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I'm attempting to install 12.04 LTS Desktop on an old (circa 2005) Sony laptop computer (Pentium III, 512MB RAM, 120GB HDD, Intel 1400x1050 video, wired ethernet connection to internet) that doesn't support booting from USB nor from burned DVDs (only from burned CDs or DVD-ROMs). The full 12.04 Desktop ISO image is too big to burn to a CD-R, and a DVD-R is not an option. Based on what I've read in the installation documents online, the "Minimal CD" seemed like a workable option. First question: Is the minimal install CD my best option?

I successfully downloaded and burned the ISO image to a CD-R disc using Disk Utility on a Mac, and it boots. Here's a quote from the installation document:

"To install, boot your computer from the the Minimal CD and type "cli" (command line install) at the prompt. You can then follow the instructions from the text-based installer. After the base system is installed, log in, and type "sudo tasksel" to select the system to install."

I don't get a command prompt, I get a menu with options "Install", "Command Line Install", "Advanced Options", "Help". I'm confused here. Follow what instructions, from what text-based installer? Second question: Am I going down the wrong path at this point?

I assume the menu is an enhancement to the command prompt method. No matter which of the first two options I choose, the machine responds by hitting the CD drive again, followed by a 30-second or so pause, followed by garbled graphics at the bottom of the screen, nothing more.

Eventually, I discovered the tab key to edit the menu options. I tried removing the word "quiet" in hopes of seeing what was going on. That was helpful. The process is pausing complaining about an undefined video mode 314. I noticed that the command line had a flag "vga=788". 788 decimal is 314 hex. So I pressed the space bar to see my video mode options. Mode 0 is 80x25. So I started over and changed the flag to "vga=0". No more complaint about video mode. Question three: What is the 788 mode all about, and did I do the right thing by changing it to zero?

At this point it hits the internet downloading for a few seconds, then minutes go by with no activity. Eventually, I get on-screen progress bars showing additional downloads and possible progress. I start getting prompted with installation questions, some of which are obvious, but some of which I had to use my intuition. Eventually I reach the end of the install process, remove the CD, reboot, and ...

White screen with vertical black bars, some sort of unreadable text (maybe Ubuntu logo) in the middle of the screen. After a short delay, the screen clears to all white and more unreadable text. It responds to keyboard input. Looks like it could be login screen, but all the text is "backwards", i.e. mirrored, and unreadable.

Reboot. Now I get white garbled text on black background. Same behavior otherwise.

Any advice? By the way, prior to trying Ubuntu, this machine was running WinXP SP3 with no problems. This is my first post here, and my second installation experience with Ubuntu. I successfully installed 12.04 on another old laptop which was able to boot from a DVD I burned with the full Desktop ISO image.

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Fired up the machine today and got a readable login screen! I logged in, and got a command prompt, but no GUI. Unfortunately, rebooting again resulted in the same garbled screen as before. In case I can get a readable screen back again, any suggestions regarding the missing GUI? –  Brent Mar 1 '13 at 22:07
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