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My first post. I'm a Ubuntu desktop user for a few years. I've been running ver. 8.04 successfully but wanted to try 9.10 and downloaded the ISO and ran a successful test running from the CD on the same computer as 8.04. During install I was given an option to install a proprietary driver which I did and everything ran as it was supposed to from the CD. I then proceeded to install ver 9.10 on the entire reformatted hard drive. This time I was not offered the option for the proprietary driver but the install seemed to be successful up to the point of rebooting and removing the ISO CD. It did reboot to the opening screen but then cleared the screen with an error message that there was a missing file. Now when I try to reboot I get a menu from grub listing generic and mem tests or a command line.
What concerns me is that the CD offered the missing driver but the hard drive install didn't. What is it in 9.10 that is missing or incompatible that wasn't in 8.04??????? The computer is now useless.
I suggest to use the alternate CD instead of the desktop CD. While using the desktop cd is attractive ](in the same sense that the dark side of the force is) the alternate CD will in the majority of cases result in a working system while the desktop CD may not as you have already surmised. As well, it is possible to run it in in rescue mode, thus you may not need to reinstall but simply to run the rescue mode and install the proprietary driver for your video card.