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I'm not a stranger to Ubuntu Linux and I was using it for a couple of months with no problems until last week when I turned my computer on and it would go no further than the boot screen and it said 'Error- Insert System Disk'. So I inserted the system disk (Ubuntu Linux 10.something) and after waiting 10 minutes for it to load up it said 'Installation failed, desktop session will now be run and you can try installing again'. So I tried installing whilst on a desktop session and I eventually got to step 4 of 8 and it lets me go no further. This is what step 4 of 8 is: http://oi54.tinypic.com/mx2g79.jpg
And so I cant choose any disks or partitions and so it wont let me go any further. How do I create one? I'm currently running on desktop sessions and they take forever to load up and I cant watch videos or anything because there is no flash. By the way please try and explain to me really simply because I am quite dopey and I wont be able to understand posh complicated computer words.
I think it's hardware. Does your hard disk show in the bios? Unplug your box for a while - does it show then? It sounds like m/b or hard disk, probably the latter. Have you been fiddling with something? Suspect that also.
May also be a loose or defective cable. I'd suggest that you open the box and check for loose connections first. If that's not the problem, try a different cable. If that doesn't work, switch cables between the HDD and a cd/dvd drive. If the HDD still doesn't work, it's most likely the drive. However, if the HDD then works but the cd/dvd doesn't then the problem would be the channel controller on the motherboard.
Eeerm well my computer says that I can boot from a floppy drive thingy but I cant find a floppy disk place in my hardrive anywhere. And I've checked all the external wires and they are all connected fine.
It may very well be the hard drive that has died on you. Typically, when the computer boots, it boots from the different drives based on the sequence you have configured in the BIOS. It may have an order such as floppy drive, CD, hard drive. When it can not find the operating system on the hard drive, or the floppy or the CD, it then asks you to "...'Error- Insert System Disk'." When you inserted the Ubuntu CD, it proceeded to boot the CD. I am assuming you selected install, which is why it gave you the error: "...'Installation failed,..."
If the Ubuntu is a LIVE CD, that is it gives you the option to "Try without changing your computer", select that. After the system has come up, you will be a generic user, not your normal login, Click on Places then Computer under places. If your hard drive is working, it should show up as an icon you can then try to open.
Is this a laptop or a desktop?
Sounds like a HDD problem. It could be a jumper setting on the HDD, maybe set it to Master, if it is IDE. If it is SATA, there are no jumper settings.
Do you hear/feel the HDD spinning up?