DOSC TWiki snapshot as of mid-2005



This document covers the snags I ran into while setting up my HP ze5170 laptop to dual boot windows xp home and RedHat 9.0. Problem/Solution pairs are recorded in roughly chronological order. Some problems are particular to this platform, some aren't.

Problem: How do I want to arrange my partitions?
Solution: I noticed that I had a small partition for hibernation at the front of the disk, hda1, and an ntfs partition, hda2, covering the rest of it. I decided to leave the small one as-is, and make hda2 the new, smaller ntfs partition. This seemed to give the best chance of having the hp recovery software install to the right partition. I then made a large ext3 partition as hda3 and a ~520 meg linux swap partition as hda4.

Problem: What order do I install me OS's in?
Solution: Since I am such a wild and crazy guy, I installed linux first and told it to add a label in grub to boot hda2 as my windows partition. I did make a linux boot disk but never needed it. After linux was installed, I booted the hp recovery cd and chose to only restore c: in the "Advanced" options. Quite fantastically, this never overwrote the mbr and grub continued to work flawlessly for booting both operating systems. It might have been safer to partition with the linux installer, install windows, and then finish the linux install.

Problem: The installer hangs at the

               CD Found
   To begin testing the CD media before
   installation press OK.

Solution: Boot with 'linux nousb'

Problem: The screen flickers badly once I get to the fully graphical part of the installation
Solution: Switch to console with ctl-alt-f2 and then back with ctl-alt-f7. This might need to be repeated a couple times.

Problem: I don't know what to call my touchpad in the mouse selection stage.
Solution: I called it a generic ps/2 two button wheel mouse and enabled 3 button emulation. This works in X but not on the console. I will look into the synaptics touchpad linux driver at some point.

Problem: The disk druid does not let me create an ntfs partition, or it won't let me create a sufficiently large vfat partition, or it does something else mean.
Solution: Hit ctl-alt-f2 to drop to a console and invoke 'fdisk /dev/hda' I used the d, n, t, a, and w commands. See the help with m. Hit ctl-alt-f7 to get back to the installer.

Problem: My keyboard quits responding after I do the last solution.
Solution: Uh, sorry I don't know why that happened. I just rebooted, and since my fdisk was already done I didn't have to worry about it again.

Problem: The installer doesn't recognize my request for a dvorak keyboard layout during the install.
Solution: Yeah it sucks doesn't it? After installation, change "dvorak" to "dvorak/dvorak" in /etc/sysconfig/keyboard.

Problem: I want 4 primary partitions and no extended partitions, but disk druid keeps making an icky extended one.
Solution: play with the 'force to be a primary partition' option on some of them.

Problem: After install, resolution in X is too low.
Solution: edit /etc/X11/XF86Config and look for the section "Screen". Change this line:

Modes "800x600" "640x48"
Modes "1024x768" "800x600"

Problem: It's still too low.
Solution: Sorry, I haven't got anything else to work yet. There are some google hits that look somewhat promising.

Problem: X and sometimes my console do that horrible flicker thing sometimes.
Solution: In X, hit ctl-alt-+ repeatedly until it displays right. I don't know how to fix the console aside from switching back and forth between it and X.

Problem: I don't have a subscription to rhn, I can't tell what needs to be updated, and the little applet thing just snivels at me.
Solution: You can get a demo account by running rhn_register as root (this is an X app). If you don't want an account, run rhn-applet-tui as root in a terminal to see what you need to update, and snarf it all from

Problem: I'm on the dartmouth network, or some other network with a similar dyndns setup, and linux isn't grabbing a dns name like I want.

   echo 'send host-name "mysweetname";' >> /etc/dhclient-eth0.conf
   /etc/init.d/network restart

Problem: My wireless nic isn't working and redhat-config-network seems to see it as a non-wireless.
Solution: See BrutallyHackRedhat9WirelessNicConfigs

AlexFerguson - 12 Apr 2003