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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Fatal error on disk when attempting to install Linux

    I have an old PC with XP which isn't working (see http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...a-corrupt-file for details). I've now decided to wipe the old disk and install Linux instead (I've got all the files I want off it). However, neither Mint nor Ubuntu will show the disk when I try to install them and using cfdisk gives a fatal error. I assume that the corruption it suffered has corrupted something in the root (?) of the disk so it can't be used as boot device, but I assume the disk is recoverable as I can see the files OK in Linux (it's how I got my files off it).

    So what's the best way to deal with this please? I'm happy the whole disk can be wiped and reformatted, but it's not obvious to me (a home Linux newbie) how to go about it.

    Malcolm

  2. #2
    New Lounger Tech Support's Avatar
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    Hi Malcolm

    One of the ways, I'd do it would be to try booting that PC off a Linux live disk - could be a flash disk or an optical disk if the PC is too old to support booting of flash disks. Ubuntu's live disk offers the option to install.

    You say you 'can see' files on the hard disk 'in Linux' - did you boot using a live Linux disk?

    Would you be able to photograph the stage during installation just before you get the error, as well as when it errors? and post these over here? Would help immensely in trouble-shooting...

    Neeraj
    My credentials:
    I dual boot (both 64 bit OSs) Windows 7 Ultimate with Ubuntu 12.04 customised with the Mate and Cinnamon desktops, on an Acer Aspire 4740 core i3 laptop with 4 GB RAM

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by access-mdb View Post
    I have an old PC with XP which isn't working (see http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...a-corrupt-file for details). I've now decided to wipe the old disk and install Linux instead (I've got all the files I want off it). However, neither Mint nor Ubuntu will show the disk when I try to install them and using cfdisk gives a fatal error. I assume that the corruption it suffered has corrupted something in the root (?) of the disk so it can't be used as boot device, but I assume the disk is recoverable as I can see the files OK in Linux (it's how I got my files off it).

    So what's the best way to deal with this please? I'm happy the whole disk can be wiped and reformatted, but it's not obvious to me (a home Linux newbie) how to go about it.

    Malcolm
    If you're using Ubuntu or Mint, Gparted is an easier to use GUI app for working with disks and partitions. Any app that does this (including cfdisk) requires root privileges, so from the terminal you have to use the "sudo" command. Apps launced from the GUI will prompt you for the administrator password. The error may be related to this lack of permission.

    Similarly, booting from a live CD does not mount other drives by default, so you may need to mount it first (another command requiring root privileges) to work with its contents. The drive should be unmounted before any repartitioning and formatting, though.

    Good luck.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to hemeloser For This Useful Post:

    access-mdb (2013-04-01)

  5. #4
    5 Star Lounger access-mdb's Avatar
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    Thanks hemeloser, I will try Gparted then. Is it a case of deleting the old partitions and creating a new one? As I'm not worried about the data on the disk, I will try this - it can't make it worse!

    Tech support - I did indeed boot off a USB stick - that was how I got my data. It's just that cfdisk suggested using chkdsk to fix the disk - but as I couldn't run XP, I couldn't run chkdsk - hence my query here.

    Now 1950 - I used 'boot and nuke' to complexity clear the disk. I then booted from the USB stick and used gparted to create a new partition. When I clicked install, it did so without problems. I'm now running the upgrade to the Linux Mint OS. Got a problem with the floppy, but I'll investigate that in due course.

    It would appear the disk isn't a brick after all, so thanks to hemeloser for giving me the confidence to go with this.
    Last edited by access-mdb; 2013-04-01 at 14:53. Reason: Problem now fixed

  6. #5
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    Glad it worked for you. :-)

  7. #6
    New Lounger Tech Support's Avatar
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    Yeah, I'm happy too that you could figure it out by yourself.

    Although, I myself prefer simpler, less arcane instructions than those given out by Linux "power users". I've been dabbling with Linux since '98, yeah! But I still prefer GUI over command line, in particular the *nix shell prompt, no matter what paeans have been sung about it's power and heft.

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