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I am trying to install Debian 6 on a Simics simulator. I "insert" the install DVD 1, and I choose to do a normal installation. However, the installation fails relatively early with Debian repeating an error of the form:

Screenshot of kernel errors

over and over. Meanwhile Simics reports that it issued multiple GP Fault 0x417. From looking online, I see there are some bug reports from a year or two ago about SSDs generating this error and there was some relation to DMA, but there aren't any more specifics.

Does anyone know specifically what causes this error and ideally if there is a switch I can add to the installation command that will fix or avoid it? Simics is poorly documented, so even if someone could tell me specifically what the Simulator is doing to cause the barf?

The same ISO installs without an issue in KVM.

Update: By running portions of the installer one at a time, I found that the GP Fault 0x417 seems unrelated to the kernel errors I'm seeing...

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Seems like this is more an issue with the simulator than anything else. – Ward Jan 31 '12 at 5:06
I agree. That is why I'm wondering what conditions Debian would experience to produce such output. I cannot debug the simulator unless I know which part is malfunctioning. – Robert Martin Jan 31 '12 at 20:52

If /dev/sda of your simulated machine can be totally erased, you can try to erase just the partition table of it.

Be sure to only run this command INSIDE THE SIMULATOR. You need to be sure to write to the simulated machine disk from inside the simulator. Do not write to your host disk.

Start the installation process, wait for the error, and get to the installation console (Alt+F2, Alt+F3, ...). Then:

$ dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=512 count=1

Then reboot and try to install again. It will probably work.

This will erase the partition table of /dev/sda. Be sure to run this command in the right place. Running it on your host machine will make it stop working, and will result in data loss.

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"dd: destroy disk" :P How does wiping the partition table help? Won't the install wipe the partition table anyway as part of the install? – Robert Martin Feb 10 '12 at 16:25
@Robert MArtin: Before wiping the partition table the install reads it. Some times it can't handle what's there. My guess is due the message: "sda: unknown partition table" – Peter Senna Feb 10 '12 at 16:58

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