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Thread: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

  1. #1
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    Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Hello

    I have recently bought a new HD for my old Acer Aspire 1350 (from around 2003?). My hope was to seamlessly install from a USB stick. Alas, it seems the machine won't boot from USB. As I'm considering my options and before launching in a series of maddening attempts, I'm wondering if I could get a few words of wisdom as to which might be the best way to proceed.

    Options I'm considering are:

    1- make a bootable USB from an older stick (I don't know if I'll find one old enough or that's large enough, or if that's worth the bother)

    2- make a bootable CD (I'm not too sure how to go about that)

    3- install ubuntu on my new HD using another computer (making the new HD external), then perhaps reinstall if it works once placed back into the ACER machine

    4- update the BIOS on the ACER machine (scares me)

    Are there other, better options? and which should I try first? I have to say I'm rapidly becoming clueless when engaging configuration of any sort.

    Also, given all this, is there any particular version of Ubuntu I should be looking at (I'll go for 10.04 in the mainline edition blindly otherwise).

    many thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Burn a CD. It's the easiest solution, put the CD in the drive of your main PC and click on the .iso

    Also, on a PC that age, Lubuntu will be what you're looking at.
    There's no place like ~/

  3. #3
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    burning a cd is the the easiest solution. have you snooped around in BIOS to make sure there is no boot option for a usb?

  4. #4
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by frogo View Post
    1- make a bootable USB from an older stick (I don't know if I'll find one old enough or that's large enough, or if that's worth the bother)
    A BIOS that old is almost certainly NOT going to support booting from USB. So, doesn't matter what you make, it's not going to boot.

    2- make a bootable CD (I'm not too sure how to go about that)
    The Ubuntu Desktop CD is a bootable disk -- you don't have to do anything special to it.

    3- install ubuntu on my new HD using another computer (making the new HD external), then perhaps reinstall if it works once placed back into the ACER machine
    Bad idea -- because it will install the drivers for THAT machine, not for your machine.

    4- update the BIOS on the ACER machine (scares me)
    SHOULD scare you -- BIOS updating can NOT be done from another machine, and should only be done when necessary. IF you make a mistake, you turn your machine into an electric "brick".

    Are there other, better options? and which should I try first? I have to say I'm rapidly becoming clueless when engaging configuration of any sort.
    Boot from an Ubuntu in LiveCD mode and TRY it out, first. That will show you how well it detects your hardware and loads the proper drivers.

    Also, given all this, is there any particular version of Ubuntu I should be looking at (I'll go for 10.04 in the mainline edition blindly otherwise).many thanks
    Would choose 10.10, myself. NOT a fan of Unity. And, while 11.04 DOES provide you a way of going back to the Gnome desktop, 11.10 will not. Also, still getting LOTS of error reports on 11.04.
    Ubuntu 15.04 Mate, Mint 17.1; MS Win 8.1, Win10 TP.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by frogo View Post
    3- install ubuntu on my new HD using another computer (making the new HD external), then perhaps reinstall if it works once placed back into the ACER machine
    This is a good and valid option which many people have used. Hardware drivers are not an issue since Ubuntu autodetects hardware on bootup and loads the appropriate kernel modules (drivers) as necessary. Actually, there is one important exception to this rule. Don't install any proprietary video drivers until you have put the HD back into the machine in which it is going to work. If you install a nvidia proprietary driver (say) and then move the HD to a machine with ATI graphics, the xserver will fail. Ditto, vice versa. But video drivers are a special case.

    However, one important caveat if you decide to do this. You need to install grub to the mbr of the HD you are going to transplant back into the Acer. It will be sda once it's in the Acer but will appear as sdb or sdc (or something) if it is atttached as an external to the machine you use for installing. If you know your way around grub and use the advanced/manual ("something else" in Natty) option in the installer so that you can designate where grub goes, you'll be OK. If you don't, you'll have grub installed to sda of the host machine and you won't be able to boot up when you remove the external HD - not until you repair the bootloader for that machine, that is.
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  6. #6
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Also, given all this, is there any particular version of Ubuntu I should be looking at (I'll go for 10.04 in the mainline edition blindly otherwise).many thanks
    and the reply says

    Would choose 10.10, myself. NOT a fan of Unity.
    I'd go for 10.04 LTS (long Term support) as it is supported until April 2013. 10.10 is only supported until April 2012 (only 10 months away!).

  7. #7
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Most older machines that don't boot from a USB drive automatically can be "convinced" that the USB drive is a standard HDD.

    Try powering down completely and stick in the USB drive. turn on the computer and go into bios.

    Once in bios see about editing your boot order. You should see your main HDD and the CD/DVD drive, along with the USB stick. You may have to use the arrow keys to highlight your main HDD and press enter to see the options for boot.

    On most systems this works once, as bios reverts back to the default boot order, forcing you to do these steps over again when needing to boot from USB again.

  8. #8
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe of loath View Post
    Burn a CD. It's the easiest solution, put the CD in the drive of your main PC and click on the .iso

    Also, on a PC that age, Lubuntu will be what you're looking at.
    This is what I did with a 2002 vintage laptop. Lubuntu installed and works perfectly. How much RAM do you have? Lubuntu.org says 128 meg. minimum. I'd want more....256 minimum. I added a 256 meg. chip to my machine to bring it to 512. The DIMM cost < $10 off Ebay. It works very well for everyday stuff except flash videos.

  9. #9
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    The Best answer to your question trust me:

    Make a bootable CD and follow these instructions:
    http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download

    use infraredRecorder free opensource burning program.

    to boot from cd you will have to go to boot menu and select it when your ocmptuer is starting up.

    Thanks

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Re: Best way to install on a new HD for an old laptop

    Just did something similar...

    Best option is to boot from the Install CD made from the ISO download. Wham, bam, done deal. No heartbreak.

    If all (and I do mean ALL) else fails, this is what I had to do:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1772925

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