Error loading operating system. Help please.

I’ve downloaded the latest version OpenSuse, burnt it to DVD and installed it successfully, apparently.

It worked fine for a while, an hour or so, and then suddenly froze/locked up while configuring Firefox… So I do a restart, without the DVD, and get “Error loading operating system”.

PC is 2008 Winfast AMD XM2420 Dual core 4200 AM2, with 2GB ram, 160GB hard drive. Bought to use as a dedicated Linux machine. I tried Ubuntu and had exactly the same problem. Worked fine off the CD, but remove it and I get the same error. I’m a total beginner in reality and after a month of frustration I need some basic help I think!

Opensuse worked so well for the short time it lasted, and I’d really like to get it working properly.

I don’t mind fresh re-installs if necessary, since I have no personal data to lose. My other PC (a good job this one works…) has Ubuntu working well in a modest partition, which is why I got the second PC to try it without Windows. Yet Ubuntu would not boot after install on my ‘new’ machine. Opensuse seems to be the same. Won’t boot. So I wonder if it is a problem with the dedicated machine? Bios maybe?

How do I test it/get an audit in Opensuse?
My brain is porridge at the moment…

Any help/advice will be greatly appreciated at 05:30 in the morning!

First thoughts: This could well be due to a faulty HDD. Did you buy this computer second-hand?

I did buy this second hand, and did initially suspect a faulty hard drive, but I did a check on the HD during the installation procedure and it said OK. I was considering buying a second HD but when it came up OK I thought it was actually good.
How do I properly check the hard drive within Opensuse?

This is what confuses me with Linux. In XP or Vista I can use Belarc or Speccy to get a thorough audit, but neither seem to be available without windows.

I would consider booting from a LiveCD or DVD, then run badblocks or similar.

badblocks - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

badblocks(8): search device for bad blocks - Linux man page

Thanks for that: ) I’ll try booting from the DVD, after I check out badblocks.
Just did, and it mystifies me…

I’ve downloaded it from Sourceforge but ext3/4/5 means nothing to me right now.
I’ve simply got an e2fsprogs file 1.42.3 of 21.something MB of little use until I know how to deal with it.
Do I need to download it from the actual Opensuse PC, or can I transfer it from this one? I just don’t know.

No, it should be available from the command line terminal. Its part of e2fsprogs, ( which includes fsck and e2fsck utilities).

If you’ve booted from a DVD, you open up a terminal, or boot to runlevel 3 (console only, no desktop). Login as root.

Use the fdisk command to determine the local partitions

fdisk -l

Then you can use badblocks or e2fsck (for Linux ext2,3, or 4 partitions)

For example, if you wanted to check out /dev/sda2, you could do the following to perform a read-only scan

e2fsck -c /dev/sda2

You have some learning and reading to do

e2fsck(8): check ext2/ext3/ext4 file system - Linux man page

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Badblocks

I just tried using the CL and nothing is happening.
fdisk -1 and e2fsck etc. When I click help on it, it just shows a semi-transparent window.

I’ve downloaded the e2fsprogs and unpacked it but have no idea what to do now.
From previous experience it will freeze shortly.

I omitted to say before that the PC I want to use for Linux had Vista on it when I got it, working as normal. I’ve also had XP Pro working on it.

I just tried using the CL and nothing is happening.
fdisk -1 and e2fsck etc. When I click help on it, it just shows a semi-transparent window.

The command was

fdisk -l

with a lowercase L, NOT one, and its not clear to me what you’ve tried erroneously.

You should not have needed to unpack or download anything. The utilities are installed by default. I think the learning curve is to steep for you at a time when you’re trying to perform diagnostics. You should reinstall Windows, then run diagnostics that you’re familiar with. When you’ve ascertained that the hardware is good, or determined what what the problem is, and fixed it, you can consider installing Linux again.

On 2012-06-10 13:06, ljus wrote:
> I’ve downloaded the e2fsprogs and unpacked it but have no idea what to
> do now.

Do not download anything, you will destroy the system that way. The tools
you need to check the system are already installed, you simply have to
learn ho to use them: most are command line utilities, no mouse, no
graphics: just plain text.

Whenever you need a program you think is not installed, just fire up Yast,
module “software manager”.

To check the hard disk I would use the utility for the purpose created by
the hard disk manufacturer; for example, Seagate has seatools, a small
bootable CD that you can download free of charge. Other names should have
similar utilities.

Or, you can use “smartctl”, a command line utility to test hard disks from
the command line. You open a terminal, and type the command:


Telcontar:~ # smartctl -A /dev/sda
smartctl 5.40 2010-10-16 r3189 [x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu] (SUSE RPM)
Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
.....
.....

You do that, and copy paste all that here, using code tags:

Posting in Code
Tags - A Guide

That’s a dump of the current status. Now you run the actual (short) test:


> Telcontar:~ # smartctl --test=short /dev/sda
> smartctl 5.40 2010-10-16 r3189 [x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu] (SUSE RPM)
> Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
>
> === START OF OFFLINE IMMEDIATE AND SELF-TEST SECTION ===
> Sending command: "Execute SMART Short self-test routine immediately in off-line mode".
> Drive command "Execute SMART Short self-test routine immediately in off-line mode" successful.
> Testing has begun.
> Please wait 1 minutes for test to complete.
> Test will complete after Sun Jun 10 15:19:36 2012
>
> Use smartctl -X to abort test.
> Telcontar:~ #

You notice it says that it will take a minute to finish, so you wait a bit
more. Then you do this to get the result


> Telcontar:~ # smartctl --log=selftest /dev/sda
> smartctl 5.40 2010-10-16 r3189 [x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu] (SUSE RPM)
> Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
>
> === START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
> ...
> ...

And now you run the long test, which includes a surface test:


> Telcontar:~ # smartctl --test=long /dev/sda
> smartctl 5.40 2010-10-16 r3189 [x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu] (SUSE RPM)
> Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
>
> === START OF OFFLINE IMMEDIATE AND SELF-TEST SECTION ===
> Sending command: "Execute SMART Extended self-test routine immediately in off-line mode".
> Drive command "Execute SMART Extended self-test routine immediately in off-line mode" successful.
> Testing has begun.
> Please wait 174 minutes for test to complete.
> Test will complete after Sun Jun 10 18:17:34 2012
>
> Use smartctl -X to abort test.
> Telcontar:~ #

It will take a long time to finish, so you wait. You may use the computer
during the time, but using it will make it take longer. If you try to see
the result before time, you see this:


> Telcontar:~ # smartctl --log=selftest /dev/sda
> smartctl 5.40 2010-10-16 r3189 [x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu] (SUSE RPM)
> Copyright (C) 2002-10 by Bruce Allen, http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net
>
> === START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
> SMART Self-test log structure revision number 1
> Num  Test_Description    Status                  Remaining  LifeTime(hours)  LBA_of_first_error
> # 1  Extended offline    Self-test routine in progress 90%      4488         -
> # 2  Short offline       Completed without error       00%      4488         -
> ...

See the “remaining” column? 90% remaining. When it finishes, post back here
the result - like I did, using code tags, and showing the full command.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4 x86_64 “Celadon” at Telcontar)

Many thanks all, I now have it up and running smoothly after another clean install. (I’m using it here for the first time.)
No clear idea as to why it works now and didn’t before, but in 8 hours and several restarts, without the DVD, it boots as it should. Now I can familiarise myself with the details, and first impressions are excellent for a beginner like me: )

Carlos, thanks for taking the time to explain the process and I will follow your advice. It will make a good lesson for me, irrespective of the actual condition of my hard drive. I suspect its fine, but no matter.

deano_ferrari, thanks for your input too. I have two machines so I can always use a familiar OS (Vista unfortunately) if I mess up with OpenSUSE on this one. Misreading fonts tells its own story: ) I did download e2fsprogs and installed it, but haven’t used it yet after reading the details within!! I’m what’s known as a ‘Silver Surfer’ in UK and I know I’ve got a learning curve and a new vocabulary to negotiate.

Congratulations with making progress on this. Most of us (as new users), have trashed our Linux installs at some stage, and making mistakes, diagnosing, and recovering from them is all part of the learning. It can also be a real challenge when trying to do this remotely via a forum too. Much of the advice given depends on the information given, or assumptions made. It is much easier for a seasoned Linux geek to work on a machine that is in front of them. Anyway, I hope we can help you again on your journey to becoming a Linux pro. :slight_smile:

I’m sure I’ll have fun with it all and will spend some time on the forum gleaning what I can.
It’s very encouraging to know that there is supportive helpful community out there. Thanks again all: )