Review your favorite Linux distribution.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 04-18-2011, 10:54 PM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2011
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: 0
Trouble getting started

Have been a happy user of Open Office for some years and support the "open source" concept. After upgrading to a new desktop computer, thought I would try out Linux on my old PC, which has been running WIN98SE quite happily.
I downloaded Linux Ubuntu 10.10 as an ISO file and successfully created a Linux boot disk on my new PC. I tested it by booting it up on the new PC, and it performs as advertised through to the Linux desktop (running Linux from the disk). When I try to boot the old PC from the Linux disk, I get the loading screen "Ubuntu 10.10" with 4 dots below cycling white/red. After about 3 minutes, the screen goes blank. The CD activity light keeps flashing for another few minutes, then everything stops as if waiting for user input. I suspect this is at the language-select screen. Obviously, with a blank screen, I cannot proceed further.
The monitor is an old CRT - Compaq MV500, with power botton and LED on the front (lower right) and a row of screen-adjustment LEDs at lower left. When the screen goes blank is is preceded by a very brief flash of what might be coloured text, then the screen-adjust LED goes off, while the power LED remains green. Turning screen power off then on makes no improvement. It looks like the monitor has been put into some sort of power-saving mode.
I had a look around BIOS settings (when setting to boot from CD), but could find no obvious display options that I was game to try and change.
The PC will boot quite happily into Windows 98 (from the hard drive). Windows reports that all the hardware is working properly. The processor is AMD Duron, with 224MB RAM.
I found a similar problem reported on old forum posts, but no obvious fix was recorded.
Any suggestions gratefully received.
Old 04-18-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
Registered: Feb 2003
Posts: 229

Rep: Reputation: 34
Welcome to LQ echnida. I think the minimum system requirements to run Ubuntu 10 are something like a 1 Gigahertz processor plus 1 Gig of system memory. It could be your computer may not support this new version of Ubuntu.
Old 04-18-2011, 11:15 PM   #3
Registered: Jun 2010
Location: Up the Big River w/o paddle
Distribution: Salent & Slackel
Posts: 131

Rep: Reputation: 19
With your system specs, antiX-M8.5-i486,
is the one I suugest.
Yours will not support the modern 'buntus, sorry to say.
Old 04-18-2011, 11:22 PM   #4
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2007
Posts: 23

Rep: Reputation: 0
Ugh, I hate overly-enthusiastic monitor power saving modes. I've had similar problems before with both windows and linux.

What I would try is this:
Linux has virtual terminals you can drop into. In a nice graphical distro like ubuntu the text-based terminals are mainly used for emergencies and recovery.
For example, if you hit Alt-Ctrl-F2 that will take you to virtual terminal two. You don't need to do anything here but just by coming here you'll force the graphics card to change to text-mode. Hopefully that'll wake up the monitor. The go back to where you were by either Alt-Ctrl-F1 or Alt-Ctrl-F7, try both.

If Ubuntu isn't booting you might get some diagnostic info on vt1.
Old 04-19-2011, 08:34 AM   #5
LQ 5k Club
Registered: Sep 2009
Posts: 6,443
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721
I'd suspect that the motitor is going into power-saving mode because it isn't getting a signal from the video card. Why else?
Old 04-19-2011, 09:58 AM   #6
LQ Newbie
Registered: Feb 2011
Posts: 7

Rep: Reputation: 0
Stick to '98 or get a new box

You're computer is actually overkill for a Windows '98 OS, since, as you may not know, Windows cannot manage more than 128 megabytes of RAM. As for Ubuntu 10.10, well, what can I say, this is not 1998, and we're not in Kansas anymore. Get a new box.
Old 04-19-2011, 10:15 AM   #7
LQ 5k Club
Registered: Sep 2009
Posts: 6,443
Blog Entries: 3

Rep: Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721Reputation: 721
Originally Posted by baudrunner View Post
As for Ubuntu 10.10, well, what can I say, this is not 1998, and we're not in Kansas anymore. Get a new box.
Or get a lighter distro.
Old 04-19-2011, 10:52 AM   #8
LQ Veteran
Registered: Jul 2006
Location: London
Distribution: CentOS, Xubuntu
Posts: 5,002

Rep: Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651Reputation: 1651
There's no need to discard a perfectly good computer: waste not, want not. It won't run Ubuntu, but it may run Xubuntu, Mepis, or CrunchBang, and it will certainly run Puppy or Vector Light.
Old 04-20-2011, 05:52 AM   #9
LQ Newbie
Registered: Apr 2011
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 0
Responding to Suggestions

Thanks for the (mostly) helpful suggestions.
I'm still working on it, but not there yet.

The ubuntu 10.10 documentation says minimum RAM is 64MB with 512MB recommended (with desktop). I would have thought even my old machine should cope. 1Ghz P4 is recommended - I'm probably not that fast.
I tried the Ctrl/Alt/F2 and "bingo" up came the monitor, with DOS-type text on the screen. Looked like just welcome text, with a couple of hints, then a command prompt "ubuntu@ubuntu: ~$ " <flashing cursor>.
No error messages are evident.
I can enter commands and get responses, but as I'm not familiar with the command syntax, can't actually get anywhere further.
Is there a command which will go from here to the normal graphical desktop?
Ctrl/Alt/F1 does nothing
Ctrl/Alt/F7 causes the screen to revert to the blank condition again, with the power LED green and the screen adjustment LED going out. Strangely, from here, Ctrl/Alt/F2 will now not work again.

The problem is not simply loss of video signal, because the power LED is green. If I remove the video signal by pulling the plug, the power LED goes amber (as it is when power is applied but the computer is off).

Does anyone know if this could be caused by the CD-ROM drive incompatibility? I have read of difficulties booting from an old drive with a CD-ROM burnt at high speed in a modern drive (which is what I did). I'm not strong on this theory, as the system does get some way into the boot process and the failure is consistent and looks to be a controlled event rather than a crash!

T'is a puzzlement!

I will keep trying a few different things and then look at a lighter version of Linux, as suggested.
Old 04-20-2011, 05:59 AM   #10
Registered: Apr 2011
Posts: 51

Rep: Reputation: 10
My guess : resolution and/or refresh frequency too high for your CRT. Since it can't handle it, it shuts itself off into some 'secure' mode.

try to lower the resolution to something like 800x600@50Hz ? I believe that those setting can be found in the /etc/X11/xorg.conf file.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Ruby on Rails - Trouble Getting Started CoderMan Programming 3 06-28-2010 10:18 PM
KDevelop - Trouble Getting Started JohnGraham Programming 3 12-11-2009 03:01 PM
trouble getting kismet started musik4u66 Linux - Software 0 11-15-2007 11:07 PM
Trouble trying to get debian started. rrfish72 Debian 15 12-29-2004 09:36 PM
Trouble getting my Qmail started Dionysos Linux - Newbie 0 11-29-2002 03:09 AM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 04:14 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration