So here's what I'm trying to do. I have an old laptop that can't boot from USB. I've discovered the minimal iso file and used it to download and install Ubuntu 14.04, but I had some errors running the OS and ended up trying to reinstall, but I realized if I have to keep doing that I'm just re-downloading the same files over and over again. I have 14.04 already downloaded to a USB stick, and I'm just not clear on a simple way to boot with the minimal ISO boot disc and then install files from the USB drive instead of downloading them.

Sorry, I know this question is pretty lame, but any advice would be helpful! Thanks in advance.

PS: The reason I'm using the minimal ISO instead of just a regular ubuntu ISO is because the CD drive on my laptop is pretty crappy and sometimes stops reading in the middle of an installation. The Minimal iso seems to work better. Also it can't read DVD-R very reliably, but it reads CDRs just fine.

Yes, this is a REALLY old laptop (Compaq Presario R3000 AMD) and I'm just fartin' around with it for fun and enjoyment.

3 Answers 3


Instead of a minimal Ubuntu boot CD, I always use PLoP boot manager from a CD to chainload directly into the USB itself.

There's a nice little guide on how to do this here, but all it is, is burning the ISO onto an optical disk (I would use a CD as opposed to a DVD, to support older systems), then boot to it.


is the machine so old it doesnt have a usb port? or its not removable media boot capable? you could try a network boot/install, or install from SD/ floppy, and if the smaller version of ubuntu works better and you have limited ram/ disc space i would recommend a different distro, if your well versed in linux arch linux can be fun to play around with,

  • 1
    There are USB drives but the BIOS cannot boot from USB.
    – KingNewbs
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 1:31
  • then if you have other computers you can use I think you could use a network boot, If its all ready running another OS I think theres a way to install it from inside that system if its another linux system, not sure if it would be possible from within windows or mac, last resort could be to try to re-flash it with a different bios that supports usb boot, although I've never reflashed a bios put ive herd of people doing it.
    – Deim
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 1:41
  • I thought about using a customized BIOS but that is probably a last resort since it could brick the laptop and I'm really just messing around with it. I am able to get Ubuntu 11.04 up and running on it using just an install CD, so it could be that 14 is just not gonna work. I will look into network booting but that may be above my experience level. Thanks for the tips!
    – KingNewbs
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:10
  • Well if your using a install CD for 14.04 try to use the slowest burn rate setting. When I first tried to install 14.04 it gave me a whole lot of trouble with corrupting iso's, untill I figured out I had the burn rate maxed. And once you get it running I recommend apt-getting a different Desktop environment. Unity is very resource demanding. Something like xfce or lxde might work well on your machine.
    – Deim
    Commented May 9, 2014 at 13:53


You mentioned Ubuntu 14.04.

Did you tried Lubuntu 14.04, or smaller distro like Puppy Linux or Damn Small Linux Linux ?

  • I did not try those. I will look into it. Thanks for the advice.
    – KingNewbs
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 14:09

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