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Old 03-23-2009, 09:44 AM   #1
metropolis2k
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Registered: Mar 2009
Posts: 1

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Ubuntu 8.10 on a Dell Inspiron 2600 Notebook


SIGH

OK. This is beyond frustrating now. Fellow Ubuntu-on-a-dell users, please assist!! I will detail my installation issues below :

I own a very old Inspiron 2600 Dell Laptop :

* Celeron 1.0 GHz processor
* 256 MB RAM
* 20 GB HD
* Intel 830 Graphics Chipset

It has a few 'defects'. First off, the cd-rom won't boot anymore. I have tried everything from updating the BIOS to chatting with DELL support, and the only conclusion I have is that there is something wrong with the internal cd-rom. It still works regularly though, just won't boot. I also have a wifi PCMCIA card installed (Belkin 802.11G wireless notebook card) and that seems to be an issue ...

Let me explain the torture I went through trying to get this to install properly. First time, I downloaded the regular version of ubuntu 8.10 and tried the install, when starting the GUI portion of the installer my screen started to display horizontal lines and a garbled what looked to be a wallpaper, but really distorted. So that didn't work. Searched the internet for answers and found that the problem has to do with my chipset (intel 830) does not play nicely with Ubuntu/Debian etc. A lot of people described editing the xorg.conf file in /etc/X11/ with certain values.

At time of install, I still also had windows xp home edition installed. Since my cd-rom won't boot, I started the installer from within Windows and got it to a point where there was a dual boot option (ubuntu/windows). I had no idea how to edit the xorg.conf file. Then I read about an alternate installation disc for ubuntu so I tried it (using the Smart Boot Manager floppy to get it to boot from the CD-ROM). This installed finally. Yet, booting into Ubuntu still showed lines and garble.

Tried booting into recovery mode. This gave me the option to exit to a command line. After a few attempts I finally was able to edit xorg.conf successfully to the values I found could help. This did not help at all. Now the regular boot option gives me a command prompt in a huge font. Tried starting gnome, by entering 'gnome-session', but that errored out with a 'device not found' error.

I want to try going back to an older version of the laptop's BIOS but none of my other machines have floppy drives for the BIOS image, except for the now defunct laptop. I guess I could get the executable zip file from DELL and burn the contents onto a cd-rom and boot that cd-rom using the SMB boot manager, do you think?

I'm at a loss here, don't know what else to do to get Ubuntu to install properly, booting into the GNOME GUI. During install and boot up, it also gave me an error having to do with my wireless card, but I just removed the card and plugged the laptop directly into my router using an ethernet cable.

Help. Is there anybody out there that can help me, give me some tips to get this to working. I'm a Linux newbie so you have to be gentle. I most definitely appreciate any help you can give me.

Thanks!!
 
Old 03-23-2009, 11:17 AM   #2
afrorobot
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Registered: Jun 2008
Distribution: Fedora 14
Posts: 10

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Smile Try a USB Stick Boot

Hello,

Although you have said that your laptop is old, updating the BIOS may have given you the option to boot from a USB flash device. I have used this before, never with Ubuntu but with Fedora. If the Ubuntu graphics are garbled you might want to try a different distribution, I highly recommend Fedora as it is pretty user friendly (although as an advanced user I do most things from the command line anyways). Hardware detection in Fedora is very solid and have yet to have a device that doesn't work (other than some Broadcom Wireless cards). You will need roughly a 4GB jump drive if you can boot from USB, and there are how-tos pretty much everywhere... I will list a few for you below to check out. Jump drives are pretty cheap, but once you have completed the install onto the LAPTOP harddrive you can erase the drive again and make it a regular 4GB drive again.

This site is the Ubuntu how to (it gets very technical, but basically you want to look at the section called Unetbootin).

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/FromUSBStick


The program it mentions can be installed and run on a Windows box, you can select which version of the OS you want it create the install USB for. It will create the drive for you, then all you have to do it go through the installer like you would on a normal system.

The project is on sourceforge here @ http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net/

Make sure that you read the instructions well so that you don't overwrite the local disk!

So, once again, I will say that you might want to use Unetbootin to install Fedora (try each version, for your laptop you might want to use Fedora 8 because it's footprint and hardware requirements are much lighter than 9 or 10) since Ubuntu is giving you graphics errors.

Hope this helps, if you have any questions just post them and I'll try to get to them for you.

Good luck!

Best,
aR
 
Old 03-23-2009, 02:49 PM   #3
Hern_28
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Registered: Mar 2007
Location: North Carolina
Distribution: Slackware 12.0, Gentoo, LFS, Debian, Kubuntu.
Posts: 906

Rep: Reputation: 38
Check bios settings.

Have you checked the bios settings to see if boot to cdrom first is enabled. You will also need to do this for the usb drive to boot if the option is available. So far, every time i have updated a bios is reset my boot option to boot to the hard drive only.

Last edited by Hern_28; 03-23-2009 at 02:51 PM. Reason: More information.
 
  


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