Best of Tech Support

by Various
Upgrading System with External SCSI Disk

I have a 133MHz laptop, running Red Hat 6.0 with only / inside. My home is in an external SCSI hard disk connected with an Adaptec 1460 card. I wanted to upgrade from kernel 2.2.5-15 to 2.4.5. So I upgraded the minimum level of software necessary to run the 2.4 kernels (with modutils 2.4.16, etc.), but I'm having problems. Once I did make and make install for modutils and restarted the laptop, I could not start the external SCSI hard disk nor the zip drive. I also have no sound.

—Roger Martinez,

You should use the mkinitrd command and create an image with the SCSI modules. After you compile and install the new kernel, type mkinitrd /boot/initrd-2.4.5.img 2.4.5. Make sure you change the numbers to reflect the actual kernel version, then simply add a line to your lilo.conf like this one:


Run LILO and reboot.

—Mario de Mello Bittencourt Neto,

Will this Winmodem Work?

Recently I installed Red Hat Linux 7.3 on my Dell computer with a Intel P3 processor. I tried to configure a dial-up connection, but somehow the Linux installation didn't detect the modem. I have a Lucent Winmodem on my computer.

—Vijay Jilledimudi,

In order to use those Winmodem cards, you have to install the proper driver (if available). To find out if your chipset is supported, go to

—Mario de Mello Bittencourt Neto,

Dual Boot with Slackware?

I have two hard drives. Drive C: is 8GB and has everything on it. The second one is divided into two drives, D: and E:. Both of these drives are 9GB, and I hope to install Linux on one of them. Can I install Slackware on drive D:? And when I start my computer will it allow me to choose the operating system that I want to use?

—Eamonn Kiely,

Sure. Make sure you read the documentation before you get started, as Slackware isn't the easiest distribution for new users. I would actually recommend Mandrake, SuSE or Red Hat. The installers for these distributions will detect automatically the layout of the partitions on your drives and help you select the correct one. (What you are calling drives D: and E: are actually partitions. In Windows they are mapped to virtual drives.)

—Ben Ford,

Samba to the Rescue

I have a Red Hat Linux server running at location A and a Windows XP system at location B. The XP system has a serial dot-matrix printer and a parallel laser printer. I set up SSH on the XP system to connect it to my Linux server over the Internet. My question: is there a way (hardware or software) to enable my Linux server to use the two printers connected to my XP machine?


Try Samba. With Samba ( installed on your Linux system, you can set it up to act as a client to the Microsoft Windows XP “print server” on the other end of the connection. For your safety, you should create some sort of VPN tunnel to make sure no one can use your Windows machine as a “public” printer server. The site has some tools to help you set up this Windows/Linux VPN.

—Mario de Mello Bittencourt Neto,

Problems Booting New Install?

I am new to Linux and am trying to install Red Hat Linux 7.0 on a Compaq Presario. I have partitioned the drive as follows: Windows 2000 has a 15GB partition and Linux has a 14GB NTFS partition. I am installing from a CD but cannot seem to get past the running /sbin/loader screen. It gets stuck there every time. Before it gets to that point it says something about EXT2-fs warning: checktime reached, running e2fsck is recommended. How do you get past these errors and install Linux?


Are you sure you are booting from the Red Hat CD-ROM? It sounds like you are trying to boot from an old install. Check the boot order in your BIOS.

—Christopher Wingert,

I cried because I lost my password, and then I met a man who lost his user name.

I received Linux from my computer class. I use Partition Magic, but I forgot the logon name I used during the class. How do I get back in?

—Santos Gonzales,

Assuming you boot with LILO, you can use some trickery to get in. When it boots, type the name of your boot image (you may press tab to get a list of images in case you forgot those) and append the string init=/bin/bash. For example, LILO: linux init=/bin/bash. Now edit the file /etc/shadow and change the line containing the word root. You want to remove all the characters between the first and second colons. Save the file. Then press Ctrl-Alt-Del to reboot. Log in as root (no password) and immediately set a password with the passwd command.

—Ben Ford,

Linux Home Router

I recently finished installing Red Hat 7.2, and I have a separate Windows 98 PC connected to a Cox@home cable modem. I want to move the connection to the Linux box and use it as a router, firewall and, if possible, a DHCP server. The reason for the DHCP is because I want to learn how to set it up, and make it work. If you could give me the first step, or the steps in order of their priority, I would greatly appreciate it.

—Mike Dickson,

First, set up your firewall. You need to set up both router protection rules and IP masquerading rules (for your Windows 98 boxes). You might want to use a GUI-based tool to start out, but you will grow out of it. Red Hat's GUI is called firewall-config. Second, set up the DHCP server. There is a DHCP mini-HOWTO at That's about it for a router. You can do other cool things, such as setting up your own mail server and web server, but this is a good first challenge. Overall, this project seems to be something you WANT to do, as a challenge. If this is not the case, I would recommend highly LRP out of the box or a Linksys box.

—Christopher Wingert,

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