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Can not get any of four linux distros to install

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March 6, 2011 6:52:32 PM

i am trying to revive an old dell laptop with 512 mb ram and im not sure on the processor but its 1.6 ghz. now i would think that these specs would easily handle some form of linux but i have been unsuccessful with four different types. i have tried ubuntu, netbook ubuntu, xubuntu and fedora! all will boot and run off of usb stick but none will install to harddrive. i even installed windows 7 32 bit just to check harddrive and it installed just fine.

i only want it to browse the internet when in the living room so really any form of linux with a browser is fine but idk what the install issue is. i know this was wordy and thank you for getting through it! any help would be great!

More about : linux distros install

March 6, 2011 7:24:29 PM

You installed Windows 7 on a machine with 512MB? K. :heink: 

That aside...

What's the exact error you're getting? There are a couple of different possible culprits. More info please.

Just as a general, three of the four distros you've tried aren't ideal for your machine. If you're doing typical Fedora/Ubuntu desktop installs your machine doesn't meet the min memory (1GB) The netbook remix requires 512 (right at spec) and only Xbuntu is within safe limits. You may want to try something like Peppermint, which has very forgiving hardware requirements.

a b 5 Linux
March 6, 2011 10:33:38 PM

Please read through gypsygirl's thread, beginning with "Get System Rescue CD ..." here (http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/237379-50-ubuntu-wind...) and wipe the hard drive . Then get antiX-M8.5-i686 and install. It will work with most anything, even a PIII (for older processors, one needs the i486 version of the same) -- read about it at this site -- http://www.mepis.org/node/10; download ISO of either one here at University of Crete -- http://ftp.cc.uoc.gr/mirrors/linux/mepis/released/antix....

Your hard drive may be corrumpted with the attempts and one wants to get completely rid of ntfs, in my experience. antiX is Debian-based and it and CrunchBang are recommended.



Great forum, too!

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March 6, 2011 11:43:08 PM

k ill give it a read and try the stuff...ill let you know how it goes
a b 5 Linux
March 7, 2011 12:00:07 AM

@wombat_tg -- good advice re: peppermint One, too. It IS more forgiving than even LinuxMint-9-lxde, which seems to "like" at least 768MB RAM better than 512. But since OP is unsure of his system, I suggested antiX first.
March 7, 2011 12:59:58 AM

how do you use this antix?
March 7, 2011 12:03:48 PM

nah51dog said:
i am trying to revive an old dell laptop with 512 mb ram and im not sure on the processor but its 1.6 ghz. now i would think that these specs would easily handle some form of linux but i have been unsuccessful with four different types. i have tried ubuntu, netbook ubuntu, xubuntu and fedora! all will boot and run off of usb stick but none will install to harddrive. i even installed windows 7 32 bit just to check harddrive and it installed just fine.

i only want it to browse the internet when in the living room so really any form of linux with a browser is fine but idk what the install issue is. i know this was wordy and thank you for getting through it! any help would be great!


I use Mepis. I found this on the site.

"I have Mepis 8.5 installed on a Dell Inspiron 2500 with 384MB ram. This sucker is 10 years old (originally sold with Windows ME!!!) but it is reliable and fast - not dual core Pentium with 4GB Ram fast but fast enough for word processing, browsing, a bit of photo editing and playing music on Amarok. And don't you just love the feel of a solid laptop with a good old clicky keyboard!! And the cost - it was a throwaway from a client who just bought a new dual core pentium laptop with 4GB ram and Windows 7 Pro. I think I got the better deal!!"

I am running version 11 only because I have the machine for it. It is a Debian based Distro that has always worked well. If you need any further help:
http://www.mepiscommunity.org/user_manual8.5/index.html
http://www.mepis.org/docs
http://forum.mepiscommunity.org/
a b 5 Linux
March 7, 2011 2:17:24 PM

nah51dog said:
how do you use this antix?


How do I use it? Mainly for browsing and printing with older machines. I like both the fact that it is Debian-based and therefore has a very large selection of packages, and that it has such a helpful forum.

Once installed , and if a total newbie, I would go there and learn. Specifially and initially, how to use the script called smxi to make post-install tweaking easier but also to help eliminate common mistakes made when first using it (like choosing the incorrect -- too new -- kernel via a site called liquorix). I am reasonably certain you will learn to like and appreciate not only antiX, but other true-Debian distros.

Which brings us to Mepis (this is what the "M" in the iso name stands for) . . . The only real difference I can see between Mepis and antiX is the former is more conservative in its approach and mindset. You'll note the two are listed in the same sub-directory of ISO files at the University of Crete -- which connotes they are very closely related.

I happen to like antiX better probably because I got used to the now-defunct sidux and using the so-called "unstable" branch of Debian known as Sid. (In contrast, the distro I recommended along with antiX, called CrunchBang-10, uses the Debian branch known as "squeeze," AKA "testing") sidux is now aptosid and I like to use its repositories (repos) for software or package selection -- one can do this most readily through use of smxi.

Check it (antiX) out. It's a good one to learn about GNU/Linux with!
Maybe later you could move on to aptosid or debian.
March 7, 2011 4:23:06 PM

I plan on trying both antix and mepis tonight... The problem is though that I can not get them to install onto the harddrive! I guess I need something that can clear and format the harddrive without an operating system. Is there a program specifically designed for that? Or how would I go about doing that before I start?
a b 5 Linux
March 7, 2011 6:00:02 PM

nah51dog said:
I plan on trying both antix and mepis tonight... The problem is though that I can not get them to install onto the harddrive! I guess I need something that can clear and format the harddrive without an operating system. Is there a program specifically designed for that? Or how would I go about doing that before I start?

Begin by downloading an early version (1.3.5) of SystemRescueCD at sourceforge (SystemRescueCd - Browse /sysresccd-x86/1.3.5 at SourceForge.net)

Next, either a) get UNetbootin from the same source (UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads) then make a bootable small USB Flash Drive using UNetbootin and the sysresccd-x86-1.3.5 ISO file, both just downloaded or b) download the ISO file and burn it to a CD at no more than 8X

Set your system BIOS to boot to either USB or cdrom first, then boot to your new System Rescue CD USB stick or CD.

After it boots, SysRescCD wants you to hit defaults (hit Enter) a couple times. When you end up at the multi-colored prompt on the page asking user to enter either "startx" or "wizard," type in the desired "startx" and Enter.
This brings up the XFCE mouse then a yellow-colored terminal.
In the yellow-colored terminal, type the command "gparted".

Partition your hard drive. If you don't know how, use the Slackware basic strategy of
one partition for root ( / ) -- 10GB (or to copy DVDs use 15GB), use ext4 file system;
one partition for swap -- one gig should do; and
one partition for /home -- most or all of the remainder
(keep some unallocated should you desire to expand one or add a partition later).

NOTE: in the OS install, when partition dialog pops up, choose Manual and then either Edit or Modify for each partition created previously with gparted, telling it to yes, use the partition, format it using ext4 file system for / and /home; swap should be okay. So, write down how you partition, noting /dev/sda1 or sda2 or sda3, size, label (if any), and file system (ext4).

It's easy. When done partitioning, simply enter the command "init 6" in the yellow terminal window and reboot follows.

Put your install or LiveCD disk in the cdrom drawer before typing "init 6" and you will boot to it.
March 7, 2011 11:53:55 PM

i formated the hd to ext4 and the systemrescuecd did its job
but it still will not spin up the hdd when installing any of the regular linux os's. i just dont get it
March 8, 2011 11:56:56 PM

there are several of them i could use straight from the usb stick but i was trying to avoid that
a b 5 Linux
March 10, 2011 1:05:52 PM

It sounds like you have a hardware problem complicating things for you. Start with the hard drive. What model Dell?
Best wishes!
March 12, 2011 3:09:11 PM

i got it to work thank you all. as soon as i fut it on a cd instead of doing it off of the usb stick it loaded right up. who knows what the issue was
!