[SOLVED] Unable to install Linux

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Flingel
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[SOLVED] Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Hi, I am a complete newbie to Linux (but with fair bit of experience generally with Windows). I have been trying all weekend (and failing) to put a Linux op system on a Dell Inspiron 2200 laptop which has been happily running Windows XP for many years. Whilst the 2200 is quite old and pretty low in the power and memory stakes, from what I have read about Linux, it should not be a problem to at least run a basic Linux system on it.

I read up as much as I could about how to do this, downloaded Linux Mint 13 LTS Mate 32 bit version, burnt the ISO to a DVD (and checked the MD5 thing), and after booting the 2200 with it, selected to do a full install - i.e. totally overwriting the Windows system. This all seemed to go ok and it eventually told me it had installed but when I then reboot, it immediately comes up with a screen that gives 4 choices - Linux Mint, Linux Mint Recovery Mode, and then 2 types of Memory test. If I choose Linux Mint, the screen just goes blank. So I would then choose Linux Mint Recovery Mode which would then give me a Recovery Menu from which I tried a few options but never seemed to get any further.

Eventually I gave up with this thinking maybe Linux Mint didn't suit the 2200 or I'd done something wrong elsewhere in the process so I started all over again but this time following the advice from "The Ultimate Linux Newbie Guide" site. I figured I might as well follow the example as closely as possible so this time I downloaded Ubuntu-12.04.4-desktop-i386 and burnt the ISO to disk. I booted up with this, again elected for full install and got as far as the screen which says Preparing to Install Ubuntu. Yes, it's plugged into a power source, has enough space and is connected to the internet. I didn't check the box for updates but did check the box for third party software. I then clicked on Continue but there it just seems to grind to a halt. After re-doing this process 3 times, I left it all night - just in case it was doing something that I might not be aware of (even though no noise or lights from the laptop) but in the morning still no progress, just the egg timer still making it look as though something's going on.

I have done so much searching for similar happening to others but so far to no avail. Given that this is now 2 separate systems that have failed to install properly, I am beginning to wonder whether there is something wrong with the computer - but then it worked perfectly ok with Windows XP!

So currently I am one very frustrated would be Linux (ideally Mint) user but don't know how to get any further. If anyone has any ideas I would very grateful to hear them.

Thanks

Flingel
Last edited by Flingel on Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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karlchen
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by karlchen »

Hello, Flingel.

Sorry to learn that you spent so much time in vain trying to install either Linux Mint 13 or Ubuntu 12.04 on your ancient Dell Inspiron 2200 laptop.

The question really is whether the hardware equipment of your Dell Inspiron 2200 laptop fulfills the minimal system requirements for
+ either Linux Mint 13
+ or Ubuntu 12.04.

Answering this question is a bit more tricky than you may think.

Reason:
Linux int 13 comes as 64-bit and as 32-bit edition. Forget about the 64-bit edition when planning to install on an old machine like Dell Inspiron 2200 laptop.
This leaves Linux Mint 13 32-bit as a candidate for installation.
Stop. Not quite true.
This leaves you with choosing between 4 different Linux Mint 13 32-bit editions:
+ Linux Mint 32-bit with the Mate desktop
+ Linux Mint 32-bit with the Cinnamon desktop
+ Linux Mint 32-bit with the KDE desktop
+ Linux Mint 32-bit with the xfce desktop
Cf. here, please: Editions for Linux Mint 13 "Maya"

To be quite realistic:
Even without having checked the specific hardware details of your Dell Inspiron 2200 laptop on the Dell homepage, I am pretty sure that the only Linux Mint 13 edition which is light enough to run on an old Windows XP machine, will be Linux Mint 32-bit with the xfce desktop. And even this is not sure.

Please, check the minimal system requirements to run Linux Mint 32-bit with the xfce desktop here: Linux Mint 13 “Maya” Xfce released! -> section laying out "System Requirements"
System requirements:
  • x86 processor (for both 32 & 64-bit versions)
  • x86_64 compatible processor (for the 64-bit version)
  • 384 MB of system memory (RAM)
  • 5 GB of disk space for installation
  • Graphics card capable of 800×600 resolution
  • CD-ROM drive or USB port
And again, being realistic, the official system requirements are minimal requirements at best and they are pretty vague to phrase it mildly.
E.g. 384 MB of RAM are not enough, whoever pretends it were. Anything below 1024 MB of RAM is going to be a P.I.T.A. at best.
5 GB of disk space for the installation is too low. And as you want to use it for working after the installation, I'd say, anything smaller than a 20 GB harddisk (this is what my first Windows XP machine had) is too small.

Chosing Ubuntu instead of Linux Mint will confront you with lower minimal system requirements. They offer different desktop environments, hm, partially, yet the requirements are roundabout the same.

So, please, launch your Mint 13 live system. Open a terminal window. Execute this commandline

Code: Select all

inxi -Fxz
and post the complete screen output here. This will give us a concise overview on the hardware we are talkng about and on how well Linux Mint can handle it.

This should be a good starting point for figuring out whether your machine might be able to run Xubuntu 12.04 (Ubuntu with the xfce desktop) or Linux Mint 13 with the xfce desktop. The "inxi -Fxz" report may also tell whether your laptop holds a component which is known to be problematic from the Linux point of view.

Kind regards,
Karl
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BBistheKing
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by BBistheKing »

with a machine that old i would be inclined to try lubuntu (ubuntu+lxde) https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Lubuntu, failing that puppy linux or macpup
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Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Hi Karl

Thanks very much for your reply, I guess that would make sense of how the laptop is reacting (or not!). Unfortunately AFAIK I can't open a terminal window as I can't launch the Mint 13 live system because I just get those 4 choices I mentioned which don't get me any further into the system. (I'm presuming when you say the "live" system you mean the one I've installed on the hard drive and not the one on the disc (from which I can open Terminal)).

The machine does have those system requirements you specified so do you think it's worth me just having another go but this time with the Linux Mint 32-bit xfce desktop version?

Flingel
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karlchen
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by karlchen »

Hello, Flingel.

No, no. The Ubuntu live system is the installation medium, bootable DVD or bootable USB pendrive. The Linux Mint live system is the the installation medium, bootable DVD or bootable USB pendrive. With an old laptop you will have booted from a DVD, because those old machines could not be persuaded to boot from a USB pendrive. - Yes, I know you mentioned the installation DVD.
So a "live system" is not the system installed on the harddisk, but the system which can be used
+ to install Ubuntu / Linux Mint on the harddisk or
+ to "Try out Ubuntu / Linux Mint"
Note:
Ubuntu does not bring along the "inxi" command. Linux Mint does. This is hrd to understand, because once you have found out how useful the 2 inxi commands "inxi -Fxz" and "inxi -r" are, you start wondering why not every Linux distribution brings along "inxi". :wink:

Cheers,
Karl
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JeremyB
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by JeremyB »

I wonder if the screen going blank while trying to boot is fixable using the keyboard shortcuts to increase brightness or turn the display on.
Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Thanks Karl. here is the output:

mint@mint ~ $ inxi -Fxz
System: Host: mint Kernel: 3.2.0-23-generic i686 (32 bit, gcc: 4.6.3) Desktop: N/A Distro: Linux Mint 13 Maya
Machine: System: Dell (portable) product: Inspiron 2200
Mobo: Dell model: N/A Bios: Dell version: A07 date: 12/01/2005
CPU: Single core Intel Celeron M (-UP-) cache: 1024 KB flags: (nx sse sse2) bmips: 3192.03 clocked at 1596.017 MHz
Graphics: Card: Intel Mobile 915GM/GMS/910GML Express Graphics Controller bus-ID: 00:02.0
X.Org: 1.11.3 driver: vesa Resolution: 1024x768@0.0hz
GLX Renderer: Gallium 0.4 on llvmpipe (LLVM 0x300) GLX Version: 2.1 Mesa 8.0.2 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio: Card: Intel 82801FB/FBM/FR/FW/FRW (ICH6 Family) AC'97 Audio Controller driver: snd_intel8x0 ports: ed00 ec40 bus-ID: 00:1e.2
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture ver: 1.0.24
Network: Card-1: Broadcom BCM4318 [AirForce One 54g] 802.11g Wireless LAN Controller driver: b43-pci-bridge bus-ID: 02:03.0
IF: N/A state: N/A mac: N/A
Card-2: Intel 82562ET/EZ/GT/GZ - PRO/100 VE (LOM) Ethernet Controller Mobile
driver: e100 ver: 3.5.24-k2-NAPI port: df40 bus-ID: 02:08.0
IF: eth0 state: up speed: 100 Mbps duplex: full mac: <filter>
Drives: HDD Total Size: 60.0GB (-) 1: /dev/sda FUJITSU_MHV2060A 60.0GB 31C
Partition: ID: / size: 244M used: 111M (46%) fs: overlayfs ID: swap-1 size: 0.26GB used: 0.05GB (21%) fs: swap
ID: swap-2 size: 0.53GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 58.5C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info: Processes: 130 Uptime: 11 min Memory: 265.6/487.9MB Runlevel: 2 Gcc sys: 4.6.3 Client: Shell inxi: 1.7.33
mint@mint ~ $


Further info - needed to start in compatibility mode, otherwise screen goes blank (thanks Jeremy but had already tried that) and when starting up I noticed message that I think said 99,148138 b43 unknown parameter "blacklist".

Crossing fingers as I post this because computer froze as I was doing this just previously!

Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Well I think I may have got a little further Karl!

Having investigated more I now realise that the laptop has one of these b43 cards which the release notes say makes the computer hang. The notes say to modify the boot options to add: b43.blacklist=yes and I then found out how to do this - by pressing Shift when I boot up (this booting the system I had installed on the hard drive, not from the disc) and then e for edit and adding it to the end of the line starting "linux". But then having pressed Ctrl-X I get a message saying "Failed to start the X server - likely that it's not set up correctly etc". It asked if I'd like to view the X server output which I did but I'm afraid it meant nothing to me!

So now another problem to overcome. Searched a bit more and came across this thing called "nomodeset". I try to understand what it's about, and I don't really but I figure it might help and elsewhere in the forum I've read experienced users saying don't be afraid to have a go! So I reboot with shift into Grub and e for Edit. And this time as well as adding "b43.blacklist=yes" I also add "nomodeset". I then do Ctl-X and after a message which says something about "unknown parameter blacklist" I appear to be into the desktop with a "Welcome to Linux Mint" message!

I've tested a few applications like LibreCalc and Banshee and Firefox and VLC media player and it all seems to be moving along at quite a reasonable speed for an old computer. So looks like progress!

However I still have some questions:

1 I understand that by editing the Grub menu on boot up, I'm only sorting for that time so i need to make the change permanent. But although I think I've found an instruction on how to do that, I'm a little nervous in case what I'm doing is not quite right (even though I can now get Mint maya) and I then permanently mess something up, so I'd appreciate if you could confirm whether the edit I'm doing (as described above) is sufficient / correct or whether it should be something different.

2 The release notes say install the b43 firmware - on searching on how to do this, I've ended up a bit confused - is there a definitive guide somewhere?

3 After I install the b43 firmware, does this mean I can connect to the internet wirelessly?

Thanks for all your help.

Flingel
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DrHu
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by DrHu »

  • If you save your grub.conf file (which loads all the ##custom sections, you can always restore it, if it gets really messy or confused
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2
https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2 ... _Structure
--where the grub 2 parts (files) are located..
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
--* the above is probably all you need to read/pay attention to *--
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You can edit the grub menus if you are the root or admin user, since grub is installed into a system directory, that a normal user cannot change
http://www.thpc.info/how/edit_grub_menu.html
  • Edit GRUB2 - Update May 2010
    GRUB2 has been used in Ubuntu since version 9.10 and is now used in most of the latest versions of other Linux distros. GRUB2 has many changes most of which are not immediately obvious to the user.
    Users no longer edit Grub.conf or Menu.lst in the /boot/grub folder. In fact, those files are now off-limits and you must NOT edit them. The file to edit is grub located in the /etc/default folder and it can be edited with this command from Terminal: (you must also run update-grub after any alteration).
    sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
--or you can use a program such as grub customizer (a GUI app), that lets you edit entries and change some boot options (splash screen and so on.)
http://puppylinux.org/wikka/Grub2
--Mint probably has some infor on grub2 editing in these forums or one can always search in Ubuntu (which Mint uses as a base for their further development ..
http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/910
--this seems useaful as well, manually editing grub2..
http://www.maketecheasier.com/mastering ... -easy-way/
this might be one of the better overviews of grub2 setups/editing..

Grub2 changed from the previous version (grub legacy or grub 1.97x) and now calls in sections 10--40custom with the grub loading in order to include those entries, and that becomes a bit of a bother, since there is from the grub documents only one section for customization, which is within the grub.conf file after all the default installed sections, there is a text info there indicating, add your own customization at the end of the file
  • The automatic method is then to use update-grub, a user can do this from the desktop, which pulls in any defined sections available
    --but if you edit the file manually, any update via the system or change to the kernel, which would then require a new grub loading will overwrite your changes
Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Thanks for the info DrHu. Being a long term user of Windows and totally new to Linux, I'm afraid some of what you've said (and what is in the links) has left me scratching my head a bit, but I guess I'll just wade in and give it a go - even if I'm not quite sure what "it" is! Worst case I guess I can always start from installing the system again.

Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by The-Wizard »

your dell 2200 is about the same age as my acer travel mate and has similar specification, mine too came with 250mb ram and a 1.6 mobile celeron processor,and the broadcom wireless adaptor, THE only modification I have made is to add a 1mb stick of ram giving a total of 1.5mb
this machine now quite happily runs mint [currently Mint 14] with the MATE desktop as the graphics are not up to running cinnamon successfully, my preferred method of loading mint is by using a usb pen drive, adding ram to a laptop is a simple matter and the cost of second hand on e-bay is next to nothing just make sure you get the right spec..

wizard
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Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Thanks for the info Wizard.

Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Timberbeast »

Hi Flingel,

As to the b43 Broadcom wifi card, I have had good luck with this Ubuntu link.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/WifiD ... t%20access

I have a bunch of more b43 links, if you need them.

Good luck, :D
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gold_finger
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by gold_finger »

Hope you're not suffering from too much information overload; but at the risk of adding to it, here are some things that may be useful specifically for the Mint 13 versions. (They don't apply to version 16.)

Mint 13 Specific Install Tips:

1. During installation, the installation program stalls out and doesn't complete the installation properly. (It doesn't happen to everyone -- it depends on the particular computer they have.) To avoid that possibility from happening to you, remove the slideshow program used by the installer (which is the cause of the problem) BEFORE attempting the installation.
  • * Open a terminal (Menu -> Accessories -> Terminal) and enter this command:

    Code: Select all

    sudo apt-get remove ubiquity-slideshow-mint
    * When prompt returns, the removal is complete and you can close the terminal
    * Double-click the "Install" icon on the desktop to start the installation.
2. After installation completes and you reboot into your new installation, do the following BEFORE installing any updates:
  • * Open a terminal and enter the following command. Copy/Paste the entire command at once into the terminal and hit enter.

    Code: Select all

    sudo sed -i '/^deb http:\/\/packages.medibuntu.org*/d' /etc/apt/sources.list /etc/apt/sources.list.d/*.list
    * Now enter this command

    Code: Select all

    sudo update-grub
    * These commands eliminate an error message that you would have received about an update source for software that no longer exists. For reference, here is the post describing the error that you would have gotten and showing the solution you just implemented: How to fix: update errors about Medibuntu
Now you can perform initial updates to the system and enjoy using Mint.
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Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Hi all, thanks for your help and comments. Just to say reason I haven't replied back yet is I'm still trying to work my way through this stuff and don't want to keep bothering you unnecessarily.

So far I've managed to do the b43 firmware thing and even migrated my Windows Outlook Express data from another XP computer to Thunderbird on Mint (somewhat of a surprise to me that that went successfully!).

I'm now trying to install the b43 driver so I can connect wirelessly and also make the nomodeset command permanent in the grub file. It feels like these two should be fairly straightforward but each time I get to a point where I'm confused as to what to do next - and that despite the advice from Larry and DrHu!

Anyway, I'll keep working away at it.

Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Good grief, bit of a shock, I just tried connecting to the internet wirelessly and it worked! So I guess I must have loaded the b43 driver and not realised it in the confusion!

And the sun's just come out too :o)

right, onto making nomodeset permanent on startup.

Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

So far unsuccesful re getting nomodeset permanently into grub file on startup.

Following advice as best as I can understand it, I've tried editing the etc/default/grub file so that 2 lines changed from

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

to

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="nomodeset"

but when I try to save the file, it says I can't as I don't have the necessary permissions.

Could someone advise please?

Flingel
JeremyB
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by JeremyB »

Flingel wrote:So far unsuccesful re getting nomodeset permanently into grub file on startup.

Following advice as best as I can understand it, I've tried editing the etc/default/grub file so that 2 lines changed from

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX=""

to

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash nomodeset"
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX="nomodeset"

but when I try to save the file, it says I can't as I don't have the necessary permissions.

Could someone advise please?

Flingel
You have to use this command in terminal to edit and save

Code: Select all

sudo gedit /etc/default/grub
and use

Code: Select all

sudo grub-update
after
Flingel
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by Flingel »

Thanks Jeremy

I've managed to do the first part - which allowed me to save the edited file, but not the second.

After typing sudo grub-update it returned sudo: grub-update: command not found

Also not sure this is relevant but when I returned to Terminal after saving the edit, it had returned (gedit:3557): GLib-GIO-WARNING **: Missing callback called fullpath = /root/.local/share/recently-used.xbel

Flingel
JeremyB
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Re: Unable to install Linux

Post by JeremyB »

It might be sudo update-grub
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