[conspire] Re: RHL 9 Install problems

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jul 10 18:00:19 PDT 2003

Quoting Greg Dougherty (rhl at molecularsoftware.com):

> So, I ran their full test.  It claims there are no problems with my drive.

Well, I'm prepared to believe it, I guess.  Pity that the low-level
formatter doesn't run.

> The WD low level format utility refuses to run unless I give in a
> Windows 98 boot disk.  SInce I have no desire to put Windows 98 on my
> system, that would be a bad idea.  Yes?

Beats me.  I've never run that particular utility, partly because I'm a
SCSI bigot and never have to use such things.  But certainly if you're
going to blow away the hard drive contents anyway, I fail to see the
harm.  Right?  Or am I missing something?

> So this means that if I continue having difficulty, I call up NewEgg
> and get an RMA # (The disk is about 3 weeks old)?

Well, you know, the reality of retail hard drive sales is that customers
_do_ RMA drives all the time.  Sometimes, the company wants to put you
through diagnostic questions over the 'phone to weed out people who have
rushed to the "it's broken" conclusion prematurely -- which is a
depressingly high percentage -- while others just cheerfully issue you
an RMA and process it. 

The fact that you can, with some degree of bureaucratic hassle that may
differ from vendor to vendor (or manufacturer to manufacturer)[1]
doesn't mean that you _should_.  Suppose you send it back, wait a week
or so for a new drive, install the replacement, and encounter the same
problem?  Suppose upon further examination, it turns out that you
actually had a problem with your ATA controller, and so the drive was
probably perfectly OK all along?

Part of the aim of doing one's own hardware diagnosis prior to just
picking up the 'phone and getting an RMA# and shipping label is to avoid
(1) pointless delays and (2) self-administered embarrassment.

I'm not saying "Don't RMA the drive".  I'm just saying that shipping the
drive back before you're fairly sure it's defective is a good way to
waste time and avoid solving your problem.

> What to I use to remake my Swap partition?

Oh, sorry.  You can do "mkswap /dev/[foo]" from the command line, e.g.,
on the LNX-BBC, if you like.  However, you could instead just wait until
you were in the RH9 installer, which will detect the existence of a swap
partition and ask if you want to format and use it.

[1] Just a fine point to clarify:  Back in old-fogie days, when we
talked about a hard drive warranty, we implicitly assumed we were
talking about a _manufacturer_ warranty.  E.g., calling Western Digital,
in the case of your drive.

But then someone invented the OEM parts resale industry.  Example:  IBM
would have made ten pallets of SCSI hard drives for Tandem Computer, to
use in Tandem minicomputers.  The drive design sucked, in that the drive
unit didn't support SCSI disconnect -- but that didn't matter to Tandem,
because they used only one device per SCSI channel on that minicomputer,
so they liked the price.  Tandem ordered only eight pallets, but IBM
built two more as a minimum economical order -- so they sold the extra
at extreme discount to NCA Computer Products, which sold them as "IBM
SCSI drives" to the public.

They were dirt cheap; you bought one, found it didn't support SCSI
disconnect, and called IBM Storage for an RMA.  You read the serial
number, which has the string "TAN" in it.  The operator says "You'll
need to call Tandem for problems with your minicomputer components.
This part isn't warranted by us."  You explain; the operator's
sympathetic, suggests calling NCA.  You call NCA, no answer, drive down
to the service department, get in a long line.  The guy at the front
says "Yeah, this has a _store warranty_.  If you don't like it, we can
give you another one just like it -- or you can trade it in for
something else we have in stock."  (This actually happened.  NCA
eventually went broke, and few have missed them.)

Some people think OEM parts and store warranties are a good deal.
Opinions differ.  And some manufacturers are pickier about which parts
they honour warranties on than are others.  But I thought you should know.

Cheers,             "I used to be on the border of insanity.  However, due 
Rick Moen           to pressing political concerns, I recently had to invade."
rick at linuxmafia.com                        -- Kurt Montandon, in r.a.sf.w.r-j

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