Problems installing Ubuntu server on an old computer

Clive Menzies clive at
Thu Sep 28 12:31:56 UTC 2006

On (28/09/06 12:51), South Walney Information Management wrote:
> A client has an old PC, which was running Windows 98 which had become
> tired and she lacks the original Windows 98 didks as she bought the
> machine second hand.  Somewhere along the line she managed to format the
> hard disk so that Win 98 will no longer boot.
> I have suggested that this machine is a prime candidate for XUbuntu.
> Unfortunately, when I tried to install XUbuntu from the CD, I discovered
> that the BIOS wasn't able to recognise the CD in order to boot from it.
> I made a Linux rescue floppy and was then able to read the XUbuntu CD
> but not boot from it.  What I could do was make a floppy from sbm.bin,
> which would then allow me to boot from the CD-ROM.
> It was then quickly evident that memory was low because the nascent
> XUbunto could not access swap space on the hard disk.  It tried gamely,
> running through keyboard selection and hardware detection, but
> eventually turned up its little feet with the message
> <0>Kernel panic - not syncing: Fatal exception in interrupt
> What I think I need to do is to get a rescue floppy or CD which will
> enable me to format and repartition the hard disk.  Although I may be wrong.
> Does anybody have any suggestions?

You haven't given any hardware specs but generally in this situation
we've used ubuntu and users are very happy.  However, if the machine
runs at less than 500MHz and is short on memory, you may want to
consider Beatrix, an Ubuntu derivative which runs well on older kit:

Whilst it is older than Dapper, it is a lot newer than windows 98 :)

For rescue disks I use grml and dfs when resources are low:



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