It's a Toshiba Satellite 2535CDS. I find a lot on the web about Mint working-- or at least 99% working-- on Toshiba laptops, but no specific reference to the 2535.
I had found the 'hit any key' thing on my own after I finally realized this was not going anywhere and shut down the laptop. Upon reboot, I tried each of the choices.
1. Start Linux Mint Well, we know that doesn't work
2. Start Linux Mint in compatibility mode Takes a bit longer to fail, but in the end does the same CD- grinding- disk- light- flashing routine as above
3. Memory Test Works, but isn't worth converting to Mint for
4. Boot from Local Drive Windows 98 is still there, so the Mint problem, whatever it is, isn't fatal to the PC
It's the best of a pile of obsolete laptops abandoned by my SO, so I was trying to:
1. save it from the landfill
2. there is a Linux bookkeeping package I've seen on the web and I'm interested in trying, so I thought this might be a good way to do so.
I'd like to get this working, but to be honest, the 'game may not be worth the candle'. I was in the computer business before being tossed aside in the outsourcing frenzy of the 90's, so I'm aware of just how much time this kind of problem can suck up, and being a self-employed person in this economy, I've not got the time to spare. So, unless someone has a quick insight into the issue, maybe it's time for me to wish the Linux Mint world well and move on-- sorry it didn't work for me. I appreciate your help.