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Need help with Ubuntu install

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My main Win7 PC crashed out. I suspect a bad partition. I've got it working somewhat but it's likely to crash and need rebooting regularly depending what I'm doing. Two programs won't run at all, one being my email program. I've managed to rescue a backup mailbox only two days old and copied it to my old Win XP machine in the other room. Not yet tried to run it there until I've figured out some more stuff.


Because I mainly use my PSP for gaming, I've been considering getting a mini pc for general use but not easy to get Win7 (Win8 or 10 I don't want!) There is a lot of confusion about needing a product key (which of course I won't have if I buy a new mini pc without an OS!) So, sick of M$soft, I'm now considering Linux.


After learning that Ubuntu provides an image file I can download and burn to DVD and try it from there I did so (on my good XP machine) but on booting the DVD I get a message 'Try' or 'Install'. At that point I see a blank desktop with a taskbar at the top and a couple of items on it like shutdown. If I click 'Try' I see two icons appear for a fraction of a second at top left which then disappear. Then over the next few minutes I hear the drive working and see a couple of blank coloured screens. Finally a blank pale white(grey?) screen. I have a working mouse pointer but nothing else. I've tried right click, left click all over the screen. Tried various keys but nothing, no icons, no taskbar, nothing. If I click near the left or top borders I sometimes hear the drive working and a circular pointer suggesting it's working but that times out. I've also sometimes seen the pointer change to what looks like the text editing pointer. After 30 minutes I gave up. Had to pull the plug. On rebooting I got the same. Rebooting without the disc in I get my XP back (Phew! I was worried it had wiped it!)


Any ideas? It should run from the DVD so I can try it out first, But if I should choose the install option instead, where will it install? I've got plenty of space but will it ask where to install? Will it wipe over my XP install or what?Will it create a new bootable partition? I only really want to install if and when I get a new mini pc.


Any other Linux versions that let you download an iso image? I just want to try Linux!


PS: With no email working yet, I'll have to remember to come back here a few times each day to see if any answers so don't hold your breath. :(

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Thanks, Biker. I've got various drives I can reorganise but I first want to get another system running with essentials then I can rethink what to do with this current system. I want to see Linux running before I decide but it's not very encouraging if it crashes right out of the box!

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which videocard do you use?


you could also try linux mint to search your videodriver.

I like opensuse a lot.


you dont have to install a linux distro to test it. run it as a live cd.

(as mentioned above)

if you found a nice linux distro,

you could create a dualboot (Windows and another os on the same system) or run it as a virtualmachine.

Edited by freyk

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I prefer to install off USB, not CD (can't remember the last time I opened it... except to rip a music CD) - same difference - perhaps you BIOS supports it. It is faster.

Once you get into installer for your linux / ubuntu:

Unmount any hard disc.

There will be a an option on the ubuntu install to either, "create alongside windows installation" or "replace windows" or "Something Else".

Choose "Something Else" - this will allow you to create a new partition, resize existing one or choose one you've left empty.

Now you see the partition table - choose the windows partition (not the one that says, "loader"), change reduce the size so there is enough free space left (10-20gb) for temp/swap/etc. % varies on side of disc, but aim for around 1/3rd of ntfs partition reduction.

Assign at least 40gb for ubuntu.

Choose device for boot loader as same as windows Mbr if possible (/dev/sda).

Next, when prompted, choose empty dev/sda space you just made as partition for ubuntu install.

Create partition for swap (at least 512mb - best to set swap size for more than physical memory in order to use hibernation,, primary, beginning of space, swap area).

Create partition for root (10-20gb, logical, beginning of space, Ext4).

Create partition for /home (same as windows "users", assign size, logical, beginning, Ext4).

Can also create partition for /boot /tmp and /var.
/boot is 100-500mb, tmp & var >5gb each.

Typical basic install will look:

/dev/sda1 swap - size ~510mb, unchecked format box - used "unknown"
/dev/sda5 Ext4, mount /, size 19998mb, checked format box - used "unknown"
dev/sda6 Ext4/reiserfs, mount /home, size "whatever" checked format box - used "unknown".

Device for boot loader install:

/dev/sda (you disc here xxx.x gb)

Recommend to put root & boot (if using boot) onto primary Mbr disc.

Home can be anywhere, really...

If you don't mind "sacrificing" a disc - then wipe it and devote to new OS.

Might be that the problem you are suffering is hardware related - perhaps with windows installation disc or RAM issue.

Kali offers good support for hardware, but is iffy about a few thing, such as wireless chipsets (if you wish to perform such things as mitm or network sniffing: https://www.kali.org/downloads/ - otherwise, it's a good platform for general use. Prefer it to mint - test any linux on VM ware to get a feel before commitment, I reckon) which probably don't apply to every user.

Edited by teh_saccade

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Sounds like either a graphics driver problem, or a damaged installation media. When you first boot to the Ubuntu disk, you can press F5 (I think) for some advanced options, One should be to use VESA mode. That should get you going and work around the graphics problem. But of course you're not going to want to use the VESA driver for daily activities. It is a vendor neutral driver with no acceleration, and that means shit performance.


You might also want to try the option to test the installation media. Though my personal feeling is that it's a graphics driver problem. What graphics chip does it have? I've seen the Nouveau driver barf on some hardware, making the use of VESA necessary to complete the initial installation, at which point you install the NVidia binary drivers for 3D performance/gaming.

Edited by kano

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Thanks for all the advice. I finally tried that disc on my main pc and it worked OK, so, yeah, it might have been a graphics card problem. My old XP machine has a FX5900 while this one is a GTX580.


So, I can try out a few things but I'll probably download some other installs to see which I like best.


The full install info I'll come back to if I get that far.

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Good luck with the fx5900 unless you are gonna be using a 2010 version of ubuntu (no support for legacy now - not compatible with xorg):


That's the driver you want.
Hope you have on-board gpu to use and install card later.

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Thanks, yeah, I gave up on the old machine for testing Linux desktops so just using my main pc where they all seem to boot up ok.

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