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Dell Optiplex SX260, install by USB

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by shadowwebs, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    So, the story is that my brother has passed me his old dell optiplex sx260 with a blank hard drive that he wants Ubuntu installing on.

    I have taken one of my USB sticks and made it bootable, added the installation files and inserted, pressing F12 for the boot menu but I get no option for USB.

    I have checked the Dell Documentation (Documentation) which states "USB Flash Device — Insert the key into a USB port and restart the computer. When F12 = Boot Menu appears in the upper-right corner of the screen, press <F12>. The BIOS detects the key and adds the USB key option to the boot menu."

    Yet of course the reason for my posting is this isn't working... I made the usb stick active, fat32 partition and it's a 32gb memory stick which is where I am thinking possibly it won't recognise as it's too big but surely not.

    Hmmm, any ideas?
     
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  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Try using the tools on this link Create a USB stick on Windows | Ubuntu as that's how Ubuntu recommend doing it.
     
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  3. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Try this :-
    Create a USB stick on Ubuntu | Ubuntu
    http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/linux/create-a-bootable-ubuntu-usb-flash-drive-the-easy-way/
    http://www.psychocats.net/ubuntu/usb

    Then go into your BIOS and see it you can put USB first in the boot order, otherwise consult manual, support website, google for instructions specific to your laptop or motherboard.

    Some Dell optiplex sx260's have CD or DVD drives so you could always burn a disc with Ubuntu on it.

    Some old machines BIOS does not support boot from USB, in this case you may want to try putting the drive into another system and installing Ubuntu on it there and seeing if you have any luck. Since Linux is based around a single kernel you should not have too many issues, maybe just have to update your Xorg config.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2012
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  4. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    thanks, tried that tool which created the usb boot but the machine wouldnt recognise it. I have tried to install by CD with Ubuntu that I have burnt but this comes up with the error "0.873252 kernel panic - not syncing : vfs: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(8,1)", so not sure what this is representing?
     
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  5. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Kernel panic just means a fatal error occurred.

    It could be a dodgy image, try downloading the ISO again and burning to another CD.

    VFS - Virtual file system
    Root fs - Root file system, basically the '/' partition

    Basically you cannot mount a filesystem, its hard to tell if this is a filesystem created on the HDD or the filesystem for the CDROM from your description.

    If its a HDD error it could be something to do with your grub.conf or fstab files.
    fstab contains partition and mount point details.
    grub is the linux bootloader and its config file lists the bootable partitions.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012
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  6. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    I think I will install Windows XP to start with from CD, and then once that is on there I will throw Ubuntu on over the top.

    The hard drive was formatted as new when purchased, and I can read from it when its connected to my own PC as a USB Hard Drive, I will create a partition and make this FAT32 also to see if makes any difference.
     
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  7. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Just an idea, and I would love everyone's feedback please... my motherboard only has SATA connections, not IDE. the hard drive I need to install Windows XP on has got an IDE connection.

    Therefore, if i was to buy a PCI to IDE interface card, and disconnect my SATA hard drive from the inside, would the IDE drive be seen as being an internal drive and install Windows in a normal state?

    Would love feedback, as my brother is really nagging me to get the computer sorted which is a bit of a pain.
     
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  8. Sparky
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    Sparky Zettabyte Poster Moderator

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    Install XP first and then Ubuntu from Windows - they check if the dual boot works.
     
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  9. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

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    Like I said this may work with linux. Its unlikely to work with Windows because windows has multiple HAL dlls and a lot drivers could also be very different between the two machines. You need not disconnect your SATA drive, but you will have to change the boot order, you may also need to fix the boot.ini, but this will be the least of your worries due to the driver and HAL issues.

    Linux sounds like a far better idea to me and you should stand a better chance of getting it working than XP.

    Dual booting when you are having issues is unlikely to simplify matters, so I would not advise that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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  10. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    OK, well I have ordered some blank CDs and the PCI to IDE interface card, so then I can burn XP on to a CD and see if it will boot the machine, if not then will try the pci to ide in my own PC... I have not come across problems like this before even with many years of doing clean PC installs
     
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  11. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    So, next problem... I now have Windows XP Pro on CD, inserted and the computer detected it straight away... then it came up and said "you need at least 64mb of ram to install", much to my amusement I restarted the computer and checked BIOS where it said there is only 32mb ram installed.


    I have opened up the case, and I have 2gb of RAM installed... very confused now, so yes I thought to myself maybe the RAM installed is not compatible, but I know it is as I checked it with the Dell compatibility documents. One more idea is to take one of the RAM modules out and see which one is erroring out, other than that I am very confused.

    Any ideas?

    ***
    As extra information:
    Computer: Dell Optiplex SX260
    RAM: 1gb pc2700 ddr 333mhz 1024mb non ecc
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
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  12. shadowwebs

    shadowwebs Megabyte Poster Forum Leader

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    Tested one stick by one stick in the same slot and still reads 32mb ram... i am in two minds of either dodgy ram or dodgy motherboard?
     
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