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Linuxhelp _ Technical Support _ Can not install ANY distribution???

Posted by: jwhitwort3 Aug 30 2011, 05:20 PM

I've been trying to install linux on a system that i put together out of some old pcs that have been laying around. I've tried to install fedora,ubuntu,vectorLinux,and backtrack. None of which will install or even run on the system. Fedora and vecotorLinux will run through a certain portion of the install then either lock up the machine or force a reboot. Ubuntu just throws out a fatal I/O error then says something about the squashfs and never goes farther then that. The farthest I've gotten is with a live distro of backtrack 4 r2. It will load all the way and i can get to the desktop environment but then after 30sec - 1min it will exit from the desktop to a command prompt and throw out an error that says fatal I/0. Windows works flawlessly (which is pretty frustrating). If i throw in a hdd that has windows loaded, it runs no problem. That made me think that maybe the dvd/cd-rom drive was faulty...so i swapped that out with a known good one....problem persists....I've tried unplugging the hdd and booting from a live cd...same issue. I checked the ram and it came back fine...checked media...fine....Using deductive thought that only leaves the motherboard/processor and I don't know what could be wrong with those if windows boots and runs fine?????? Very frustrating...Any suggestions?

Posted by: michaelk Aug 30 2011, 05:37 PM

Please provide some information about the hardware. Processor type Pentium etc. graphics card type, how much RAM etc.

What version of windows are you running?

This will help determine the best linux version to try. If you have an unsupported graphics adapter or not enough RAM you will have some problems. if you are trying to run a 64 bit version on a 32 bit processor it will not work or if trying to run a 686 version on a 486 it will not work.

Posted by: jwhitwort3 Aug 30 2011, 05:46 PM

QUOTE (michaelk @ Aug 30 2011, 05:37 PM) *
Please provide some information about the hardware. Processor type Pentium etc. graphics card type, how much RAM etc.

What version of windows are you running?

This will help determine the best linux version to try. If you have an unsupported graphics adapter or not enough RAM you will have some problems. if you are trying to run a 64 bit version on a 32 bit processor it will not work or if trying to run a 686 version on a 486 it will not work.


The processor is an amd sempron operating at ~1.2ghz. 1gb of ddr ram. Graphics is embedded in the motherboard, Nvidia GeForce4 MX Video. The version of windows that was installed on the harddrive i put in is windows xp. I formatted the hdd with boot and nuke to wipe all traces of anything conflicting.

Posted by: michaelk Aug 30 2011, 08:08 PM

Most if not all recent distributions should work on this computer.
I might try knoppix. It is a live version.

Posted by: jwhitwort3 Aug 30 2011, 11:54 PM

Tried that...u can add that one to the list that lock up as well. It actually booted up fine and i got into the gui then it froze after about 15 seconds. Just like the baxktrack distro except when the backtrack distro locked up it would pull back to a limited command prompt and give some "fatal I/O" errors. Im pretty certain this has nothing to do with the distribution im using and almost certain it has something to do with the motherboard or processor. Ive swapped the cdrom/dvd, swapped the ram, swapped the ports that the ide ribbons plug into, tried all the combinations of jumper pins for the cd-rom that are possible. I want to say its the bios on the motherboard but i fail to see how updating them would cause these issues??? And still the most puzzling element of this whole delema remains...WINDOWS WORKS!!!! So confused...

Posted by: michaelk Aug 31 2011, 04:50 PM

Part of the problem might be caused by the graphics card. It appears this model is no longer supported in the main stream driver. You might need to install using text mode and then setup x afterwords with the legacy driver.

ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/1.0-9755/README/appendix-a.html
http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html

In most cases there is no incentive for hardware manufactures to create drivers for free. Many linux drivers are actually reversed engineered so not all hardware works as well as it does with Windows. Hardware support is getting better. It just takes time

Posted by: popoing Sep 1 2011, 05:22 AM

thanks for good information.

Posted by: jwhitwort3 Sep 1 2011, 08:55 AM

QUOTE (michaelk @ Aug 31 2011, 04:50 PM) *
Part of the problem might be caused by the graphics card. It appears this model is no longer supported in the main stream driver. You might need to install using text mode and then setup x afterwords with the legacy driver.

ftp://download.nvidia.com/XFree86/Linux-x86/1.0-9755/README/appendix-a.html
http://www.nvidia.com/object/unix.html

In most cases there is no incentive for hardware manufactures to create drivers for free. Many Linux drivers are actually reversed engineered so not all hardware works as well as it does with Windows. Hardware support is getting better. It just takes time


Thank you for confirming this. I was talking to my networking teacher and the only thing we could come up with was the graphics card since all of the errors i was receiving were graphical. I had ordered a cheap card off eBay to put in and see if it took care of the problem but I will do as you described to see if i can get the machine up and running with the embedded graphics. Thank you for the support! Greatly appreciated.

*Edit*
One more question...how do i go about installing this driver before the os is even installed?...as you can probably tell...I'm new smile.gif

Posted by: jwhitwort3 Sep 1 2011, 04:33 PM

So I managed to install vectorLinux using the textual installation. I run all the way through the install and it says it's going to reboot, but whenever it reboots it's like my system doesn't see that there's an OS on the hdd. It see's the hdd but isn't booting the OS....? I've went into the bios and configured the hdd for the first option in the boot priority...still nothing

*Edit*
I'm thinking whenever i created the partitions that i forgot to make my root partition bootable...I'm wiping everything and going to retry the install...

Posted by: michaelk Sep 1 2011, 05:16 PM

linux does not use the partition boot flag.
Are you selecting to write the bootloader to the MBR?

Posted by: jwhitwort3 Sep 1 2011, 06:58 PM

QUOTE (michaelk @ Sep 1 2011, 05:16 PM) *
linux does not use the partition boot flag.
Are you selecting to write the bootloader to the MBR?


I did not...but i went back and re-installed and everything is working properly now. It was indeed the video card causing the issue...or lack of proper driver. Thanks the assistance everyone!

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