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(?) The Answer Guy (!)

By James T. Dennis, tag@lists.linuxgazette.net
Starshine Technical Services, http://www.starshine.org/

(?) Uninstalling Linux

From Tom Monaghan on Fri, 18 Dec 1998

(?) i cannot find any info on the best way to uninstall Red Hat Linux 5.2.

I must reinstall DOS as linux does not support my video driver (yet). Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

(!) When you installed Linux, you probably created a set of partitions on one of your hard disks. You can just go into the Linux 'fdisk' (using your installation diskette or CD) and delete all of your Linux parititions (including swap and "native" (ext2)).
Once you done that then DOS/Windows should be "willing" to create new partitions in the unallocated portions of disk space that you've created by deleting your Linux partitions.
If the whole disk was devoted to Linux and you want to trick MSDOS into believing that this whole drive is "fresh from the factory" you can use the following trick:
Boot into Linux (on a rescue diskette or into the working copy that you have installed)
Login as root.
Issue a command like the following:
dd if=/dev/zero count=1 of=/dev/hda
... NOTE: The "of" parameter should point at the device node for your disk. If are doing this to the first or only IDE drive on your system (the most likely case) you'd use /dev/hda as I've shown. If you're doing this to the first SCSI drive it would be /dev/sda, if you were doing it to a second IDE or SCSI drive that would be /dev/hdb or /dev/sdb respectively, and so on.
To get some idea of which drives and partitions you have Linux installed on you could use the command:
fdisk -l | less
... to look at the partitions on all drives that Linux can see. Note that you'll see partitions like /dev/hda1 and /dev/hda5, etc. These are partitions on the first IDE drive (/dev/hda).
When we zero out the first sector of the drive, operating systems will consider the whole drive to be blank and will install just as you would on a brand new hard drive. (Technically under MS-DOS you could just wipe out the two bytes at the end of the first sector --- which is a signature value that MS-DOS FDISK.COM (or FDISK.EXE) uses to detect a partiton table or MBR. Naturally you could also delete the partitions (as described earlier) and then boot from a DOS floppy and issue the command:
... this will work on MS-DOS 5.0 and later. Otherwise use the 'dd' method from Linux.
Incidentally I rather doubt that Linux doesn't support your video card.
It is probably more formally correct to say that XFree86 doesn't support your video card. You don't need to run a GUI to use most of Linux (I rarely go into X Windows).
[ They just released XFree86 3.3.3 recently, so maybe you should check again with a fresh X package from http://www.xfree86.org/ and see if it has your card in it now. -- Heather ]
As I point out in other messages there are a couple of alternatives to XFree86 including some freely distributed binary X servers (source code unavailable) which can be found at the Red Hat contrib site and other mirrors and software archives, and there are a couple of commercial X Windows System packages for Linux (from Xi Graphics: http://www.xig.com, and MetroLink: http://www.metrolink.com).

(?) Uninstalling Linux

From Tom Monaghan on Fri, 18 Dec 1998

Thanks. Since I was in a hurry, I just ran the install and deleted all my linux partitions via Disk Druid (coincidentally the same tack you suggest) and booted out of the install. So now I am back to DOS :(

I have RH 5.2 at home, so deleting linux here at work does not end my experimentation with this OS. The thing I am stuck on at home is getting my modem to connect to my ISP. This is so freaking frustrating I had to step away for a day or so...Will continue to bang on linux until I get it right. It's funny, I have a decent amount of UNIX experience under my belt (I am ashamedly a Software Developer), but when it comes to configging stuff I am a moron!

Super L/User

Copyright © 1999, James T. Dennis
Published in The Linux Gazette Issue 36 January 1999

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