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I am trying to install Linux Mint 13 (Maya/Cinnamon) on an Old Dell Latitude D600. I can boot the live CD, but when I try to install, I can't see the windows that are coming up on screen. I can see the outline of the windows that are popping up asking the install questions, but I can't see anything inside the window. I can see the panel fine at the bottom of the screen, but not the the window contents. Any ideas? - I am a new newbie. Haven't used Linux for more than 30 minutes, so take it easy on me.

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3 Answers 3

I just installed LM(maya - mate) on the very same laptop. You will likely be disappointed by the performance. Mate is not a 3D-acceleration mandatory DE (unlike cinnamon, which is gnome-shell based) and performance is still horrible. In addition 3rd party video support is vaporous, as in hard to get a hold of. If you REALLY wish to try things out:

You are going to have to be patient. During install my screen went black for nearly 10 minutes. Reminding myself that this laptop has a junky Celeron and only 1.5G of ram (my system) I had to learn a bit of patience myself. You COULD try to boot into "compatibility mode" => press "tab" key when boot screen says "Autoboot in 9... 8... 7..." and install from there. An extreme additional step would be to strictly define your VGA resolution: press "tab" at "autoboot" to view the list of boot options then select "Compatibility mode" and press again (to enter editing mode). Delete the "--" and replace with "vga=785". This will force 640x480 resolution at 16 bit color depth.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VESA_BIOS_Extensions to learn about VESA standards and for more information on where the 785 comes from.

The good new is, once the initial install did it's thing, the system was fully operational with no additional tweaking necessary. Of course, even using the latest ISO, there was still close to a GIG of updates that needed to be downloaded and installed.

It should be noted that the reason I installed LM was because WinXP performance was intolerable. I did a dual boot WinXP-LM(mate) across a 120GB 5400 RPM HDD (60GB each, expertly partitioned) and both OSes run slowly, though LM is a notable improvement.

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I have LM Maya Mate on my D600 with 2gigs ram and it is twice as fast as XP. The thing I like is i can install on 1 machine then pop the hdd into another and it works fine. I do this to speed up the install process. Try the KDE distro. It works well.

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KDE is not an effective window manager for old hardware. LXDE or XFCE is much better. –  Sencer H. Apr 3 '13 at 15:07

I had an almost identical experience (display empty windows) as the one described by @Reagan while trying to install linux mint 13 (Maya cinnamon) on a old laptop (Compaq Presario).

I wanted to do this for the same reason too - this laptop was running Windows XP, but it cannot support Windows 7. Although @Lindicted seems to have the correct answer, I think others like myself (who have never attempted a linux install previously) would find having the following additional information helpful if they are installing onto old hardware.

I determined that my processor does not support Physical Address Extension (PAE) and therefore chose to install mint 13 (32-bit) rather than the latest mint 17.

Although I could set the boot order in the BIOS to boot from the USB 2.0 device - in practice, I was unable to get the .iso image (burned using Yumi) on the USB to run live - I eventually had success by burning the .iso obtained from linuxmint.com - and found Windows Disc Image Burner worked fine for this.

Mint ran from the live DVD, but the installed copy had the strange display issue that Regan described.

I found this recent post (May 07, 2014) on the linux.mint forums describing the problem, possible causes, and an alternative solution to the one suggested by Lindicted.

Installation works in compatibility mode, but no boot after

So use the work-around described in the post to boot the copy of mint on the HD, connect to the internet and use the updating functionality in mint to update the drivers.

An update may fix the problem, unfortunately (dependent upon your computer) the wrong driver might get automatically installed - which can render the installed OS inoperable. In which case you may have to reinstall mint from the dvd.

If the correct driver is unavailable, then the solution suggested by Lindicted might be the only alternative.

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