Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME) - Setup

This is a discussion on Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME) - Setup ; I haven't made much use of my laptop in the past couple years because the modem stopped working back then (and the diskette drive never worked since I got the laptop as a gift), so there has been no way ...

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Thread: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME)

  1. Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME)

    I haven't made much use of my laptop in the past couple years
    because the modem stopped working back then (and the diskette drive
    never worked since I got the laptop as a gift), so there has been
    no way to upload/download files any longer, so it seemed a waste to
    do a lot of work developing software which I couldn't even copy to
    another place for backup or demo much less actual use elsewhere.

    But today I got the idea that maybe I could use a USB thingy or an
    external multi-gigabyte hard drive to move files back and forth, so
    for the first time in months I plugged it in for a couple minutes
    to start charging the battery, then pressed the start-up
    side-button. The display of Phoenix ROM BIOS version and copyright
    notice, MagicGraph SVGA BIOS version and copyright notice, Dell
    Latitude XPi version, and memory size, went OK (and I actually had
    time to see that all for the first time ever because it's still
    sitting on the screen, because of what happened next, but then I
    got three error messages, only the third of which I expected:
    Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program
    Time-of-day not set - please run SETUP program
    Warning! Battery is critically low.

    So next it asks me to make a choice:
    Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility
    I've never run the setup utility (or program), so I wouldn't know
    what to type in to it. What if I type something wrong and I totally
    destroy the system on my computer? Before I go on (press F2), I'd
    like advice about what to say to the SETUP program/utility when
    it's running.

    By the way, the keyboard has a blue label on F1 (not F2) which says Setup.
    This adds to my confusion here.
    In any case, are there any GOTCHAs that I should especially watch out for?

    Note, before posting I tried a Google search for the phrase
    Invalid configuration information
    but the only article that came even close was specific to PacBell
    386 machines where pressing F1 or F2 doesn't do anything at all.
    (I haven't pressed either key yet, waiting for
    advice/warnings/GOTCHAs before starting down that road...
    so I don't know whether pressing F2 will run the setup utility/program or not)

    I was going to post to a couple more specific newsgroups,
    but they don't seem active lately:
    linux.dev.config (last post 2007.Apr)
    linux.dev.newbies (last post 2003)

  2. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t wrote:
    > I haven't made much use of my laptop in the past couple years
    > because the modem stopped working back then (and the diskette drive
    > never worked since I got the laptop as a gift), so there has been
    > no way to upload/download files any longer, so it seemed a waste to
    > do a lot of work developing software which I couldn't even copy to
    > another place for backup or demo much less actual use elsewhere.
    >
    > But today I got the idea that maybe I could use a USB thingy or an
    > external multi-gigabyte hard drive to move files back and forth, so
    > for the first time in months I plugged it in for a couple minutes
    > to start charging the battery, then pressed the start-up
    > side-button. The display of Phoenix ROM BIOS version and copyright
    > notice, MagicGraph SVGA BIOS version and copyright notice, Dell
    > Latitude XPi version, and memory size, went OK (and I actually had
    > time to see that all for the first time ever because it's still
    > sitting on the screen, because of what happened next, but then I
    > got three error messages, only the third of which I expected:
    > Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program
    > Time-of-day not set - please run SETUP program
    > Warning! Battery is critically low.
    >


    sounds like the CMOS battery has also gone flat
    You need to replace it before you worry about any other settings, if
    your CMOS battery is flat it will not retain any of the CMOS settings,
    Time etc.


  3. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME)

    > From: qmod
    > sounds like the CMOS battery has also gone flat
    > You need to replace it before you worry about any other settings, if
    > your CMOS battery is flat it will not retain any of the CMOS settings,
    > Time etc.


    Ouch. Is it one of those button batteries like in a kitchen timer
    or a wristwatch, which are $1 at Fry's?

    I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    Where is it located? How can I get to it?

    I see tiny phillips screws on the bottom of the case. Do I need to
    unscrew those, then see if the whole case falls apart?

  4. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 11:00:33 -0800, Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t wrote:
    >
    > I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    > XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    > OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    > Where is it located? How can I get to it?


    Not a picture of you board, but notice BH9L1 above the 3 volt battery.
    If you could see it as a real picture, the battery would be silver.
    http://deodiaus.tripod.com/dell.gif

  5. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    Bit Twister wrote:
    > On Wed, 13 Feb 2008 11:00:33 -0800, Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t wrote:
    >> I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    >> XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    >> OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    >> Where is it located? How can I get to it?

    >
    > Not a picture of you board, but notice BH9L1 above the 3 volt battery.
    > If you could see it as a real picture, the battery would be silver.
    > http://deodiaus.tripod.com/dell.gif


    It's a laptop. The battery could be under the keyboard.

    /dan

  6. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME)

    > >> I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    > >> XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    > >> OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    > >> Where is it located? How can I get to it?

    > From: Daniel Ganek
    > It's a laptop. The battery could be under the keyboard.


    Well I took "could" to mean "should" or "probably would", and I
    tried unscrewing the three tiny (but very long) phillips screws on
    the bottom. The result: The faceplate over the keyboard, which
    contains the trackball+buttons and the internal speaker, tilted up,
    which freed the keyboard itself to tilt up. I didn't see anything
    that looked like a battery anywhere in there, but under the
    keyboard I saw a four-wire ribbon cable, orange plastic insulation
    except at the loose end where there was a four-pin metal plug just
    floating free, not plugged in anywhere. I didn't see any obvious
    place it would plug in. Does anybody know where it goes? I don't
    know whether it was hanging loose all the time I had the laptop, or
    whether it came unplugged as I was flipping the keyboard up and
    down after I removed the phillips screws. Even if I do eventually
    find the battery, I don't want to plug in the laptop again until
    that ribbon cable is somewhere other than floating loose making
    random contact with any metal object it finds, such as the metallic
    bottom of the keyboard.

    As an alterative to replacing the battery, I'm thinking maybe I
    should just remove the hard disk and stick it into another free
    laptop I can find somewhere. That way I'd be able to keep all my
    files (including Java and J2EE) even if I switch laptops. Does
    anybody know of an organization in the San Jose (California) area
    that matches up throw-away-but-mostly-working laptops with
    low-income people who would like one for free or just a few
    dollars? Do most laptops have the same size slot and connector
    design, so that a hard drive from one kind of laptop would just
    plug into another kind of laptop? Or do I need to specify some
    particular connector type and slot shape when I ask for a
    free/lowcost laptop? Does RedHat Linux automatically configure
    itself to a different machine if the hard disk is put into some
    completely different laptop with power down then power is turned
    on? (I know that it explores the available RAM etc. during booting.
    Is that enough to completely recognize what kind of machine it
    happens to be in, and configure RedHat Linux to work on that
    machine?) (I figure it's the ROM BIOS, which is in the computer
    itself, not on the hard disk, which starts the bootstrap process,
    right? But at some point it must recognize that Linux is on the
    hard disk, and the hardware and disk-based system must somehow get
    working together, right?)

  7. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t wrote:
    >>>> I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    >>>> XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    >>>> OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    >>>> Where is it located? How can I get to it?

    >> From: Daniel Ganek
    >> It's a laptop. The battery could be under the keyboard.

    >
    > Well I took "could" to mean "should" or "probably would", and I
    > tried unscrewing the three tiny (but very long) phillips screws on
    > the bottom. The result: The faceplate over the keyboard, which
    > contains the trackball+buttons and the internal speaker, tilted up,
    > which freed the keyboard itself to tilt up. I didn't see anything
    > that looked like a battery anywhere in there, but under the
    > keyboard I saw a four-wire ribbon cable, orange plastic insulation
    > except at the loose end where there was a four-pin metal plug just
    > floating free, not plugged in anywhere. I didn't see any obvious
    > place it would plug in. Does anybody know where it goes? I don't
    > know whether it was hanging loose all the time I had the laptop, or
    > whether it came unplugged as I was flipping the keyboard up and
    > down after I removed the phillips screws. Even if I do eventually
    > find the battery, I don't want to plug in the laptop again until
    > that ribbon cable is somewhere other than floating loose making
    > random contact with any metal object it finds, such as the metallic
    > bottom of the keyboard.
    >
    > As an alterative to replacing the battery, I'm thinking maybe I
    > should just remove the hard disk and stick it into another free
    > laptop I can find somewhere. That way I'd be able to keep all my
    > files (including Java and J2EE) even if I switch laptops. Does
    > anybody know of an organization in the San Jose (California) area
    > that matches up throw-away-but-mostly-working laptops with
    > low-income people who would like one for free or just a few
    > dollars? Do most laptops have the same size slot and connector
    > design, so that a hard drive from one kind of laptop would just
    > plug into another kind of laptop? Or do I need to specify some
    > particular connector type and slot shape when I ask for a
    > free/lowcost laptop? Does RedHat Linux automatically configure
    > itself to a different machine if the hard disk is put into some
    > completely different laptop with power down then power is turned
    > on? (I know that it explores the available RAM etc. during booting.
    > Is that enough to completely recognize what kind of machine it
    > happens to be in, and configure RedHat Linux to work on that
    > machine?) (I figure it's the ROM BIOS, which is in the computer
    > itself, not on the hard disk, which starts the bootstrap process,
    > right? But at some point it must recognize that Linux is on the
    > hard disk, and the hardware and disk-based system must somehow get
    > working together, right?)


    You need to go to Google and hit the Dell buttons on your keyboard and
    chase down the comprehensive information that they give
    you on such matters as assembly/disassembly, batteries and cards.

    I upgraded my Dell Dimension 2400's memory and perhaps
    foolishly upgraded the graphics. I added memory to my Dell
    Inspiron 4000 and found all the information I needed and more
    than I wanted on the Dell site despite the fact that otherwise
    they hardly support these old models. Both of these toys
    are running GNU/Linux and one is dual boot. Mandriva on the
    big box and Knoppix on the laptop.

    Whether or not the RH can recognise enough of the newer
    machine will depend on how close the new machine is hardware-wise
    to the old machine. Things like graphic chip sets and other
    chips that interface the cpu to the rest of the system are the
    most likely problems.

    You might want to try the Alameda Computer Recycling Center
    and they might be willing to set you up with a laptop in exchange for
    work. If you are close to a Goodwill store that sells used equipment
    at all you might want to visit them daily to check on what they might
    have before it is sent away to be refurbished. I saw a man pick
    up an old but working IBM Thinkpad for $50 a few weeks ago as I popped
    in to check on such on my way to the SF-LUG meeting on the 1st Sunday
    of February. In San Francisco if you can get here on Mission at South
    Van Ness a block south of Market we have a Goodwill store with a weekly
    delivery of new machines on Tuesday night or Wedesday morning which
    usually includes several old but refurbished Dell laptops at about $225.

    There are Linux Users Groups all over the Bay Area, some more
    technical other more social. SF-LUG falls between the two extremes
    and the other members have helped me a great deal. Asking for help
    and thanking people for it is always helpful.

    later
    bliss -- C O C O A Powered... (at california dot com)

    --
    bobbie sellers - (Back to Angband) Team *AMIGA & SF-LUG*

    Your tag lines (k) were stolen! (more)
    There is a puff of smoke!

  8. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t wrote:
    > I haven't made much use of my laptop in the past couple years
    > because the modem stopped working back then (and the diskette drive
    > never worked since I got the laptop as a gift), so there has been
    > no way to upload/download files any longer, so it seemed a waste to
    > do a lot of work developing software which I couldn't even copy to
    > another place for backup or demo much less actual use elsewhere.
    >
    > But today I got the idea that maybe I could use a USB thingy or an
    > external multi-gigabyte hard drive to move files back and forth, so
    > for the first time in months I plugged it in for a couple minutes
    > to start charging the battery, then pressed the start-up
    > side-button. The display of Phoenix ROM BIOS version and copyright
    > notice, MagicGraph SVGA BIOS version and copyright notice, Dell
    > Latitude XPi version, and memory size, went OK (and I actually had
    > time to see that all for the first time ever because it's still
    > sitting on the screen, because of what happened next, but then I
    > got three error messages, only the third of which I expected:
    > Invalid configuration information - please run SETUP program
    > Time-of-day not set - please run SETUP program
    > Warning! Battery is critically low.


    No problem. Recharge your battery by plugging it in: some batteries self-discharge when you're not using them, especially NiMH batteries. The little battery that keeps the clock set may also be low, and that should be easy to replace.

    > So next it asks me to make a choice:
    > Strike the F1 key to continue, F2 to run the setup utility
    > I've never run the setup utility (or program), so I wouldn't know
    > what to type in to it. What if I type something wrong and I totally
    > destroy the system on my computer? Before I go on (press F2), I'd
    > like advice about what to say to the SETUP program/utility when
    > it's running.


    No problem. The available settings depend tremendously on the particular BIOS: you should be able to poke through it
    to reset the time. Alternatively, simply boot the computer and set the time from the opoerating system.

    > By the way, the keyboard has a blue label on F1 (not F2) which says Setup.
    > This adds to my confusion here.
    > In any case, are there any GOTCHAs that I should especially watch out for?


    Well, if you have a screwball laptop and BIOS settings with it, you might mis-set your modem, but it's unlikely to let you get too screwed up. And you can always set it to the default.

    > Note, before posting I tried a Google search for the phrase
    > Invalid configuration information
    > but the only article that came even close was specific to PacBell
    > 386 machines where pressing F1 or F2 doesn't do anything at all.
    > (I haven't pressed either key yet, waiting for
    > advice/warnings/GOTCHAs before starting down that road...
    > so I don't know whether pressing F2 will run the setup utility/program or not)


    It's about as hard as changing a fuse. Be careful, don't touch anything you don't need to, and you should have no problem.

    > I was going to post to a couple more specific newsgroups,
    > but they don't seem active lately:
    > linux.dev.config (last post 2007.Apr)
    > linux.dev.newbies (last post 2003)


  9. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t wrote:
    >> From: qmod
    >> sounds like the CMOS battery has also gone flat
    >> You need to replace it before you worry about any other settings, if
    >> your CMOS battery is flat it will not retain any of the CMOS settings,
    >> Time etc.

    >
    > Ouch. Is it one of those button batteries like in a kitchen timer
    > or a wristwatch, which are $1 at Fry's?
    >
    > I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    > XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    > OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    > Where is it located? How can I get to it?
    >
    > I see tiny phillips screws on the bottom of the case. Do I need to
    > unscrew those, then see if the whole case falls apart?


    Download the manual for your model. Dell machines have a "service tag" you can enter in their website that should lead you straight to the maintenance manual and the battery replacement technique.

  10. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (withGNOME)

    bobbie sellers wrote:

    > You need to go to Google and hit the Dell buttons on your keyboard and
    > chase down the comprehensive information that they give
    > you on such matters as assembly/disassembly, batteries and cards.


    One of the reasons I really like Dell is the ability to look up the service tag and get the machine specs, documentation, and downloadable updates. No registration is required, although it is handy to do so.

    > I upgraded my Dell Dimension 2400's memory and perhaps
    > foolishly upgraded the graphics. I added memory to my Dell
    > Inspiron 4000 and found all the information I needed and more
    > than I wanted on the Dell site despite the fact that otherwise
    > they hardly support these old models. Both of these toys
    > are running GNU/Linux and one is dual boot. Mandriva on the
    > big box and Knoppix on the laptop.


    It's handy for server class machines, too. I'm dealing with a number of older server class systems right now and finding Dell's support sites helpful.

  11. Re: Need help with error messages at startup of RedHat Linux (with GNOME)

    > Date: Thu, 14 Feb 2008 08:22:20 -0800
    This is a status update.

    > >> From: ... (Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t)
    > >> I opened up every access port I could find on this Dell Latitude
    > >> XPi P133ST, even discovered how to pull out the hard disk (an IBM
    > >> OEM model), but I don't see anything that looks like a battery.
    > >> Where is it located? How can I get to it?


    > > From: Daniel Ganek
    > > It's a laptop. The battery could be under the keyboard.


    > From: ... (Robert Maas, see http://tinyurl.com/uh3t)
    > Well I took "could" to mean "should" or "probably would", and I
    > tried unscrewing the three tiny (but very long) phillips screws on
    > the bottom. The result: The faceplate over the keyboard, which
    > contains the trackball+buttons and the internal speaker, tilted up,
    > which freed the keyboard itself to tilt up. I didn't see anything
    > that looked like a battery anywhere in there, but under the
    > keyboard I saw a four-wire ribbon cable, orange plastic insulation
    > except at the loose end where there was a four-pin metal plug just
    > floating free, not plugged in anywhere. I didn't see any obvious
    > place it would plug in. Does anybody know where it goes? I don't
    > know whether it was hanging loose all the time I had the laptop, or
    > whether it came unplugged as I was flipping the keyboard up and
    > down after I removed the phillips screws. Even if I do eventually
    > find the battery, I don't want to plug in the laptop again until
    > that ribbon cable is somewhere other than floating loose making
    > random contact with any metal object it finds, such as the metallic
    > bottom of the keyboard.


    Today I finally found somebody in the local area who would watch as
    I opened the case again. He didn't see anything that looked like a
    battery either, but he was able to see the socket for plugging in
    the 4-wire ribbon-cable, about two inches from where it had been
    hanging, which is like a thousand miles on the scale of looking
    inside a laptop. So after I got the case closed again I tried
    plugging it in and pressing the start button for the first time
    since February, and it actually started up (instead of complaining
    that configuration was wrong). So I suspect that the ribbon cable
    had come loose under normal operation, giving an intermittant or
    weak connection, causing the computer to not be able to read the
    configuration data. Then when I opened the case a few days later in
    February, the motion pulled the cable/plug completely free of where
    it had been just touching.

    Oh, earlier while the case was open, that other person asked
    "what's this" and I saw it had a tab on the very outside that you
    slide over to unlock the big thing (as large as the hard disk) to
    pull it out, and the moment I had it slid out just an inch I saw it
    was a battery. So we thought that was it, until I realized that was
    proably the *main* battery for the computer, not the
    CPU-configuration battery. So we continued to look for where to
    plug in the ribbon cable and where the CPU-configuration might be.

    Then after that other person found where the ribbon cable plugged
    in, he also noticed a rubber-like funny-looking thingy sitting
    between the main battery and the diskette drive. I pried one end of
    it up and he saw it said "NiCd" so that was probably the CPU
    battery I had been looking for all that time. But I couldn't find
    any way to get it sufficiently free to see how to pull it out to
    replace it.

    > As an alterative to replacing the battery, I'm thinking maybe I
    > should just remove the hard disk and stick it into another free
    > laptop I can find somewhere. That way I'd be able to keep all my
    > files (including Java and J2EE) even if I switch laptops. Does
    > anybody know of an organization in the San Jose (California) area
    > that matches up throw-away-but-mostly-working laptops with
    > low-income people who would like one for free or just a few
    > dollars? Do most laptops have the same size slot and connector
    > design, so that a hard drive from one kind of laptop would just
    > plug into another kind of laptop? Or do I need to specify some
    > particular connector type and slot shape when I ask for a
    > free/lowcost laptop? Does RedHat Linux automatically configure
    > itself to a different machine if the hard disk is put into some
    > completely different laptop with power down then power is turned
    > on? ...


    Now that the computer per se is working again, I tried the modem
    again, thinking maybe the loose ribbon cable that messed up
    configuration at boot had also (earlier) affected the modem. But
    the communication program still claims it's already online whenever
    I try to dial a phone number, so it's still wedged, and I still
    need somebody who can tell me how to diagnose whether the modem
    itself needs replacing or there's something wedged in lock files or
    somesuch within Linux. But at least I can see my files again on the
    laptop, and if I ever get the modem problem resolved I'll be able
    to up/down-load files again. So the idea of simply getting a newer
    free/lowcost laptop and moving the hard disk to it isn't as urgent
    as it was when this laptop didn't boot up at all. But still, if I
    can find somebody in the local area (Sunnyvale, Mountain View,
    Santa Clara, San Jose, Palo Alto, Cupertino, etc.) who will give me
    a free old laptop or sell me one for $5 or so, that would be
    cheaper than buying a new modem for the current one, especially if
    it turns out there's nothing wrong with the modem and it's just a
    bug in Linux causing the simulated wedged-online state so that even
    with a brand-new modem it still refuses to dial phone numbers.

    After composing all the above, before sending, I thought of a new
    idea: I completely removed the modem while the power was off,
    then booted the system, then started minicom and asked it to try to
    dial a number. Result: minicom says I'm still online. So it can't
    be a problem with the modem itself, it's gotta be a bug in Linux,
    right?

    Now that it boots up, I'm moving this thread over to the networking
    newsgroup, to get specific help about the bug when there isn't even
    a modem plugged in, but keeping this one last message in the setup
    group so that you-all will hear the final news about *that* problem
    I had.

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