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Can't install Red Hat 8 on IBM laptop

Posted on 2004-03-28
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Last Modified: 2013-12-15
I'm trying to install Red Hat 8 on an IBM ThinkPad 390E that up until now had Win 98 on it. The computer has a Pentium II 333, with a 6 GB hard drive and 128 MB of RAM. The Red Hat CDs I have are from the SAMS Linux in 24 hours series.

Twice I tried to load it and it stalled during the install process. The third time it went all the way through (though it took more than 90 minutes), but on reboot it ended with the following error:
Kernel panic: VFS: Unable to mount root fs on 00:00

OK, I figure. I'll boot from the boot floppy I made during the install process. That gave me the following error:
boot:
Loading vmlinuz...
Boot failed: please change disks and press a key to continue

Now the laptop is even less useful than one with Win 98 on it. I accepted the defaults (mostly) throughout the install, though I set it to delete all partitions on the drive, and said it was a two-button generic mouse rather than a three-button generic mouse.

Any ideas what the best next step would be?

Thanks.

-- b.r.t. (penguinista in training)
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Question by:BarryTice
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by:owensleftfoot
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rid earned 125 total points
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The link given above should be useful. One additional comment: Unless you want to preserve anything on the hard drive, i suggest you wipe it using ZAP (can be downloaded from IBM, the hard drive support area) and try again. I have had a few instances where neither Linux nor an MS operating system would install correctly. ZAPping the HD did help. It probably resets something weird in the partition tables that else goes undetected.
/RID
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by:BarryTice
ID: 10704051
owensleftfoot --

Thanks for the link, but the instructions there pretty much say "go through the automatic install and everything will be just fine." For me, that hasn't been the case. (It might be significant that that user was installing Red Hat 6.2, and I'm trying to install Red Hat 8.)

rid --

I've searched the IBC site using the downloads and drivers search for "zap" and the only thing it comes up with is for "local port and limited server enhancements." Any better information or a direct link would be most appreciated.

Thanks!

-- b.r.t.
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by:owensleftfoot
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by:BarryTice
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owensleftfoot --

Thanks for the link. The Drive Fitness Test links (for both Windows and Linux) link to missing IBM pages (i.e. dead links). I can download the zap.exe dos utility, but given that I've wiped 98 off that computer it's no longer bootable. (I bought the laptop a few years ago off eBay, and don't have the Windows CDs.) I'm now in a position where I can't boot the laptop to run zap.

Any suggestions?

-- b.r.t.
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by:BarryTice
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OK, never mind on that. I found a link to a link to a search to a link, and am getting the bootable DFT creator now. Thanks.
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by:rid
ID: 10704875
www.bootdisk.com can supply boot floppy images for several DOS and win9X flavours. Very useful.
/RID
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by:BarryTice
ID: 10745689
Turns out the floppy I was creating a boot disk had problems, and apparently the tail end of my hard drive had some problems, too. After I zapped the hard drive and reinstalled, it tried to boot but when it got to the part about setting up the swap space, the hard drive made noises like a car's turn signal.

So I wiped the drive again and partitioned the main space about a half gig smaller, leaving a half gig of dead space at the end of the drive. Now the laptop boots perfectly.

Now if I can only get my son to stop playing the "new" games long enough to get access to it myself...

Thanks fot he help!

-- b.r.t.
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