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© February 2003 Tony Lawrence

Start Here: Installation

First things first: are you supposed to be able to install on this hardware? Do you have enough memory, enough disk, the right cd, nic card etc? If this is old software on new hardware, it's possible that the old version just can't work because the new hardware is too fast or is otherwise incompatible. You may just need new drivers, but you shouldn't be guessing about it: go find out.

Second: if you seem to be having problems you didn't expect, strip out everything you don't need for the install. If there's a SCSI card that you are going to use later, rip it out for now. If you have more memory than the install is supposed to need, take that out. Anything you can add back later should come out now. It may be extremely unlikely that the nic card is interfering with the install, but if everything is strange and weird, take it out, because it certainly isn't helping the install, is it? (unless it's a network install, of course)

If you have a ready supply of other hardware, you may try swapping things like CDROMS or even hard drives. If it's IDE, try it on a different controller, or try splitting the hard drive and cd between the controllers. For SCSI, try the boot drive it at ID 0 or ID 6. Make sure you have proper termination and term power. If you have more than one SCSI drive, disconnect the others.

Still having problems? Many installs have alternate screens, usually accessed by pressing ALT and a function key, that may give you a behind the scenes look at the installation. You might get more information about any problems there.

Your BIOS can be a source of problems. For a troublesome install, you might want to turn off memory caching, hard drive caching, change disk geometry, turn off special features like P4 hyperthreading etc. You may need to change the default boot device, or change the addressing of peripherals, or specify legacy IRQ's if you have any older ISA devices.

If you suspect hardware problems, try installing something different: Linux instead of SCO, Caldera instead of RedHat, or even Windows if you have to. Note that "it works in xyz" doesn't necessarily mean that the hardware is good, but the experience may give you more information than you had.

Of course your install media can be at fault too. Most install cd's can be looked at on another system, or you might just try a simple "ls -lR" of it and watch for errors.

Are you doing a dual boot install? This may require resizing existing partitions, or could even require 3rd party boot managers.

Have you done this OS before? If not, your assumptions from other OS installs can lead you astray: for example, Linux and SCO Unix have completely different concepts with regard to filesystems on disk partitions. Linux puts file systems on partitions (except in the special case of LVM) while SCO breaks one partition into multiple filesystems.

If you've been at this a while, you may have a completely wrong idea about how modern virtual memory systems handle swap, and that could cause you to make bad judgements about that.


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