Mint 14 32-bit DVD167 hangs after install / won't boot

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Mint 14 32-bit DVD167 hangs after install / won't boot

Postby SiriusHardware » Wed Apr 03, 2013 7:43 pm

I did look around for other posts about this, but haven't seen anything related to my specific problem. Installing Linux Mint 14 Cinnamon (32 bit) from LXF DVD167, everything appears to go smoothly until the very end, when the 'busy' cursor never stops spinning, not even if I leave it for 20 minutes afterwards. Nor am I ever given the expected end-of-installation message (remove the disc, reboot).

Despite this, I can manouvre, look around, and use the still-spinning cursor to exit from the system and shut it down using the 'shutdown' button/tab in the bottom left corner. But if I do, it won't boot when I restart the PC - the HDD is not even recognised as bootable.

This is over-installing on a 40GB hard drive, on which I am allowing the installer to remove all previous content and create new partitions, in other words, to use the whole drive. I've been through this process several times, and I notice that when I'm in the process of reinstalling, the installer asks me if I want to install mint alongside 'Mint 14 Nadia' or replace it - so as far as the installer is concerned, there is a fully formed installation of Mint already on the drive. I just can't boot it, because the installer seems to fail to make the disc bootable.

Before starting installation from the live CD, I have been careful to make sure I have a working internet connection.

I believe the HDD is OK - it previously had a working installation of Debian 6 on it.

Any suggestions?
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Postby towy71 » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:04 pm

What specs is the computer?
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Postby SiriusHardware » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:40 pm

towy71 wrote:What specs is the computer?


Not exactly a hot-rod - 1.6Ghz Duron, 1GB RAM, and an old Radeon 9200 video card. Am I being too ambitious?

The thing is, it runs the Live CD very well, so I would have hoped it would run as well, if not better, from an HDD installation. I'm trying it again, this time on a different HDD. Back in a while.

...Nope. Just the same on that HDD.
Last edited by SiriusHardware on Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:27 pm

A bit more on this - as a relative Linux novice I looked around for 'automated' ways to install the clearly missing GRUB bootloader on what seemed to be an otherwise intact installation of Mint 14 Cinnamon.

After looking around I downloaded the .ISO of 'Rescatux' and used that to install the GRUB bootloader. Much to my relief, the machine finally booted normally as far as the GUI login prompt.

Then, I discovered that the machine did not remember (or has lost) the username/login I gave it early on in the installation process - there is absolutely no doubt that the username and password are correct. (The username is just my first name, all lower case, and the password is something zippy that I can't forget).

So now, having got it to boot... I still can't get into it!
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Postby SiriusHardware » Fri Apr 05, 2013 5:49 pm

The mystery deepens. Some time in the last quarter of 2012 I installed Mint 12 from one of the two discs in the 'bumper distro selection' edition of LXF, and it worked fine except that the wireless card then in the machine could not connect via WPA - in fact, I'd originally had that problem in Debian, so I was trying an alternative distro to see if the card would work with that.

Since neither Mint 14 Cinnamon or Mate will get all the way through to the final stages of installation on this hardware I then decided to reinstall Mint 12 because I knew that did work on this hardware (the machine now has a Linux friendly wireless card fitted).

Strangely, Mint 12 will now no longer install. The only obvious difference difference between then and now is the Monitor, which was previously an ancient CRT monitor, and is now the 2nd-generation flatscreen monitor from my main PC, for which I recently bought a widescreen monitor.

In Mint 14, the desktop displayed OK but installation would not finish. In Mint 12, installation finishes but the Mint background does not appear, leaving only a neutral blue desktop background. If I try to use anything which opens up a window, the window frame appears but the window is transparent, and all I can see in it is the blue background behind it. It would be interesting to try installing Mint 12 again without an internet connection, as I suspect it may be downloading something which creates a problem which is not there originally.

For now, I've reverted back to my original Linux installation of Debian Squeeze, which works well on this hardware and is being used to edit this message now.
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Postby Rhakios » Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:09 pm

I can't imagine any reason why a monitor would cause an installation routine to fail to complete. While getting the correct resolution can be a problem, that's pretty trivial.
My best guess would be a ram problem. Different installers will tax the ram to different degrees and it may be that the Debian installer doesn't access enough to cause problems. I'd be inclined to run a recent version of memtest overnight, just to make sure.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:59 am

Rhakios wrote:I can't imagine any reason why a monitor would cause an installation routine to fail to complete. While getting the correct resolution can be a problem, that's pretty trivial.

My best guess would be a ram problem. Different installers will tax the ram to different degrees and it may be that the Debian installer doesn't access enough to cause problems. I'd be inclined to run a recent version of memtest overnight, just to make sure.


In the interests of science, I'll try that, although I did run memtest for about half an hour with no faults found. I have an alternative set of RAM sticks which I can swap in from another machine as well.

With regard to the monitor, I think older unintelligent CRT monitors were more tolerant of attempts to run them at different resolutions and frame rates since they didn't chat to the video card about what modes they could or could not run in, whereas flatscreens tend to have a strictly limited subset of resolutions which they are prepared to run in: Not that this flatscreen monitor is anything special: 4:3 and runs happily in 1280 * 1024 (its maximum resolution) in both Windows and Debian.

I can now report that Mint 12, Mint 14 Cinnamon, Mint 14 Mate and Ubuntu 12.04 all fail to install on the machine, with the last three (all using a nearly identical installer) failing in exactly the same way: Installation makes it probably 90% of the way through, but then hangs with an endlessly spinning busy cursor, which, nonetheless, can still be used to navigate around, run, and exit from the LIVE version of Linux running the installer. On reboot, the machine will not boot, since installation never made it as far as installing the bootloader. Mint 12 (which previously did install on the machine perfectly) won't even get as far as the live desktop now, due to a problem rendering the content of GUI windows.

Debian 6, on the other hand, installs and runs perfectly on the same hardware: As you say, it's a little more lightweight and may not be using the resources that are causing the problem.
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Postby nelz » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:21 am

It's unlikely to be the monitor because you do have a display, even if it is only a spinning cursor. If the monitor were refusing to display the output from the computer, it would show nothing but a message along the lines of "signal out of range".

I'd try a text mode install, at least then you can see where it is failing.
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Postby SiriusHardware » Mon Apr 08, 2013 10:09 pm

nelz wrote:It's unlikely to be the monitor because you do have a display, even if it is only a spinning cursor. If the monitor were refusing to display the output from the computer, it would show nothing but a message along the lines of "signal out of range".

I'd try a text mode install, at least then you can see where it is failing.


Update: The memory test went OK.

As I'm installing from the LXF coverdisks I'm not offered the option for a text install rather than a gui installer, I just choose the OS from the DVD boot menu and then, when in the 'live' version of the OS, double click on the desktop 'install' icon, which runs the graphical install.

But this is interesting: I have another idle Windows XP PC, 1GB Ram, 2.66Ghz Celeron, onboard (probably Intel) graphics, and so I took the same HDD and installed Ubuntu on it without any problems - only problem is, it runs quite slowly. Although the original machine mentioned has a slower processor, it has a much higher end motherboard, so I took the HDD out of the 2.66Ghz machine and put it into the 1.6 Duron to see what happened.

..And it just started up and worked - in fact, I'm using it to send this to the forum now as it runs at a respectable speed on this hardware. So it does seem to be a 'failure of the installer' problem on this machine - rather than a failure of / incompatibility with the OS.

I'm now going to try the same with Mint 14 - install it on a HDD installed in the 2.66Ghz PC and then swap it into this machine to see how it runs.

The object of all this is to try out the most 'consumer friendly' versions of Linux that I can find (by consumer friendly, I mean those versions which offer as much multimedia power and capability as Windows, or nearly so, out of the box, or with a minimum of extra configuration).

Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was forced to change my main PC just about a month after Microsoft pulled their perfectly decent Windows 7 from the shelves and replaced it with the horror that is Windows 8, and so I ended up with 8. I have never seen a better excuse to abandon Windows.
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