New Hard Drive In After Trials and Tribulations

Finally got the new hard drive working. I used Cuvarack‘s suggestion I zeroed out the MBR with dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=512 count=1. Actually I left off the last two options the first time, and started nuking the entire drive. After it was doing this for about 10 minutes I gave up, ran it with bs and count (yes, I know I didn’t have to) and then tried to install GRUB again.

This time I finally got it to work. GRUB installed with out any ugly “can’t find stage 1” errors once I re-partitioned the drive (again). However, on reboot, I just got an endless scrolling screen of “GRUB GRUB GRUB GRUB GRUB“.


Talked to some folks in #gentoo who tried to talk, but nothing helped. In the end I did something that I’m not proud of, but it worked. I installed Mandrake Linux. I can hear Shaggy cheering all the way from Chilliwack. I didn’t keep it on though, sorry. It was temping, though.

I figured that if I installed a “real” distro, the kind that does everything for you, that would leave no doubts as to if there was something perhaps physically wrong with the drive that wouldn’t allow it to work properly with GRUB. Mandrake’s install was very nice, and their inclusion of a “really minimul” install was nice. The install was under 200meg, which is pretty good. I didn’t do much once it was installed though, besides boot it up and make sure that it booted and GRUB worked properly. Then I booted back up on the original Gentoo system, re-partitioned, re-ran the GRUB install, re-copied files over, and rebooted.


Well, mostly. It takes a long. time to go from the point where it says “Loading GRUB Stage1.5.” to actually booting, and there is no nice splash image or a pause to let me select my kernel. Well, it’s working now anyway, with things running smoothly and my Big Brother board is all green.

If it wasn’t a headless server I probably would try out Mandrake. My experience with it at my last contract job were pretty good, even though I was pretty inexperienced with it. However, a lot of the useful tools are graphical, and because this is a headless server I won’t have those, and I end up with just a plain jane Linux server, which is what I have now. I might think about it for my work machine though.