Mandriva freezing on boot

Q I recently decided to give Linux another try. I partitioned my drive into three logical drives: FAT32, Linux native, and a Linux swap partition (2GB) as well. I installed Windows first, and then tried to install Mandriva. All went well until after the boot. During startup it would always freeze. I put it on verbose mode and could see that the freeze came after initiating the swap partitions. I tried repeatedly to repartition, reformat and so on - but to no avail. I concluded that there must be something wrong with my hard drive.

And so I waited till pay day and went and bought a new hard drive. I still have the same problem, though. Installation runs smoothly, the main native drive is mounted cleanly but as soon as it comes to the swap partition it hangs. I have tried to format the partition and check it for errors with PartitionMagic running from Windows, but now when I boot up it still comes up with an error. Do the partitions need to be in any specific order? Must I have a mount point for the swap partition? What could the problem be?

A It is impossible to say exactly what is wrong without knowing the error message you get when booting. The swap partition must be correctly formatted and have an entry in /etc/fstab. The most likely culprit in this situation is PartitionMagic. It is known to cause problems when used to create Linux partitions. The solution is not to create your partitions in PartitionMagic, but let the distro's installer do it for you.

This is especially true with Mandriva, as it has an excellent partitioning tool, but most of them are good nowadays. Instead of letting PartitionMagic create the Linux partitions, just leave the blank space on the disk for the distro installer to use. You may need to create a single FAT partition on the disk, covering the space you want to use for Linux, as some versions of PartitionMagic don't like leaving unallocated space.

Once you have done this, delete the partition and let your distro's installer do its stuff. This has two advantages: the partitions are created by the same system that will be using them, so you can be confident that it will create them correctly; and the installer will set up the correct mounting for them. It may be as simple as the swap partition not having been formatted correctly, but as you have no data to lose, I would recommend deleting the partitions and allowing the Mandriva installer to set them up for you.

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