[Solved] Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu)

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[Solved] Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu)

Postby motoperpetuo on Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:36 pm

I just received my new Dell Inspiron 530 with Ubuntu preinstalled yesterday. I was excited to get a machine that would "just work" with Linux, thus avoiding the hours and days of troubleshooting hardware and BIOS compatibility problems I've experienced on most other computers when trying to get them to work with Linux.

However, no such luck. Ubuntu itself seems to work great, and the machine performs really well, but I'm having all kinds of trouble getting live CDs to work. When I try to boot the Mint 4.0 Live CD, I get the Mint splash screen and choose the first, default, option to boot Mint. Then the system boots me to the Ubuntu restore partition that resides on the machine's hard drive. I talked to Dell support and the tech there said to try disconnecting my external hard drive (because it could be causing problems by reordering the numbering of my boot devices). I tried that but got the same result.

So basically, what I'd like to know is if anyone has been able to install Mint on one of these Ubuntu Dell computers. If so, how?

Here's some more information that might be pertinent to this problem:

The Puppy Linux CD and Clonezilla (v1.0.3-18) CD that I use on my other computers both error out on my Dell on bootup with this error (which seems to be associated with something called Busybox v1.13) and kick me out to a command line:

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

The Gparted Live CD also errors out and kicks me to a command line, albeit with a different error:

>>Determining root device...
>>Determining looptype...
!!Invalid loop location: /gparted.dat
!!Please export LOOP with a valid location, or reboot and pass a proper loop=...
!!kernel command line!

I was thinking that maybe the kernel on these Live CDs can't see my optical drive for some reason, so I tried downloading and burning the latest version of Clonezilla (v1.0.9-19) and, strangely enough with the newer version of Clonezilla, I now get the same result as I do with the Mint CD. That is, after the initial Clonezilla splash screen, the system boots me to the Ubuntu restore partition.

I'd really appreciate any help...not being able to boot to these CDs is a major obstacle to using this machine the way I want to. I have Dell support involved, and they're doing their best to be helpful, but they seem stumped too.
Last edited by motoperpetuo on Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby SkittleLinux18 on Sat Mar 22, 2008 12:54 pm

Have you wiped the OS partition with Ubuntu on there? I'm entirely sure that the lappy hardware and LiveCD's are just fin. It's something in your BIOS.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby motoperpetuo on Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:33 pm

I tried to wipe the hard drive. That was how I discovered that I couldn't get the Gparted CD to boot properly. The tech guy from Dell was thinking it was a BIOS setting too, but apparently I have a brand-new version of the BIOS that they're not too familiar with, so the settings they've used before to get past similar problems weren't there in my BIOS.

I'm getting worried that it's a bug in the BIOS, and that I may be SOL until Dell fixes it. Has anyone out there had similar problems with Linux live CDs on a Dell Inspiron 530 (probably a brand-new one)? I can't be the only one...or maybe I can...I tend to get lucky that way...
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby SkittleLinux18 on Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:58 pm

motoperpetuo wrote:The tech guy from Dell was thinking it was a BIOS setting too, but apparently I have a brand-new version of the BIOS that they're not too familiar with, so the settings they've used before to get past similar problems weren't there in my BIOS. I'm getting worried that it's a bug in the BIOS, and that I may be SOL until Dell fixes it.


I'm totally convinced that it's a BIOS issue now!The two things that come to mind (maybe you've already tried them), is first, to try rearranging your boot order in the BIOS. When that doesn't work (which it wont, I am just hoping you'll get lucky), boot into your BIOS and select the option that says something to the effect of, "Load Settings For Most Optimized Used." Save if it doesn't automatically and reboot.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby motoperpetuo on Sat Mar 22, 2008 10:01 pm

No luck. Or at least, I don't see a setting like "Load Settings For Most Optimized Used" in the BIOS. To add to the weirdness, I tried a Windows Server 2003 CD I have laying around, and that booted just fine. Maybe I'll try swapping in a different CD drive, on the off chance it's something wrong with the one that came installed.

I appreciate the attempted help. Now I'm going to go feel sorry for myself...heh. No, seriously though, I really dig the Linux, and I was so excited to get this machine and have it just work, but aside from a Dell laptop that I miss terribly that I had at my last job it's been a total nightmare to get Linux working on pretty every machine I've tried. You'd think the "powered by Ubuntu" machine would be different, but noooooooo...

Windows must really suck to keep me trying this hard with Linux.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby MagnusB on Sun Mar 23, 2008 8:02 am

motoperpetuo wrote:The Puppy Linux CD and Clonezilla (v1.0.3-18) CD that I use on my other computers both error out on my Dell on bootup with this error (which seems to be associated with something called Busybox v1.13) and kick me out to a command line:

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

I ended up with Busybox on my Lenovo 3000 V200 with 7.04, and some research made it clear that this was related to some hardware that Linux did not like or some combination of hardware, so solving this could be right up there with decoding DNA with the Hubble telescope... While your contact with Dell makes it rather clear that this is caused by a BIOS error, but for me this issue solved it self by using, then, the 7.10 RC# liveCD. Have you tried using a newer kernel? OpenSuSE has just released Alpha 3, not suggesting to switch to SuSE, but try the liveCD and see if it is solved then. You could also try the beta of Hardy as well.
http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=04806
http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.0-Alpha3/iso/cd/
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby motoperpetuo on Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:18 am

MagnusB wrote:
motoperpetuo wrote:The Puppy Linux CD and Clonezilla (v1.0.3-18) CD that I use on my other computers both error out on my Dell on bootup with this error (which seems to be associated with something called Busybox v1.13) and kick me out to a command line:

/bin/sh: can't access tty; job control turned off

I ended up with Busybox on my Lenovo 3000 V200 with 7.04, and some research made it clear that this was related to some hardware that Linux did not like or some combination of hardware, so solving this could be right up there with decoding DNA with the Hubble telescope... While your contact with Dell makes it rather clear that this is caused by a BIOS error, but for me this issue solved it self by using, then, the 7.10 RC# liveCD. Have you tried using a newer kernel? OpenSuSE has just released Alpha 3, not suggesting to switch to SuSE, but try the liveCD and see if it is solved then. You could also try the beta of Hardy as well.
http://distrowatch.com/?newsid=04806
http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/11.0-Alpha3/iso/cd/


Unfortunately, I think you're right. I think it's my hardware that the Linux kernel on these live CDs doesn't like. I tried booting to a Windows Server 2003 CD I have last night, and that worked perfectly. I'm pretty upset that Dell sent me a machine that's supposedly designed for Linux that can't even boot a Gparted live CD. I may try the alpha version of SUSE you suggested, but I'm thinking that if I can't get this resolved somehow in a week or so, the computer is going back to Dell. I've already spent a full work day's worth of hours troubleshooting this, which is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to avoid by buying one of these Dell Ubuntu machines.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby MagnusB on Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:27 am

Well, it's pretty lousy of Dell to ship these machines, but did this come installed with Feisty or Gutsy? Maybe newer isn't a solution, but older... And I would return this to Dell as well, and do a bit of research on http://www.linlap.com to find a recommended Linux laptop.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby curtiswtaylorjr on Sun Mar 23, 2008 11:38 am

It would be nice if the Mint team would make a package to convert Ubuntu to Mint. This way all you would need to do is add the Mint repository and select the Mint package as long as you have the current version of Ubuntu. I think this would fuel growth in the community. Due the ease in switching and not needing to back everthing up.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby motoperpetuo on Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:10 pm

MagnusB wrote:Well, it's pretty lousy of Dell to ship these machines, but did this come installed with Feisty or Gutsy? Maybe newer isn't a solution, but older... And I would return this to Dell as well, and do a bit of research on http://www.linlap.com to find a recommended Linux laptop.


it's a desktop, with gutsy preinstalled. trying an older version of ubuntu isn't a bad idea, but again, i don't seem to be able to install another distro because i can't boot to a CD. i'm downloading the fedora install DVD right now (it will take about 20 hours, but it should be done when i get home from work today) on the off chance that it works.

i also got a call back from Dell support this morning with a few things to try when i get home tonight. they sound like they're leaning towards it being something wrong with this particular machine. hopefully i can just get it replace with a working one if i can't get these problems resolved.
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Re: Install Mint on Dell Inspiron 530 (Ubuntu preinstalled)

Postby motoperpetuo on Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:03 am

I finally got this working. One of the Dell support guys I talked to suggested trying to boot a CD with my internal hard drive disconnected. That worked, so that and the fact that a lot of these Linux CDs were booting into the Dell preinstalled restore partition on my hard drive (rather than booting to whatever was on the CD) got me thinking that there's something wrong with how the machine was seeing the bootable partitions available to it (on the hard drive and whatever given CD i was trying to boot to).

So, as a last-ditch effort before sending the machine back to Dell, I deleted all the partitions on the hard drive. I had to use a Windows install CD to do this, because I wasn't able to get Gparted or other Linux CDs to boot. Nevertheless, once I got rid of everything Dell had preinstalled on the hard drive, everything worked fine. I've now installed Linux Mint and imaged my hard drive with Clonezilla.

The only question that remains about this is if anyone else with one of these Dell preinstalled Ubuntu computers has seen such a thing. Who knows, maybe I just got "lucky."
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