Ok, ok, so I know that the first question that begs to be asked here is, why in the world are you even attempting to install anything to that dinosaur (circa 2004)?
The answer is two fold: One, I have a 7 year old who now wants to be on the computer looking at Nick Jr., or watching netflix, or just typing out "songs" that she is making up, and two, I originally started out attempting to create a Minecraft server for a very small group of friends, and since I had this desktop sitting in the basement, for about the past 6 or 7 years, I figured, why not? I have heard that Linux works great, and for whatever reason, it works better on "older" systems, so I figured I would give it a go.
Having said all that, my Linux experience is all of the past three months of me trying to get it installed on this machine.
The machine is a Dell Dimension 4700, and it has a Pentium 4 Prescott HD chip.
So, I was able to install MineOS Turnkey, which is a Debian based Linux OS that was created specifically to run a Minecraft server. I am able to install this to the machine pretty much effortlessly, and within 15 minutes, I have a successful install, and a fully functional Minecraft server running. This worked great for the initial install, and ran perfectly for about two weeks, then, and I know I am going to catch a lot of flack for not knowing the errors, but I started receiving error messages, and sometimes I would have to just restart the machine and it would work fine, or other times I would get errors that pertained to values not matching, and they needed to be changed. It got to the point though, where the OS would only work for about a day or a day and a half before the system crashes now. I didn't add any mods or upgrades either.
So I tried switching to Ubuntu, and I haven't been able to get a full install on the machine yet. Every I try to install Ubuntu, I get the same ultimate result, just at different points of the install, but it always freezes prior to completing the install. I have tried installing 12.04, 10.04, and 7.04, and yes I have tried changing all sorts of parameters with the install.
The part that I find completely puzzling, is as long as the Debian core system is installed on the computer, I can run Ubuntu 10.04 from a live cd, but as soon as I click on the install now option on the desktop, it freezes at 5% on the install. If Ubuntu gets past the disk partitioning stage of installation, then freezes, when I reboot the system and attempt to run the live cd, it won't run unless I go back and re-install some form of a Debian core system, then I am able to run the Ubuntu 10.04 live cd.
At this point, because I keep hearing that there is no reason as to why I shouldn't be able to install Ubuntu to this machine, although no one has been able to tell me how to do that, it has become completely personal. I have spent hours reading over posts, googling over and over again, and I haven't been able to find any posts that detail how it was installed on a Dell Dimension 4700, just that it was successfully installed.
So, as a last resort to help me maintain my sanity, I am turning the the community to help me maybe put this white whale down. Any suggestions?