Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Nice Try, But...

I've had a three older computers sitting around not doing anything, so I thought one or more of them could be set up to run Linux. Things did not go well, unfortunately.

I started with the least old one. I'd previously installed Ubuntu on it but never really used it much. An attempt to try again by installing Mint instead did not get far thanks to a loud SNAP! which may just mean the power supply went out.

The next oldest one would not boot from the disk like it's supposedly set up to do. Booting into Windows got me to the screen where a password is required, but it wouldn't take any password I tried. After trying to find ways around that, nothing was working, so I decided to take the C: drive out and put it into my second machine.

Once it was in the second machine, I put in the Mint install disk and installed Mint on the drive. Then I moved the drive back to it's original place, where it promptly failed to boot. I messed around some more, even pulling out an older HP machine I hadn't run in a long time to see if I could install Linux on that, but that hard drive made ominous clicking noises and never booted. Putting the hard drive with Mint on it in that machine didn't work either. So now I appear to have only two working desktop machines, although I will see about that power supply. If that's the problem with #3, that'll be good, especially if I can switch the power supply from #4 into #3.

Most of that messing around took place last night and this morning. Then I discovered another problem. When I'd installed Mint onto the disk from #4, I'd messed up the boot file on Caristiona, the second machine. That's how I found out about GRUB, which is somewhat like the Master Boot Record on Windows machines. I did some looking around the internet on Sileas. I found one site that gave simple instructions for fixing GRUB, but it didn't work.

Fortunately, in my looking around I found references to something called Super GRUB Disk. So I downloaded it, burned it to a CD and stuck it in the CD drive on Caristiona. At first, I just chose to boot, and found out I could get into Linux and everything was still there and working. But when I took the disk out and rebooted, I got the error again.

The next try was to put the SGD back in and look around a bit. From reading help files, and trying a few things (carefully) I eventually managed to select the right options and got a message that SGD had succeeded in putting things right. I restarted, popped the disk out, and Caristiona booted into Linux just like before. Just to be sure, I rebooted and confirmed everything's OK.

While I did eventually find out what I needed by reading some Linux forums found in Google search, I had to read through a lot of verbiage. Many people, instead of just presenting a solution, seem to have a need to berate people for things like not giving enough info or for being dumb enough to mess things up in the first place, and then threads tend to digress. So it took a fair amount of searching around.

With all that messing around, I'm essentially back where I started except #4 no longer has Windows on it. That's not a big deal because Windows is not in my future. Linux is the way to go and the price is right. Also, I do now have Super Grub Disk in case I have any future problems.

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