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I recently acquired an old Dell Inspiron 7500. It has Windows XP installed on it currently and is super slow. So I decided to install Linux on the machine, but I have failed over and over. I have tried Ubuntu, Crunchbang, Fedora, and Mint. It is set in BIOS to boot from CD/DVD first. I also put in a Windows Server 2003 disk and it wouldn't boot to that either. I then tried to update the BIOS, but I don't have nor know where to obtain floppy disks anymore. I did read somewhere that X has problems with this model due to display settings.

  1. How can I install Linux?
  2. If I can't install Linux how can I install Server 2003?
  3. How can I update the BIOS?
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So no matter what bootable disc you put in the drive, it won't boot to the disc? When it boots into Windows, can you read any discs at all? Is the problem the optical drive itself? Does it even have a CD/DVD drive, or is it limited to only having a CD drive? – Bon Gart May 2 '12 at 22:38
I ask these questions, because that model could have been shipped with a combo floppy/CD drive, and you could be attempting to boot to DVDs. – Bon Gart May 2 '12 at 22:57
The disk drive says DVD Rom and it has a floppy drive under that. The boot sequence when a disk is in the tray is longer. Without a disk its POST splash screen then Windows XP. With a disk its POST splash screen then black screen for 2 minutes then (where I assume something fails) Windows XP). – bizarrechaos May 2 '12 at 23:08
When you put the disk in while in XP the disk loading cursor appears and you can hear the drive working. However clicking on D: displays the insert a disk prompt. If you right-click on the drive eject still works. Could it be that it can't read dvd -r? – bizarrechaos May 2 '12 at 23:09
Even if you put the WIndows Server 2003 DVD in, it still gives you the Insert Disc prompt when you try to access the DVD from within XP? That sounds like the optical drive can't read any discs any more. Not unheard of, especially considering the age of the unit. – Bon Gart May 2 '12 at 23:12
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Instead of a DVD I booted to a Server 2003 CD, and it will boot to any Linux CD as well. After reading the documentation released with the bios I decided it was a necessary update.

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