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I've got a Toshiba a505 laptop and tried the live CD with great results.

However, I haven't found any reports on this PC working 100% OK on Ubuntu 10.10 yet. I do have seen (and tried installing myself) some reports that 10.04 didn't work (without some dirty hacking).

In regular circumstances, is it OK to assume that a new install will work if the live CD works? Are there any tools I can run to check compatibility?

Thanks!

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Just in case someone is searching around, let me tell you that I couldn't install ubuntu 10.10 on this laptop model. The installation stalled on copying files. Luckily the boot sector was intact. The complete brand/model is: Toshiba Satellite A505-S6033. –  Ignacio Oct 21 '10 at 3:38
    
I'm using a Toshiba Satellite A505-S6960, and Ubuntu works great on my system. However, it is a slightly different model number from what you have, and I have observed that some others with Toshiba Satellite laptops weren't as fortunate as I. Even within the same brand, it can be hard to tell ahead of time what compatibility problems may lie in store for you after installation. –  WarriorIng64 Nov 16 '11 at 17:54
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4 Answers 4

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Yes and no. The Live CD is a great method of trying Ubuntu before you decided to install it properly, but you also have to remember the Live CD is running off default drivers and not the ones actually in your laptop. So for example, your graphics card will not actually be fully used as the driver for it will not be active.

If the Live CD runs Ubuntu quite well, then you can assume that your machine can at least run Ubuntu, but again, until your hardware is utilized, you will not know for sure.

The best way to find out if your laptop is compatible is to search for your laptop in google with ubuntu in the search query to see if anything interesting comes up. Sometimes, another person may have submitted a bug report or review about how successful there install was and this can be very helpful to you, if you encounter problems.

Hope that helps.

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This is not strictly true; the Live CD will use exactly the same open-source drivers as the installed system, and they'll be fully functional. You won't have any of the proprietary drivers enabled, though, so you won't be able to test if they work. –  RAOF Oct 15 '10 at 4:34
    
Also there is no access to updates that require restarting the computer, so some bugs might be fixed in a full install that are apparent on a liveCD. –  zookalicious Nov 16 '11 at 18:43
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So, up to my knowledge, you will not face a worse situation with the actual installation in comparison with the situation you experienced with the Live CD. You -at least- have that working level at hand. Some special drivers and/or settings of your choice will serve as a bonus.

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This was my "mental model" of how live CD vs installation would work. Anyways, I'll have to give it a shot and see for myself. Whish me luck! –  Ignacio Oct 15 '10 at 13:47
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Also to expand some on James' post, remember that the Live CD will not have any updates or bug fixes... so something that does not work on the Live CD may work after all the updates are installed.

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This is true, but I doubt it will often make much difference... –  8128 Oct 21 '10 at 9:31
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The simple answer is - yes, but it doesn't provide 100% verification. Sometimes Live CD or USB will provide good performance while system installed from the very same Live CD or USB will suffer from misconfigured drivers with (very) severe performance penalty.

See Live CD / Live USB much faster than full install for reference. It seems I had a bad luck and I got misconfigured Ubuntu on both of my laptops.

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