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brisbin33 10-17-2007 01:59 PM

Ubuntu on an old Laptop: display problems
So i am putting ubuntu 7.10 on a 4 year old HP pavilion ze5300 i just inherited. i got alot of I/O errors as the kernel loads and then when i got to the desktop (which only happened 30% of the time) it was all fuzzy and shaky such that i couldnt read any of the text; i also got an error about updating BIOs and the system clock being wrong

i updated the system clock in BIOs and messed with the display settings in the initial install screen (F4 to get from VGA to 600x800x16 (i think)), i finally got a working desktop in safe graphical mode and that is where i had to leave it for the night

any thoughts on what caused the malfunction?

is this a liveCD-only problem that will be fixed when i format and install the actual OS?

where can i go from here to check out the graphical configuration?

i am very new to linux but i want to get into the nuts and bolts of it so i can learn as much as possible

PS if there is a better distro for this older laptop please let me know

thanks in advance for the help!

Tinkster 10-17-2007 04:30 PM


And welcome to LQ!

The I/O errors could very well be related to your CD; or to a
buggy chipset in the machine; as for the graphics issues:
what graphics adapter has that machine got?



brisbin33 10-18-2007 07:21 AM

thanks so much for the response, here's the longer description of my problem:

i started with mandrake, found a website and downloaded a single install iso, (the website claimed a one disc install) well 1/3 of the way into this one disc install it asked for discs 2 and 3 (go figure); so i went off on my mac and found a site with three separate install cds, i downloaded discs 2 and 3, i inserted disc two (from a different site as disc one, in hindsight i guess it may have been a different version im not sure) and it wouldn't take it. at this point i sorta gave up on mandrake and moved to ubuntu, (this is where i think my mistake was)i had to hard restart the system in the middle of the mandrake install to boot from the ubuntu live cd; i figured im going to format the whole drive anyway so who cares if stuff has been written to it already or whatever

that's when i started getting the I/O errors in ubuntu, but it moved past that, eventually i got the the nice desktop (i think i solved the display problem) went to install ubuntu on the system and hit a snag at 23% install saying there was further I/O errors, listing everything from a bad HD to a bad CD to a high temperature as possible causes (i used ubuntus check CD utility already and found no errors; so alright, i went back to mandrake...

downloaded all three install cd's from the same site, burn and reboot, that's when i got the same I/O errors again, kernel messages just read something like I/O error couldn't write to HD... bad sectors, bad block or logic or something i can't remember exactly (sorry) and Fatal error on the graphical install screen.

did i screw up this computer by stopping mid mandrake install?

if so, how do i undo whatever i did?

thanks again for the help, i may just give up on this HP and put another parallels partition on my mac

Tinkster 10-18-2007 01:06 PM

Hard to tell what exactly went bonkers there, and why, but
I've never had a case of Linux killing hardware in 10 years
of using it. Does the BIOS of that notebook have a facility
to examine the HDD, or even low-level it?

If the machine isn't brand new the HDD may just have gone
bad, or the DMA chipset could be dying, and the timing is
probably just a coincidence.

There are freely available Linux and DOS tools out there
that will help with assessing such hardware issues, too.


brisbin33 10-19-2007 07:07 AM

thanks so much for your help, i think that HP just went bad on me; i decided to try and put a parallels virtual HD on my mac to mess with linux instead... a whole new set of problems there though; maybe ill start a new thread with more questions when i get re-motived on that project again

you've been helpful though and i thank you


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