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I done messed up (and other problems)



I have 5 machines.  I've installed Fedora 8 on two of them so far.  The
other 3 have their own unique problems.

One machine I did install on is a thinkpad t43 from work.  The hard
drive is /dev/sda.  Windows XP is on /dev/sda1, fedora 8 is on /dev/sda2
and swap is on /dev/sda3.

For my 3 problem machines I am thinking if I can get them to boot from
my usb memory stick (4G Kingston Data Traveler) then I am part way
there.  On my work machine the usb thingy looks like a usb hard drive,
say /dev/sdb.  I've tried to do `dd if=images/diskboot.img of=/dev/sdb'
and get `IO ERROR' trying to boot from it.  Then `dd
if=images/diskboot.img of=/dev/sdb1' after using fdisk to clear the
borken partition table from the first try.  Attempting to boot from that
results in a blinking cursor.

Aha, I think, /dev/sdb needs a MBR.  So I tried grub-install.  That
didn't work.

Now on this machine I have not modified the MBR.  If I want to boot
linux then I have a CD with grub on it that will boot either /dev/sda1
(XP) or /dev/sda2 (linux).  When I install linux, I install grub
on /dev/sda2.  So if the CD is not inserted XP boots right up.  If the
CD is inserted then a grub menu appears, do nothing, then grub is booted
on /dev/sda2, do nothing, then latest kernel is booted.  This sorta
disguises the fact that I have linux on the machine.

So when I did the grub-install (from above) it (unexpectedly to me)
messed up /dev/sda2 (I was trying to install it to /dev/sdb).  So I
can't boot my linux partition anymore.  I boot up the Fedora 8 install
DVD in rescue mode.  This is where I messed up.  I meant to do
grub-install on /dev/sda2 (linux partition) but did it on /dev/sda1 (XP
partition) instead.  I realized my error and fixed grub on /dev/sda2 but
now I can't boot XP on /dev/sda1.  This is kinda important to me cause I
can (could) connect to work from home using a proprietary VPN and a
proprietary remote desktop & do my shit as opposed to driving in 20
miles in the middle of the night.

So any ideas on how to fix the XP problem?

Anyway, how do I create a bootable Fedora 8 bootdisk.img on my memory
stick?

For my first problem machine I think a network install will work nicely.
Screen, keyboard, harddrive, eth0 work; no dvd/cd; usb is flaky enough
that install from usb dvd doesn't work, but I think I can do an ftp
(say) install if I can boot from the usb memory stick.

The second problem machine is a headless machine.  No keyboard, video
card, monitor, cd/dvd.  It does have a serial port that connects to
another machine that has a serial port; minicom works fine.  Also has a
usb port.  Can I boot bootdisk.img from a usb stick and do a headless
install?

The third problem machine is a thinkpad G41.  Seems the inverter to the
backlight has gone bad so you can't see anything on the screen.  It
doesn't have a serial port.  Any good ideas on how to update this
machine?

Greg Smith


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