******* SEE COMMENTS FOR SOLUTION *******


I've posted to Fedora Forums and logged a Red Hat bug, but since that's not going too well, I'll just blog it to relieve stress...

New install of Fedora Core 3 final build from DVD iso to Dell 8600 Inspiron laptop with Windows XP SP2 on hda2 and 12.5 MB free space. First time Linux has touched this machine.

Configured Windows as default OS during FC3 install and set boot password option for grub. FC3 installed to the free space with: 1GB Swap, 4.5 GB /, 2GB /opt, 2GB /home, 2GB /usr/local. No problems.

/dev/hda4 is the extended partition. /dev/hda5 is /.

Windows XP boots off /dev/hda2. Dell has some type of recovery data that came with the machine on /dev/hda1. I'm not inclinded to try any Dell/Windows recovery software quite yet because I don't want to disturb the evidence at the crime scene.

Machine will not boot past BIOS display. It displays BIOS, then does an auto reboot, displays BIOS, ad infinitum... Does not even get to visualization of grub stage 2 splash screen.

To inspect the file system and recover data to post here, I loaded Knopppix 3.3 from boot CD and file system for WinXP and FC3 appear intact.

In the fdisk output below, not that /dev/sda1 is an artifact of having an external USB storage device mounted while running Knoppix to recover data.

This is not the same hard disk geometry problem as was in FC2. I experienced that problem and solution on another machine earlier this year. I learned my lesson about installing FC2, and I thought sure Fedora would have gotten all the dual boot bugs worked out this time round.

/boot/grub/grub.conf

# grub.conf generated by anaconda
#
# Note that you do not have to rerun grub after making changes to this file
# NOTICE: You do not have a /boot partition. This means that
# all kernel and initrd paths are relative to /, eg.
# root (hd0,4)
# kernel /boot/vmlinuz-version ro root=/dev/hda5
# initrd /boot/initrd-version.img
#boot=/dev/hda
default=1
timeout=5
splashimage=(hd0,4)/boot/grub/splash.xpm.gz
hiddenmenu
password --md5 $1$NXG3B1/H$R7cS/REM8ngkrOmtXOyno/
title Fedora Core (2.6.9-1.667)
root (hd0,4)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.9-1.667 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet
initrd /boot/initrd-2.6.9-1.667.img
title Windows XP
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader +1


/boot/devices.map

# this device map was generated by anaconda
(fd0) /dev/fd0
(hd0) /dev/hda


fdisk -l

Disk /dev/sda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 1 4864 39070048+ c W95 FAT32 (LBA)

Disk /dev/hda: 40.0 GB, 40007761920 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 4864 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes

Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/hda1 1 6 48163+ de Dell Utility
/dev/hda2 * 7 2875 23045242+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/hda3 4407 4863 3670852+ db CP/M / CTOS / ...
/dev/hda4 2876 4406 12297757+ 5 Extended
/dev/hda5 2876 3492 4956021 83 Linux
/dev/hda6 3493 3753 2096451 83 Linux
/dev/hda7 3754 4014 2096451 83 Linux
/dev/hda8 4015 4275 2096451 83 Linux
/dev/hda9 4276 4406 1052226 82 Linux swap

Partition table entries are not in disk order