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Chriscrof 11-14-2012 09:43 AM

Unable to install Ubuntu 12.04 on a Shuttle desktop machine
 
Hi,

I was recently given a Shuttle FX43V computer that was surplus to the owner's requirements and I thought it might be useful for trying out one or two Linux distributions.

I partitioned the hard drive, which has Windows XP on it, so as to make an ext4 partition and then tried to install Ubuntu 12.04 on the new partition using a live CD. The installation got as far as asking for my location and user name and where I wanted to install Ubuntu and then started copying files from the CD. After a couple of minutes it suddenly stopped and said it had encountered an unrecoverable error and was reverting to a desktop so that I could find out more about the error or try again to install it.

I tried again and got the same result so I then tried installing Linux Mint 13 and had the same problem.

Can anyone suggest why I am unable to install either of these two OSs and what the error might be?

The Shuttle has 1.5 GB RAM and its processor is an AMD Sempron. There is about 30 GB of disc space. The graphics adapter is a VIA Technologies KM400 graphics adapter

I am wondering if the processor is unable to cope with Linux and if that is why I can't install it or whether it is something to do with the graphics adapter.

It would have been helpful (perhaps) if the error message had been a bit more specific.

Any help would be greatly appreciated

Nutria 11-14-2012 05:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chriscrof (Post 4829276)
The Shuttle has 1.5 GB RAM and its processor is an AMD Sempron. There is about 30 GB of disc space. The graphics adapter is a VIA Technologies KM400 graphics adapter

I am wondering if the processor is unable to cope with Linux and if that is why I can't install it or whether it is something to do with the graphics adapter.

If that were the case, then the installation would have failed at the very beginning.

Can you boot into the Live CD and putz around?

Quote:

It would have been helpful (perhaps) if the error message had been a bit more specific.
True. Alt-F4(?) used to bring you to scary text console messages. Don't know about now.

purevw 11-14-2012 06:28 PM

Are you trying to install from the running desktop of the live CD or are you trying to install by choosing install from a choice in the boot menu? I agree with Nutria. If the live CD runs, then the machine should be more than capable. You could check the system requirements for Mint and Ubuntu just to make sure.

Does the box use a lan connection or wifi? I ask because the Linux Mint site mentions serious compatibility problems concerning a certain type of wifi chipset. I can't remember the exact details right now. You could read the release notes from the site. I think it was mentioned there.

Have you verified the integrity of the CD? It may be that part of the disc has errors. If the disc player is old, it may be that there may be a little jitter in the disc when it's spinning at full speed, causing read errors.

When offered to go into the desktop, did you try it? You may be able to poke around and find log files that may shed some light as to what is going on.

Without more detailed information, all anyone can do is guess.

Nutria 11-14-2012 06:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by purevw (Post 4829626)
Have you verified the integrity of the CD? It may be that part of the disc has errors.

That was my 1st thought, but it also happened with Mint.

Quote:

If the disc player is old, it may be that there may be a little jitter in the disc when it's spinning at full speed, causing read errors.
That's interesting. Have you ever seen it before?

purevw 11-14-2012 08:05 PM

Many audio players and other PC software have jitter correction. That's where "oversampling" comes in handy. The info is read "X" number of times to make sure it's correct. When something with bearings spins long enough, the bearings begin to wear and have play. It can cause the disc to wobble. But if the live CD boots and works correctly, that would tend to indicate the player is probably OK.

Another option is that you could go to pendrive Linux and put Mint and / or Ubuntu onto a flash drive and try to install from that, assuming that your shuttle can boot from USB. They have several freeware options for making a bootable USB for rescue or just to have a portable OS if you need it. Carrying a flash drive with 10 operating systems on it is much handier than carrying 10 discs.

Chriscrof 11-15-2012 06:06 AM

Thanks for your message Nutria, I will putz around a bit later and see if I can find any log files that might be helpful

In answer to your questions purevw, I first of all selected the "Try Ubuntu" at the live CD boot menu and tried various things and found that everything that I tried worked OK including the WiFi. I then rebooted and selected "Install Ubuntu" from the menu. It told me that there was a WiFi network available (mine) and asked if it should connect. I declined. I then put in my language, location, username etc. and when asked where I wanted to install it, I pointed it to the partition that I had created previously. When the installation failed and it created the desktop, I tried installing it again from the desktop and again it failed.

Yes, I did verify the integrity of the CD and both the one that I burned and the DVD that I bought were both OK.

You may well be right about the disc player. I know that the Shuttle is a few years old but I know too that CDs or DVDs were rarely used in it as the machine was used to drive a whiteboard. I don't know whether the CD drive spins all the time or only whether there is a disc in it. If it only spins whne there is a disc in it, then it ought to be in a reasonably unworn state

I will give Pendrive Linux a try and if that doesn't work perhaps the best thing might be to find someone who loves Microsoft and give the machine to them. I only accepted it to play around with various Linux distributions without, possibly, messing up my own machine.

Thanks to you both for all your trouble and suggestions

Nutria 11-15-2012 06:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chriscrof (Post 4829932)
Thanks for your message Nutria, I will putz around a bit later and see if I can find any log files that might be helpful

In answer to your questions purevw, I first of all selected the "Try Ubuntu" at the live CD boot menu and tried various things and found that everything that I tried worked OK including the WiFi. I then rebooted and selected "Install Ubuntu" from the menu. It told me that there was a WiFi network available (mine) and asked if it should connect. I declined. I then put in my language, location, username etc. and when asked where I wanted to install it, I pointed it to the partition that I had created previously. When the installation failed and it created the desktop, I tried installing it again from the desktop and again it failed.

Exactly when does it fail? When it *starts* to copy files from the DVD, or after copying *some* files.

Did you choose "background copy of updates" (or something similar to that).

Quote:

I will give Pendrive Linux a try and if that doesn't work perhaps the best thing might be to find someone who loves Microsoft and give the machine to them. I only accepted it to play around with various Linux distributions without, possibly, messing up my own machine.
Linux has too much h/w support to give up. Do you have an RJ45 cable that you could use to connect the Shuttle to the WiFi router?

Chriscrof 11-15-2012 10:37 AM

Hi Nutria,

It fails about 30 seconds after I have finished entering all the details it wants and have pressed "Install". It copies some files (looking at the drive where I wanted to install it, there appears to be about 129 MB) and then suddenly the desktop appears with the message about an unrecoverable error. no, I didn't select background copy of updates, as I thought it might be best to get it installed first and run Update Manager when I had booted into the new installation. I don't know whether the 129 MB is the result of several attempts to install it, but it shows that something has been copied.

Yes, I have an RJ45 cable but would connecting it to the router be of any help in installing Ubuntu?

Nutria 11-15-2012 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chriscrof (Post 4830122)
Hi Nutria,

It fails about 30 seconds after I have finished entering all the details it wants and have pressed "Install". It copies some files (looking at the drive where I wanted to install it, there appears to be about 129 MB) and then suddenly the desktop appears with the message about an unrecoverable error. no, I didn't select background copy of updates, as I thought it might be best to get it installed first and run Update Manager when I had booted into the new installation. I don't know whether the 129 MB is the result of several attempts to install it, but it shows that something has been copied.

That has all the hallmarks of a bad DVD. But you say that you verified it?

Could it be a bad spot on the HDD?

Quote:

Yes, I have an RJ45 cable but would connecting it to the router be of any help in installing Ubuntu?
More than a few wifi drivers are closed-source blobs that aren't packaged with the kernel. Ethernet drivers are all(?) open source and in the kernel. That's <b>probably</b> not the case here. Also, you never have radio interference over Cat 5. Thus, wire is the safe, always-works choice.

Chriscrof 11-16-2012 04:34 AM

I don't think that it is a bad DVD as it has worked perfectly well in installing Ubuntu on my desktop machine and I don't think that the CD is bad either as it a new one and it works fine as a live CD. Also, the Mint CD seems to be OK as well even though I can't install Mint, which behaves in exactly the same way as Ubuntu.

That seems to leave the HD as the faulty item. However, when I made the partition for Ubuntu I also made another ext4 partition and also a swap partition and I cannot install Ubuntu on this "spare" ext4 partition either.

Perhaps I should accept defeat and just ditch the Shuttle. I have never likes Shuttles anyway.

Thanks for all your time and suggestions, they are much appreciated

Nutria 11-16-2012 08:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chriscrof (Post 4830664)
Perhaps I should accept defeat and just ditch the Shuttle. I have never likes Shuttles anyway.

:(

Try to install Ubuntu in Expert mode. Maybe that'll show better error messages.

Chriscrof 11-16-2012 12:00 PM

Hi, how do I install in expert mode? I am not very knowledgable about the mysteries of Linux!

purevw 11-16-2012 12:49 PM

I can't say for sure under Ubuntu. During install of OpenSuSE, you will come to a screen with "Use automatic configuration" checked. When you un-check it, it gives you a lot more control over the install. I am assuming that Ubuntu would have something similar.

As far as the hard drive goes, you could go to the manufacturer's website and download their troubleshooting software to install to a bootable disc. That could verify the condition. Seagate's is called Sea Tools. Western Digital calls their's Data Lifeguard. They both have the opiton of downloading DOS versions to burn to a CD. I imagine that other manufacturers all have something similar.

Nutria 11-16-2012 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chriscrof (Post 4830922)
Hi, how do I install in expert mode? I am not very knowledgable about the mysteries of Linux!

Linux is just a kernel... ;) Installation methods are distinct by distro.

When you first boot the DVD, in that same place where you can verify the DVD is a choice to install in expert mode. It might be behind another menu.

purevw 11-17-2012 01:29 AM

I went back and re-read your original post and have a couple of questions.

Quote:

I partitioned the hard drive, which has Windows XP on it, so as to make an ext4 partition and then tried to install Ubuntu 12.04 on the new partition using a live CD.
Are you saying that you had already created and formatted the partition with another partition tool before ever using the Ubuntu disc? Or did you create and format the partition with the tools on the Ubuntu disc? The best practice is to let Ubuntu format the partition before the install. I typically remove all partitions before an install(except for Windows if you're keeping it) and start from scratch. If you remove all partitions that aren't essential, you can let the installer suggest a partition setup.

I also noticed that you did not mention having a swap partition. That can cause problems, unless you have extreme amounts of RAM in your machine. But I would think that 1.5GB would be more than enough for an install.

My own normal partition setup is usually: Windows, root, home, swap. Having a separate home partition can be advantageous since if you want to change flavors of Linux in the future, you can keep your original home folder and just mount it as home on the new system.


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