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Cannot install linux on Aspire 5100 [SOLVED]

leny

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Hello all,
I've already given up my old Acer Aspire 5100 few times, but everytime I'm ready to dump it I decide to try again, because I don't understand why I cannot get this old laptop to work with a very light Ubuntu distro or something.

It's a AMD Turion 62 X2 Mobile Tl-50, 64b, 1.75GB RAM
Got working keyword and wifi, perfect display and decent battery. So I would really like to make a use of it for some basic tasks.

Back in a day it worked with a Windows XP. A decade ago it got installed Lubuntu and I don't know the reason why it got installed a 32b version instead of 64b.
Fast forward these days, I'm like a mad person trying to get it to work.

My problem: 64b whatever distros all end up with the same error: "kernel panic - not syncing no working init found. try passing init= option to kernel".
Prior to it, it complains about memory availability.

32b distros instead they attempt to install. They don't fall in a kernel panic error, but they are stuck "installing" forever, there is no progress. This HD is noisy, and I hear nothing being written to it. And for hours (full night) there is no progress, so Im totally sure it does nothing.

I was able however to install Tiny Core distro. From there, I tried to fix whatever failing without really knowing what I was doing. I followed some instructions to format partitions (In my mind I wanted to "start it all over" to be able to install a 64b). I think I just made things worse.

So here I am, with a working Tiny Core distro, waiting for your advice not to dump this laptop. It works, with internet and everything. I have scanned memory with no errors, but it is weird that the system shows me a bunch less of memory than I should have:

grep MemTotal /proc/meminfo
377616

It would be really great if you put me in the track to get this to work with a 64b linux distro.

Please let me know what command outputs or other info I have to provide.

Thank you very much in advance.
 


Brickwizard

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Welcome
so you have a 2008/9 acer, they do not normally cause any real problems, the AMD k8 range of processors are solid if a little slow by today's standard, and the 2gb Ram will defiantly restrict your choices of distribution to medium or light versions, it won't have win quick-start to worry you, that era was the start of change over between Optical and USB boot,
read my how to install guide [link below] then come back with any comments
reasons Linux fails to load [old machines]
corrupt download of ISO
bad burn of installation medium for optical drive use DVD-r and choose a lower burn rate 3x may be slow but normally produces a better result and make sure the optics are clean, if its USB, use a new good quality branded USB formatted XFats and burn your installation using Etcher for best results,
check the SHA sum
when you install, you may need to use legacy boot mode, and don't forget to choose a distribution that includes non-free driver pack and select for non-free if asked during installing.
 
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kc1di

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Hello @leny,
Welcome to the Linux.org Forums.
I afraid that 1.75GB ram is not sufficient to run most modern 64bit Desktops. You might was to give a Puppy release a try though it may work for you.
Good luck in your search.
 

Brickwizard

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leny

leny

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Thank you, I am now trying both of your suggestions of using a pendrive of less capacity (4GB) and a Puppy distro.

I have already tried like 7 different small distros, my problem is that when I try to install 64b I got the Kernel Panic no init found error.

I can however run live linux from pendrive (I just tried this live puppy which opened nicely). (And btw it barked which was funny).
 

kc1di

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Thank you, I am now trying both of your suggestions of using a pendrive of less capacity (4GB) and a Puppy distro.

I have already tried like 7 different small distros, my problem is that when I try to install 64b I got the Kernel Panic no init found error.

I can however run live linux from pendrive (I just tried this live puppy which opened nicely). (And btw it barked which was funny).
Puppy though different than may other Distros in linux is good for older machines, can be run live and changes saved to a save file. So from boot to boot you work can be saved and still run the live version. With your limited ram it's a good alternative.
Also I might mention with your limited ram there is really no advantage to running a 64 session. good luck. and Enjoy!
 

Brickwizard

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I can however run live linux from pendrive
then it should install, if you still have problems, run a live version, connect to your internet, install INXI from the software manage then run in a terminal inxi -Fnxxz and paste back the results
 

Brickwizard

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If it were my machine [I have a slightly older acer travelmate with a single core processer& 2gb ram] My first try would be Debian with driver pack and XFCE desktop, second would be Peppermint then Lubuntu or Kubuntu, and then Linux Lite [can be a problem on some machines to install] but all of these will happily run on mine.
 
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leny

leny

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Puppy though different than may other Distros in linux is good for older machines, can be run live and changes saved to a save file. So from boot to boot you work can be saved and still run the live version. With your limited ram it's a good alternative.
Also I might mention with your limited ram there is really no advantage to running a 64 session. good luck. and Enjoy!
so my main motivation to go to the 64b is that the old Lubuntu 32b I was using could not have updates anymore. It was slow but working. I wanted to update the browser and soon I got stuck, many packages I was not able to download , I was able to update the distro several times but eventually I got to the limit to what it could be updated.

"My plan" is that if I somehow get rid of the kernel panic error and be able to install, then I could for very cheap money upgrade the laptop to 4GB, which is supported.

I think I messed things up with partitions in the past so now I re-did all partitions carefully. But something I have done terribly wrong, cause I'm stuck in a screen of grub>
my computer apparently have lost the ability to start at all.

I'm following some tutorial entering grub commands to set my boot, but I have no idea how to download the kernel which is one of the steps.

This is GNU GRUB version 2.06-3 deb11u2

So complicated!
 

dos2unix

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I afraid that 1.75GB ram is not sufficient to run most modern 64bit Desktops

I agree, that's pretty light. I know some distro's advertise that they run in 1 or 2GB, but in real world practice, not so much.
Its my understanding you can put 4GB in the Aspire 5100.
 

Brickwizard

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old Lubuntu 32b I was using could not have updates anymore.
if your happy with 32 bit then 32 bit Debian will be supported for another 2 years
 

KGIII

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Yeah, the last LTS Lubuntu to support 32 bit was 18.04.

In theory you can keep it going by using Ubuntu Advantage. It's not supported but it could last all the way to 2028. You would be using the extended maintenance support stuff.
 
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leny

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Thanks all for your time.

I'm back to tiny Core from a pendrive, for I could not get the debian to work, it seems that none of my partitions is bootable now.

I'm going to focus into this single problem now:
can any of you guess what could have gone wrong that my 1.75GB of RAM are actually just: 377616KB ?
Is there anything I could have done to my computer so the total RAM is not visible?
 

Brickwizard

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When was it last serviced? Any good with a screwdriver?
Open the cover plate to the ram, remove and clean the contacts gently with a dry cotton or linen cloth [do not use synthetic material or wool] replace the ram [if you have more than 1 bar then also swap their positions] then open the cover to the Hard-drive carefully disconnect and re-connect 3 or 4 times [this should clean the pins and the connector] re assemble and switch on, has it made any difference?
If not, check the hard-drive
this is my inxi
Memory: 7.69 GiB
I actually have 8gh of ram, but it is showing .51g short. That is because it is reserved memory for the onboard graphics,& sound etc
 
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leny

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I,m so happy.
I was able to install a debian 11 32b via network, failed two times because of grub failed to installed, I just insisted and for some reason worked at the 3rd time. This is a huge step for me.

I then was able to install inxi thingy and definitely there is something odd going on with my memory as previusly stated:
Memory: 364.9
Used: 202 (55.4%)

I installed lynx and was able to browse a little bit. I don't dare opening a browser with such low memory, but this weekend I'm going to open this guy, clean the RAM modules and check for someone selling old modules to increase it to 4GB. That would be so satisfactory to put this laptop on track again!
 

kc1di

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Congrats on sticking with it. But you need to find out what's going on with that ram for sure.
 

osprey

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leny wrote:
I installed lynx and was able to browse a little bit.
Nice ... elinks is even better, smaller install size, more efficient and handles frames that lynx can't so if you download pages with frames like tables, elinks formats them readily where lynx can give you word salad.
 

KGIII

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One of 'em, I want to say eLinks2, also supports HTTPS while other terminal-based browsers do not. Or at least did not, the last time I tried - which was much more recent than one might think! Every now and again I'll get the urge to check to make sure I can still use a termina-based browser to post on Slashdot.
 

Brickwizard

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Probably has a 32bit BIOS with a 64Bit CPU
Hi- the spec says compatible with 32 & 64 bit windows. OP said it runs 64 bit live ok, just installing is a problem,
These were never the best budget laptops they came with Vista most people changed back to XP [but then lost their warranties] 100% certain it's a ram problem either dud ram or a shot controller [controllers do not often fail]
 
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