device is "extended", "Linux native", and
"Linux swap".  Did you mount one of those "Linux native" partitions? Press
"q" to quit.
Anyways, if you get this far, you will have to change your lilo settings ..
so first tell me what you find out.  You can stop linux by doing a
"shutdown -h".
dfrancoAuthor Commented:
Adjusted points to 200
dfrancoAuthor Commented:
freesource: When I pressed [tab], I saw that it said DOS. When I entered, "linux single," everything seemed to boot as it has done before. I was able to catch the whole error message that I have seen before. It says:"wrong fs type, bad option, or too many mounted filesystems." Then it says" are you trying to mount an extended partition instead of some logical partition inside?"
Everything stopped with a prompt like this: sh-2.03#
I wasn't sure what to do, so I typed KDE and saw a bunch of messages saying that certain files weren't found, can't connect to X server, etc.
I'm new to Linux so I don't know what's going on at all.  Should I perhaps try deleting everything, then re-installing in the primary partition?
Thanks for your help.
By the way, I don't know what a "shutdown -h" is.
What should I do when the screen goes black? I've just been turning the computer off.
could you possibly clarify your configuration?
Do you have two 18GB hard drives or
do you have a single one....
Is it possible for you to get into the terminal mode and print out your
/etc/fstab configuration?

dfrancoAuthor Commented:
eaglescout: I've got one 1 gig hard drive and a second 18-gig hard drive which I recently installed.  It's a Maxtor and the MaxBlast software that came with it allowed me to partition it. But I had to make 10 partitions, each about 2 gigs. The computer is a Compaq DeskPro, Pentium 90. I don't have a printer attached to that computer.
On the second hard drive, hdb1 is the primary partition, and I tried to install Linux on hbd 7, which is the second logical drive, I think.
Is there a way I can just start from scratch and maybe put the Linux OS on the primary partition, which is one gig?
Hmmm, seems like I asked about any special software that came with the drive, what a day or so ago. Okay, now that I know that such a package was used, I can say that in my experience, it's likely to be the cause.

From the Maxtor white paper on disk capacity barriers ( there is the statement:

"For those systems that do not provide the LBA BIOS feature, Maxtor has had a solution since 1993, that is to use the MaxBlast software. Software translation is an effective, non-conventional means of translating sector addresses of large capacity hard disk drives. Instead of loading a driver in the start-up files, MaxBlast loads drivers before the operating system is loaded. The latest version of MaxBlast can be obtained from Maxtor's Internet site,"

This is a "bios disk translation wedge" that only will work with a DOS or windows (not NT) system that actually uses the bios INT 13 API for disk I/O.  Linux (or Solaris x86), once it's up and running doesn't. They (and NT) talk to the hardware directly.

This presents a problem that (for me) manifests itself with exactly the symptoms described  The cause is that the partition data is written to the drive from essentially a DOS environment and the INT 13 drive translation is in affect. I'm not sure of the exact mechanism, but I suspect that the actual partition data on the disk has translated disk information in them. This naturally doesn't jibe with what Linux sees when it goes live on the disk.

The way I've fixed drives that have this problem that will become Linux only drives is to "dd" nulls across the beginning cylinders of the drive. Then I've been able to install Linux without any problems.
dfrancoAuthor Commented:
jlevie:  I don't understand how to "dd" nulls. I don't want to mess anything up even more.  I'll accept your answer, but I'd appreciate it if you could explain how to do it. Thanks
Let me thing about how to give you a simple mechanism for doing this. I've even got a box I was putting together as another Linux system, the MaxBlast S/W, and a drive to play with. I'll stuff it on and then come up with the procedure for blowing it away, but I may not get done with that before tomorrow.
dfrancoAuthor Commented:
Thanks. That will be a help.  I also want to make sure that I don't lose Windows 95 access to the other partitions on the drive.  
dfrancoAuthor Commented:
OK. I'll accept your comments as an answer since I haven't heard back from anyone else and I've decided to reformat the drive. I have read comments that discuss problems with the Maxtor overlay,etc. So I think I'll try putting the distribution on another computer, if I can find enough room.  Thanks for the detailed instructions. I'll keep them for future reference.
Hmm, Looks like my last comment got lost in transit... You get rid of the Maxtor bios wedge with "fdisk /mbr". I haven't had any success retaining the installation, no surprise as the disk geometry changes... Plan on a complete rebuild. Oh Yeah make sure LBA mode has been selected in the bios if your bios supports it.
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