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Old 04-07-2014, 02:42 PM   #1
irjowo99
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Live CD fails to boot-- also can't get USB boot to work


Hello,

I'm trying to set up an old PC to run linux. It's a Gateway, Yorktown motherboard, Pentium 4 with 2.4 Ghz, 1.0 GB ram, about 120 GB hard drive.

I burned a live CD of PCLinuxOS. I also burned live flash drives for Mint Cinnamon, as well as Lubuntu.

Right now I can't figure out how/if I can boot from USB. In BIOS, boot from usb is an option. However, when I look at the boot order list, no usb devices show up.

Also, I am not able to boot the live CD in normal graphical mode. I can do a safe graphical boot. But when I try to do a normal boot, I get the error "failed to start the X server."

My video card: nVIDIA GeForce4 MX 440

Thanks,
Ira

Last edited by irjowo99; 04-08-2014 at 09:21 PM.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 03:54 PM   #2
Doc CPU
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Hi there,

Quote:
Originally Posted by irjowo99 View Post
Right now I can't figure out how/if I can boot from USB. In BIOS, boot from usb is an option. However, when I look at the boot order list, no usb devices show up.
some medium-aged mainboards have issues with USB booting. My parents' PC for example: A Gigabyte mainboard, about four to five years old. When I quickly press F8 during POST to enter the boot menu, it lists a connected USB pen drive as a boot option. But when I select that as the desired boot media, the system seems to ignore that and boots from HDD anyway.
CD boot works fine, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by irjowo99 View Post
Also, I am not able to boot the live CD in normal graphical mode. I can do a safe graphical boot. But when I try to do a normal boot, I get the error "failed to start the X server."
Ah, well. This has nothing to do with the boot media, but rather with an incompatibility of the system being booted and your hardware. That's awkward, but it probably needs some trying with kernel boot options. However, I don't expect much of a success in this case.

[X] Doc CPU
 
Old 04-07-2014, 04:21 PM   #3
irjowo99
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Thanks! I will burn some discs of other distros.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 06:42 PM   #4
jefro
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Flash drives tend to be boot order issue. If the system can boot to a usb it should show up in the hard drive order. If it shows up in only usb boot order, it may not work easily.


I'd work on the nvidia issue. May need to boot to vesa or add in a nvidia driver or remove the one it has or such.

Last edited by jefro; 04-07-2014 at 06:43 PM.
 
Old 04-07-2014, 07:24 PM   #5
rokytnji
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Your box sounds like my M/C shop box.
Fished out of a dumpster.

http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...d-deliver-174/

When I need a usb boot. A Plop live cd handles that outside of bios.
YMMV from mine.
 
Old 04-08-2014, 05:46 AM   #6
onebuck
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Member Response

Hi,

Welcome to LQ!
One suggestion is to increase the RAM(memory) if possible. 1GB should work but more is indeed better.

I recommend a lighter Gnu/Linux;
Quote:

You could try;
Quote:
Minimal/Optimized Gnu/Linux Distributions:
Minimal/Light Weight:
Puppy Linux <- 'Puppy really is small, the live-CD typically being 85MB, yet there really is a complete set of GUI applications. Being so small, Puppy usually loads completely into RAM, which accounts for the incredible speed.'

Simplicity Linux <- 'Simplicity Linux is a Puppy Linux derivative with LXDE as the default desktop environment. It comes in four editions: Obsidian, Netbook, Desktop and Media. The Netbook edition features cloud-based software, the Desktop flavour offers a collection of general-purpose software, and the Media variant is designed to provide "lounge" PC users with easy access to their media.

Linux Mint <- 'The purpose of Linux Mint is to produce a modern, elegant and comfortable operating system which is both powerful and easy to use.'

antiX <- 'antiX is a fast, lightweight and easy to install linux live CD distribution based on Debian Testing for Intel-AMD x86 compatible systems. antiX offers users the "antiX Magic" in an environment suitable for old computers. So don't throw away that old computer yet! The goal of antiX is to provide a light, but fully functional and flexible free operating system for both newcomers and experienced users of Linux. It should run on most computers, ranging from 64MB old PII 266 systems with pre-configured 128MB swap to the latest powerful boxes. 128MB RAM is recommended minimum for antiX. The installer needs minimum 2.2GB hard disk size. antiX can also be used as a fast-booting rescue cd. At the moment antiX-13 "Luddite" comes as a full distro (c690MB), a base distro (c400MB) and a core-libre distro (c135MB) for 32 bit and 64 bit computers. For those who wish to have total control over the install, use antiX-core and build up. Present released antiX-13.2-full version, 05 November 2013: isos and md5sum files available 'Luddite'

Tiny Core Linux <- 'Tiny Core Linux is a 12 MB graphical Linux desktop. It is based on a recent Linux kernel, BusyBox, Tiny X, Fltk, and Flwm. The core runs entirely in memory and boots very quickly. The user has complete control over which applications and/or additional hardware to have supported, be it for a desktop, a nettop, an appliance or server; selectable from the project's online repository.'

VectorLinux <- 'VectorLinux is a small, fast, Intel based Linux operating system for PC style computers. The creators of VectorLinux had a single credo: keep it simple, keep it small and let the end user decide what their operating system is going to be. What has evolved from this concept is perhaps the best little Linux operating system available anywhere.' + 'VectorLinux 7.0 "Light'

Lubuntu <- 'Lubuntu is a fast, lightweight and energy-saving variant of Ubuntu using the LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment) desktop. It is intended to have low-resource system requirements and is designed primarily for netbooks, mobile devices and older PCs.'

Damn Small Linux <- 'Damn Small Linux is a business card size (50MB) live CD Linux distribution. Despite its minuscule size it strives to have a functional and easy to use desktop. Damn Small Linux has a nearly complete desktop, including XMMS (MP3, and MPEG), FTP client, links-hacked web browser, spreadsheet, email, spellcheck (US English), a word-processor, three editors (Nedit, nVi, Zile [emacs clone]), Xpdf, Worker (file manager), Naim (AIM, ICQ, IRC), VNCviwer, SSH/SCP server and client, DHCP client, PPP, PPPoE, a web server, calculator, Fluxbox window manager, system monitoring apps, USB support, and soon it will have PCMCIA support as well. If you like Damn Small Linux you can install it on your hard drive. Because all the applications are small and light it makes a very good choice for older hardware.'

CrunchBang Linux <- 'CrunchBang Linux is an Debian-based distribution featuring the light-weight Openbox window manager and GTK+ applications. The distribution has been built from a minimal Debian system and customized to offer a good balance of speed and functionality. CrunchBang Linux is currently available as a live CD; however, the best performance is achieved by installing it to a hard disk.'

ArchBang Linux <- 'ArchBang Linux is a lightweight distribution based on Arch Linux. Using the Openbox window manager, it is fast, up-to-date and suitable for both desktop and portable systems.'
CDlinux <- 'CDlinux is a compact Linux mini-distribution. It ships with an up-to-date version of the Linux kernel, X.Org, Xfce window manager, and many popular applications. It has good internationalization and locale support, and is highly user-configurable.' + 'Based on Slackware' + 'Older but still useful'

CRUX <- 'CRUX is a lightweight, i686-optimised Linux distribution targeted at experienced Linux users. The primary focus of this distribution is "keep it simple", which is reflected in a simple tar.gz-based package system, BSD-style initscripts, and a relatively small collection of trimmed packages. The secondary focus is utilization of new Linux features and recent tools and libraries.'

Linux Lite <- 'Linux Lite is a beginner-friendly Linux distribution based on Ubuntu LTS and featuring the Xfce desktop.'
The above links and others can be found at 'Slackware-Links'. More than just Slackware® links!
I would start with Puppy Linux(LongTermSupport) then you could try Slacko Puppy Linux.

Or Try basic Puppy Linux;
Quote:
Puppy's goals

Easily install to USB, Zip or hard drive media.
Booting from CD (or DVD), the CD drive is then free for other purposes.
Booting from CD (or DVD), save everything back to the CD.
Booting from USB Flash drive, minimise writes to extend life indefinitely.
Extremely friendly for Linux newbies.
Boot up and run extraordinarily fast.
Have all the applications needed for daily use.
Will just work, no hassles.
Will breathe new life into old PCs
Load and run totally in RAM for diskless thin stations
Or

Another option would be to use earlier released Gnu/Linux on your 'legacy' hardware. Trying to use a new Gnu/Linux on older hardware can cause issues for most newbies to resolve the probable hardware issues with drivers/modules. I run stable early releases of Slackware on older hardware and still do after tweaking the install when needed.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by onebuck; 04-08-2014 at 05:59 PM. Reason: typo
 
Old 04-08-2014, 04:34 PM   #7
irjowo99
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Thanks to all you guys! I have been feeling discouraged but you are giving me hope.

Not sure when I will be able to burn this stuff, but will get back soon with results.

@jefro--

Is vesa the same as safe graphical boot? I did get into safe graphical boot. I think I tried manually selecting a GeForce driver in the system administration application. Honestly not sure the system even saved the setting after my on reboot, though, since when I restarted it appeared to go back to the default driver.

@rokytnji

Well I do go through dumpsters a fair bit-- best find so far was probably a working Sirius satellite radio receiver!

My PC I got at a garage sale for $25, so not too far off.

Thanks for tip on Plop, I will try it.

@onebuck

Thanks for the suggestions! I will try a few modern lightweight as well as some older versions.

Last edited by irjowo99; 04-08-2014 at 04:48 PM.
 
Old 04-08-2014, 05:02 PM   #8
Emerson
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1 MB of RAM is good for DOS.
 
Old 04-08-2014, 05:08 PM   #9
irjowo99
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Whoops sorry guys I meant 1 GB RAM.

Now edited
 
Old 04-08-2014, 06:00 PM   #10
onebuck
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Member Response

Hi,

I made a typo, just edit when necessary. It happens!
 
Old 04-08-2014, 07:13 PM   #11
Shadow_7
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You can use a grub CD to do the same thing as a plop cd. I had to do that method on my old laptop. You might also check for some motherboard bios updates, those have fixed usb quirks and other issues for me before.

grub> ls
grub> configfile (hd0,msdos2)/boot/grub/grub.cfg
(where the (,) matches your device,partition as named in grub)

Along with other insmod lines the would otherwise be in the grub.cfg. Be sure to use UUIDs since /dev/ names can be a bit random on some boards. Although the plop CD is a bit simpler if you don't have a bunch of extra drives on your machine. You can setup the bootable stick on other hardware, and test it there to minimize issues.

I tend to replicate live discs to rw mediums before I boot them. Although mostly because my optical drives either don't exist or lack any sort of reliability. Plus other perks like customizations to boot to the command line to avoid video issues. And grabbing wifi drivers and other things that don't come out of the box on the live disc.
 
Old 04-08-2014, 09:02 PM   #12
irjowo99
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Hi all,

Hard to contain or otherwise restrain my enthusiasm!!

I am now writing to you while booted from Linux Mint live DVD.

I have had all sorts of headaches trying to run this machine with XP since last summer. I thought linux would be even more of a headache, but the preliminary results are great. After 30 mins everything is working mostly great.

I am trying to install and realized I'm not sure how to do what I want.

I'd like to remove XP but keep my music and other files. XP is on a 32 GB partition while my files are on another partition that takes up the rest of the HD, about 80 GB.

Thanks for your warm welcome everybody!

Last edited by irjowo99; 04-08-2014 at 09:21 PM.
 
Old 04-08-2014, 09:29 PM   #13
jefro
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"Is vesa the same as safe graphical boot?"

Each distro is different but I'd suspect it is Vesa 2 which almost all cards support. And it is usable.
 
Old 04-09-2014, 05:27 AM   #14
irjowo99
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Got mint installed and having fun playing with it. Command line reminds me of when I was about 10 years old and learning dos
 
Old 04-09-2014, 10:31 AM   #15
Shadow_7
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Unless you need the space there's really no need to remove XP. Keep it as you might need something from it someday like a couple fonts or images. Kind of like a picture book for the future grand kids (or current ones). USB sticks are < $1 per gigabyte these days. Hideously slow write speeds, but cheap-ish storage with a low physical footprint.
 
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