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I want to try Ubuntu from my 16GB stick without ditching Windows 7 just yet.

Everything boots up fine, I get the spash screen, I get the question screen (Try Ubuntu or install).

I select try ubuntu and then my screen goes black with what appears to be a prompt. No keyboard keys work at this time. Have tried re-downloading Ubuntu, rebooting, bu nothing seems to work.

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The problem is that Ubuntu will not boot properly with an older graphics card, flash drive, RAM , and what version of intel or AMD you have. If it still does not boot some computers like some newer laptops or even older ones to might not be compatable with OS due to slave drives.

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You cannot assume this is due to old devices. Ask the OP for more details. –  VedVals Nov 29 '12 at 13:46
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