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Thread: Won't even load BIOS now??

  1. #1
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    Won't even load BIOS now??

    Hi! If I'm putting this in the wrong section, I'm sorry. And please forgive the novel, I'm not sure what's relevant and what's not.

    I'm trying to evaluate if/how an ancient Vaio would run under Linux at all, but my newer machine runs Win7 and I couldn't get a slow enough burn speed for the Vaio's taste (I think that was the problem, anyway). So I booted the newer machine-Acer 5735-4774-with the Knoppix disk, which I figured would give me better control over burn speed without having to install something extra. It ran fine, and I pulled the ISO from one of the mirrors onto a flash drive (to make life more complicated, the original ISO is on an external network drive, but I'm having network issues) and went to get breakfast. My computer apparently fell asleep while I was gone; the download manager window was gone so I assume the download completed successfully. I can't tell... my computer had locked up The clock was 20 minutes slow and nothing I clicked on worked, although Iceweasel closed. Pressing the Power button brought up the Shutdown dialog, and it did let me shut down politely.

    But now it won't start. I haven't even been able to load the BIOS menu. It powers up for a second, starts to shut down, tries again, and gives up. The monitor never even comes on. The only changes I made to the BIOS were disabling Quick Start and moving CD above HDD in the boot menu. ????? How did I break my computer? I've used the Knoppix disk in my boyfriend's computer, and it survived... (fortunately for my sake).

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pikacane View Post
    Hi! If I'm putting this in the wrong section, I'm sorry. And please forgive the novel, I'm not sure what's relevant and what's not.

    I'm trying to evaluate if/how an ancient Vaio would run under Linux at all, but my newer machine runs Win7 and I couldn't get a slow enough burn speed for the Vaio's taste (I think that was the problem, anyway). So I booted the newer machine-Acer 5735-4774-with the Knoppix disk, which I figured would give me better control over burn speed without having to install something extra. It ran fine, and I pulled the ISO from one of the mirrors onto a flash drive (to make life more complicated, the original ISO is on an external network drive, but I'm having network issues) and went to get breakfast. My computer apparently fell asleep while I was gone; the download manager window was gone so I assume the download completed successfully. I can't tell... my computer had locked up The clock was 20 minutes slow and nothing I clicked on worked, although Iceweasel closed. Pressing the Power button brought up the Shutdown dialog, and it did let me shut down politely.

    But now it won't start. I haven't even been able to load the BIOS menu. It powers up for a second, starts to shut down, tries again, and gives up. The monitor never even comes on. The only changes I made to the BIOS were disabling Quick Start and moving CD above HDD in the boot menu. ????? How did I break my computer? I've used the Knoppix disk in my boyfriend's computer, and it survived... (fortunately for my sake).
    I'm thinking you're having a coincidental hardware problem, quite possibly a bad write to the BIOS memory... You can't boot, even from a known good CD/DVD, or get the BIOS menu, right? If it was my machine, I'd look up the motherboard online ('cause who can find the manual when they need it?) and see what the jumper setting was to set the BIOS to defaults and go from there. Maybe the system is trying to "over-clock" the processor or memory, or ??? You can also pull the MB battery and let the BIOS RAM die (maybe 20 minutes? Look elsewhere online for more on BIOS problems like this if you need to, and let us know what happens next.)

    Hope that helps!
    Krishna

  3. #3
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    Pulling the battery got it. I was thinking it was probably a hardware issue too, but it was hard to ignore the timing, and I figured at least I could get some advice from someone who knew more than I did if I asked here My usual suspects were unavailable! But I took it to my parents' last night, once everyone was back in town and I had access to some of my usual suspects-and some screwdrivers. And twenty minutes later I got to flip my mom out by informing her that there was a Linux machine on the network. Apparently her boss told her Linux was a particularly nasty virus XD But I'm just happy it's working again!

  4. #4
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    Maybe resetting the BIOS to defaults (if it is possible to get to the BIOS setup menu) would also have worked? That was probably one important effect of the battery removal, but not necessarily the only one. I have experienced that some USB units can block the PC from booting when USB is high on the booting priority list, therefore I start the PC with them unplugged.

    BTW, we are producing official statistics on Linux machines where I work, nasty OS really

  5. #5
    If its of any use, Ive seen PCs do strange things when the BIOS write access is blocked. Had a BIOS version that wouldnt allow me to load Windows until the write block was removed from BIOS.
    Not that Windows is anyones preferred OS...

  6. #6
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    Capricorny, I wasn't able to get to the BIOS setup menu. It's stayed happy, though, so we're good. The old machine I was really wanting to run Linux on doesn't appear to be able to; it's now running FreeDOS and much happier with its universe. If I can track down some RAM I can afford for it I may try again.

    Instead, I made a nice cozy little partition on this machine to do a HDD install. I did originally do Debian but I can't get it to recognise my wireless card. Knoppix did (buh?) so I'm considering wiping Debian for a Knoppix install. Now to figure out how to get a flashdrive bootable so I don't have to buy DVDs...
    Thanks everyone for your help!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by pikacane View Post
    Capricorny, I wasn't able to get to the BIOS setup menu. It's stayed happy, though, so we're good. The old machine I was really wanting to run Linux on doesn't appear to be able to; it's now running FreeDOS and much happier with its universe. If I can track down some RAM I can afford for it I may try again.

    Instead, I made a nice cozy little partition on this machine to do a HDD install. I did originally do Debian but I can't get it to recognise my wireless card. Knoppix did (buh?) so I'm considering wiping Debian for a Knoppix install. Now to figure out how to get a flashdrive bootable so I don't have to buy DVDs...
    Thanks everyone for your help!
    Consensus here seems to be either:
    1) Flash the BIOS if a new one THAT FIXES THIS ISSUE is available (and you're brave-it's not a risk-free process.)
    2) Use PLoP to handle booting.
    3) Use the Windows boot mechanism as a way in to either grub, syslinux or LILO (there is a link to some directions on the forum somewhere, but I can't find them in the moment.)
    4) Use the Smart_Boot_Manager as directed.

    Cheers!
    Krishna

  8. #8
    "I wasn't able to get to the BIOS setup menu."

    Time to flash BIOS and or change the BIOS cell, there should be a 3 volt coin cell that powers the chip.Thats a hardware problem.

  9. #9
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    krishna.murphy, was it this way you meant?
    you can use XP (Win2000 NT...) bootloader to start Linux. just write LILO to a floppy, make a "image" of the floppy-mbr put that image in C:\ edit BOOT.INI mine looks like this.

    [boot loader]
    timeout=2
    default=multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOW S
    [operating systems]
    C:\linux.ipl="LINUX"
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Micro soft Windows XP Home Edition" /fastdetect

    a quick guide with a few more details.

    1) make lilo write to floppy, have this line in lilo.conf:

    boot=/dev/fd0

    2) make a image of the floppy-mbr:

    dd if=/dev/fd0 of=/dev/fd0/linux.ipl bs=512 count=1

    3) put a copy of linux.ipl in C:\

    4) Modifiy c:\boot.ini -- add a line with:

    c:\linux.ipl="Linux"

    repeat 2) and 3) every time you run lilo.

    Microsoft ntldr now let you boot linux

  10. #10
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    It looks interesting, but no cigar. I found what I was looking for here.

    Hope that's helpful!
    Krishna

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