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Thread: Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

  1. #1
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    Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Bear with me....it's been a while since I've done an instal from scratch (RH 6.2.) And I've never owned a laptop before.

    I've been given a Compaq Armada 7400 from a friend who's company was ditching the laptops (they've upgraded.) It seems to be a quaint little laptop that I can use to put linux on (and get away from windows completely.) Specs: PII, with 128 megs ram, 6 gigs on the hard drive, cdrom. There is no floppy at all.

    Now, right off the bat, the first thing I want to do is check bios. But the machine has win 2000 on it, and when I get the screen with the blinking cursor on it (after the Compaq splash screen), I don't have enough time to hit f10. The "Starting Windows" screen comes up too quick. Really, I just want to ensure I can boot from a cdrom.

    That's the first problem. Anyone familiar with getting into bios?

    Now, number 2. I download the three binary discs of RH 9 from one of the mirrors, gatech; if I remember correctly. I burned the discs using Easy CD creator, since that's what popped up when I double-clicked the .iso files I downloaded. My question is, how do start the install (assuming I can get past question 1)? The root directory of disc 1 does not have an autorun/boot/etc file, it's mostly readmes and release notes. There are a couple of other directories though: dosutils, images, isolinux, and RedHat. The isolinux has a program called "boot." And in dosutils, there's a program called "autoboot". (And an autoboot directory.)

    I would like to just wipe the hard drive, getting rid of win2K and just have linux on the laptop. I went to http://www.linux-laptop.net/ and found my model and directions...so it seems like it can be done relatively easy. I'm just trying to get around the corporate disc image and my cd#1 issues. All of my other machines are running heavlly patched RH 6.2 and installed pretty easily on the boxes; but they are not laptops.

    I put this in this forum, as I wasn't sure where else to put it.
    Thanks for any help/pointers/and tips.

  2. #2

    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Autorun files are for Windoows. I don't think they are used in linux at all. If you downloaded the iso images, the first cd is bootable. You just have to set the laptop to boot from it.

    I'd say start hitting F10 while on the Compaq splash screen.

  3. #3
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    [quote author=trickster link=board=1;threadid=7204;start=0#66511 date=1055375363]
    Autorun files are for Windoows. I don't think they are used in linux at all.
    [/quote]

    Actually RedHat has been using them since RH8. I think Mandrake does too.

  4. #4
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Well I've got a Compaq Armada 1750 (p2 333, 64 mb, 4 gig hd) so I think I can help you here a little.

    First off - Compaq installs the program that changes your BIOS settings onto your hard drive. The BIOS is on the cmos chip of the motherboard but the setup utility was on a seperate partition of the hard drive. You likely wiped it out unknowingly when you installed Windows 2000. I'm only saying that because I've done once myself.

    You can download a utility that will let you boot to a floppy and make the changes to your BIOS if you like but you'll need to head to Compaq's website to get it. The program is called "Personal Computer Diagnostics" and this is the link to the on I use for my laptop.

    http://h18007.www1.hp.com/support/fi...load/9260.html

    Once you get that running you should be able to boot to the cd just fine; at least I know my model does anyway.

    Hope that helps...

  5. #5
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Thanks for the link!

    I don't have a floppy on the laptop, so I'm going to have to find a way to make this work from the cdrom. I'll fool around with it for a bit.

    (Unfortunately, I didn't put Win2K on the machine, and I suspect you are right about the w2k installation blowing away the partition.)


  6. #6
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    [quote author=Scott Tiger link=board=1;threadid=7204;start=0#66535 date=1055437559]
    First off - Compaq installs the program that changes your BIOS settings onto your hard drive. The BIOS is on the cmos chip of the motherboard but the setup utility was on a seperate partition of the hard drive. You likely wiped it out unknowingly when you installed Windows 2000. I'm only saying that because I've done once myself.
    [/quote]

    Try 20 times here

    At my old job, we got in two batches of 10, a bunch of compaq deskpros that had a small 100MB partition or so (depending on the HD, this was win95, so the fat16 couldnt see >2GB. Therefore the 2.2 GB drives had a 200MB partition). Well when a computer went haywire, I would just replace it. Only a handful of PC's had any data actually saved locally (like managers). So, I then would clone the drive from a working image. In my case it was 98SE with all of the programs needed and the drivers in a folder for all my NICs, VGA and soforth.

    Anyway, the tool that would clone would vape the partition table and create one giant partition and span the whole disk, then if the drive was big enough, it would clone the image. Hence why the first day we got each batch, I had no longer kept any BIOS tools.

    As ScottTiger mentioned, goto HewlettCompaqardBell's page and look up the model and grab the bios tools. IIRC, it should be two disks made, a BIOS tool, and a diagnostics tool. All in one disk creator.

  7. #7
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Have you ever wondered why Compaq did that? What do you think they saved byt doing that - 20 cents? I'm happy with my laptop (knock on wood) but it can be really easy to hate Compaq for stupid stuff like that..


  8. #8
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Scott Tiger - Thanks for the link. That software was great. I went out on eBay and got a floppy drive and was able to get it going. (I couldn't get it to work from a cdrom.) So, here's what happened when I ran it.

    From the opening menu, I chose "Manage Diagnostics Partition"
    I tried to make the Diagnostics Partition, and this is the output I received:

    Code:
    There is not enough space on the hard drive for the Diagnostics Partition.
    
    To install the Compaq Utilities, you must free at least two megabytes of drive space at the beginning of the hard drive.
    
    You must also have an available entry in the master boot record for the partition information.
    
    Caution if a partition exists of type 12h, do not remove it from the the master boot record.  If this partition is at the begining of the hard drive, it will be increased in size to make room for the Compaq Utilities.
    I checked the directory structure, and there is plenty of room on the hard drive.

    I couldn't find fdisk to see what the partition information looks like.

    (I can't believe a company would set up these laptops like this...what if they ever had to really fix them.)
    Anyway...
    Is there an easy way I can boot to dos, and fdisk the drive....kill the partitions that are there and create the proper Compaq partition and install these utilities? I'm going to trash Win2K anyway and make it a total Linux laptop anyway.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

  9. #9

    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    http://bootdisk.com/

    Get a boot disk from there.

  10. #10
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    Re:Compaq Armada and RH 9.0

    Thanks. That site did just the trick.
    Now, my plan is, get a win98 boot disk....fdisk the drive. Make a small partition. Put the Compaq Utilities on that partition. Adjust Bios to boot from cdrom. Install Redhat 9.

    Does anyone see any flaws with that?

    Thanks.

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