When Linux boots, you should see a series of messages on your screen such as:
Console: colour EGA+ 80x25, 8 virtual consoles
Serial driver version 3.96 with no serial options enabled
tty00 at 0x03f8 (irq = 4) is a 16450
tty03 at 0x02e8 (irq = 3) is a 16550A
lp_init: lp1 exists (0), using polling driver
Here, the kernel is detecting the various hardware devices present on your system. At some point, you should see the line
followed by a list of recognized partitions, for example:
hda: hda1 hda2
hdb: hdb1 hdb2 hdb3
If, for some reason, your drives or partitions are not recognized, then you will not be able to access them in any way.
There are several things that can cause this to happen:
Refer to the documentation for your hard drive and/or controller for information on solving these kinds of problems. In particular, many hard drives will need to have a jumper set if they are to be used as a ``slave'' drive (for example, as the second hard drive). The acid test for this kind of condition is to boot up MS-DOS, or some other operating system, known to work with your drive and controller. If you can access the drive and controller from another operating system, then it is not a problem with your hardware configuration.
Most distributions provide a bootup option to specify the drive geometry. In general, when booting the installation media, you can specify the drive geometry at the LILO boot prompt with a command such as:
boot: linux hd=,,
where , , and correspond to the number of cylinders, heads, and sectors per track for your hard drive.
After installing the Linux software, you will be able to install LILO, allowing you to boot from the hard drive. At that time, you can specify the drive geometry to the LILO installation procedure, making it unnecessary to enter the drive geometry each time you boot. See Chapter 4 for more about LILO.