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Thread: Boot Problem and Drivers Question

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Jul 2007
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    Boot Problem and Drivers Question

    I have an old Gateway 2000 (from 1995) that I want to get some files off but windows is not working. I tried getting windows to work by using the special boot disk(floppy) but then it asked for the Gateway 2000 CD which I can't find.

    I heard that with just a Knoppix CD I could get it running to where I could move the desired files to a floppy. So I downloaded Knoppix and burnt it to a CD.

    If the Knoppix CD is in while it is trying to load I get this message

    ISOLINUX 2.04 (Debian 2003-06-06) isolinux loading spec packet failed, trying to wing it...

    isolinux: failed to locate CD-Rom device; boot failed

    So then I tried starting the computer with the special boot disk and then using the Knoppix CD in place of the Gateway 2000 CD. Things seemed to be progressing as it looked like it was installing/loading Knoppix; but then it asked if I wanted to load the drivers, I answered yes, it replied drivers all ready loaded do you want to overwrite them. I'm not that computer technical so I wasn't sure if this would damage the files I'm after (not to mention there was an approaching thunderstorm) so I turned it off.

    Can I overwrite the drivers without damaging the files I'm after?

    Is what I was doing the right way to get the computer working?

    Any idea why I get that error message?

    Thanks in advance

  2. #2
    Senior Member registered user
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    Re: Boot Problem and Drivers Question

    I have to reply using a bit of inference which may be wrong, but to make things clear ...
    Quote Originally Posted by ABC123
    I have an old Gateway 2000 (from 1995) that I want to get some files off but windows is not working. I tried getting windows to work by using the special boot disk(floppy) but then it asked for the Gateway 2000 CD which I can't find. ...
    So then I tried starting the computer with the special boot disk and then using the Knoppix CD in place of the Gateway 2000 CD. ...
    ... as I read it, the 'special boot disk' to which you refer is the one provided by Gateway to boot the Windows installation CD. The subsequent messages about drivers would support this interpretation.

    The
    isolinux: failed to locate CD-Rom device; boot failed
    would seem to indicate limitations in the 1995-era BIOS.
    You need to make boot floppies for Knoppix from the live CD running in another machine - check your version (you don't say which it is but if recent it's probably 5.1.1) for instructions or check via the FAQ here - N.B. some of the instructions refer to older versions of Knoppix.

    Another possible problem is the graphics capability of the 1995 machine - it may not run X and you may have to do the rescue from the command line - in which case boot Knoppix with the cheatcode init 2 . In that case, if you haven't used Linux/Unix before you'll need to learn your way around the system in even greater depth with the live CD
    [Edited 2 July 2007: To put this more precisely, I should not have said that it may not run X, as such, but that it may not support sufficient colours resolution to run any useful desktop applications on top of X . I have found this with a 1993-vintage 486 machine, even running DamnSmallLinux . (Unlike Windows 95/NT4 and such-like, where the desk-top and applications were designed to cope with the 256-colour limitations of much then-current hardware.)]

    With such a 1995 machine, you might find that it is more likely (than with Knoppix 5.1.1) to boot with Damn Small Linux anyway, as that comes with options to cope with older systems (memory is likely to be small as well). Even then, working from the command line might still be necessary.

    Can I overwrite the drivers without damaging the files I'm after?
    BTW if you had entered 'yes' the system would probably have just stopped with an error message when the Gateway boot floppy failed to find the Gateway CD ...
    ... and once the live Linux is booted, by default it would mount the Gateway hard drive 'read only'.
    Anyway, good luck

  3. #3
    Senior Member registered user
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    Jan 2007
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    104

    Re: Boot Problem and Drivers Question

    Quote Originally Posted by ABC123
    I have an old Gateway 2000 (from 1995) that I want to get some files off but windows is not working. I tried getting windows to work by using the special boot disk(floppy) but then it asked for the Gateway 2000 CD which I can't find.

    I heard that with just a Knoppix CD I could get it running to where I could move the desired files to a floppy. So I downloaded Knoppix and burnt it to a CD.

    If the Knoppix CD is in while it is trying to load I get this message

    ISOLINUX 2.04 (Debian 2003-06-06) isolinux loading spec packet failed, trying to wing it...

    isolinux: failed to locate CD-Rom device; boot failed

    So then I tried starting the computer with the special boot disk and then using the Knoppix CD in place of the Gateway 2000 CD. Things seemed to be progressing as it looked like it was installing/loading Knoppix; but then it asked if I wanted to load the drivers, I answered yes, it replied drivers all ready loaded do you want to overwrite them. I'm not that computer technical so I wasn't sure if this would damage the files I'm after (not to mention there was an approaching thunderstorm) so I turned it off.

    Can I overwrite the drivers without damaging the files I'm after?

    Is what I was doing the right way to get the computer working?

    Any idea why I get that error message?

    Thanks in advance
    I have a Gateway 2000 computer from 1994 and can make a good guess why you cannot boot.

    You CDROM drive is probably NOT a standard IDE/ATAPI drive. If it is like my PC, it is probably plugged into some custom CD controller that is part of your sound card and not part of the motherboard disk controller.

    KNOPPIX does not load the driver for this controller and even if it did, the KNOPPIX initial ramdisk does not search for the CD-R disk inside that part of the device tree.

    Your best bet is to get some sort of floppy-disk based rescue system such as Tom's Root Boot disk or better yet an MSDOS or a FREEDOS boot disk.

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