Mandriva failing to boot - hanging at Initialising Cryptographic API

Q I've been trying to get Mandriva to run, but alas, all the bad press I've heard about Linux has been proved true. It doesn't work and there's little help available in deciding even where to begin when it doesn't. There were problems installing Mandriva, with a fatal error when I tried to get it to initialise from the first CD. When it finally loaded it went through all the (incredibly slow) process of installing. Now it won't boot - hasn't booted once.The routine gets to 'Initialising Cryptographic API' then hangs. I have tried booting from the CD again and using the rescue option but am getting fatal errors again. No amount of internet searching gives me any pointers to where the problem is or what to do in any sort of plain language. Now that I have this useless system on my laptop's hard drive, how do I get rid of it if the system won't even run? I've just lost 10 gig of space to a dud system!

A I am sorry you are having so much trouble with what is usually a straightforward installation. Despite what you have heard, Linux does work and there is help available, but nothing is perfect and some people have difficulties. Mandriva should not be "incredibly slow" to install. I installed Mandriva 2006 and Windows XP on to a laptop last week and the installation times were within five minutes of each other, despite Mandriva installing a lot more software. This, and your other errors, indicates that there may be a problem with your hard disk. Not necessarily a fault, but possibly an incompatibility between the controller and the default Mandriva drivers. Fortunately, this is usually easy to deal with. When the Mandriva disc boots, press F1 at the splash screen. This gives a boot prompt where you can make changes to the way it starts up. Some laptops require you to type

linux noapic

If you had told me which laptop you are using, I may have been able to give a more specific recommendation: try following up on the LXF forums at www.linuxformat.com. If you want to remove Mandriva Linux and reclaim the disk space for Windows, you can either use something like Partition Magic on Windows to remove the Linux partitions and resize the Windows partition to fill the whole disk, or you can do it from the Mandriva installer. First you will need to remove the Linux bootloader (Mandriva 2006 uses Grub, but some earlier version use Lilo). Boot from the CD, type rescue at the boot prompt and select the option to restore the Windows bootloader. Now reboot to start the installer and proceed to where you are given choices for partitioning. Select Custom Partitioning, delete all but the Windows partition then select the Windows partition, click Resize and drag the slider to the far right. When the process is finished, click Done and you will see a warning about creating a root partition. Ignore this and reboot reboot, eject the CD, let Scandisk do its stuff then Windows will start.

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