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partition table not found



I'm trying to install Debian 1.3.1 on a new system, which means I have no
certainty that anything (the hardware) is actually working as it is
supposed
to.

I get a few error messages, one of which is a 'can't find partition table'
or something like which scrolls by quickly after a series of messages like
this:

        hda: irq timeout: status=0x50 { DriveReady SeekComplete}
        .
        .
        .
        hda: irq timeout: status=0x58 {DriveReady SeekComplete DataReady}

I also got error messages like this:
        end_request  I/O error   dev 03:00   sector 0

Later, out of the main menu, in the partitioning the disk section, it says
        'FDISK FATAL ERROR: cannot read drive' or something like.

When run from a dos floppy, MS (ahem) v6.2 fdisk appear to work fine.

This is all happening with a Maxtor 5.12G drive, model 85120A8.  I have
tried
a number of things; booting with/without Maxtor's EZ-Bios, using
Normal/Large/LBA adressing for the drive, booting from dos floppy (via
boot.bat), the CD directly, manually setting the numbers of
heads/cylinders/sectors (though Linux seems to do this as well as I) etc.
etc.

I'm stumped.

Oh, and yes, I did turn off all those BIOS options, like virus check,
shadow
RAM, etc.

Help, assistance and/or wisdom will be greatly appreciated.
-S>



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