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Code Monkey
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1,851 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've got an old S423 P4 system, trying to install 10.04 on it (for testing), specs are as follows:

Dell Dimension 8100
1.4GHz P4
256MB RDRAM
13GB WD HDD

It's erroring at the installation.

"The installer encountered an unrecoverable error. A desktop session will now be run so that you may investigate the problem or try installing again"

If I carry on, I can try and install from the desktop, but last time I tried, it locked up.

The HDD isn't out of the Dell originally, it's from a machine that I tried to install 10.04 on before, but the power went out near the end of the install.

Could that have royally screwed up the HDD, or is there another problem?
 

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10 year OCN Vet
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3,414 Posts
Greetz
When you experience system stopping errors and lockups with an older PC, especially one that has had some problems, it is wise to check and clear components. The two most obvious and common on an old Dell are RAM and HDD because although I hate the proprietary nature of the Power Supplies at least they are decent.

The first thing to do since you already have the Ubuntu install media is run Memtest86+ to be certain your ram is all good. It's up to you whether or not you do a good cleaning first or only if stuff tests bad but cleaning out the dust bunnies is rather important. After that I'd reseat any pluggable cards and modules since they are self-cleaning during insertion.

If ram tests good then I'd test the hdd. Ideally download the manufacturers test utility which can be run from bootable media. If you don't want to "waste" and entire CD for a few MB of a utility you may only need once or don't have a floppy or know how to make USB sticks bootable, I'd download Hirens BootCD which is simple to burn and boot and has every manufacturers hdd tools and much much more. It might even be good to really wipe the drive where random ones and zeros are written over the entire drive.

Again it is up to you, but I prefer creating partitions first before installing. There are several good partition managers on Hirens and Acronis Disk Director is a good choice since it "speaks" Linux. With it you can and should create a Linux swap partition of 500MB to 1GB at the beginning of the drive. There are advantages to many partitions but the easiest is just then creating a root ( / ) partition probably in ext3.

One advantage of preparing ahead of install is that the partition manager can check the partition and file system to verify it is solid and clean. Then when you begin install you know your system is clean and ready. Most distros will automatically find the empty swap and root partitions making that step a breeze.

Good Luck
 

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Code Monkey
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1,851 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The RAM is admittedly off eBay and cost me £3.99. The dust's cleared out, the cards are seated. I'll run a memtest at the weekend. A lot of people with my error suggest trying the alternate Ubuntu install.

I tried installing, and got to 5%, formatting the HDD, then it crashed.

I'm gonna format the drive, I have UBCD already burnt, which tool would you recommend to wipe it?
 

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10 year OCN Vet
Joined
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3,414 Posts
I'd recommend as above, that you use the tools on UBCD from the drive's manufacturer. Dell tends to use Western Digital (LifeGuard tools) but since you pulled the drive from another PC I don;t know which it is. Obviously SeaTools is for Seagate, MaxTools for Maxtor and less obviously Feature Tool is IBM/Hitachi. There are also generic wipe tools on UBCD but I'd try the manufacturers' own first. First do Quick Test then Thorough...then wipe, then partition. The included Parted Magic is perfectly OK for creating and testing partitions.

Note: It is possible that you will get false errors while drive testing if Ram is bad. YMMV
 
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