The PCMCIA Card Doesn't Work after Upgrading the Kernel

The PCMCIA Card Services modules, which are located in
/lib/modules/version/pcmcia, where version is the version number of
the kernel, use configuration information that is specific to that
kernel image only. The PCMCIA modules on your system will not work
with a different kernel image. You need to upgrade the PCMCIA card
modules when you upgrade the kernel.

When upgrading from older kernels, make sure that you have the most
recent version of the run-time libraries, the modutils package, and so
on. Refer to the file Documentation/Changes in the kernel source tree
for details.

Important: If you use the PCMCIA Card Services, do not enable the
Network device support/Pocket and portable adapters option of the
kernel configuration menu, as this conflicts with the modules in Card

Knowing the PCMCIA module dependencies of the old kernel is useful.
You need to keep track of them. For example, if your PCMCIA card
depends on the serial port character device being installed as a
module for the old kernel, then you need to ensure that the serial
module is available for the new kernel and PCMCIA modules as well.

The procedure described here is somewhat kludgey, but it is much
easier than re-calculating module dependencies from scratch, and
making sure the upgrade modules get loaded so that both the non-PCMCIA
and PCMCIA are happy. Recent kernel releases contain a myriad of
module options, too many to keep track of easily. These steps use the
existing module dependencies as much as possible, instead of requiring
you to calculate new ones.

However, this procedure does not take into account instances where
module dependencies are incompatible from one kernel version to
another. In these cases, you'll need to load the modules yourself with
insmod, or adjust the module dependencies in the /etc/conf.modules
file. The Documentation/modules.txt file in the kernel source tree
contains a good description of how to use the kernel loadable modules
and the module utilities like insmod, modprobe, and depmod.
Modules.txt also contains a recommended procedure for determining
which features to include in a resident kernel, and which to build as

Essentially, you need to follow these steps when you install a new

* Before building the new kernel, make a record with the lsmod
command of the module dependencies that your system currently
uses. For example, part of the lsmod output might look like this:

Module Pages Used by
memory_cs 2 0
ds 2 [memory_cs] 3
i82365 4 2
pcmcia_core 8 [memory_cs ds i82365] 3
sg 1 0
bsd_comp 1 0
ppp 5 [bsd_comp] 0
slhc 2 [ppp] 0
serial 8 0
psaux 1 0
lp 2 0

This tells you for example that the memory_cs module needs the ds
and pcmcia_core modules loaded first. What it doesn't say is that,
in order to avoid recalculating the module dependencies, you may
also need to have the serial, lp, psaux, and other standard
modules available to prevent errors when installing the pcmcia
routines at boot time with insmod. A glance at the /etc/modules
file will tell you what modules the system currently loads, and in
what order. Save a copy of this file for future reference, until
you have successfully installed the new kernel's modules. Also
save the lsmod output to a file, for example, with the command:
lsmod >lsmod.old-kernel.output.
* Build the new kernel, and install the boot image, either zImage or
bzImage, to a floppy diskette. To do this, change to the
arch/i386/boot directory (substitute the correct architecture
directory if you don't have an Intel machine), and, with a floppy
in the diskette drive, execute the command:

$ dd if=bzImage of=/dev/fd0 bs=512

if you built the kernel with the make bzImage command, and if your
floppy drive is /dev/fd0. This results in a bootable kernel image
being written to the floppy, and allows you to try out the new
kernel without replacing the existing one that LILO boots on the
hard drive.
* Boot the new kernel from the floppy to make sure that it works.
* With the system running the new kernel, compile and install a
current version of the PCMCIA Card Services package, available
from as well as other Linux archives. Before
installing the Card Services utilities, change the names of
/sbin/cardmgr and /sbin/cardctl to /sbin/cardmgr.old and
/sbin/cardctl.old. The old versions of these utilities are not
compatible with the replacement utilities that Card Services
installs. In case something goes awry with the installation, the
old utilities won't be overwritten, and you can revert to the
older versions if necessary. When configuring Card Services with
the "make config" command, make sure that the build scripts know
where to locate the kernel configuration, either by using
information from the running kernel, or telling the build process
where the source tree of the new kernel is. The "make config" step
should complete without errors. Installing the modules from the
Card Services package places them in the directory
/lib/modules/version/pcmcia, where version is the version number
of the new kernel.
* Reboot the system, and note which, if any, of the PCMCIA devices
work. Also make sure that the non-PCMCIA hardware devices are
working. It's likely that some or all of them won't work. Use
lsmod to determine which modules the kernel loaded at boot time,
and compare it with the module listing that the old kernel loaded,
which you saved from the first step of the procedure. (If you
didn't save a listing of the lsmod output, go back and reboot the
old kernel, and make the listing now.)
* When all modules are properly loaded, you can replace the old
kernel image on the hard drive. This will most likely be the file
pointed to by the /vmlinuz symlink. Remember to update the boot
sector by running the lilo command after installing the new kernel
image on the hard drive.

Also look at the questions, How do I upgrade/recompile my kernel? and
Modprobe can't locate module, "XXX," and similar messages.
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