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Old 09-15-2012, 08:51 AM   #1
theADOLESCENT
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Installing Linux on old laptop/no usb or cd drive


Hey guys. I've got an old laptop I'd like to put linux on. Not sure what the specs are since I'm currently trying to install Xubuntu but it might be stuck on "partitions formatting", maybe that takes awhile, like an hour+?

Specs:
XP
SP2

Mobile Intel Pentium
III CPU - M 1200MHz
789 MHz, 256 MB of Ram

I've downloaded Wubi and tried Lubuntu and Xubuntu that way but I came up with an error during install, something along the lines of something couldn't be downloaded.

So I tried putting Wubi.exe in a folder along with an iso of Xubuntu and that's what is installing right now, but like I said it may be stuck, thought the loading "circle" is still moving.

I'm wondering if maybe Xubuntu or Lubuntu won't even run well on my laptop since the system requirements online say it needs more ram.

I'd be fine with Damn Small Linux of Puppy Linux, I just don't know how to install without flash drive or cd drive. I have a flash drive and a flash drive port but the BIOS gives no option to boot from USB, only netbook bay 1 and 2 or something like that. There's a long (probably 4") slot on the bottom of the laptop that I can hook an attachment up to, this attachment has a cd drive but I don't see how I could boot it from there if my only options for booting are hdd, netbook bay 1, and bay 2.

What I'd really like to have happen is for XP to be wiped clean off the computer, and just have a fast running DSL or Puppy or whatever will work. I'm just going to be using this laptop for web browsing. I have a wireless card plugged into it so whatever I download will have to allow that to work.

Sorry for the long post but I've been trying to get Linux for a while with no prevail and I'm getting frustrated! I can only mess around with stuff like this on the weekend since I'm in college and I also have a son.

Thanks for your time and I appreciate any help you can give!

-theADOLESCENT

Last edited by theADOLESCENT; 09-15-2012 at 10:45 AM.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 09:08 AM   #2
SecretCode
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With old laptops you may find that some of the RAM is used for video so you may only have say 192MB available. In windows xp, control panel > system (or Winkey+Break) should show you the specs.

You might be stuck with wubi as you can't boot from usb or cd.
Unless the laptop is capable from booting from an external USB hard drive? (They appear differently from usb memory sticks.)
Try attaching a CD drive ... maybe the bios only offers the option to boot from cd if there's a cd present.

What are your network speeds like? Unchecking "apply updates" during the install process might help.

Unfortunately, the most common reason ime for a hang during installation is low RAM.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 09:54 AM   #3
theNbomr
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It sounds like quite an old laptop. If there is a floppy drive, you may be able to leverage that as a boot method. How would you have installed Windows?
--- rod.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 10:46 AM   #4
theADOLESCENT
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I updated original post with specs. I bailed out of the Xubuntu install since it was taking forever and seemed "stuck". I'm going to try Lubuntu now. I don't have a floppy drive and my network is pretty fast right now, it's a 12 MB service. But when I go back to where I live for school tomorrow then it'll be 3 MB service.

Isn't there something called unetbootin where you can make your comp boot from usb?

Last edited by theADOLESCENT; 09-15-2012 at 10:53 AM.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
snowpine
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The easiest method is to remove the hard drive, put it into a computer with a working CD or USB boot capability, install Linux, and swap the drive back. If you don't have another computer with the same size/type drive bay, you can buy an external USB hard drive caddy for about $20.

I do not recommend Wubi for low-spec hardware because it basically is an extra "layer" on top of Windows and will not perform as well as a "normal" install.

I think something lightweight like AntiX will probably run better on your hardware than anything in the Ubuntu family, which has the reputation of being somewhat "bloated."
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:07 AM   #6
theADOLESCENT
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I'm not really looking to spend money since it's not a laptop that I really care about.

What about this video?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N51B0gi-g0U

Shows how to make your computer boot from usb/cd even if bios doesn't allow it.
Could I create a bootable dsl or puppy flash drive and use the Plop program to boot from it?

If it's possible, is there a way to get rid of XP and just keep the dsl/puppy?
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:11 AM   #7
business_kid
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You have real issues here. Have you another box in the house?

There are 3 established ways of installing on such a machine
1. If the box does network boot, it can download a kernel from the lan on tftp and get a system. That arrangement is used for mass installs. Slackware has a good doc on thaton their install cds.
2. Prior to this, there used also be PLIP installs, using a parallel port <--> parallel port cable such as an interlink cable. Red hat had a good doc on that.
3. Install on another machine, Put your disk into the other machine, and copy over. There is a converter done for 40 pin(standard pc) IDE to 44 pin(laptop) IDE

I would start with a backup - presume the worst, because it will probably happen.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:14 AM   #8
theADOLESCENT
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Does anyone know if my way would work? Use Plop to let the laptop boot from usb and have a bootable usb of dsl/puppy?

If not then I think I'm done. Your solutions, business_kid, seem too complicated for my liking, too complicated/not worth it for something I'll barely use :/ haha.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:41 AM   #9
SecretCode
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Are you sure it won't boot from CD? I can't believe a machine less than 10 years old doesn't support CD boot.

If it really doesn't, the technique you describe is well worth trying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by theADOLESCENT View Post
If it's possible, is there a way to get rid of XP and just keep the dsl/puppy?
You could get of xp simply by reformatting its partition - and making sure you've learned about the GRUB2 bootloader first! The easiest thing would then be to use the partition it's on for data. Otherwise you would have to reinstall linux using the whole drive.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #10
theADOLESCENT
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I have the extra attachment plugged in and went into BIOS, CD doesn't show as an option.

Edit:
What iso of Puppy do I download?
http://distro.ibiblio.org/puppylinux/

Last edited by theADOLESCENT; 09-15-2012 at 12:00 PM.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 11:58 AM   #11
floppy_stuttgart
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theADOLESCENT View Post
Does anyone know if my way would work? Use Plop to let the laptop boot from usb and have a bootable usb of dsl/puppy?

If not then I think I'm done. Your solutions, business_kid, seem too complicated for my liking, too complicated/not worth it for something I'll barely use :/ haha.
- write a floppy disk with plop (see the internet page; I never has done it but in a knoppix forum somebody had done it)
- make a USB bootable device with unetbootin (load unetbootin on a windows PC and write the USB with an ISO; I already have done it with mint13 xfce)
- perhaps makes another USB bootable with unetbootin and "partedmagic"
- put the floppy and the USB (partedmagic ? or mint xfce if there is enough RAM?) in the PC
- change the BIOS to boot from floppy
- restart the PC
- plop will start
- choose the "USB menu" in plop
- start partedmagic (in order to make swaps and partitions to your HDD) or start mint13xfce directly (dont know what would be the quickest; try perhaps first to start immediatly mint13 xfce from the USB made with unetbootin)
- install mint13xfce on the HDD
- change the bios to boot from the HDD
- restart the PC.
Done.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 12:02 PM   #12
jefro
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Yes plop works to boot to a usb flash. Not sure you can install it easily without any boot media.

Your issue is the small amount of ram. Laptops are difficult enough let alone trying a gui installer with low ram.

You may be able to use pxe if your system supports network boot. It gets rather complex for newbies. The remove hard drive may still be the best choice.

There is a way to use grub4dos to get an iso to boot too.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 12:28 PM   #13
SecretCode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theADOLESCENT View Post
Edit:
What iso of Puppy do I download?
http://distro.ibiblio.org/puppylinux/
Quite a few to choose from!

This page Download Puppy points to this Barry Kauler - Powered by PPLOG which makes me think that Wary Puppy is where you should start: and the latest stable buidl might be wary-5.2.2.iso at http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/wary-5.2.2/ ... but I hadn't realised there were so many different puppies. Be prepared for some experimentation and reinstalling!
 
Old 09-15-2012, 12:37 PM   #14
theADOLESCENT
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Update:

Seems like the Plop boot loader worked.

Now to create my flash drive of puppy.

If I downloaded wary puppy, would I use unetbootin to create the bootable flash drive the same way I would for regulary puppy? Click the iso radio button and then browse to find wary puppy iso file?

Edit:
Nevermind, I had my download tab open in background and I couldn't see it downloading already haha.

Last edited by theADOLESCENT; 09-15-2012 at 12:46 PM.
 
Old 09-15-2012, 02:48 PM   #15
theADOLESCENT
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Edit:
Fixed my problem of having no icons/background.

Last edited by theADOLESCENT; 09-15-2012 at 02:50 PM.
 
  


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