Re: win-motherboard

From: Enrique Perez-Terron (
Date: 09/19/05

Date: Mon, 19 Sep 2005 07:16:00 +0200

On Mon, 19 Sep 2005 03:17:29 +0200, jrchilds <> wrote:

> Help!! I've installed and run Linux for years, but am stumped!
> My old motherboard died Friday, so On Saturday I purchased a new Asus
> K8S-MX board with a Semapron 3000+ CPU. Box would not boot from old
> hard drives, I has 1 Seagate 80 gig and a Maxtor 80 gig as the slave
> installed. Thought to self WTF??

Sorry, what is WTF?

> Installed Win XP to a 40 gig partition on the first drive fine. Went to
> install Master Booter and it would not install. said there was a divide
> error.

Do you mean a divide by zero error?

In general you need to post fairly specific error message texts etc to
help the helpers. But I understand that you have tried 100 things before
deciding to ask here, and you didn't take notes meticulously along the way.

If it's a divide by zero error my thoughts first go in the direction of
hardware problems.

> Never had that happen before. Next tried to install SuperSuse 10.0. If
> went through the first stages of install then lost the cdrom drive,
> couldn't find the install cd.

Sounds like hardware problems. Devices should not come and go.

I have seen on many computers that after touching their innards, the
bios cannot find the hard drives. The problem has always gone away
if I just tried again suficiently many times, usually trying to push
the cables even better into their sockets. But I must admit I never
quite feel I understand what happens, because I really can't
push the connectors deeper into the sockets than to the bottom.

I imagine perhaps one of the pins in the socket is not making good contact.
After all, if, say, one of the pins is narrower, the connector still sits
steady because of the other 39 pins.

I try to wiggle the connector and cable from side to side, but I never feel
convinced that when it starts working, it is because of what I did.

But again, you should post more specific information. Is it the Bios
and boot that says it cannot find the devce? Or is it after Grub/Lilo
(I don't know Master Booter, is that another booter like Grub?) - starts
that you got those errors?

> Next tried to install the old standby Mandrake 10.1 (Mandrivia 2005). It
> installed fine, but would not find the init try passing it to the kernel
> message.

This sounds like you have been able to load the kernel, but the kernel
is not finding the right partition to use as the root file system
(that is, the partition containing /etc/inittab and /sbin/init).

We would need to know exactly what disks you have, what partitions
there are, which partitions contain what... And then, how is the
boot itself configured. With any boot loader, there will be a "command
line" string passed to the kernel, and this string is always configurable.
This string usually contains an item like "root=LABEL=/" directing
the kernel to inspect all partitions and pick one that has a label
"/". Another form of this item is root=/dev/hda3 or, IIRC, root=hda3.

> Now I've installed Mandrake numerous times, from 8.0 to now without
> problems. Till NOW!!
> I had Mandrake installed on the hdb7 (still do, just can't boot it no

A possible source of confusion: there are two partitions involved
in the booting, but they may be the same. First is the partition
containing the kernel and the initial ramdisk (if the latter is needed).
Then there is the partition containing the root file system.

When you say you have Mandrake installed on hdb7, could it be
that you actually have the kernel and initrd files in hdb7, while
the root file system is elsewhere?

Since I don't know "Master Booter", I will just describe grub, so you can
compare: To grub, you specify

   root (hd0,2)
   kernel /vmlinux-2.6.12-1.1447_FC4 ro root=LABEL=Maxtor/
   initrd /initrd-2.6.12-1.1447_FC4.img

Here the first line, "root" is really "Grubs default partition"
and only indicates what partition contains the files named on the
next two lines. Notice that grub has its own language for naming
partitions, so (hd0,2) really means the first disk, third partition.
However, there is no guarantee that grub will enumerate the disk
in the same order as the kernel, so some research may be necessary
to determine what the partitions are called in grub. For what I know,
the same may apply to Master Booter.

The next two lines indicate each a file name on the default partition.
Those files could have been specified as (hd0,2)/vmlinuz-...
in which case the "root" statement would not have been necessary.

But then you have, on the "kernel" line, the arguments passed to the
kernel, among them root=something. That text is not interpreted by
the boot loader, but by the kernel after the boot loader has loaded
and started the kernel. And this is where you are having a problem.