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I have acquired a very old but still working Compaq Presario 2100 and due to the age and limited upgrading capabilities I decided to try installing one of the lighter ...
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  1. #1
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    Old laptop install problems


    I have acquired a very old but still working Compaq Presario 2100 and due to the age and limited upgrading capabilities I decided to try installing one of the lighter distros.

    I have downloaded 4-5 smaller less resource hungry distros but with any of them when I try to install I get to the boot screen after the CD has started but the keyboard will not work at all. So I obviously can't even press enter to start the installation!

    I'm not really going to do anything with this laptop because its so old but I thought it might be fun to try a few different operating systems on it but I can only install windows xp due to this keyboard problem.

    I've tried an external USB keyboard but that doesn't work either, obviously not a USB problem though as I've started an install from USB but the keyboard still won't work.

    Any thoughts or should I just bin it now!!

  2. #2
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    Not enough info yet. No mention of which live cds tried first.
    No mention if md5sum check was done first before trying out live cds or isos.

    I've tried an external USB keyboard but that doesn't work either, obviously not a USB problem though as I've started an install from USB but the keyboard still won't work.
    Not sure what to say to even that as we are not in the same room with you.
    I know in a Puppy Linux boot session like Macpup: A beautiful derivative of Puppy Linux
    A keyboard selection is offered.

    Compaq Presario 2100 specs - Engadget

    Is that your laptop? Do you have 2 gig of ram? If so.

    Known affected systems

    Acer Travelmate 540
    Compaq Presario 2100
    Compaq Evo N1015v
    Dell Dimension 8250
    Sony Vaio PCG-K25

    IBM ThinkPad R40e

    Symptoms

    Keyboard does not respond to initial language selection screen.

    Workaround

    Either :

    Use an external USB keyboard.
    As linux boots, tap caps lock quickly over and over. Keep doing it until you get to the installer's language selection screen, at which point, if you're lucky, the keyboard will work.

    Go into the BIOS (press F12 at dell logo and choose system configuration or something similar) and disable "USB Emulation" (its in there somewhere). Your keyboard will work then. This does not work for the ThinkPad R40e (Setup/Config/USB/BIOS USB).
    TuxMobil: Linux Laptop & Notebook Installation Guides: COMPAQ

    I'd try a Either the Macpup link, or DistroWatch.com: Puppy Linux any of those versions. It'll load into ram and you can eject the cd and run live.
    Then make a save file on XP partition to save changes. To give you a idea on where I am coming from

    SolydXK forums ? View topic - My Linux install on a 128MB sd flash card.

    I would not use the iso I am using because the one I am running comes with very little stuff.

    Until we know real laptop specs like cpu speed and ram in MB. Kinda hard to respond for other members to this thread.

  3. #3
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    The model I am trying to play with can only be upgraded to max 1gb ram so not sure what that model is. I currently have only 256mb in it. (I'm using it only for fun and educational purposes cus I get a kick out of it! )

    I have downloaded an old version of xubuntu which I read would just about run on these specs, the processor is about 2.4ghz.

    I've tried a few others such as tiny core and a couple of others that I had in my collection from about 5-6 years ago.

    md5sum check?????? I'm new!!


    I'll try a couple of the workarounds you have posted and let you know. I've already tried the external keyboard. I just wondered if I had found a unique issue or if it was a known problem on some old laptops.

    Thanks for the advice anyway.

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  5. #4
    Linux User nihili's Avatar
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    don't try to run any way too old and unsupported xubuntu versions.
    i heard antiX is good for old hardware. i wonder why rokytnji did not suggest it.
    256mb of ram is very little, you might want to get some old ram chips to go in there, should be just a few credits.

    the problem that the laptops own keyboard does not work is very weird indeed.
    does it work with other distros, does it work when you go into the bios just for testing? does it work at all?

    it might be your hardware is so old even tolerant linux distros don't support it.
    check distrowatch's search function, in categories choose old computers.

  6. #5
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    OK I think the problem was even though I had found some old versions I hadn't gone quite old enough. I downloaded some even older one's and they worked during language selection whilst the others I already had still didn't.

    does it work with other distros, does it work when you go into the bios just for testing? does it work at all?
    The keyboard works fine, I had windows xp installed and I've reinstalled it twice. The keyboard works fine in bios, xp install etc.

    I haven't managed to find anything that will install yet but I will even if 'just for the hell of it'.

    I don't think I want to bother getting any more ram for this, it's just not worth it. I've already got my pc for general use. I acquired this laptop just to play around with it. I was just going to strip it down as I've never dismantled a laptop before, (done plenty of desktops) but I thought I'd have a play with linux again first because I've never managed to get into it. I've been using windows for too damn long!!

  7. #6
    Linux User nihili's Avatar
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    that's good to hear.

    if you run this machine on a long outdated linux version, you might succeed but it will just be a museum, almost useless.
    instead, if yoou choose the right distro, you can have a lively system with updates and everything, wouldn't that be better?
    to tell all the hard- and software manufacturer buddies to go you-know-what?

    i've made a little searching and damn small linux keeps popping up. tried that?

    btw how do you install? does it have a cd-rom to boot from?

    good luck!

  8. #7
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    Well I wasn't really bothered but I've been trying to make the leap from windows to linux for some years now but never actually did it. I suppose if I could find something I could actually use I could play with it till I understood how it worked.

    I install by either burning CD's or I have put them on a USB stick, either way works with this machine.

    I'll give DSL a look, I've downloaded your previous suggestion of antiX but not tried yet, I'll give it a go tomorrow and see how it goes. (It's currently 11.08pm UK time if you are in a different part of the world!!)

  9. #8
    Linux User nihili's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturose View Post
    (It's currently 11.08pm UK time if you are in a different part of the world!!)
    not too far away. having a late night...

  10. #9
    Linux Engineer MASONTX's Avatar
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    SliTaz is another small footprint distro that may work.
    Registered Linux user #526930

  11. #10
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    I just installed debian 7 (minimal install) + fluxbox on an older laptop it works quite well.

    took a bit to install but there is a lot of documentation so you cant get lost.

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