OS Does Not Load Beyond A Point

2015 pts.
Tags:
Hardware
Microsoft Windows
Interesting problem handed to me by one of th eother techs here today. He had set a home machine running XP Pro to allow th euse to logon without seeing thelogon screen. When he tried it, the logon was not accapted. He brough the machine here to the shop, and I've been putzing around with it eversince. The password was blank, according the the user, according to the tech. A quick check shoewed this was allowable in a stand alone install. Message comes back with a bad logon, username/password. Thought we would use a cracker on it to see if there actually was a password. Ooops, the Linux does not load. OK, maybe bad disk, burned a new one, same deal. Another option on this particular CD is to run memtest. Chose the option and ran memtest--DOS loaded fine, memory tested fine. Tried to load the Linux again, hangs on loading. Test CD in another machine, works fine. Tried on the broken machine, still will not load. Try another program, another flavor of Linux, another type of cracker--Linux loads at thsipoint but hangs beyond that. The machine is a Dell Demension 8300, P-4, 3.2 GHz, 512 MB ram, and is, naturally, out of warranty. Does anyone have an idea of what may be the problem here? Thanks.

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Try an older version of Linux – your machine may have that isn’t supported anymore. Have you booted in safe mode? If you get the chance, use the autologon utility from SysInternals – they are now on the microsoft web pages.

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  • petkoa
    Hi, stevesz First, I don't think that "...P-4, 3.2 GHz..." machine might be not supported by whatever modern linux distribution as paul144hart suggests. However I got several times into the same problem and it appeared to be both distribution and machine chipset dependent. I didn't resolve it :o((, but some symptoms (hanging during disk scan for cd where "sqashed" image is located; ability to reproduce the problem on a "good machine" by fiddling with ide pio/dma modes in the bios setup; ability to boot "bad machine" with a live cd from another distribution) lead me to a conclusion that kernel is configured to set dma on during boot, but the dma activation doesn't work well on the given chipset. In fact, I didn't confirmed this looking at the kernel configuration from the "non-loading" distributions, so may be I'm not right. If you, however, need a DOS-based password resetting-tool, get Hiren's tool collection at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/hiren.thanki/bootcd.html - it most probably will boot and work. Though, one of the NT-password cracking utilities on the cd is linux-based, and falls in the category of non-booting! Good luck, Petko
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  • Stevesz
    I am thinking, right now, since I had a look, that the problem is the distributions I have tried, do not support SATA, whch is why I can boot on another machine just fine. I'll mention this to the tech who brought in the machine and let him worry about it for a while :>.
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  • petkoa
    Hi, I suppose that lack of SATA support in a distribution kernel/modules will not prevent booting, it'll boot but you can't see SATA disks. However, until recently SATA support in the linux kernel was quite buggy and some ~6 month ago it was completelly changed; so maybe your "non-booting" distribution has that buggy support and thus freezes when calling SATA devices. Anyway, all of the systems on which I experienced boot problems whith a Knoppix-derived distribution were too old and had no SATA bus at all. BR, Petko
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  • Mortree
    Could SATA all right. Though I'd almost expect it to fallback and work in old IDE emulation mode if it was a matter of totally lacking SATA support. Buggy SATA would be a different matter as would changes in chipset PnP registers. But you might also consider DVD/CD-ROMs. It is amazing but some newer drives have el-Torrito problems. I just built a machine where I had to switch the boot portion back to floppy emulation to get it to work. And I can see where such flaky engineering might be effected by DMA/PIO mode changes. I am thinking some of the foreign factories are getting real cheap (under new American management? -Grin- ) about keeping full engineering and firmware staffs employed and instead are forcing new hired people to reuse old code and designs they don't neceesarily understand.
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