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I would like to install any version of Ubuntu Server on a fairly old machine to both test out Ubuntu Server and have a bit of fun. The problem I have encountered is that the machine does not have PAE so all releases of Ubuntu Server that I have tried will not work with the computer. The computer is pretty unimpressive with the following stats: Dell Inspiron 700m Processor: Intel Pentium-M 735 1.7GHz RAM: 512MB HDD: 40GB Graphics: Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 900 So is there anyway to get Ubuntu Server on this device? If so, how?

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I have an IBM Thinkpad T42 with the same or very similar Pentium M processor running at 1.7 GHz. This processor is actually capable of PAE, but does not announce it, so you can use fakepae or forcepae and a PAE version of light-weight flavours of Ubuntu will work.

You can add the boot option forcepae with the current 32-bit linux kernels i386, that are used in the Ubuntu family, for example Lubuntu and Ubuntu mini.iso until 18.10 (the newest release, when this is written). Both work in my old Thinkpad and should work in your computer too.

I suggest that you use the Ubuntu mini.iso version 18.04.1 LTS, with long time support for 5 years, in order to install your Ubuntu Server.

The mini.iso is also called Netboot.

  • The iso file is very small, and it requires a wired network to connect to the internet and the Ubuntu web servers to download and install most of the program packages

  • The installer is the old style text mode 'Debian' installer

  • There is a menu, where you can select what to install. You can install anything from

    • the most basic text mode linux system, to
    • Ubuntu Server
    • Kubuntu (too heavy for an old Pentium M processor)
    • Lubuntu
    • ...
    • standard Ubuntu (too heavy for an old Pentium M processor)
    • ...
    • Xubuntu
  • If you install the most basic text mode linux system, you can install your Ubuntu Server later, when you have logged into the basic text mode linux system, and later on the extra features that you want, but I think the menu in the installer makes things easier.

See also these links and links from them,

Boot options

mini.iso, minimal install, netboot iso

How do I make a bootable Ubuntu USB? - scroll down to 'How to make an Ubuntu Minimal USB using dd'

The new version 14.04 LTS 'Trusty Tahr' needs no fake-PAE. Use forcepae in the standard installers

Sometimes the boot option must be entered twice

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But the server needs to be connected to the internet to install via that mini.iso...

If you want to do a standalone/offline install, download Ubuntu Server 11.04 (last server version without mandatory PAE) and it should install fine. Then you can just update it later as well via command prompt and it should correctly update to 12.04 NON-PAE for example.

  • -1, Which mini iso? – zixuan Jan 27 at 21:26
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I'd suggest a minimal install using an alternate installer:

http://www.archive.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/dists/precise/main/installer-i386/current/images/netboot/non-pae/

Download the mini.iso and install off that - when asked about the Linux Kernel choose "linux-generic"

After that you should be asked for your desktop. Pick one, or just continue without selecting one if you genuinely want no graphical desktop (pure server)

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