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Old 05-20-2007, 04:17 PM   #1
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Question problem installing on eMachines PC

A friend gave me his old eMachines 366MHz PC and I've heard that a lot of people have gotten more life out of old PC's by using Linux but so far I haven't had any luck getting it to install.

I've burned Linux install disks for Ubuntu, Ubuntu alternate and Xbuntu and they all give me the same problem during the install process in that it has problems with the CD-ROM drive. I think this is interesting since I am able to boot from the CD and it shows me the Ubuntu menu, but when I click install or verify disk it soon gets to an error complaining about not being able to find the CD-ROM drive. The Ubuntu Alternate disk gave a prompt and said that for some PC's you need to enter a special PCMCIA code and it even provides the code for Dell PC's which is this: "exclude port 0x800-0x8ff".

I searched some web sites to see if I could find a similar code for eMachines and I found codes for all of the below codes for laptops but none for an eMachines tower. Can someone please help? Maybe I'm going down the wrong track here but for some reason it can't find the CD-ROM drive.

Also, I don't care which version of Linux I install so if someone thinks there's a better option please let me know your recommendation.


* On the AMS SoundPro, exclude irq 10.
* On some AMS TravelPro 5300 models, use memory 0xc8000-0xcffff.
* On the BMX 486DX2-66, exclude irq 5, irq 9.
* On the Chicony NB5, use memory 0xda000-0xdffff.
* On the Compaq Presario 900Z, exclude port 0x3b0-0x3bb.
* On the Compaq Presario 1020, exclude port 0x2f8-0x2ff, irq 3, irq 5.
* On the Compaq Presario 2120EA, exclude irq 10.
* On the Dell Inspiron 7000, exclude irq 3, irq 5.
* On the Dell Inspiron 8000, exclude port 0x800-0x8ff.
* On the Fujitsu C series, exclude port 0x200-0x27f.
* On the HP Omnibook 4000C, exclude port 0x300-0x30f.
* On the HP Omnibook 4100, exclude port 0x220-0x22f.
* On the IBM ThinkPad 380, and maybe the 385 and 600 series, exclude port 0x230-0x233, and irq 5.
* On IBM ThinkPad 600 and 770 models with internal modems, exclude port 0x2f8-0x2ff.
* On the IBM ThinkPad 600E and 770Z, change the high memory window to 0x60000000-0x60ffffff.
* On the Micron Millenia Transport, exclude irq 5, irq 9.
* On the NEC Versa M, exclude irq 9, port 0x2e0-2ff.
* On the NEC Versa P/75, exclude irq 5, irq 9.
* On the NEC Versa S, exclude irq 9, irq 12.
* On the NEC Versa 6000 series, exclude port 0x2f8-0x33f, irq 9, irq 10.
* On the NEC Versa SX, exclude port 0x300-0x31f.
* On the ProStar 9200, Altima Virage, and Acquiline Hurricane DX4-100, exclude irq 5, port 0x330-0x35f. Maybe use memory 0xd8000-0xdffff.
* On the Siemens Nixdorf SIMATIC PG 720C, use memory 0xc0000-0xcffff, port 0x300-0x3bf.
* On the TI TravelMate 5000, use memory 0xd4000-0xdffff.
* On the Toshiba Satellite 4030CDS, exclude irq 9.
* On the Toshiba T4900 CT, exclude irq 5, port 0x2e0-0x2e8, port 0x330-0x338.
* On the Toshiba Tecra 8000, exclude irq 3, irq 5, irq 9.
* On the Twinhead 5100, HP 4000, Sharp PC-8700 and PC-8900, exclude irq 9 (sound), irq 12.
* On an MPC 800 Series, exclude irq 5, port 0x300-0x30f for the CD-ROM.
Old 05-20-2007, 05:44 PM   #2
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A distro with a heavy window manager like GNOME or KDE is going to be somewhere between a bit slow and unusable on that hardware, depending on how much memory you have. Your best bet if you want something Ubuntu based is Xubuntu which has XFCE and is lighter-weight.

IU've never installed on an eMachines but if it's a desktop you shouldn't have to be doing crazy PCMCIA things (PCMCIA is primarily used in laptops). What kind of CD drive is it? Is it plugged into an IDE port on the motherboard or some sort of expansion card? If the latter that may be the problem. What is happenening is that the BIOS detects the CD-ROM and boots off of it, but the Ubuntu installation program can't find it. This may indicate that the CD-ROM drive or any expansion card it's plugged into aren't supported by the installer.

You might want to try another distro's installer such as Fedora just to see if it works. If it absolutely refuses to work you can always get a Debian boot floppy and install via floppy/network. Ubuntu was based off of Debian, so it would be very similar once installed, but the setup is quite different.
Old 05-20-2007, 06:08 PM   #3
Larry Webb
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I think you may need to go into setup at startup (hold down delete key or f1 orf2 or something) the directions should show briefly at startup. When you are their change the boot order and make the cd boot before the hd. btmiller is probably right, I don't know how much memory you have but you probably will need to do a smaller distro.

Last edited by Larry Webb; 05-20-2007 at 06:13 PM.
Old 05-25-2007, 01:55 PM   #4
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Hello Gschnettler,
By a funny coincidence, I am doing exactly the same things as you today, and
getting the same results.
I have the same old machine, Emachines Etower 400i3, which I'm fixing up to
give to a friend for free (a good way to get rid of the thing).

I've been through this before. The last time around, I had to resort
to installing a REALLY old version of Debian linux because nothing
newer would install.

The problem is that there is a bug or conflict in the IDE device driver.
By default, the booted kernel is working the IDE devices, like the CDROM driver,
correctly. But after it loads another device driver off of the CDROM, it can't.
--Not with the Emachines hardware, it can't.

When I last researched this issue, the suggested answer was to use an option at
boot time that would prevent the loading of device drivers.
Like at the very beginning of the boot procedure, when you see the boot question
on the screen, and default to hitting the carriage return key (aka "enter"),
instead enter linux with an option, something like,
boot: linux no-load-drivers

Unfortunately, that isn't the correct magic word. I can't remember what it was, and
will search further.

I also seem to remember another gotcha: By not loading the device drivers, it would
later gripe that it couldn't work the IDE hard disk correctly.
I will get back to you here when I learn something more.

I would just go reinstall the ancient version of Debian Linux, except that I need
some newer device drivers for added hardware, like ethernet.
Old 05-25-2007, 02:32 PM   #5
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If all else fails, install the ancient version of Debian Linux
that installs a 2.2.20-idepci kernel.
I think that might be the "Woody" distribution.

I just double-checked, and that's what is running on the machine now.
And since the ethernet card just started working after a reboot,
I'm tempted to leave it alone.

There is the possibility of upgrading the machine through dselect
after getting it to at least install and boot the old distribution.
That is, if I let that old machine even see the current Debian distribution,
with "dselect",
it will immediately want to download about 800 megabytes of stuff, and
upgrade the entire system, and replace every package. That might just work
to get from nowhere to current distribution.

That is what I am doing now.
The only gotcha was it grumbling about the cups-gimp-driver packages -- it
demands one specific version. I just hit a capital "Q" to force it to quit
and just download all of the rest. I'll worry about a printer later.

Last edited by Orange13; 05-25-2007 at 02:51 PM.
Old 05-25-2007, 02:54 PM   #6
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You can install Debian from Windows.



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