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I'm trying to install Fedora on a really old (1999-2000) PC, even though I have set it to boot the CD/DVD drive first it wont boot from the CD, I know the CD 'im using is bootable, do you think that the CD might be too new or something?


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Are you trying to boot from a cd or dvd? It could be the bios won't allow dvd booting but will allow cd booting. – MrStatic Feb 17 '10 at 2:00
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Prior to about 1999, most computers were designed to boot only from a floppy or hard drive. CD Booting was still relatively new, and generally relied on the "El Torito" specification that was embedded into the BIOS, that would search an ISO 9660 record on a CD for a special boot sector and perform some emulation magic to get the darn thing booting. Most modern computers don't require any special emulation and "just work". Based on what you have stated, I am willing to bet you are in the category of troubled hardware. Also, not all bootable discs are created equally - so just because some work, doesn't even remotely imply that all should.

Your best bet is to see if there is some outside chance that a BIOS update is available for that motherboard.

Your next best bet is to custom bake some bootable goodness using ISOLINUX for use on a floppy disk (or even make a bootable CD image) which can get the computer up enough to pull down the rest of the Fedora install over the network.

For what it is worth, I find running something like Feather linux on hardware that old is generally far more productive than a full modern distribution like Fedora or Ubuntu. There is also a lightweight Fedora "spin" called LXDE that may even be a better fit.

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Most distributions can be installed from a command line interface without needing to start an X server. – Goyuix Feb 17 '10 at 15:18

I've experienced this. The BIOS may be too old and not support booting fron a DVD device. I could not find a BIOS upgrade so I have to temporarily attach an old CD drive I had laying around.

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If the machine is from 1999-2000, I would say the most likely cause is that the optical drive is broken.

I see this as a VERY common problem either when the optical drive is heavily used for writing in a relatively short period (1), or if the machine has not been used for several years then you suddenly start using again (2).

In the example above, I typically find that for (1) - it manifests by random read/write errors and/or can read from some media and not others. For (2), usually something mechanical ceases up and the drive either no longer works and/or starts making loud and unusual noises.

Both of these problems are not exclusive to those situations, any error can happen at any time - just in my experience, this is what I see a lot of.

I hope this helps - if it doesn't, in comments, can you write if the machine can read other bootable disks, or standard disks from within any operating system it runs?

Also, if you have a spare known working optical drive, it may be easier if you just quickly swap them around and test.

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In my case it started to boot from the CDROM after I had disabled Quick boot in BIOS

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