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New To Linux


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#1 CocheseUGA

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 12:36 AM

Well, I tried it once before a few years back.

If you've read my other thread in the 'Other OS' forum, you know I'm trying to get an old Satellite 1605CDS laptop running again.

Here are the important things to know before you answer:
-The CDROM is KIA.
-BIOS will only allow boot from FDD or HDD. No USB, and it has no RJ6 connection to network.
-The HDD is only 2GB

What I tried to do is install XP on it, via putting the HDD in an external enclosure attached to my desktop. Almost worked. Was able to get to the point where you could pick a partition. Didn't like the MSDOS/3.1 partition on there, so I deleted it. Then it wouldn't install period, I think because it was attached via USB. So, that didn't work.

So, I'm going to try Linux (or something) to see if I can get it going again. I tried to install Ark Linux, but something is up with the ISO and their board was less than helpful. My desktop system hangs at the post screen, and it's definetly something to do with the image.

So, I was thinking of something else. I need the OS to be under 2GB, and to be able to install it either directly to the USB HDD, or to the second desktop HDD then straight copy it over. Any suggestions? Every website I go to (like Mandrake, etc), I seem to get lost and don't know where to start. Ark looked good to me because it was all on one CD. (Remember the size limitation)

If anyone can help me out (with detail) I'd be most appreciative.

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#2 Trio3b

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 01:04 AM

Off the cuff without more details about your laptop here is my gut feeling as I have installed various flavors of Windohs and Linux on older laptops. I think you are in the 32-64 mb RAM range (160mb max RAM) with a K-6 AMD processor.

Your processor speed is OK, however you are going to have a tough time with Wxp OR any flavor of KDE or Gnome desktop on a laptop of that vintage with any thing less than 256mb RAM. Looks like graphics chip is compatible, you may have to futz with the Crystal sound chip but I think there is a module for it.

Remember that unlike Windows, Linux can run several different desktops and some require lots of horsepower (RAM) and others do well with very little.

My experience with older laptops is this: W95, W98, Wme,W2000 do well. I'm no expert but I think it has to do with the fact that the hdwr was optimised for this OS and the W9x interface was built into the DOS kernel and therefore very quick.

DSL or Puppy Linux run well on older hdwr and they have lite GUIs, but if you are used to a full featured point 'n click interface you may be disappointed.

Try one of Linux distros with a lightweight desktop and maybe Abiword and GnuCash instead of OpenOffice.
As far as your HD goes, you can get a fair amount of stuff packed onto it. The fact that a distro is on 1 or 5 CDs has little to do with it. You can elect NOT to load a bunch of stuff from a 5 CD distro onto a PC . I think DSL and Puppy are only about 80-160 mb.

I'm sure a bootable floppy is no problem. Check out their websites.

Hope this helps

Edited by Trio3b, 11 May 2007 - 01:15 AM.


#3 Joedude

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 03:38 AM

Debian also has a great minimal install. You just want to be careful, it likes to default to the Gnome desktop, which does require some power, and it uses a good deal of space.

I would recommend DSL with an XFCE desktop.
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#4 CocheseUGA

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 06:32 AM

Well, right before I went to bed I downloaded Puppy and tried to install it. Actually got through everything and I think I selected the wrong display setting as I got an error. So, I shut it down and tried it again this morning. I get a BOOT DISK FAILURE message, same as I was getting with the Ark distro.

As Lombardi would say, What the hell is going on here?

And the laptop came with Win98. I believe the processor is in the 333-450 range. It is maxed out on RAM. I really just want to use it for simple internet and word processor applications.

#5 need TOS

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 10:47 AM

You will need the puppy boot disk to load up puppy linux, because it does not mess with the boot sector of the hard drive, but requires the disk to start and detect linux.

-Steve
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#6 CocheseUGA

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 12:42 PM

I'm getting that boot disk error with every distro I've tried.

I found a good tutorial on Ubuntu for installing on a USB HDD, but if it won't boot then it's worthless.

#7 need TOS

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 12:59 PM

I understand, but with Puppy linux you need the boot disk to start it up.

-Steve
Forgiveness is forgetting about a past that could have been

#8 CocheseUGA

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 02:46 PM

I understand, but with Puppy linux you need the boot disk to start it up.

-Steve


Well, I just tried making a boot disk with SBM for my Ubuntu install, and it did nothing. Black, dim-light screen.

I've about had it with the whole process of trying to get this thing fixed. If you can tell me exactly what I need to have a proper boot disk, then I might try it again. Otherwise, I'm throwing the whole laptop in the trash.

#9 Joedude

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 03:48 PM

I don't think that would be necessary. Take your time. It's a new operating system and you just have to be patient. One of the best aspects (to me) is that linux is so adaptable. You can play with it, include or exclude packages and customize it to what you want. There is a flavor of linux that will work great on that laptop. You just need to look at it as a project and work it out. If people can figure out how to put linux on an ipod or a mobile phone and it still works fine, then that should be challenging, but far from impossible.
If someone tells you to su rm -rf /
DON'T DO IT!!!!
Be in the know, Bash smart!

#10 Trio3b

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Posted 11 May 2007 - 10:35 PM

No NO send it to me.......kidding. Sorry it's been a while........I'm more of a desktop user but I seem to remember settings in the BIOS referring to PCMCIA . Change the default from auto to Cardbus/16 bit. Save this setting. It's not likely that that many disks are no good. Specs on your laptop indicate max RAM as 160mb. I might be wrong. Check it out as it will GREATLY influence how welll this machine handles modern GUI s.

Hope this helps

Edited by Trio3b, 11 May 2007 - 10:43 PM.


#11 CocheseUGA

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 08:46 AM

I finally got a good working Live CD of Ubuntu, that was the source of it not booting on my XP machine.

Went through the install process, and it went fine. Unfortunately, when I installed it back in my laptop, it said Cannot find operating system. Well, at least we're making some progress.

Maybe I can make some more headway on it today.

#12 CocheseUGA

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 03:14 PM

Seems I am getting closer, and I have an idea of what to do next. I just need some verification, and a lesson on how to do it.

I set the USB HDD to boot first, and it sure tried to (BTW, I was able to read the HDD just fine off of the Live CD). It came up with:

GRUB Loading stage1.5
GRUB Loading

Error 21

Now, doing a short bit of research I find that it cannot find the HDD. Since GRUB is only installed on that one HDD, I know that is only technically the case. I believe it is looking for the HDD number that it was when I installed it, but now it is the primary HDD. That may have been a little confusing, but I hope someone understands. The HDD while installing was #4, now it needs to be #1. I think I can edit that in GRUB, I just don't know how, and if that is accurate.

I'll play around with it a little more and see what I can do. Also, Xubuntu would not install over Ubuntu, I guess I would have to format it again first.

#13 Trio3b

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 04:52 PM

Did you change the PCMCIA setting from Auto to Cardbus/16 bit in the BIOS?

#14 BlackSpyder

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Posted 12 May 2007 - 04:56 PM

you are correct. Error 21 means "Cannot Find Disk".


One question why Overwrite Ubuntu for Xubuntu? All you have to do is goto "Synaptic Package Manager" install the Xfce GUI and set it to be the default Session. Then go back and to "Synaptic" and Uninstall the Gnome GUI. You now have Xubuntu. (making Kubuntu is similar just replace with KDE instead of Xfce). (I will try to expand later if you need me to)

Welcome to Linux.

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#15 CocheseUGA

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Posted 13 May 2007 - 08:41 AM

Did you change the PCMCIA setting from Auto to Cardbus/16 bit in the BIOS?


I'm not anywhere close to needing to do that yet. I need to get a working OS first.

I have two options available to me to fix the Error21 issue I believe: wipe and reinstall Ubuntu (or Xubuntu) on the laptop HDD with my internal HDDs disconnected, or make a GRUB boot disk and try to edit the files manually.

First option might not fix the sda issue, though. Will work on it tonight.




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