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Re: some of my gateway laptops refuse to install f11a i386

Robert P. J. Day wrote:
On Tue, 3 Mar 2009, "Jóhann B. Guðmundsson" wrote:

You could put all the bios setting to default and see if that works
( or make sure they settings are identical )

Check if the bios version is the same on all of them

My best bet would be that the dvd drives are failing which means
that the drives on those that do read the dvd might not have much
time left..

  i'd thought of that, but that wouldn't explain why those drives
would be so *particular* -- happily installing off of the x86_64 DVD
but not the i386 one.  and i verified the correctness of those DVDs.
and it was always the i386 DVDs that were ignored, not the x86_64.
that doesn't strike me as drives slowly going bad.  there's way too
much of a pattern there.

It's probably a BIOS issue, but there is a physical possibility.  It's
a stretch, but possible:

The x86_64 DVDs are bigger (fuller).  CDs and DVDs work like old vinyl
records (a long, spiral "track"), but they read backwards (from the hub
out to the outer edge).  Consequently, the end of session mark on a
64-bit DVD will be closer to the rim of the disk.  It may be that the
DVDs are spinning fast enough that the flutter present at the outer edge
of all CDs and DVDs when they're spun fast is hosing the drive's ability
to see the end of session mark.  This is more prevalent on DVDs as the
data density is greater than on CDs.

Try to boot one of the 32-bit live CDs if possible. If it boots, then it's not a 32- versus 64-bit issue, it's probably this flutter. If it's
possible to slow the drives down, do it and try the DVD again.  If it
works, then it's definitely flutter and you're in the market for new

Like I said, it's a stretch, but I've seen weirder things.
- Rick Stevens, Systems Engineer                      ricks nerd com -
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