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Linux - Laptop and Netbook Having a problem installing or configuring Linux on your laptop? Need help running Linux on your netbook? This forum is for you. This forum is for any topics relating to Linux and either traditional laptops or netbooks (such as the Asus EEE PC, Everex CloudBook or MSI Wind).

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Old 12-29-2008, 07:52 AM   #1
lvirden
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Question Need help getting started with Red Dog 8.0/grub when unable to get into single user


I was given an old laptop running red hat 8.0. The gifter doesn't remember any password to get onto the system. I googled and found that if I were to be able to get into single user mode, I could rename the old password file and start again.

However, when I am at the grub OS selection menu, typing e does nothing. Typing p asks me for a password, but I have no passwords.

I have no boot disks, etc.

Am I out of luck here?
 
Old 12-29-2008, 08:06 AM   #2
pixellany
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If you mean RedHat 8 (not Fedora), then your best move is to install a more modern version of Linux.

If you are asked for a password at the GRUB menu, then "single-user" mode won't help. The only solution would be to boot from a live CD and install GRUB from there.

But just installing a different version of Linux is the easiest....
 
Old 12-29-2008, 08:34 AM   #3
lvirden
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Re: need help

When I am at the grub menu, the 'e' doesn't do anything. I'm not, technically, prompted for a password - unless of course I type 'p'..

As for installing a new version of linux, can I do that if I don't know any of the passwords, etc. on the machine? The machine is ancient - will current linux distros, like perhaps ubuntu, run on a machine like this?
 
Old 12-29-2008, 09:01 AM   #4
lvirden
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Sigh - I don't know how to install a new version of linux on this machine. See, I have a ubuntu CD (version 8.0.4 I believe). However, when I put it in the cd drive, then start up the laptop, it goes directly to red hat. It doesn't boot from the cd drive.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 09:49 AM   #5
yancek
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You will generally need to set the machine to boot first from the CD drive. It may not be able to do that if it is more than ten years old? When you start the laptop you will generally see an option to press a specific key to enter setup or BIOS. On a Dell machine it is usually the F2 key, Compaq is usually F10, some machines it is the DEL key. You should see this briefly on startup either at the very bottom of the screen, sometimes upper right of screen. It's not on the screen long, if you see it hit the pause key to get it right, any key to resume. When you get into setup/BIOS, look for an option to set boot priority to boot from CD if it is there.

Be useful to post some specs on your hardware.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 10:35 AM   #6
lvirden
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Let's see... specs on the laptop. It is a Dell laptop, intel pentium ii, designed for windows 98. I see the model name Latitude scroll by very fast when it is booting up. I can't get into the system, so I don't know a lot more about it.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 02:56 PM   #7
yancek
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In your first post you indicate that when you type 'e' at the Grub menu, nothing happens. What are the options on the menu? Grub is the default bootloader for Red Hat 8.0, see: http://www.redhat.com/docs/manuals/l...ootloader.html

but if the OS is not installed on a partition it won't boot.
When you start the machine, get to the menu, do nothing, what happens?
In order to get into the BIOS for setup on a Dell machine, you should hit the F2 key, just start tapping it right after you start and you should see it say "entering setup" either at top right or bottom of screen. If it doesn't you've probably got serious problems.

In your third post you state that when you put the Ubuntu CD in the drive, the machine still boots to Red Hat. Does it complete? If you want to try to get Ubuntu on, do the F2 key on start to get to BIOS, set boot priority to CD drive and reboot w/Ubuntu CD in drive.
 
Old 12-29-2008, 09:28 PM   #8
lvirden
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Well, thanks to your questions and motivation, I've had an eventful afternoon :-D . I got into the BIOS, changed the boot order so that the laptop booted from the cdrom drive first, then booted up the ubuntu 8.10 disk I had.
That's installed now, and we can get on and poke at the system. The Latitude appears to have 248 meg of memory and a 6 gig hard drive. Ubuntu 8.10 installed a bit of software, but a lot of it apparently isn't compiled to work on the old CPU.

There have been various glitches - trying to switch users tells us that there was an error trying to start up the graphical login screen, etc. - but things are going better than I have any reason to expect :-D !

Thank you VERY much!
 
Old 12-29-2008, 11:30 PM   #9
yancek
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You mention you had an error trying to start the gui. If you have errors and post about them it is always best to post the exact error message your get.

With the hardware (particularly the small amount of RAM) you may be better off with a distro like Damn Small Linux or Puppy. You can go to distrowatch and get info on all kinds of different distributions and also can download there.

Glad you got Ubuntu installed. If you have specific problems, feel free to post again.
 
  


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