Windows: Windows could not determine if this computer contains a valid system volume

It’s unbelievable that Windows Vista and 2008 Server are so dumb. As soon I connect a USB drive to my server and boot, it refuses to use my hard drive for a new OS install and gives me “Windows could not determine if this computer contains a valid system volume” error.

So, why did I have a USB drive connected? Because I wanted to setup a new Windows 2008 Standard Server for the office, but from home during my spare time. I HAD to have the drive connected in order to load my RAID drivers during install. I started playing around with different BIOS settings to see if I can get Winblows to install properly. Disabling USB controller was basically not an option. I looked at my boot sequence settings and my flash drive wasn’t even enabled, so I went ahead and enabled it, but moved it to down after my DVD drive and RAID controller. Tried again, no success. I was lucky that my high end RAID card had a boot partition feature… I created a boot partition, disabled USB and installed Windows.

Anyway… Rob commented with a simpler way which didn’t apply to my remote installation dilemma, but works for the rest (thank a lot, Rob). Remove the USB drive right after RAID drivers are loaded, wait a bit and then try to pick a partition for your OS. That works… the USB issue is something that keeps giving since I ran into another problem with Windows 7 RTM installation. You can check the “related articles” link at the bottom of the page.

Linux: Boot to text mode instead of graphical interface

So you installed your Linux server with gnome or kde and now want to boot to text mode, mostly to save some resources that are being used by your X server…

Debian:
go to /etc/init.d and execute:
update-rc.d -f gdm remove
for kde:
update-rc.d -f kdm remove
to restore:
update-rc.d -f gdm/kdm defaults

The above command works for pretty much any script you want loaded during boot. Simply copy your script to /etc/init.d or make a symbolic link and execute the command.

CentOS/REHL:
Edit your GRUB
nano /boot/grub/menu.lst
and add runlevel you need to the boot line. Text mode is usually runlevel 3:
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.9-78.0.1.EL ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet 3

SuSE:
Edit grub and add level 3 to your boot line:
kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.27.21-0.1-pae root=/dev/sda5 resume=/dev/sda9 splash=silent crashkernel=128M-:64M@16M showopts vga=0x317 level 3
You can always run to graphical mode by using the command:
startx

Other distros: google it 😛

Debian: Lenny cannot load Broadcom NIC drivers, asking for firmware bnx2-06-4.0.5.fw or bnx2-09-4.0.5.fw during install

If you have a Dell server, dump it, or keep reading 😉

Well… to me it sounds like some copyright crap Broadcom is pulling, or perhaps Debian is trying to be more compliant with restricted drivers. Three ways I can think of to work around this:

Download the deb package from http://packages.debian.org/etch/firmware-bnx2″ href=”http://packages.debian.org/etch/firmware-bnx2″>http://packages.debian.org/etch/firmware-bnx2, copy it to a flash drive and insert when prompted during installation. You don’t have to mount anything… install process will automatically find and load the driver. Do not unpack the .deb package, copy it to your USB drive without any modifications. OS will access the file and extract what it needs accordingly.
Install an old or supported NIC (Intel?) and proceed with installation. Once it’s done install the deb package and restart networking.
Install without a NIC, then download and copy the file to a flash drive or CD, mount and install. Just make sure you’re not using Debian NetInst CD!

One of the readers suggested that I should also post a link to the page where different versions of the driver can be downloaded http://packages.debian.org/search?searchon=names&keywords=bnx2.

Updated Feb 18th 2010  by Mark (comment reply):

To the people struggling with BCM5716: Even the latest Lenny 5.0.4 stable installer (with kernel 2.6.26-2 rev 21lenny3) doesn’t yet have the PCI IDs required to load the drivers. Here is some useful info:

http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=565353″ href=”http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=565353″>http://bugs.debian.org/cgi-bin/bugreport.cgi?bug=565353
http://www.mail-archive.com/debian-kernel@lists.debian.org/msg52571.html” href=”http://www.mail-archive.com/debian-kernel@lists.debian.org/msg52571.html”>http://www.mail-archive.com/debian-kernel@lists.debian.org/msg52571.html
http://wiki.debian.org/HowToRebuildAnOfficialDebianKernelPackage” href=”http://wiki.debian.org/HowToRebuildAnOfficialDebianKernelPackage”>http://wiki.debian.org/HowToRebuildAnOfficialDebianKernelPackage

I’ve just spent the last 2 days working out how to roll my own Debian installer image with a patched kernel. All this work just to get some tiny changes into bnx2.ko and preseed the firmware 🙂

I’ve uploaded working Debian Lenny netinstall images:

MegaUpload Links:
amd64: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8O5D782S” href=”http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8O5D782S”>http://www.megaupload.com/?d=8O5D782S
i386: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3B9W1MHP” href=”http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3B9W1MHP”>http://www.megaupload.com/?d=3B9W1MHP

RapidShare Links:
amd64: http://rapidshare.com/files/359005652/debian-lenny-5.04-netinst-amd64-bcm5716.tar.bz2.html
i386: http://rapidshare.com/files/359005127/debian-lenny-5.04-netinst-i386-bcm5716.tar.bz2.html

Note: For anybody just looking for an install image containing the bnx2 firmware, this is for you too. Well, it works for me – YMMV.

btw, the next point release (5.0.5) of Lenny will work without any of these problems.”

Debian: Upgrade Etch to Lenny, and error message “There is no public key available for the following key IDs: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”

It’s pretty easy to upgrade your Etch to Lenny. Open your repo list and replace all references to “etch” with “lenny”. To edit your sources.list:
nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Then update your repositories:
aptitude update

and proceed to upgrade:
aptitude dist-upgrade

I ran into an error when I was updating my repositories: “There is no public key available for the following key IDs: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”. To fix that error:
gpg --recv-key --keyserver wwwkeys.eu.pgp.net xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
gpg --export xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx | apt-key add -

Replace xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx with the key you see in the error message and run aptitude update again.