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BIOS Geometry question.

From: Matthew Stanfield
Subject: BIOS Geometry question.
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 14:35:17 +0000


Sorry if this is a 'novice' question concerning partitioning with parted.

I've been having problems installing Linux (RedHat 7.2); on my system I get
the following error during install:

running /sbin/loader
failed to read /modules/module-info
install exited abnormally

Feedback from a redhat mailing list suggested I get rid of my Win 2000
partition (I had only one partition on the system a Win 2000 NTFS). So I
used an old copy of fdisk (MSDOS version) from a DOS bootdisk. I used this
to delete the NTFS partition and created a Primary DOS Partition using
fdisk. Unfortunately I got the same Linux install error when I retried the
installation. Thinking the error may be because of the filesystem being DOS
I searched the web, found 'parted', and created a parted boot disk; this
works fine. I used fdisk to delete my partition (no partitions are now on
the system). Now I want to use parted to create a partion(s) to install
Linux on to. But the documentation warns:

"Parted can usually detect if Linux has detected the incorrect geometry. 
However, it cannot do this if there are no partitions on the disk.  In 
this case, you should check yourself.  It is very important that you do 

When I start parted it tell me that:

"Linux thinks geometry of /dev/hda/ is 784/255/63"

But my BIOS says my ('hda') hard disk has these settings:
cylinders:  12496
heads:      16
sectors:    63
max cap:    6150MB

Does this mean I should pass the following parameter to Linux?


The documentation does not specify how to format this "hda=xxx" line.

I am assuming that having set the "hda=xxx", I should start parted ("parted
/dev/hda") and then create a partition like this:

mkpart primary ext2 0.0 6150.375

or create a partition with a filesystem like this:

mkpartfs primary ext2 0.0 6150.375

Note when I run the parted command 'print' it says:
"Disk geometry for /dev/hda: 0.000-6150.375 megabytes"
So the above mkpart and mkpartfs would be creating one partition taking up
all available space.

I am unsure as to whether to use mkpart or mkpartfs in these circumstances
and if the commands are what I need to be able to install Linux onto the
new partition?

Apologies for the length of this email and for the newbie to Linux and
parted nature of the questions.

Many thanks and regards,


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