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At work we have some high-end gaming laptops we use for their dual GPUs. The machines have second generation i7 CPUs, and came with Windows 7. On most of them I installed Ubuntu 10.10, and all was fine. There were two laptops that I wanted to repurpose and wanted to reinstall the OS. It boots the CD (burned Ubuntu installation CD, I've tried 10.10, 11.10, and 12.04, as well as CentOS 6), and when Grub tried to boot the kernel, I just get a cursor blinking in the upper left corner of the screen.

I tried the disabling of ACPI and the other items in the advanced menu, but nothing works. I could still boot to the current Linux installation though. I was able to install Windows 7 again, and use WUBI, but I think that works because it uses the Windows bootloader and not Grub. How could it have worked before and not now? I have confirmed that the CD is fine, as are the hard drive and CD drive. I also had the same problem with Debian, and had to boot through Windows 7 to install it.

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It turns out that the laptop isn't worth the trouble. My solution was to install Windows 7, and then use the Windows 7 installer for Debian, which installed Debian onto the second hard drive. Then I modified the Windows 7 bootloader to boot Debian by default. I still don't know why the machines that once booted into Ubuntu 9.x and 10.x without issue fail to boot any Linux installation disc. I also did check the BIOS, no changes. I checked the installation discs, they work just fine on other machines. Truly a case for the Twilight Zone.

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