Fedora notes

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Nightmare for Installing Fedora Core 3 - The Second Day

The Second Day
With the first day's experience of installing Fedora Core 3, I thought I am so good at handling this, and nothing's gonna be barrier for installing without the partition issue. I was totally wrong for it!!! God knows what's gonna happen! The second day is even worse, when I attempt to upgrading Red Hat 8 on my lab machine.

1. With the same method of installing from iso images(successful in the first day), I boot the machine into GRUB for NT. Let GRUB locate the kernel and run the installer. But installer assertions came after I selected the language and keyboard layout. Something like "assertion(heads>0) at disk_doc.c ...". Began to be a little angry since nothing happened to my laptop installation on the first day. After all, I have to consult to the Internet by rebooting into the pre-existing windows.

2. With help of google, the problem is confirmed as a bug of FC3 installer. People are discussing their solutions or viewpoints or problems after the filed bug, where I decided to try some of the solutions claimed to be successful in individual case, though the real cause of the bug is not that clear to me. 1) the first notable and related solution is to use the command "sfdisk -d /dev/hda | sfdisk --no-reread H255 --force". I use a Knoppix CD to boot the machine and typed that command, but the same errors happened. 2) the second solution seems to be tricky and helpful, but it's the source of my later nightmare. Some said he uses partition magic to resize all windows partitions to enforce a "rewrite" to partition table, and he succeeded without any errors through the installation. I installed Partition Magic 8(PM), and it pops up a message saying that something is wrong with the "LPBR" records, or LBPR?(forgot), on my second drive. It was really confusing to me since so far I am not dealing with any stuff on the second drive, it's just a well-working drive for all my data, no OS or other stuff on it. This moment was really horrible for me and counted for all later troubles. I selected to correct the error PM detected. And the second and third partition of that drive all gone. PM was really a nightmare! Most silly tool I've ever seen. Misleading me to lose data on a completely unrelated drive!

3. Originally, I am stuck in the strange installation problem. And now suddenly I lost two partitions of 50G data in total with the betray of PM8!!! Crashing situation for me, you know...I really suppose the installation on my lab machine should be a piece of cake with no more than a hour's job. But I was again pulled into marsh, deeper and deeper...

4. As a sharp tool, I started to consult my diskman, which is located on the bootable CD of WinMe used on the first day. I cannot imagine it simply does not run as expectedly as on my laptop. Can't believe this! This CD boots all other machines with perfect runs of diskman but fails only on my lab machine for no excuse, and especially when I was so sucked. It's not kinda starting failure, but runs with messed display. I cannot even see a word on the program interface. How can I use then?! I should say God is punishing me now.

5. I suddenly though it might be a problem of Dell LCD panel problem. So I changed the monitor with other non-Dell machines in my lab. It's only possible on Sunday with few people in, you know ;) Otherwise, I must be stopped by technician -__-! In fact, at last my fancy idea didn't work at all. It's not a problem of a monitor, but the whole architecture or configuration used. My laptop and other machines are able to run, except my lab machine. Why?!

6. It was almost the end of the second day, and I have done nothing but faked 50G of my data and all these mess with horrible mood. Even the worst, I don't know what to do next.

7. Just a lucky side of the second day, I found I have ever burned a Paragon bootable CD which is able to run DOS 7,which might be possible to boot a DOS with better support of monitor display. I was right this time. A great hope rase. And the diskman this time perfectly recovers the partition table on this drive. It knows it should not disappoint me any more...:)

8. Back to deal with installing problem, i.e. "assertion (heads>0) ..." problem. I followed all solutions discussed in official bugzilla site except the "installer update" since it requires rawrite an update img to a floppy disc which is almost impossible to find nowadays. Fortunately, the only person in my lab having floppies is in presence at the moment! where I decided to do the final try with no more struggles. Furthermore, I hadn't used this solution because I also have to burn all ISO images into CDs to perform the installation update. Now I've already deviated far from my original plan. What I want is to finish this sick stuff. I was near to crash mentally as well as physically.

9. Another thing worth mentioning, I don't know it's lucky or unlucky side, is that at that moment I had exactly 4 free CDRs! If I had fewer than 3, would I have killed myself? haha... After burning all 4 CDs, I successfuly passed that error messages until the end of installation.

10. I should say, it's not the end of the story, that's also why it's worth the blog. Rebooting after installation, Grub starts with "loading stage2 ...", and nothing happened! You know what I feeled. I got a motivation of murdering! That's called kill! Furthermore, I thought this would be a great moment for me to train myself to be more cultivated, and well-minded. Quickly reorganize my mood, and I got the idea of booting into Knoppix, and find someway to re-install GRUB 'cause I thought it was due to an improper writing of GRUB to MBR. Since I was a newbie of that, learn it right away from Internet. Finally, I got the idea of using "grub-install" to rewrite GRUB to MBR. A little trouble of doing that because I have nothing to boot into the new Fedora to do "grub-install". All I do is to install a free GRUB, and after rebooting, I manually specify the partition for kernel(vmlinuz-version) and ramdisk(initrd-version.img).

Summary: details are omitted, but enough to show the nightmare I experienced. I shouldnot say all that is bad 'cause I learned a lot from that. For example, how to deal with grub, cfdisk, sfdisk, ... and got a lot more knowledge over partition table and disk structures from the data loss.

Furthermore, I thought bad lucks will let you see the good lucks.
1. Damn WinXP blue crash! Thank Zhou Chen for his mobile hard drive for swapping.
2. Damn PM8! Thank Huiqing for his CD with diskman, and myself with Paragon CD.
3. Damn FC3 Installer Bug! Thank Haijie for his floppy disks.


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